Honesty About Evy’s Tree

…I figure since I’ve already spilled the beans regarding my business, I might as well continue, right? ha. oh boy.

Don’t know what’s going on with Evy’s Tree? Please read HERE.

So here’s the scoop…sales really dropped this weekend. No biggie, that’s the norm on the weekend, especially during the summer when everyone is out having fun {great weather = bad online sales}. As of today, we have 23 days left and are about 1/4 of the way there. Pretty amazing for one week! Outstanding, in fact. THANK YOU everyone!! I’m just praying it can keep it up.

I really, really feel that Evy’s Tree is in God’s hands. I feel that way 100%. If this is not what I am supposed to be doing, I am A-Ok with that, and that’s the truth. There is nothing better than being in God’s will, and I know this. BUT…I really, really hope and pray that Evy’s Tree can pull itself out. I love this job. I love you guys. You all are amazing. :)

I restocked a couple things and added a few more oldies. I’m adding these slowly so that my seamstesses can make sure they handle all the orders, so keep checking back. In case you are wondering, I am attempting to use up everything I have on my shelves without placing an American Apparel order, so I am going through all the hoodies and the material I have and then deciding what I can make.  I restocked the following hoodies {they will all be preorder prices and have a 4 week turnaround time}: Chevron, The Men’s and mini Marbles, the White Simple and the White Lacey, the Black Night hoodie and added the Bella Brilla

And the men’s Italian in Cranberry {good Lord, I love these two handsome men! :)}

The White Rabbit Zip Up

And the Purple Giraffe Brilla in both adult and kids

A note about the purple giraffe…I do not have this lavender color fabric. I only have a deep purple fabric, so this hoodie will be made with that. Also, I added Unisex 2XL, which will fit sizes 20-22. Hope that helps!!!

Lastly, a note about the prices: I did some number crunching before I reopened the shop and figured out the lowest price I can charge for all the hoodies I have either made or needing to be made up. Everything is cheaper than regular retail price by either $5-$20. I really wanted to make them affordable for you all, but yet high enough to enable us to reach our goal. This is the reason I had to turn off all the discount codes as well…since I already marked everything down, I wouldn’t be able to make it if I allowed the discount codes to come through as well. I hope that makes sense and thank you so much for your understanding.

Big hugs to you all thank you for all your help to save Evy’s Tree!!

xoxo

Dear Brandon

It occurred to me tonight that I have not made the bed the entire 7 days you have been gone.

I am not proud of this fact. Please, please come home soon. You keep our bedroom clean, since I completely fail at it. But don’t worry, the rest of the house looks just fine. It looks amazing, actually.

Hopefully you won’t kill me when you arrive home on Monday {for an entire 4 hours before you leave again} and see the state of our room. I wish I wasn’t so bad at keeping it so clean. ugh.

I love you Babe. Miss you.

xoxo

Food Friday: Bryony’s Scones

Happy Food Friday everyone!!

I hope you all are having an amazing day so far. My mom in law and sister in law {Bryony} are leaving today. BOO! I will miss them so much. They are so helpful and great company. You might remember the last time they were here, I mentioned that Bryony made some delicious scones for the family breakfast and how I mentioned I wanted her to do a Food Friday on them. Well, guess what? She and her amazing photog husband, David, whipped some up and took some pictures for us…..

Meet Bryony. She is Brandon’s sister. Isn’t she beautiful?

Hi everyone, this is Bryony! Here’s a super easy recipe for basic scones. You can customize the fillings {for example I used blueberries and lemon in these} any way you like.  Previously I have used cranberries, almonds, strawberries, blackberries….really the possibilities are endless, so just have fun!

The main ingredients:

Scones

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1/3 Cup white sugar

1 tea baking powder

1/2 tea salt

1/4 tea baking soda

1/2 Cup of cold butter {1 stick}

1/2 Cup Sour Cream {you can also sub with yogurt: plain or flavored greek or regular yogurt works fine}

1 egg

1 tea vanilla

Frosting:

2 Cups powdered sugar

1/4 Cup lemon juice

1/4 tea vanilla

2 tea melted butter

lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can still do this recipe by using a bowl and a pastry cutter. Slice butter into cubes and put on top.

With food processor on pulse mix until it looks like this. ha. Sorry not really familiar with the proper terms. :)

In a separate bowl, combine yogurt and egg with a whisk. Then combine both wet and dry in a large bowl.

