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Inspiration, Small Business

Blogs & Etc.

April 30, 2008

I want to get a little something out in the open because a post that I wrote over at Real Simple hurt some of my fellow blogger friends and I feel the need to clear things up. To quote a blogger who wrote in recently, “But you have to know that publicly posting your top-ten list was hurtful to the dozens, hundreds, of other bloggers out there who are pouring their hearts and souls and untold hours into what they do. I’ve since heard from several of them who told me that they felt really hurt by that post, too.”

Here’s the post that hurt some of my friends.

Blogs & Etc.
By publicly posting the blogs that I read daily I was not trying to discredit other blogs that are out there. I do read other blogs on a weekly basis via my RSS feeds that were not mentioned. On a daily basis I’m clicking around on the various comments that are posted on decor8 to see where they are coming from which leads me to dozens of beautiful blogs spanning every imaginable topic. In fact, I bookmark many blogs and save them in a special file on my desktop and they each eventually become the Blog of the Week.

I know that all bloggers have an important voice and that everyone has something valuable to say because it’s you — your voice — and you are important to me and all of your loyal readers, too.

I’m sorry that my words hurt and made some bloggers feel excluded because perhaps your blog was not listed. I never meant to exclude anyone, I was just honestly revealing the blogs that I enjoy reading, at least this month. Ask me next month and who knows, I might be hot on Cute Overload again.

Want to know a funny story behind this? I wrote what I did in reaction to a decor8 post on the topic, Is there such a thing as too much inspiration? where 63 of you commented and many expressed how blog reading can be draining and that many are trying to cut back or stop reading blogs altogether. When I read that I thought that I needed to some how help. The mission behind my words was to show blog readers that they don’t have to stop reading them, but instead to try narrowing down the list if one is feeling overwhelmed. Read only the ones that ‘click’ with them and help them to see their way through the smog that can appear when one feels like they can no longer be creative due to over-exposure. I thought I was being encouraging when instead, I ended up helping blog readers and hurting blog writers.

So with that, please forgive me and know that I’m here to support everyone the best way that I can. But I also can’t write as though I’m walking on eggshells. I have to be authentic and honest, that’s what I think is sometimes missing in society today. People are afraid of hurting others so much that everything just comes out so fake and kiss kiss and never real or genuine. I have realized though that there is such a thing as ‘seasoning’ and I need to exhibit more tact and season my words a bit more than I do. I promise I will work on this because the feelings of my blogger friends are worth considering.

I know some will tell me that this post was completely unnecessary but I’m a small business and my heart is in this — if I said something that hurt or offended my blog friends, I need to step up and admit it and apologize. Thanks for giving me a moment to address this. :) Again, I am very sorry.

xo,
Holly

(card shown from turtle papers)






Inspiration, Reader Questions, Rooms, Small Business

Reader Q: Little Girl Gifts?

April 17, 2008

This is such a sweet little email, I asked Lisa if I could share it with all of you in hopes of hearing your feedback on finding the perfect gift for little Sally.

“Hi Holly, My almost nine year old is “passionate” (her word) about design, specifically interior design and architecture. I would love to come up with some gift ideas for her birthday that show her that I totally get her. I have found some architecture design type toys, but they haven’t been very well reviewed, so I am hoping for some more real life ideas. I have a crafting business, so she has access to lots of art supplies and a sewing machine already. Her birthday is in June, so I have a little time. Thanks so much.” -Lisa.

Reader Q: Little Girl Gifts? Basket of blueberries from La Pomme, $24.

I’m not a mom, but I was a kid once so here are my thoughts. Maybe you can enroll her in a summer workshop at a local art school where she can be creative and meet other kids. Or take a mother/daughter class. You could also host an at home creative workshop with her and her friends where all work on a project together, like a giant painting on a canvas or cloth.

Reader Q: Little Girl Gifts? Does she like dolls? I recently found a project in Cookie magazine showing how to make a flat pack doll house out of foam board and it looked super fun, budget-friendly, and easy. (Directions here.) You can customize the walls with your own little works or art or purchase wrapping paper or dollhouse wallpaper online. Maybe she can make her own Barbie Design Firm or something. You can add a mini inspiration board and little fabric swatches and such, some desks, you know have fun with it.

