My First Business Journal Flip Through (From 15 Years Ago)
For today's video. I thought it would be fun to do a different kind of video I'm going to flip through and talk about my very first journal from 15 years ago. That's right. This is from when I just started my business at the very beginning. And I have never shared this with anyone. I'm so glad I kept this journal because it would be interesting to see where my head was at at the time.
And I'm sure I've got some stories to share along the way, by the way, if you are new to me or my channel, my name is Mei Pak and I help makers, artists and designers make a living from selling their handmade products online. So let's head on over to my desk and take a look. All right, here we are.
This is my very first journal and it turns out it's a business journal, cause I didn't write any other kinds of journals. But when I was growing up, I loved Emily the strange. And when I saw this journal at a store, I knew I had to buy it. When I was growing up, I actually was really into alternative culture. I was really curious about Wicca and I read a lot of books about fictional books, about magic. And that was very interesting to me.
So let's dive in. Okay. So this is the first page and there's really nothing inside any of these pockets, Emily, the strange, and this is the only thing I could find in these little pockets. And this is a business card too, at the time, the one and only craft store near me, where I lived that sold polymer clay. And when I found this at the mall, I was so excited because I couldn't find anywhere else that sold it.
And I remember it was pretty pricey for a kid, especially to buy a two ounce block of polymer clay for, I think it was around 10 to 12 ringgit Malaysia, which is our currency, which ends up being about 3.8 times more than American currency. So for easy math, you can take 12 ringgit divided by four.
That ends up being about $3 us dollars for a block of clay. So it's comparable, but at the time that was a lot of money even I think for American dollars. So definitely polymer clay was a premium. All right, so let's go through the first few pages here. There's really not a whole lot of these pages that were filled in surprisingly, but Hey, here's the calendar to prove to you when this was 2006 in 2007 for the next year, I can't believe how tiny this calendar is, this diary. So I see that the first page here I've written down postage rates because it was not easy at the time to find out what that was in Malaysia.
There wasn't like an easy website that we could go to. And, um, it looks like here, I actually had to call or actually visit the post office to get these rates. So registered air mail. It would take 14 days to arrive to America from Malaysia. And it would cost me three ringgit and 90 cents, which is about one us dollar. And then for every additional grant 10 grams, it would be like, you know, that much more, nothing super interesting, but nowadays we can just get these postage rates online, super easy.
So I actually want to share with you some of the pages in the back here that I added into this binder, because it turns out those were actually notes that I took for my business before I actually started filling this diary in. So chronologically, it kind of starts with this one. So really a lot of this diary I am surprised to see is really just me documenting my process, my designs, how I would make my products, what sizes they would be in and then pricing out all of my expenses.
And then you'll see here, I have kind of some pricing analysis. I am so nerdy. So when I was a kid, I wasn't the greatest in school. Like I didn't really get very good grades. It was really hard for me to memorize things. I was a terrible student,
but I always did my homework, but the best subject for me was math. So I think that is very clear seeing this journal, like I swear it has more numbers than it has actual English words in here. And I find that very interesting. I do have other notebooks and journals where I'm documenting more things like my logo, my web design packaging and things like that. But this one appears to be mostly for my product designs.
So here is the very first product I made. And if you are familiar with my past, with how I started tiny hands jewelry, I actually got my start with making hand bound journals and selling those. And then it started branching out into other types of jewelry. There are a few things in my life that I'm super obsessed over. And one of those things are notebooks and journals and diaries. I love collecting them. I love shopping for them.
I love looking at them and I don't usually use them in what I think is the correct way to using it. Clearly you'll see here in a minute, but I took it upon myself to learn how to do it. And I got a really great book that taught me how, and I don't even know if I really got the right materials for a lot of these products. And as I walk you through them,
I'll share with you pictures of the actual product, because I do have them actually in my deviant art account, which is where I posted. It was like an it's an online portfolio where you can post creative projects that you've made. And that was my outlet for sharing with the world. So this was my very first journal that I made. And you can see how I labeled them zero, zero one. And then we have another journal here, zero, zero to nothing super complicated.
And I would draw these out kind of like what I had in my mind, ribbons. I would use fabric, what type of fabric? Um, if I would adorn the book with beads or any other accessories to just make it look a little bit more interesting, the size for all of this, how many pages? I think the thing that interests me most about looking through this journal is the, just where my head was at. Like it clearly, clearly it seems like pricing was a big part of what I thought was important.