Pat dough into a ball until it looks like this, and put on a floured baking sheet

Flatten ball with your hands and add filling of choice. I used about 1 pint of blueberries and added lemon zest on top. 

Fold dough over filling with floured fingers.
Using your hands, flatten out the dough again so it looks like this, making sure to take care with filling so it doesn’t pop out. I did not flip this over, the flattening blends in the edges.

Now cut your scones in desired shapes. This can make anywhere between 8-20 depending on your size scones.

Separate scones for baking, leaving about 1″ space and brush with melted butter. This is optional, but I think it makes a nice golden color and adds flavor.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, they will look like this with edges slightly browned.

While scones are cooling, make frosting: pour all frosting ingredients in bowl and whisk together

if frosting is too thick, add more lemon juice, if too runny add more powdered sugar. I pour my frosting into a ziploc bag, cut the edge off and pipe on top, but you could probably use a spoon as well, depending on consistency.

We love these at our house. This is my boy Lincoln. Super happy camper that we are making these together….

Thank you everyone for joining me. Hope you get a chance to try them this weekend!!

Love, Bryony

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Save Evy’s Tree: Today’s Progress

I have the sweetest friends and customers. Ever. First, thank you so much to everyone who has placed an order. It has helped so much!! Evy’s Tree is truly in God’s hands.

These little calculator picture thingys are telling you how many more hoodies I have to sell to reach our goal. It is an average, thus the decimal point, as I do sell some tees and scrap boxes and they all work towards the goal.

We are now 1/4 of the way there!!

I’m kinda amazed that we have reached that amount in a little over 48 hours. THANK YOU! I sincerely have no idea what to say. The thing that kills me is when I am printing out these orders, I am seeing names of people I know and love. Some of you have never ordered from Evy’s Tree before I know you are simply doing it out of love and support of me and my family. I have had moments of crying off and on. This text message pretty much did me in ….

It is from a very dear friend. Someone I love so very much. She has been through a lot lately and I really felt I could not take her money. That was her response. While I waiting in line at Trader Joe’s, I lost it. I think the lady checking my groceries out though I was in insane. Oh well. I’m blessed, so so blessed. I love you guys.

People keep asking me how I am doing. Well. I’m tired. But that’s ok. :) Happy tired. Brandon is gone for over a week. My sister in law and mom in law came to help. They are amazing. They brought me dinner and fresh 8 mile Rd strawberries on Wednesday night

…and then today took the kids to the park.

Tonight Bryony cleaned the kitchen for me and my mom in law is sewing for me. I love them so much and I feel beyond lucky to know they care about us all.

We are SQUASHED in the studio with boxes and boxes and bins and bins of sold items. But don’t worry, we lots and lots of room for more. :)

I had said that we would be shipping in 3-5 business days, but we are still waiting for the 50% off coupons for the manufactred goods that you all will receive with your order to arrive, so the likely shipment date will be Thursday…. AT THE EARLIEST. Please be patient with us. We will go as fast as well can, but even with 3 people working all together, this is more hoodies than we have ever shipped out in a week, so it should prove to be interesting.  If you have any questions regarding your order, please contact me, I’m doing my best to keep up…trying to at least. :)

Thank you again everyone. Tomorrow I am going to try to post about something else besides saving Evy’s Tree. Thank you so much for your patience. Oh, and many of you have left such very, very kind comments and sent me amazing emails. I am trying so hard to respond to them all. I have handful I haven’t gotten to yet, so hang in there with me.

Hopefully this all makes sense…kinda starting to doze off. ha. love you all!! xoxo

PS…if you follow me on Instagram {evystree} you already saw these pictures, sorry!!

*GULP*

In case you don’t follow me on Instagram {evystree}, I posted this tonight:

Just thought you might want to know how we are doing after such an amazing {miraculous, really} day. This is NOT how much money we made {thankfullly! ha} it’s how many more hoodies we have to sell to reach our goal.

We serve a God of miracles. I am excited to see Him work. Thanks friends. For everything. I am eternally grateful! xoxo

The Future of Evy’s Tree

Dear Friends,

I have been writing and rewriting this blog post in my mind over the last couple days. I want to make sure I word everything correctly and in the proper content. If you have been reading this blog over the last couple years, you know that I thrive on honesty. I am a terrible liar. I just can’t do it. The truth will always come out, always. So with that thought in mind, I felt it was best to be 100% honest with you, my dear friends and customers, instead of try to give you a blanket picture of the fate of Evy’s Tree.