You could also ask her if she’d like to redecorate her bedroom with some DIY projects — a linen covered inspiration board, chalkboard paint on the door, a new corner for arts/crafts with storage, etc. Another idea is a day trip (or a girls weekend, depending on your budget) to a nearby city and go to museums and then stop for cupcakes somewhere. Find a photobooth and have your pictures made, that’s always fun. I used to do this with my mother all the time, she would stick out her tongue and also strike these funny model poses and I really liked seeing her silly side which photobooths seem to always inspire — giggles and smiles.

For gifts, try Mahar Drygoods. Also there’s a gift guide for children on etsy, maybe you could give her a little loot bag of assorted things that are handmade?

Anyone else have some creative ideas for Lisa?

(images linked above to sources)






Ramblings, Small Business

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do (part 2)

April 11, 2008

I’ve been dying to sit down all week to continue our discussion, “What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do“, about how to find your calling as a creative type. I’m so pleased to know that you’re following along because I’m confident that you’ll walk away inspired no matter where you stand on your current path. Thank you for making time to read this.

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do (part 2)
I’m a believer in the power of many voices, which is why I’ve gathered opinions from artists, designers, bloggers, and other creative types over the past week, voices I find motivating and genuine, people I respect and look to as good examples because let’s face it, good examples are not always as easy to find as bad ones. What To Do… offers ideas and tips on how to find your calling from people who applied their own advice and found success. I’m sure their personal experiences will be of value and perhaps one of their voices will connect with you on a personal level and if so, I encourage you to comment and get involved in the discussion because your comments are as important as the blog posts themselves.

Before we get started I’d like to make a few things clear…

This series isn’t about bashing corporate America or to say that working for others in general isn’t a good choice. Often you can find your calling within corporate America and be quite happy there. Just because someone left their job to work for themselves doesn’t make them better or more enlightened than the person who decided to stay in their job. Even when you are your own boss you work for others. A freelance writer has obligations to their editors. An artist to their vendors. A designer to their clients. And when it comes to corporate America let’s face it, if larger companies didn’t exist here in America then smaller ones couldn’t function the same because we’re all part of a larger wheel, one economics class will teach you all you need to know about that. The canvas you buy to paint was born in a factory. I’m willing to bet that your paints came from a large corporate supplier as well. Those brushes too. We ultimately rely on the large and the small as a society. It’s not depressing, it’s just how things work.

I don’t believe that everyone needs to leave their job to pursue their own business. In fact I think that the freelance bubble will eventually burst just as the dot com era ended. Many who currently leave good jobs to freelance will not find success for one reason or another. In time the market in their new field will become saturated because the current, “there’s enough for everyone” mentality will ultimately, and unfortunately, prove flawed. Look at how graphic designers and even writers and photographers are starting to struggle due to all the newcomers soaking up current and potential clients. Some markets can only take so much. I didn’t see this a year ago but it’s crystal clear to me now that I have a few years of freelancing under my belt. There is enough if you are pursuing something as a hobby though so if you find you can’t earn a living doing what you love it doesn’t mean to throw away your passion. Make time to pursue it alongside of your day job.

I’m not a therapist nor am I a career counselor. Neither are any of the friends that I’ve invited to join us with their thoughts. This series is simply meant to encourage you and get those wheels turning, nothing more.

What To Do…
is meant to encourage and support everyone, especially if you’re looking to find your calling. Only you can decide whether or not to turn your passion into profits or to pursue them as a hobby to balance and fulfill you. I don’t encourage anyone to tell the boss to stick it and run off with passion to join the circus or be the next big thing in the design world. That choice can only be made by you. Just promise me that you won’t become a bearded lady or a clown because I’ve always been quite afraid of both. :)

It’s smart to explore all the options before taking the leap and to hear how others found success doing what they love for a living. It’s a delicate balance. One point to ponder is that perhaps you’re a great painter but if you were to quit your job to become one full-time you may fall flat. Sometimes the moment money mixes with something we love we can lose our passion, of course it depends on personality type. The stress of earning a living can negatively impact our work or how we view the very thing we once found comfort and joy in. Now when we sit down to paint, we’re not thinking of translating our feelings and ideas onto a canvas for the sheer fun of it, instead we may paint in a certain way using the more popular motifs for instance, to gain recognition and customers, to earn more money, or to see how our competition may react. For this reason and more, you have to consider all things before you embark on a career that involves earning a living from doing what you love.

