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From DejaDoodle to Michaels: The Journey of Our Creative Business

From DejaDoodle to Michaels: The Journey of Our Creative Business

September 25, 2019: The day my life changed forever

A Wednesday morning just like any other at a beloved corporate job I had held for 11 years. I—along with about 80 coworkers—are summoned to a meeting. The words spoken there would numb me for about three months, but would ultimately end up being the biggest catalyst for change in my life.

"... we had to reduce some positions. ... you guys unfortunately are a group of people that we've had to reduce your positions. ... We've enjoyed working with you, but today will be your last day of active employment."

2020: Enter DejaDoodle

Have you ever heard the name DejaDoodle before? It's totally fine if you haven't, but let me tell you, it's a name that's all about fun and excitement! Back in 2020, I embarked on a thrilling adventure after losing my job. I decided to start my own company, and guess what? It revolved around the amazing world of cruise ships. Cruise ships? 2020? Eeks... *cue ominous foreshadowing*!

Now, let me share the backstory. My husband Chris and I are huge Disney Cruise fans, and we partake in this awesome tradition of decorating our cabin door with our own handcrafted magnets. That's when the spark of inspiration hit me, and I couldn't resist diving headfirst into this fantastic business idea. And that's how DejaDoodles came to be!

DejaDoodles were the cutest magnetic avatars you could imagine. Made with love from wood and paper craft, these adorable artistic magnetic figurines allowed you to mix and match different items to customize your cruise ship cabin door according to your unique style. Picture it: interchangeable hairstyles, fashionable clothing—each item meticulously handcrafted and painted by yours truly. The intention was that after the cruise, these memories could be displayed in custom-made magnetic shadow boxes at home.

Two DejaDoodle mermaids

But then, the unexpected happened. The pandemic hit, and the cruise ship industry came to a standstill. It was a tough blow, but I refused to give up. I had invested so much time and effort into developing the DejaDoodle brand. As the year progressed, it became clear that life wouldn't return to normal anytime soon.

Late 2020: Forged Flare® emerges!

However, as they say, when one door closes, another one opens. And that's exactly what happened at the end of 2020. We experienced a major pivot (read our story) and a new chapter began with the birth of Forged Flare®!

We initially continued launching products under the DejaDoodle brand because, hey, we already had business cards and packing supplies ready to roll. Plus, the holiday season was just around the corner, and we wanted to make the most of it. Our product lineup expanded to include Mother's Angels® like our Legacy Calla Lily, Hibiscus, Legacy Red Rose, and the Legacy Friendship Rose (later renamed Yellow Rose of Texas). But the biggest hit at the time? A dazzling 3-pack set of shimmery snowflakes.

Wintry Snowflakes Set

2020-2021: Digital downloads and all the things

Let me take you on a journey through our exciting business evolution! Picture this: It was Christmas time when a brilliant idea struck us like a bolt of inspiration. We thought, "Hey, let's offer digital downloads of our product templates!" At the time, we thought it might be more enjoyable to share our designs this way instead of physically creating the products ourselves.

We gave our customers the chance to purchase a digital download commercial license, allowing them to make and sell the specific designs we offered. You might have noticed some similar-looking-yet-slightly-different designs out there, which could be because of this unique opportunity. We had some restrictions in place, though, to protect our brand. Modifying the designs, using our product photos, or using the names "Forged Flare®" or "Mother's Angels®" was a no-go.

But the excitement didn't stop there. We decided to venture into new territories and expand our product line beyond our wildest dreams. We introduced picture frames, watch bands, and even jewelry—bold moves that pushed us out of our comfort zone.

Heart Candies Picture Frames

Our beloved Mother's Angels® collection continued to flourish, growing in popularity. We delved into designing the first iteration of our birth month flower series and explored additional floral designs, including special ones for nurses and teachers. Not stopping there, we also created a captivating fairy line, using the same designs as the angels, but with a touch of enchantment that we thought would captivate a wider audience.

Dogwood Fairy displayed in a spring wreath.

However, as time went on, we realized that offering digital downloads came with its fair share of challenges. The ongoing customer service, maintenance, and infrastructure required started to weigh on us. We found ourselves losing the passion for selling these items, especially since they weren't very profitable under these circumstances. We knew something had to change if we wanted to continue growing and rediscover the sheer joy of running our own business.