Let me rewind a couple years back. Remember when I first opened? Many of you probably do. It was CRAZY. Wow, how did that happen? I really cannot give you the hows and whys of Evy’s Tree existence, but I can point to HIM and tell you it was a GOD THING. Totally. It took me a couple months to really realize it, but once I did, I ran with it. And put my whole heart into it. And told the Lord if He ever, EVER, wanted Evy’s Tree back, He could have it. This business was given to me by Him, and it is His. Always and forever.

Fast forward a year and a half later from point of opening…I found myself in the middle of career shift for my husband and big city relocation. Life was SO VERY hectic for me last summer and fall. Crazy hectic. As is true to form for Summer Evy’s Tree, I saw sales decline in June, July and August, but it wasn’t anything significant and since I only had one year previously to compare it to {which was also slow in the summer}, I felt that we were doing just fine. My fall line came out and things seemed back to normal…for a month.

Then one morning, while we were in the middle of packing up our home in Stockton, I did what I did every morning…I logged onto Facebook to put up my morning status update. I posted it then went over to the home page to look for it. IT WASN’T THERE. My status was gone! WHAT?!? I went back in and erased it then posted it again. After doing this a couple times, it finally popped up in my news feed…but nobody was commenting on it, unlike my regular status updates, the ones I posted that day got nearly zero comments and barely any likes.

WHAT WAS GOING ON?!?

I remember putting a cry for help out there…did anyone see my update?? I had a few people kindly say “I see you!” but only a few. After checking with some friends, I realized FB had changed their interfacing up and no longer were we getting all the updates from pages that we subscribed to, but facebook decided for us which ones we frequented the most and put those updates in our feed. And even the updates they chose were few and far between.

I have to admit that at the time I was too stressed and too overwhelmed with my move to really focus on it. Sales continued to decline and I continued to be frustrated with it, but I sincerely didn’t connect the dots between FB and the lack of sales. I blamed myself. My move. My lack of help. {And all of those added to it, I’m sure}. But a couple weeks ago I sat down and did some analytics. I tried to really draw some lines between all the declining sales, my involvement and etc. After taking some time of studying, I finally came to the conclusion that only 20% max of my FB “likers” were actually seeing my posts when I posted them. Which means that aproximately 1,700 people out of my 8,300 + likers are actively involved in my daily business. AhHa! That’s where my lack of sales was coming from. There were some other reasons, but that was the main reason. After checking with customers, I realized that some of the people who loved Evy’s Tree weren’t even seeing what was going on, thanks to not understanding the new FB timeline. And because they weren’t getting my posts, they didn’t realize they had to “subscribe” to my feed in order to get my recent posts. So they were out of the loop, unfortunately.

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely thankful for FB and where it got me. I was able to build a thriving business off of FB for free! Amazing! Although my blog did bring in a good amount of traffic, oftentimes the traffic came from FB {ie I post a link to my blog and likers click on the link going to my blog}, many people depended on FB telling them when I posted a blog, instead of subscribing to the blog itself. So my hit was a double whammy there.

So why do I bother to tell you all this?

Well, I’m going to be honest, the hit to my business isn’t THAT detrimental, and I could still survive. I have scaled down quite a bit and cut corners where I need to do so. If we keep going at the rate that we are going right now, I will have to let my seamstresses go and start doing all the sewing myself. That means I go back to the late nights of staying up until 2, 3, or sometimes 4 in the morning to finish orders. I would continue to grow my blog and facebook followers and hope that more people start seeing my posts by liking them and subscribing to my blog. My ability to offer new items would dwindle to every now and then, and my business would revert to what it was in the beginning, a one man show. I am not opposed to this. I’m really not.

However, I have to be honest. I don’t really LOVE sewing. In fact, I don’t really love it at all. I like it, and I enjoy the fact that I know how to do it, but I don’t love it. If we are speaking of quality of life and love for your job, me sewing would not put me in the category of “happy”. It would put me in the “frustrated” category. ha. That is why the first person I hired in the beginning was a seamstress. So I really, really do not want to work that way. I would rather go back to the classroom and teach before I put myself in that position.

