2017 Year in Review

Shop YardiaBrigida Swanson
2017 Year in Review Yardia

2017 brought a whole lot of growth, learning and magic for Yardia. As the year winds downs, I'm reflecting on my progress so that I can continue to learn and grow in 2018.

I started the year with two guiding words: warrior and rest. I usually name each year, and in 2017, the word that was calling to me, warrior, felt so big and scary that I combined it with a little rest. It really was a warrior year, though, with a catch up on rest at the end.

Here's a recap of Yardia's year:

In January, I launched the Cascadia collection, featuring the state symbols of Washington and Oregon. Along with art prints and greeting cards, I introduced my first two wrapping paper designs.

In February, in a fit of nighttime inspiration, I stayed up late and painted my Nevertheless, She Persisted design. I launched this print with a fundraiser and was able to donate over $600 to the ACLU and the Refugee Women's Alliance in a short amount of time.

In April, while attending a mid-way residency for my graduate program, Yardia's brand came into clear focus. I journaled about 25 reasons why I do what I do, narrowed in on the overlapping themes of my brand, began the process of developing a business pitch, and decided that the next step was to exhibit at my first trade show.

The summer was all about preparing for the Seattle Gift Show, where I launched my wholesale line and grew from two wholesale clients to being carried at twelve stores. I also launched two more Pacific Northwest-inspired collections of wildflowers and trees, including Yardia's popular evergreen wrapping paper.

Over the summer, I also had my Nevertheless, She Persisted illustration featured in the Women issue of Maker's Magazine, and my Yuletide Wishes card featured in Gift Shop Magazine.

In August, in another fit of inspiration (this time coming in the morning, at least), I painted my total solar eclipse illustration, to celebrate the impending moment of natural wonder. To my surprise, this print, mug and ornament design became one of my immediate best-selling collections. Because the Seattle Gift Show took place during the eclipse, I think that a little magic was involved in the year as a whole.

November brought even more wholesale clients in three more states, and the careful, sometimes overwhelming harmony of growing my business and fulfilling holiday orders while working on my Master's thesis and holding down a full time job of teaching. The warrior in me came through, and the month was creative, exciting and energizing!

In December, Yardia had its best month and best holiday season ever. My evergreen wrapping paper was featured in the Seattle Times, I diligently fulfilled orders morning and night, I drove down to Oregon to participate in Portland's first holiday Renegade Craft Fair, and I defended my thesis and graduated from MICA! After it all, I celebrated by getting my first tattoo of lupine and indian paintbrush, and then finally rested, with lots and lots of sleep and naps in front of the fireplace.


2018 will bring more opportunities for growth, new changes and with any luck, more magic. I have a lot of big goals for Yardia in the new year, and I can't wait to get started. January will kick off with my second time at the Seattle Gift Show, and the launch of a new regional collection. To be the first to know about all of Yardia's new collections, events and other plans, join my newsletter. A special desktop calendar will be arriving in your inbox on January 1st!