So I have a list here of all the different expenses to make this particular journal. And it's not bad. I mean, six ringette and 39 cents is pretty affordable. But as you can see here, I did not account for my time to make this journal. So if I were to go back in time and tell myself, send myself a message, I would be like me, don't forget to put in your labor and the pricing for me.
What I use now also includes profit in here. But I actually include that in this section. So this is where I'm kind of thinking out loud, the different pricing strategies.
It's really me simulating different price points based on whether or not the buyer pays for shipping or if we're splitting it down the middle and we're sharing the cost. So for example, scenario one, I'm paying for shipping 100%. And I guess the reason I thought at the time to do that was because, Hey, I live in Malaysia, I'm trying to sell these to American people, but shipping is so expensive. So I want it to see how I could make it, you know, not as crazy. And you'll see here, I actually have some comments.
I I'm like talking to myself about which strategy to use. And I think, I think if I remember correctly, I did this because otherwise I might forget what my thoughts were. So in a way it was like a journal, but it's more like a pricing journal more than anything, which is so nerdy. But, uh, scenario two here is where the buyer pays for 50%, the shipping and the seller pays for 50%. And then I would charge 13 us dollars scenario one, I would charge 11 us dollars. These would be my profits in my Malaysian currency.
And then scenario number three would be if the buyer pays for a hundred percent of shipping where it would end up being 15 us dollars, and this would be how much I would earn. And I have this, like, I am even getting pretty creative here where I'm like, okay, how about you try scenario number two, but instead of 50 50 split, how about a 70% buyer pays for shipping? And then I pay for 30%. So let's read this over here real quick. I think plan number two is best because 13 us dollars doesn't sound too expensive for a homemade journal nor too cheap. It is fair that both the buyer and seller pays for the shipping costs, compare it to plan one where the seller me has to pay a hundred percent of the shipping costs.
I lose almost half of the benefits I would gain with plan two. Plan three is the most rewarding for me, but the most expensive. So buyers might be put off by the price. Oh, this is another note I would give myself. I mean, these hand-blown journals that I made, it took hours and hours to do.
I loved making them, but they also turned out really cute. And honestly, I think like $15 for a handmade journal. I don't think people in America would hesitate to pay that. So if I were to go back in time and tell, might send myself a message again, I would tell myself, just go with 15 us dollars. Like the difference between 15 and 13 us dollars is so you can't even tell the difference, just go with that. But you know, I was a kid,
I didn't know anything. So basically the rest of the journal is, Oh gosh. And look at that. So this was kind of these three P two pages were basically like my notes for this one product. And I dated it 14th, December, 2005. Ah, I told you guys. I've been in, I've been doing this for a long time and here we actually have my plans for packaging, how I'm going to put this in a, I don't know, package.
So I ended up using like a plastic sleeve and with like a hang tag at the top, and then I stapled it and I think I definitely printed this in, in our, in my home printer. And I probably designed that myself. I con trademark I'm like, what? Here I am thinking, here's another word that says icon trademark. I don't remember what this is. Clearly. I didn't know anything about intellectual property and what, how trademarks work. Cause I, yeah,
maybe I'm talking about a logo here. I don't remember. But then the, the journal would go in inside the plastic sleeve and that would be how I would ship it. So here's another product, here's another journal and kind of the designs for them. I think this was maybe like, I don't know if I was thinking of doing a hint, like a sticker or, or handwritten note. I don't really,
we have the best handwriting. So I think I probably wasn't thinking of doing handwritten notes. So the same thing in ha here we have product descriptions. I think. So this is referencing that very first journal that I showed you. Beautiful hand bound hardcover journal. Here's the dimensions, the weight 60 high-quality paper pages, excluding cover covers fabric on cardboard ribbons, pasted on the sides with beads and sequence hand-stitched makes a perfect gift or a little notebook for your own personal use, not the best product discussion, but Hey, I've always struggled with words and I mean for like 15, 16 year old girl, I think that's not bad at all.
Not that I'm any better today. So I hire out all of my product descriptions, cause I'm so terrible at writing them. And here are just more designed. So that stops it. Journal number four. And then if we go back here to the front, I'll see that I actually ended up making quite a few journals for people. This was for Angela number seven, then same lady bought another notebook from me. She bought two. So, Oh, and then here is in documentation in writing my very first piece of jewelry that I made in sold.
So these were ice cream earrings that I made out of seed beads and wire. So this was kind of, um, if I remember correctly, it was a Japanese technique that I really loved it. It's kind of like I'm crocheting or no, it's like bead weaving in a way. I don't know what it's called now,
but it was super hot and trendy back in the day and super fun and easy to make. And look at me. I actually made a pattern for myself to make this design. Like obviously at the time, I didn't know this was called a pattern, but each block represented the beats I would use and I would just string the beats in and then weave them together to make this ice cream cone. And this is,
this piece of paper is taken out of my, um, high school math book. It brings back some memories. I can't believe how well it held up here is a, another journal. Ooh, here is, um, kind of an actual to do list here.