So here’s the truth: I will close Evy’s Tree before I get to that point. It’s just not worth it for me, or my family.

So now that I told you all that, let me fill you in another important piece of the Evy’s Tree puzzle.

Last spring I started the hunt to find a good manufacturer that could create quality Evy’s Tree items in mass with a better profit margin. I won’t bore you with the details, but we do NOT have a good profit margin. I have never been able to wholesale thanks to the lack of margin I have. And I was unwilling to raise my prices, so I was stuck, meaning I couldn’t grow like I would like.

The goal for Evy’s Tree has always been two fold: Have a manufactured line that I could wholesale to brick and mortar stores {can we say Nordstrom and Anthro anyone?! :)} and maintain a small unique handmade line that specialized one of a kind or nearly one of a kind items.

If you are familiar with manufacturing, you know you have to order a lot at one time. A LOT. Like several thousand pieces. Multiply that by the cost of each item and I think you’ll see that I need quite a bit of money to manufacture. My plans for this year was to save like crazy for the manufacturing down payment, and then place an order this summer for this fall. I found a WONDERFUL manufacturing company that I think you will all love {more info on them to come}, and I was so excited. However, with the drop in sales, I have just not been able to save like I would like at all. In fact, during the past 8 months, I have finished each month in red, instead of the black, despite my desperate struggle to scale back and cut corners.

I have considered taking out a large loan to fund my endeavors. In fact, that was the plan. But the more I thought about it the less positive I felt about it. With sales declining so much, did I want to put my family in jeopardy financially? We are already spread SO VERY thin…with two homes to pay mortgages on {even though we have a renter in one} and both Brandon and I living with unstable incomes. The more I mulled it over in my mind, the more I felt I was not to go that route. Which left me at the crossroads of should I stay open or should I close?

Two Mondays ago I realized I needed an answer, and I needed it quickly. I spent most of the day walking around my home praying. Asking for wisdom. It so happened that evening we had a special church service followed by a beautiful time of quiet prayer and reflection. I sat there, in between the pews, with a tithe envelope and a pen, and I started scribbling numbers down. Miracuously I came up with a plan. And here’s where I need your help.

I have all the money I need for manufacturing sitting on my shelves. If I sold everything I have, I would have enough for my down payment. But I would have to sell pretty much everything. All the raw and finished goods. EVERYTHING. I have nearly 1500 pieces sitting on my shelves. And that’s how much I would have to sell. And I would have to sell it by the time I needed my down payment for the manufacturing, which is ASAP.

Big giant *GULP* and *YIKES*. That’s a lot of pieces. In a very short amount of time. That is the amount I sold in my first year alone. I’m going to say it again, THAT’S A LOT OF HOODIES. 

I sat down and tried to come up with some ways to unload that many items. I thought about doing weekly trunk shows across the nation, but the details seemed to complicated. I thought about different angles to sell them to you at, but that also seemed too involved. I finally decided to use honesty, and here I am. With only a couple days of thought, I decided to shut down the shop last week and focus on the details of the plan.

So here’s the deal…I am going to sell everything I have, starting this week. And I have 30 days to do it. I figure, if I need to sell 1500 pieces, and my FB analytics are right, that means I have 1700 + likers who are actively viewing my content. That combined with my blog traffic and I can say for a fact that the buyers are out there, they just have to act. So it’s not impossible, just nearly impossible {haha}, which is what I would call a miracle. :)

If I cannot raise the money, I have decided that closing Evy’s Tree might be the only option left. Although I have not let my mind go there just yet, and I so desperately hope that is not what I have to do, I do realize that it may be in the cards for me. And I’m ok with that. I understand that this is God’s business and if it’s in His will for it to continue that would be GREAT, if not, then it will still be ok. I find something else to do that I love just as much.

So what do I need from you all? Well, can you help me Save Evy’s Tree?

I need to sell 1500 pieces in 30 days. I will reopen the shop this week and when I reopen there will be two categories: Preorder and Limited and both categories will sell at cheaper retail than what they were listed at previously. I will give you more information regarding how this will work and the exact date of reopening tomorrow, but what I need from you is this: could you commit to buying just ONE hoodie in the next 30 days?

