Friday, January 9, 2015

Year End Fun with Charts

While I get to look at this data all the time, I thought some of you might want a peek at it.  It helps me appreciate the amount of orders, traffic, and time that NightBlooming demands.  It also makes me happy to see it grow.

Yearly Item Charts

These charts show the percentages of the types of items I sell.  The early ones aren't very accurate because I was new to this sort of recordkeeping (who am I kidding, it was solo sticks, pairs of sticks and "everything else.")  When I got to about 2010 my best friend started doing my books (she's paid in a blend of time and whatever she wants from the store) because she's some sort of wizard in Excel and I'm likely to poke my eye out with my own dunce cap.  I'm good at a lot, but data entry and numbers in tiny cells are not part of those things. 

NightBlooming started out stocked mostly just with hair sticks and other types of jewelry.  In 2008 Panacea's Hair Salve and Triple Moon Oil were introduced. 

 Ostara's Salve (then Vegan/Summer Salve) and Freya's (then Winter Salve) came along in 2010.  For awhile there, most of what I sold was hair sticks, and then salves edged them out to be my most commonly purchased item.

And then the hair colors happened.

We've offered Faerie Dust as far back as 2008, it was actually one of our first products.  Faerie Dust is a blend of the non-henna/cassia herbs used in most our hair colors, and I offered it for sale with the idea that people who mixed their own henna might just want the additional herbs.  It didn't really take off, but did well enough that I kept it around.  Along those same lines, I've offered custom blended hair colors as far back as 2009.  

Devas and Rusalki were the first totally stand alone pre-blended herbal hair colors I offered (starting in 2009).  I didn't work up the guts to offer Genasi (2012), Kitsune (2012), or Enyo (2014) for a long time because I was afraid of someone not reading and using henna, then finding out it didn't come out, and accuse me of ruining their hair.  So far *knock on wood* that hasn't happened.

What really set the hair colors on fire, though, was changing the leading images from packets of herbs to what you see today.  The sample colors and color charts on the first slide are really what  both got people's attention, and gave them more confidence to try.  And that's why, in 2014, herbal hair colors finally unseated hair salves as my most sold product. 

But by that same token, as other orders increased, the amount of time I've had for making other things dropped. Sticks had suffered the worst, taking an additional blow in 2014 as our Ficcare mods became much more in demand. 


You can see some of this same data reflected in this listing of the top 10 favorited items in the shop for 2014. 

Only one hair toy made the list (the TARDIS stick), the Salve Trinity Sampler barely hung on, and our Moondust Dry Shampoo managed to make a nice showing. The remaining 7 of the top 10 favorited items were all hair colors.

Where are these orders coming from?

This first map shows orders. While the majority of my orders are domestic, we do a LOT of international business, with Germany beating out everyone else by a substantial margin.  The second map shows views (both general site and item-specific combined), and it's awesome to see so many people finding their way to NightBlooming from every corner of the world!

Here's one more way to look at our orders, by month:
I was doing pretty good, keeping up with all the herbal stuff and sticks and Ficcares and salve and custom orders, and blogging and new packaging and and and... I kind of burned out :(

So while I did more orders than ever this year, I couldn't keep up the pace.  I'll try a little harder next year; if I could have kept up the pace I had at the first half the year, I could have closed out even better than I did.

What's coming in 2015?

I've got a pretty aggressive wish list of things I'd like to do in the coming year.  Firstly, I'd like to finish the Henna & Herbal Hair Coloring E-Book I've been working on for a good while now.  It's, I'm proud to say, the most comprehensive thing on herbal hair coloring I've ever seen.  It covers everything from sedr to senna to henna, essential oils, additives, and a million how-tos from mixing, to strand testing, to application.  It'll have amazing things like a pictoral how-to showing how to tell pure henna and herbal colors apart from chemical-laced henna compounds. It will show new henna users what dye release looks like and give them a step-by-step guide on application, rinsing, and after care. Right now it's about 52 pages and has well over 100 color images, the vast majority of them shot in my own little light studio to show exactly what I want.  Here's a few sample pages to give you an idea of what you can expect:

I imagine it'll be 20 or so pages longer by the end, with even MORE images. This one is my big priority and I'm itching to wrap it up and publish it. 

With the addition of bees to NightBlooming we've got fresh, clean, amazing beeswax on hand now.  We're planning on launching lip balm and also a Panacea's Salve-Scented solid perfume.

After that?  I'd love to launch brown hair colors.  I currently do them on a custom order only basis, but having them stocked as a general set of colors like Genasi and the others would be great.  It's also a massive undertaking, and if I was worried about people thinking henna ruined their hair, I'm terrified of what they'll say about indigo.  Doing them on a per-order basis helps me manage their expectations and limitations of the colors.

I also have dreams of a Frequent Customer Rewards program, but have yet to find a way that I can do it without crippling amounts of bokeeping on the back end :(

So that's where we're at!  I'd love to hear what you're looking forward most from NightBlooming in 2015!


  1. I'm definitely excited for beeswax solid perfumes. As an interested customer, I was just posting on the LHC how addicted I am to the Ostara scent (and it was notably popular from your survey too!). Happy New Year and heres to another wonderful shop year, and good luck on all your personal+shop goals!

  2. Oh wow, yes please to the solid perfumes! Beautiful, clever bees. : )