Wednesday, April 28, 2010

looking back looking forward

Nine months have passed since I started making jewelry again (this time as a living and not for extra-cash-in-my-pocket).

Looking back, I am amazed at how much has gone down (in good and bad ways) since this time last year. The best part? I am so incredibly happy with where things are headed.

my inspiration board for "grayling" August 2009

I would like to share a few lessons I learned on my entrepreneurial journey. These are a few things I think are important, and I invite you to add some of your own in the comments section below!

Trust yourself. In the face of change, it's easy to forget how much you know, how strong you can be, how versatile you are. You can get discouraged easily if you lose your focus, or one bad thing happens. Which leads me to...

Don't go at it alone. Your friends and family are your lifeboat. With their help, even an insurmountable task is doable. Wondering if you've lost your marbles? Call someone you've known for a long time. Sometimes we all need a head check. And, don't be too proud to say "I need help!".

Take care of yourself. Don't let your new endeavor eat the rest of your life alive. You don't have to return every email the minute you get it. The world will not come crashing down if you head to the sauna instead of to your laptop. Don't forget to take your vitamins, walk to work if you can, and (here's one pointed at me) potato chips are not a vegetable.

Enlist good people. Hire the best bookkeeper and accountant you can afford. After spending half of every month doing the books in my prior business lifetime, I firmly decided I will never do them again. Not that I couldn't, it's just that my time is better spent being creative. Leave the bean counting to someone who is fast, efficient, and likes doing it. I feel the same way about photographers and graphic designers. Sure, I could take a swing at it, but I'd rather leave it to the pros.

Get a group going. It can get lonely out there. I went from interacting with customers face-to-face five days a week to basically working on my laptop next to my sleeping cats. I needed to get out of the house. The remedy? I contacted other jewelry designers for a casual cocktail hour. The evening was so much fun; now I know a few people who I can relate to and share ideas with. Who knows, we may even do a group show!

Focus on the uppers. Hey, uh, yeah, sometimes it feels like "your-so-called-business" sucks. When the chips are down and your bank account is only in the double-digits, it's reasonable to feel discouraged. But just remember, it's your business, and you have the ways and means (and guts, damn it) to change it! Even at it's worst, being an entrepreneur is way better than working for someone else.

Bounce it back. Have you told them.... lately... that you love them? Give thanks to your suppliers, customers, fans (pretty much anyone you can think of has had a role in your business) often! You'd be pretty lonely without them.

Which leads me to...

In no particular order I would like to give extra special thanks to:

Shannon Zweck, my production assistant
Liam Flaherty, my graphic designer
John Rink, my mentor
Allison Jones, stylist
Kami Gray, stylist
Marjorie Skinner, Portland Mercury
Karen Vitt, Neat Sheet
Mai Tran, Crave Portland
Cecilia Doan, Calculated Fashion
Liz Hummer, Oregon Bride Magazine
Jen McCabe, Honey Kennedy
Lisa Warninger, photographer
Sara Gray, photographer
Anthony Georgis, photographer
Maria Blandino, stylist
Critter Pierce, stylist
Kristin Beery, stylist
Tiffany Schiff, stylist
Janeane Marie, designer
Brady Lange, designer
Jo Carter, Physical Element, the first person I met in Portland!
Duane and Sherry Cook, Pearl Hardware
Pool Tradeshow
Crafty Wonderland
Pin Me Apparel
Parts + Labour
Lille Boutique
Sway and Cake
Veridis Clothier
Via Lago
Show Pony
E.G. Page
Mink Boutique
Zelda's Shoe Bar
Sheila, L'Mu Salon
Renee, EWF Modern
Suzanne, LexiDog
Wendi, WeMa and pdxboutique
Lynnette, Neighborhood Notes
Diana, Platika Financial
Laura, Oh Baby Lingerie
Shari, Pearl Health Center
Blake, Good Keuken
Dayna, Belle Epoque Salon
JoAnne Woods
Teresa O'Donnell and Chris Miller
Tracey and Tyler Forrest
Sara Rosenthal and Michael Rubino
Beth Montag-Schmaltz and Chris Schmaltz
Liz Weldon
Jill Friedrick
Sarah and Dan Hunter
Duncan Kippen
...and last but never least, my parents and my
wonderful husband for their encouragement and love.


Lisa Warninger said...

You're awesome Katy!!! Love your work. You're going to be wildly successful.

Katy said...

Well, at least mildly successful :)


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