What’s in it for you? A couple things. First, you will have the assurance that Evy’s Tree will be around for quite a while, but that’s the obvious. Let me give you one more bit of information…after July, I may not continue with the handmade portion of Evy’s Tree. With the way sales have been going, continuing with handmade may not be an option for me. I might have to focus mainly on wholesale. I would still keep my shop open and give you an opportunity to purchase one of my manufactured goods, but not handmade. Remember, my goal is to do both, but if there no market for one, then I will have to resort to selling the other only. So this may be your last chance to purchase Evy’s Tree handmade, which in turn shows me if there is a market for the handmade goods.

But lastly, and probably the most exciting, every purchase made during these 30 days will receive a discount code for 50% off our manufactured goods when they arrive this fall. A little way of saying thanks for being the force behind them even existing. And trust me, you are going to want one. They are going to be AMAZING. :)

I also really need for you to spread the word. Many of you have big blogs, twitter accounts or FB pages. Do you think you could share Evy’s Tree plight with your friends? Let them know that those great hoodies they all love and admire…well, this might be the last chance for them to get one. Especially a handmade one.

So what do you think friends? Can you help me??? Can we save Evy’s Tree? I have to admit I am so nervous writing this. It’s not in my nature to ask for help. But here I am. I hope and pray that Evy’s Tree continues, and that you feel a burden and act on it. I hope.

Thank you for listening dear friends. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for every.single.one of you. You all are amazing. Did you know I pray for you? Well, I do. I pray that you will be blessed because you have blessed me so much. Thank you again.

I will be back tomorrow to give you more details regarding the sale. In the meantime, would you mind grabbing the “Save Evy’s Tree” button and putting it up on your blogs, your FB pages, your twitter? That would mean so much.

Much love to you all,

Amy

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Our Weekend With The Sheep

First, before I start, I just want to say a great big THANK YOU for all the loving and supportive comments and messages I have been receiving regarding the shop closing. I realize that I need to give you some more details, so I promise you, stop by the blog tomorrow afternoon and you’ll get them. I just needed a couple days to put everything into words. Again, I really, really appreciate all you have done and I hope and pray you will be willing to support Evy’s Tree in the weeks to come.

Now onto this:

I believe I mentioned to you all that a couple weeks ago, our HOA brought in a couple hundred lambs to graze our open spaces. It has been SO MUCH fun to watch and the kids have enjoyed it so very much. I love to open the windows and hear them baaaaing and whining. Too cute.

The lot behind our house is land owned by the HOA. It’s absolutely stunning and backs up to a state park, so It’s a beautiful space that houses herds of deer, wild turkey, foxes and loads of other animals. We weren’t sure if the lambs would ever make it to the back of our house, but on Friday morning we woke up and they were there!! The kids were SO excited!!! Evy ran out barefooted and in her Pj’s just to check them out.

We spent most the {VERY VERY HOT} day on Friday outside talking to and watching the lambs graze. My kids were so very thrilled to have them in their backyard. There are even baby ones….in fact, I’m pretty sure that today one of the lambs gave birth to twins, as there is a TINY TINY set that can barely walk there this afternoon. So precious!

Here’s a cute little one that was making us die laughing with it’s antics. It gave us a good show.

My sweaty, dirty little girl. She had SUCH a wonderful day!

On Friday night, we had some very special friends come and visit us. My dear friend Elisha and her girls drove up to spend the eve with us. Her girls are so darling and were also excited about the lambs. Please excuse my messy two. Umm…they had quite a “farm” like day, so what can I say? :)

On Saturday, we let the kids give the lambs some carrots {shhh, don’t tell our HOA} and they got instant friends. Anytime the kids came near the fence the lambs would run on over.

I let them eat outside to watch the lambs. They loved it.

And then tonight, Emma Love came over and the kids played with the sheep some more. All of a sudden I heard a massive amount of bleeting and baaing, so I ran outside to find Jake and Emma tossing full branches full of leaves over the fence at the lambs. I think they attracted the entire herd! ha.

They were so proud, my little lamb whisperers. ha.

and the herd. wow.

We have had so much fun. I think they will be moved to the next field tomorrow, as there is hardly any grass left. :( We will miss them. Can’t wait until next year!!

Oh, and I have to show the best photobombing EVER.

Seriously. She just jumped in and started posing away. The pulling up the shorts is KILLER.  Unbelievable. Where in the world did she learn THAT?!?!? Yikes! ha.

One normal one.

I love this girl. And the two twinsies. I love them too. :)  See you all tomorrow! xoxo