What is your message? Why are you in business for yourself? Point to clarify - to make money, to get paid for what I do - isn't the answer we're looking for...
Weeks upon weeks have gone by since I began following Marie Forleo, nervously attempted a slightly rehearsed video scholarship application, continued to follow Marie's video blog...done tons of independent research, found out about Laura Roeder, scoped her blog, investing along the way what I could and just in general working my butt off.
But my opening questions I've put off answering. Truthfully, I even lied to myself a bit about what I thought my answers were. But down the line, along the road I've had several little "ah ha" moments (in between insomniac hours and a teething, and therefore understandably, upset child) with my businesses. These moments have been both unexpected and inspired. Like a unicorn and glitter-filled freight train, scares the bajeezus outta ya until you realize, "O look, neat!"
Sure like nearly anyone else who starts a business I want to make money. And really most of us do. At the very least we will accept money for what we're doing. But while that doesn't make us bad to want that, it shouldn't be all about that. Fact of the matter is I don't think I ever (until Marie pointed it out and near walked out of the screen at me asking) really considered the big three letter word - WHY? I figured I knew the answer and I didn't need to elaborate on it. Boy, was I mistaken!
So in a rare moment I'm going to take you into my noggin, let you view the noodle...get ready for a bumpy ride...
I love making "stuff". I'm a tinkerer and my medium is arts & crafts - more specifically and in a large portion anything made with fibers. Id est (ie, that is to say) crochet, knit, macrame, weaving, braiding, chainmaille, jewelry, clothing, & accessory design by proxy. But while I could tarry off the names of things I've made, of crafts I love doing, and even recall with a fair amount of detail some art I've produced that is since "long gone". I could not seem to answer the question. I realize now that I wasn't ready and that it just wasn't my time and honestly I am thankful for the "missed chance" that has afforded me so much other opportunity. A pinch of realization is worth a ton of what ifs.
The thing is I've always loved working with arts and crafts. Ever since I was a little girl and first exposed to it. The whole idea of taking these bits and putting them together in some way and creating something has always made me "oooooh" and "aaaaaaaah". And as with some many people who "make stuff", the statement was invariably addressed to me as, "O you should sell the stuff you make" or "You're so good", etc. Honestly, before the idea was proposed to me I would have likely never thought of it. I make stuff, I love making stuff. To work with my hands, and bring something into being that wasn't there before...to BIRTH a creative project has always been something special to me, something divine... (and therein lies our segway to the next factor).
My beliefs (my internal faith in the world around me, people, things beyond and above, and outside of us) have always been important to me. I like to consider the idea that I don't practice my faith, I live it. And I don't mean to sound like I'm approaching that soapbox, I'm not reaching for any pedestal either because trust me I am just. like. you. (pause for dramatic affect) What I mean is that I believe that living my beliefs is the only way to practice. It's not some wrote routine I'm following because I "should" or "always have", it's how I choose to live my life. The thing is making stuff is a passion for me - and I see utter beauty in it. And you know what, looks aside - really, I like visually appealing things, but that's not even what I'm getting at...I mean that there is a beauty in our ability to craft things. And the level of complexity at which we (humans) do this sets us apart from every other living organism on the planet. Brace yourself for the "tear jerker"... because this is where it gets personal. I want to integrate this experience for everyone out there who owns anything.
Okay, let me break it down - my tag line at first was "Faith Works to put the beauty back in your life." It came to me one day, it sounded good, it seemed to answer the big why and I kept it. After a point though that "put" really started niggling at me. It sounded too forceful, too bossy. I decided I wanted, needed, and believed in a gentler approach. So I threw out the "put" and brought in the "bring". (How's that for grammar...) I read it allowed, I liked it immediately and immensely better. To help you bring something is service, it's helpful, it's encouraging - it's the kind of message I wanted to get out there even if I didn't fully understand it.
If I've lost you (which happens when you're creative & verbose) don't worry I'll lay it out on the table for ya:
My purpose in business is to bring the simple beauty of the human element back into your life. In the form of things I make I teleport you into an intimate relationship with what you buy from me. I am not a huge corporation with hundreds of thousands of stock in one item, my prices are not the cheapest on the block, my store is not located in every town (okay well it is in every town with internet). I am a single artist/crafter handmaking something for you to own and use with awareness. I put the human touch back into what you're buying, I put a face on that favorite sweater, a loving touch. I am a real person to connect and communicate with. Whatever I've made is made just for you, I want you to feel special, and I was you to cherish my offerings because I cherish your support of my love.
To me - We are all divine creations. In each of us is that spark of the Otherworld that despite our similarities sets us apart for everything around us and draws us together. Each feeling we have is divine be it good, bad, or indifferent. Every experience we have is a divine experience. And everything we make, use, or come into contact with is divine. In a time and place where there is and has been so much focus on the negative I want you to be able to look about your home, your office, on your person and see something handmade with love and care and be able to smile. Yes, you heard me, I want you to smile at your hat, knick knack, yes even your paperweight. Because it's not just stuff, useless junk to clutter your life with. It's something special that you loved enough to buy and keep.
So I've gone on with that tagline - feeling it was the right thing. But eventually I felt a little closed in still. I felt that though that tagline was super fantastic, it was only serving a part of what I was putting out there. One day in the last two weeks the rest of it hit me. Brought on by a parody of a saying I knew from a funny T-shirt ("I put the fun in dysfunctional.") My new & improved tagline now is:
Faith Works...to bring the beauty back in your life & put the FUN back in functional!
I add the ending because sometimes a cigar is just a cigar - I might make a hat, just because I want to. It's still got that spark in it because I have put some of myself into the making of it - but to take off my fuschia tinted sunglasses it's a hat, and it's in a fun design, pattern, or technique and I wanted to share it with you.
So the long and short...what's my purpose?
I'm providing YOU with some handmade awesome. I'm intuitively creating and deliberately working with you to create what you want. I'm putting my own quirky spin onto the creation of things, while still honoring the techniques of those before me. I want to remind you of something beyond the ownership of your product. I want you to be able to understand it's process, appreciate it's fabrication and purpose. I want to help you put awareness back in your ownership of something, rather than having something just because it's cool or trendy. I want you to be able to look beyond the physical object and into what it stands for - the an element of divine creation brought to you by someone like you in physical form. And the bonus...it's quality, sometimes simple, always unique and best of all it's made with that divine human element, it's a work of art made in faith because simply put Faith Works.
And a little shout out to Marie Forleo & her team - I sincerely thank you for allowing me the opportunity to refine myself, my message, and discover it all. For giving me the chance to try again later and be supportive of myself and the process of my ideas!