Tuesday, June 14, 2011

:: deep thoughts, by up up creative ::

in the kinds of circles i run in (which is to say among indie entrepreneurs, makers, etc.), eventually there ends up being a bunch of talk about how hard it is to reconcile yourself to the fact that you're usually not your target customer. often, you're not even close. after all, the person who can sew an amazing modern quilt need not purchase an amazing modern quilt. the shoemaker need not buy shoes.

this is the most difficult for me to square myself to with respect to my flourishing wedding business.

the wedding stuff is fun for me. i love working with wedding clients because i know how to make them happy, and they're so good at being happy when planning a wedding is so hard and i've made one part easier. i like playing that role. i like helping them feel sane. i like giving them the exact design they want and helping them remember that while tradition and etiquette matter because they can help convey information, the fact is they're inviting their closest friends and family members to the event and it's okay to show off some personality.

i also really like making the invitations gorgeous. luxurious. i love nothing more than a really thick, 100% cotton paper paired with euro-style envelopes. i am a total sucker for letterpress. for real. swoon, swoon, swoon.

not that i ever in a billion years would have had that at my own wedding. i made our invitations and they kicked ass and they were so not something you could find anywhere online and they were so not luxurious in that high-end luxe kind of way. i got my materials at places like staples (resume paper) and michael's (cardstock) and i printed them through swear word after swear word on my tiny little at-home-use-it-to-print-your-homework inkjet printer. i designed them in (gasp!) microsoft word and publisher.

which is to say that sometimes i find it hard to like my work. or maybe not hard, but confusing. sometimes i think, "geez, i should be designing for someone like me, someone with a DIY-type budget and a DIY-type frame of mind." except someone like me would make them herself.

i have proof.

but still that's weird. it makes things like pricing hard. and even marketing. i think that sometimes i direct my business at one kind of customer when the customer who most wants to buy my things is a different person entirely.

so what, then, is the me in all of this? and if there comes a point at which i stray too far from my center, from my me-point in the business, will i know it? will red flags go up? should they?

brian always used to say things to me like, "if i ever dress like fill-in-the-blank, please tell me to stop" and i'd always respond by saying, "but brian, if you start dressing like that it'll be because you've changed into the person who wants to dress like that." he never ever liked that answer, and it's only when i get all business-thinky that i really understand why. while there's something to be said for changing and growing, there's some part of all of us that wants to believe that certain things should never change, and that if they change without us noticing, someone should gently direct us back onto the right track.

deep down, though, i think i still stand with my first answer. if you change, even if it's without noticing the change, you probably wanted to. so maybe it's not the original desire (that first self) we need to cling to but rather the ability to let ourselves change as our desires change. to become new selves (and businesses).

worry not, dear friends. up up creative's not going anywhere. please don't read into my philosophizing. sometimes some little thing will get me started (today it was the thought, "i really want to shift my house paper towards something heavier") and then i think i'm going to sit down to write a really basic "whaddaya think?" kind of a post and then this whole soul-search-monstrosity of a post comes out of me.

i'm nothing if not introspective. it's probably what made me a good graduate student, my willingness to take a question as far as i can. but it's also what made me a bad one. it is far too easy for me to follow questions on forever, until they lose all relevance and meaning.

i try not to do that here. i'm not sure if i succeed, exactly, but i feel like the asking here is at least worthwhile. i feel like it helps me, and i hear from you, dearest readers of thishereblog, that it helps you sometimes.

and so i shall keep asking.

lend me your answers from time to time?