Turtle Papers

July 31, 2007

I think it’s important for creative types, especially those who work on their own as independent artists, to continue pushing the envelope and design from the heart, let go of fears, not design based solely on what will sell or according to what trend setters forecast to be the next big thing, but show your true colors and what you stand for in your work. Isn’t that what indie artists set out to do in the first place, rebel a little and have ultimate creative freedom?

Turtle Papers
And while I’m completely open to trends and enjoy shopping for something trendy now and then, I set a rule for myself as a consumer that I’ll only buy something that’s a so-called trend if I truly like it. No peer pressure, in other words. For example, I’m not about to hop on the skull-as-a-motif bandwagon simply because it’s a trend. I don’t like skulls and no matter how hard I’m being told that I should, I don’t and that’s the end of it. I’m also not a fan of chintz. Call it my southern upbringing, but I think being around it for years has left me a bit uninspired by it. (Sorry, Domino.)

As consumers, we have the choice to shop for what we like. As indie designers, you have the right to explore the possibilities and dive into whatever it is that you’re passionate about. Jump!

This is precisely why I like Turtle Papers. This lady designs what she likes, using motifs she enjoys, and sure cupcakes are a bit trendy, but it’s okay to incorporate a popular motif into a collection if you truly like it and you’re taking a popular motif and giving it your own spin. But if everything you create is based on a trend or what the market is telling you will generate the most money, then designers may find themselves losing their joy and passion over time. Isn’t that why some leave corporate in the first place, because they are tired of designing what their company tells them to, according to their standards? Some of the most successful small business owners are those that go into something because that is what they wanted to do and they are designing products that reflect parts of themselves. As a result, they may not always generate huge profits, but they are happy and happiness is priceless, right?

At the end of the day, being happy and authentic, being yourself, is more important to me than anything else. So if you are considering opening a store selling your wares, go with your gut and push the envelope. Design products that you are passionate about. Put the independent back into independent design.

(images from turtle papers)


  • Reply hammocksandhightea July 31, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    thank you so much for saying this Holly. As I’m working on new styles and expanding products for my Fall line, I find myself in this very fight. It’s a tough position to be in to be true to your vision and still want to fit on the shelves of great stores. I’ve literally been fighting with myself for weeks at my drawing table, but at the end of the day I decided that I prefer to grow slowly and have people come to appreciate my brand rather than follow trends and have no vision.
    Thanks again…I needed very much to hear this!

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente July 31, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    From: Melissa de la Fuente
    Date: July 31, 2007 1:54:50 PM EDT
    Subject: Appreciation

    Hi Holly,
    I just wanted to say how much your latest post meant to me, as someone who is trying to do all of those things(open my own shop and design a jewelry line) and feeling topsy turvy about it sometimes! I am a loyal fan of your blog and inspired by it daily. Thank you for your words of wisdom(which I wholeheartedly agree with)and thank you for all your hard work.
    xo Melissa

  • Reply Ele July 31, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    I think the “cupcake” in question is actually a pie, so you could argue she isn’t following the trend at all. I followed the link to her Etsy shop and all the slogans match the art, hence “hi sweatiepie” goes with pie, like “hi sweatpea” goes with peas in a pod.

    But you make a very good point!

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente July 31, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    In support I would like to say to hammocksandhightea that I think your work is absolutely lovely and plan to get my next set of notecards from your shop…keep up the beautiful work and know that you are indeed appreciated.

  • Reply decor8 July 31, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Thank you Melissa for posting your email here too, that was really nice of you!!

    Hammocks and High Tea – I am glad that this post made sense to some of you readers out there. I have to say what I think and if it helps someone else feel validated, then all the better. :)

    Hi Ele – That is so cute, it looked like a cupcake at first glance.

  • Reply Jennifer July 31, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Holly,

    What you wrote really meant a lot to me. Is great to know that we, who not always follow the trend or “what’s hot”are still appreciated. Thank you for the beautiful write up.

    And best of luck to all of you who are trying their hardest to break into this fierce industry of design.


  • Reply jennifer July 31, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Holly, thank you so much for writing such a heart-felt piece about my work and expressing how we really feel about inde-designers. I absolutely love it and cannot agree with you more.


    p.s. sorry about the confusion, but it is a pie. :)

  • Reply Anonymous August 1, 2007 at 12:01 am

    “Immersed” not “emerged” in chintz. You can emmerge out of or from your Southern, chintzy, upbringing, but you can never be emmerged in something.

  • Reply decor8 August 1, 2007 at 12:17 am

    I am overwhelmed by the nice emails and the comments left here today on this topic. Thank you so much for taking the time to either comment or send an email.

    Thank you anon for the correction. I think I need to hire an editor sometimes. I type so quickly and rarely have time to read through my posts so I do make mistakes from time to time. I really appreciate the correction though. Need a job?!
    As hard as I try to be perfect, I just can’t do it.

  • Reply gigi August 1, 2007 at 4:42 am

    an intriguing post. i really enjoy your blog because you have a strong point of view. and i concur.

    no one should ever underestimate the impact the comes through the work (whatever work it may be) when you are passionate about it. end users recognize and appreciate authenticity and enthusiasm, and i think come to appreciate the art or design even more, knowing how very personal the stories behind them are.

  • Reply gigi August 1, 2007 at 4:44 am

    and by the way, this stationery is fabulous! :)

    and sorry if i sent this multiple times!

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