Coincidentally, around the same time, heartfelt messages started pouring in from customers who had purchased our handcrafted creations. They expressed how deeply meaningful our designs were to them. And you know what? We discovered that creating these handmade products brought us immense fulfillment and joy. It was a turning point, a realization that a major shift was necessary.

So, in October 2021, we made a bold decision. We bid farewell to selling Mother's Angels® digital downloads entirely, and by the end of January 2022, we stopped offering digital downloads altogether. It was time to reimagine the future of our business and focus on what truly brought us happiness.

And with that, we embarked on a new chapter, eager to explore the endless possibilities that lay ahead.

2022: Unleashing our voice

Hold onto your seats because 2022 was an absolute whirlwind for us! Our sales skyrocketed, and we had to face the challenges that come with rapid growth. To keep up with the demand, I brought on a part-time studio assistant, and we made some big changes.

We bid farewell to digital downloads, realizing they weren't aligned with our vision. Instead, we focused solely on crafting Mother's Angels® and fairy-themed handcrafted items. We wanted to streamline our business and present a more polished image. We even decided to close down DejaDoodle completely, letting go of sentimentality to pave the way for a brighter future.

Available at Amazon

With a renewed focus on marketing and improving our business systems, we made significant strides. Toward the end of the year, we took a leap and joined Amazon Handmade. With our trademarked brand, we enjoyed the benefits of Amazon's Brand Registry, allaying our concerns about selling on Amazon.

2023: Thrilling new ventures!

Get ready to buckle up because this year has been a thrilling whirlwind of excitement!

First off, I'm thrilled to announce that I've brought on board a second studio assistant to gear up for the fourth quarter, especially the exciting Christmas season. We learned our lesson from last year when we were caught off guard despite our best preparations. This time, we're hopefully more prepared to face whatever comes our way, even if it's still a bit uncertain.

Michaels

Now, brace yourselves for the big news—I'm bursting with excitement! We've been accepted to Michaels, yes, THE Michaels, to sell on their online marketplace. It's a game-changer, and I'm cautiously optimistic about the upcoming Christmas season. I have a feeling Michaels will be a perfect fit for us, and the opportunities are endless.

But wait, there's more! We're taking our Mother's Angels® to the next level with 100% custom packaging. I'm currently on the edge of my seat, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the packaging prototype. Once the final packaging is in my hands, I'll share a photo with all of you. The rollout will be a strategic process as we transition from our old packaging, so bear with us on this exciting journey.

That's not all—we're expanding our Fulfilled by Amazon inventory. This means we'll be sending large shipments to Amazon's warehouse, and they'll handle the order fulfillment for those specific products on Amazon for us. In addition, we're testing an amazing new feature on our website called "Buy with Prime". It gives our customers the convenience of using their Amazon Prime accounts to purchase selected items from our website, helping to ensure quicker delivery through Amazon's shipping network.

Buy with Prime Logo

Now, let's address the "dry season" that we're entering. Sales slow down, and it's natural for self-doubt and negativity to sneak in during this period. Although it's a bit daunting, this is our time to prepare for the spectacular fourth quarter. Slow sales don't mean we're not busy—far from it! We seize this opportunity to test new software, explore fresh marketing strategies, and catch up on administrative tasks that often get neglected during the rest of the year. Trust me, when the busy season hits from around October through May, it's pure mayhem!

Despite any challenges, my optimism for this year knows no bounds. I'm eagerly looking forward to sharing more updates with you in the future. Stay tuned for the exciting adventures that lie ahead!

Jen and Chris sitting on a sofa.

We sincerely appreciate your support in joining us on this incredible journey. If you enjoyed reading our story, we would be delighted if you considered purchasing from us and sharing this article with your friends and family. Together, we can continue to spread joy and creativity!

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About Jen Street

Jen Street is the Founder & Creative Director of Forged Flare®, a business that specializes in creating unique ornaments that are reminiscent of stained glass. Handcrafted in Texas and perfect for gifting, her Mother’s Angels® ornaments make people feel seen, appreciated, and loved. Sign up for the newsletter and save on your first handmade ornament today.

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