If you’re just jumping in on this conversation and are a bit confused please read these two posts below so you can catch up. What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do and What To Do {part 1}.

So with that, let’s start with our first guest to speak on the topic… Stay tuned.

(image from ez at creature comforts gussied up by holly becker)






Books + Magazines, Inspiration, Small Business

The Boss of You {book of the week}

April 11, 2008

The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business just released and it looks like a very promising read. I think this book is a perfect tie-in to our What To Do… series this week!

The Boss of You {book of the week}

Authors Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears are best friends and business partners based in Vancouver, Canada who founded Raised Eyebrow Web Studio Inc., a business that primarily serves women-run small businesses, arts groups, and not-for-profit organizations. For more information please check out their fabulous blog.

Congratulations lady, you go girls!

(image from bacon and mears)






Arts + Crafts, Rooms, Small Business

Happiness Is…

March 30, 2008

*New* Tamar Mogendorff bird cages and houses at Enfant Terrible…. Ah how tweet it is…

Happiness Is...Happiness Is...
Is it okay to be thirtysomething and to dream of having a wall of birdhouses like this over my sofa in the living room? :)

(images from enfant terrible and tamar mogendorff)






Small Business

Turning Patterns Into Product {open discussion}

March 19, 2008

Samantha Hahn is a Brookyln-based artist that I’m a big fan of, especially since purchasing some work from her recently and seeing it in person. She’s so talented, her splashy hues jump from the page. So when she wrote to me recently asking about pattern design and turning patterns into products (other than prints), I wasn’t sure where to direct her. I’m asked this question quite regularly by readers and I often feel awkward answering since I have little experience in this area. Time to change that with your help!

Turning Patterns Into Product {open discussion} Patterns designed by Hahn.

So the question that Samantha and so many other designers out there have is: How do you take your patterns to the next level — from the drawing board to an actual product — textiles, wallpaper, gift wrap, etc?

When I think about companies like Amy Butler Design or Hable Construction, I see amazingly talented people who do most of the work in-house and then send it out to a mill to be produced. I think the Hable girls use a textile mill in Massachusetts, I know Fall River, MA has lots of mills that people work with but I have no idea how to even contact one and what the initial investment would be. I’m sure pricing varies due to quality and the amount of colors used. A one color textile would be less costly to produce than a multi-color pattern. And if you wanted to go eco-friendly that would be even more expensive.

Then there are designer who produce patterns and send them off to a licensing company and they do the rest for you. The rep may come back to you with news that a card manufacturer would like to purchase your image or a store like Urban Outfitters would like to turn your work into art on canvas and at that point, you negotiate a price and all the details around the product. But I’m going to stop talking now because I really don’t know that much about this.

Turning Patterns Into Product {open discussion} More patterns designed by Hahn.

I know Marisa Haedike has some experience in this area, as does Julia Rothman, Joy of Nantaka Joy, and Meg Mateo Ilasco so maybe these ladies can jump in and give some advice. Not to put anyone on the spot, I just look at these ladies as quite helpful and they have had a lot of success building their business taking patterns they’ve designed to the next level. Maybe they have some suggestions, links, or a few good books to suggest. Ashley G of Kitty Genius wrote about her recent experience with Urban Outfitters, AshleyG and Drew: Taking it to the Next Level While Staying Small, over on Etsy. Perhaps her words will be helpful to some of you.

I invite all readers to jump in if you can help by commenting below. Also ask any questions you may have on this topic in the comments section, too.

(images from samantha hahn)






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