The fun things I'm going to do after SPM. So SPM is the exam that when you're just about to finish high school and right before you enter college, that's the exam you take. I believe it would be similar to Americans SATs. Um, so that would be like the big, big exam we're all studying for. And of course, after you take this super huge exam, there's a lot of celebratory things here. Find part-time job. Um, make some clay jewelry, clean room, fine prom dress, celebrate birthday, go to prom, mom, get driving license. Wow.
What, what is life, business, life being a kid and then just more journals, more journals. And there's really nothing in here. I guess I didn't really use this a whole lot. I wonder where else I would have written my notes, but I think it was really all in here. My other journals and notebooks later in the years of my business were much more interesting than this. I'm kind of boring. Actually, this is more like a pricing book than, than anything in another journal here. Oh, and you can tell from the little drawing here that this is a notebook where the, the side of it, the spine of the book was, um, exposed.
So you can actually see the thread from binding the sewing, the pages together, uh, ha and here is my very first foray into making polymer clay jewelry. So this is a carrot in case you can't tell, I don't know if I've said this out loud before, but I am a terrible drawer and this is proof that I am terrible at drawing. I'm sure I can get better if I practice, but carrot shape pendant price.
Oh gosh. I was going to sell this for three us dollars each. And I think that was a fair price because it really didn't look great. And here's another charm that I made was a little flower and here's was the price for it and here, Oh gosh. So this was the very,
very first piece of polymer clay jewelry that I made that I was actually proud of was a little strawberry. I put some black seed beads in it for the seeds. Um, and it was just super cute, a lot cuter than the flower and the carrot anyway. And the watermelon that one was okay. I think it turned out well, but another journal here I actually have in here. Oh wow. See, I told you I was a nerd. Um, this is,
this is my single page of bookkeeping because in school we learned in accounting class, how to do bookkeeping. This is the debit column. This is the credit column. And here's me listing out all of my expenses on the right hand column. And then all of the sales that I made look at that. So I sold the third hand bound journal that I ever made on January 1st, 2006 for 30 ringgit. That's less than $10. Wow. And then this one here, I see zero, zero two was I believe the ice cream beaded earrings and S T zero zero one is my strawberry charms. So I sold this.
I actually sold them. And it's so funny because this is something that I continue to do today. Um, the naming conventions for my products in terms of like the skew, all my necklaces, I would name the neck one zero one, neck one, zero two, and so on. So that kind of stuck with me
And then none of these pages are used. And then we come over here to see that I had the common sense to document my color recipes. That is so interesting. How did I, how did I know to do that? You know, um, cause back in the day there were no YouTube videos. There were no forums or message boards or Facebook groups where people could share knowledge and information with each other. So I think it was just that,
Oh, I think if I remember correctly, so when I went to this craft store to buy some clay, I was actually very surprised to see that, you know, the color options were not very diverse. So I had to mix some of these colors together to get the color that I wanted for some of my charms. And I had the sense to say, okay, for making the carrot orange, you use three parts of just orange Sculpey and one part of yellow. I'm so proud of myself. Look at that. You know, I say, I wasn't, wasn't a very smart girl and like book-smart, but I think I had some common sense. Right.
And, um. That's really it. And I didn't use some of these, um, the address book to keep information of some of my customers. Obviously I'm not going to show you that because it has sensitive information, but that's it. That is, that is it. This is so interesting. Oh, and this last bit here, I don't know what this one is.
I think this is just an extension of this page, but Oh. And I think I get it now, these pages are all hand cut from like printing paper. That's what these extra pages are. I didn't have a journal.
I just wrote my ideas down on printing paper and then I cut it up and I put it through this binder. Wow. Look at the pages. It's just it's age. This is a receipt. It seems like the only receipt that I kept her got. So this is a fabric store where I used to live. Um, it's not even really a receipt. Where's the information on here.
And there's like nothing on it. Huh? Oh, it's there. It's just so washed out. You can barely see it. So I think I bought some fabric here and it was 12 ringgit in 90 cents per meter. That was probably how we did it. Wow. Crazy. And then more designs. I actually remember this one design here. It was a black set in fabric, little tiny book, like the size of this one and I glued on cute little sequins on there. Wow. Well there you have it.
My very first business journal.