Project Runway Thoughts for October 22 Episode

Good grief.

Maybe I am way too opinionated for my own good. Maybe I am totally ignorant of what fashion is and isn’t. Maybe I’m simply too dense to “get it”. But after watching the Oct. 22 episode of Project Runway, I have to say I’m proud that I’m apparently “clueless.”

Some things really stuck out to me tonight.

To begin, the comment “Those weren’t fashion, those were clothes.” Wh-wh-WHAT? I guess I don’t know anyone that wears anything fashionable then, because in my world clothes are fashion. The people I know may not be able to afford the upscale clothing that is marketed as “fashion” nowadays, but in the end it’s still clothing. And I think Michael Khors’s comment illustrated a major problem with the fashion industry today: people are too independent today to be told what “fashion” is and isn’t. People wear what they like, and what they feel makes them look good. And other people’s opinions about that are becoming less and less important… We are in the era of “ur-Fashion”, and the quicker the fashion industry realizes that the better off they will be…

Everyone that I know grew up in an era when waves of different fashion expressions each held the stage at different times… Grunge, Goth, Rockabilly, Punk, Glam, Annie Hall, Laura Ashley, Retro, etc.–all of them extremes in their own right. Wearing an “extreme” isn’t so unusual anymore. People wear what’s appropriate for particular situations, what they happen to like, or simply what makes them feel good. That is not dictated by a Fashion Council anymore, it’s dictated by what’s available and one’s own sense of personal taste.

Having 4 panelists passing down judgements about what looks good and what doesn’t somehow strikes me as profoundly backward and prideful for some reason… There is a fashion style out there for everyone’s tastes now–it’s too late to make blanket pronouncements regarding what’s “fashionable” anymore… Mass media has blown that privilege out of the hands of a select few and thrust it securely into the consumer’s. Witness the variety of looks on Style.com, the plethora of fashion magazines, the prominence of online clothing purchases, the DIY/Handmade movement… The overly simplistic era of “colors for the season” (for example) has evaporated in the face of a new dynamic that is much too individual for any pat dictates to be credible anymore…

This episode demonstrated one thing to me: Mila Jovovich was the only judge that was humble enough to admit that her opinion was just her opinion, while the rest of the judges apparently continue to believe they actually have a tack on what the general populace thinks is good and bad fashion. They may be in positions of power and authority, but I don’t think that means their ideas are better or more relevant than anyone else’s anymore, especially in today’s society. It simply means they’ve demonstrated some talent and ability, someone believed in them, and they played their cards right to get to where they are. Tim Gunn summed it up perfectly at the end of the episode: “Personal tastes.”

I may be coming off a bit harsh, and that’s certainly not my intention. But I do believe that our concept of what is fashionable has changed forever because of our new ability to cater to our own desires and preferences that has developed in this era of global communication. And regarding Project Runway specifically–I am not sure that the ability to meet 4 judges standards and complete an artificial challenge qualifies a person to be called a legitimate fashion designer anymore… Given what’s happened to our contemporary world with the advent of the internet and the freedom of choice it offers, I’m not sure if fashion is as relevant as it used to be…

Can’t we just make stuff that we like and try hard to find others who like it enough to buy it? Maybe our creations and creativity aren’t what’s “wrong”, maybe it’s our ability to find the right consumers for it… And maybe we should stop worrying about what’s fashionable and start thinking about wearing what makes us happy… Because honestly, folks, is the stamp of approval of out of touch fashionistas really what we should be striving for? And ultimately, is our quest for personal relevance reliant upon someone else to pronounce that we’ve acquired it?

I guess I have too much faith in individuals to express themselves to believe that…

Anyway. Whew! This was a mouthful! LOL! Until next time, live life with Relish!

“Celebrate good times! C’mon!”

Finally! My first sale!

Oh, what a long time coming–3 months and 10 days!!! Goodness, now I’m legit! LOL! My partner gave me a Hershey’s chocolate kiss to celebrate, and it was the best damn chocolate I’ve ever tasted! LOL!

So some lovely lady in Florida is receiving my first ever wearable art creation, and I hope she feels fierce when she’s got it on!

This’ll be the first and last time I celebrate a sale on my blog (not wanting to bore anyone with the nitty-gritty comings-and-goings of the stock items), but I had to celebrate and share this personal victory and landmark occasion in my life.

(Breaking into a jig…)  “Happy Dance! Happy Dance!”

il_fullxfull.91277381

Brain Melt

I’ve had a busy, mindful couple of days. “Mindful?” you ask. Yep. My mind is full! I’ve had a lot of juicy conversations with a lot of folks all week long, and my brain is buzzing so much it’s tired.

I’ve had email exchanges with smart, savvy entrepreneurs (shout out to Michelle Sholund of By the Bay Botanicals), and received more comments on my blog than I ever have before (thanks Sister Diane, Gwen, and Michelle)! I’ve also been lurking around the Etsy forums commenting and picking the brains of different shop owners there. I joined the local San Diego Etsy team, and now have dozens of local etsy shops and blogs to go explore in my copious spare time (!).

I’ve been reading some other blogs that have interesting topics that have stretched my mental capacity, and found some wonderful resources I didn’t know existed (I’ll share those with you in the future–gotta explore them some more… hehe…)

I’ve found some websites of different clothing vendors that have made me turn green with envy and planted the seeds of determination, some of them local!! Talk about spurring one on to accomplishment–if they can do it and my stuff is just as good, then why can’t I?!?

On top of that, I’ve had some exchanges with some of my real life friends that have offered me some advice regarding the direction of Relished Artistry, and given me some really good food for thought regarding what I’m making and what I could potentially do with it in the future. Is more of a costume-bent in the future? Hmmm…

My problem now is that my brain is so full, I don’t know what to do next!!homer-simpson-wallpaper-brain

One never ending responsibility is to create more of a body of work, so when I feel myself getting “overwhelmed” with ideas I’ve been retreating back to my studio to concentrate on generating more items to sell. I could literally spend all my time on the internet, zooming around the blogosphere absorbing new thoughts and plans, but at a certain point my gas tank empties and I have to slow down to make a pit stop. My studio is my pit stop. No crew, no tires, no smelly fuel. It is a garage, though!

Now it’s time to DO, not ponder.  Well, at least ponder while I do.  Haha!

So that’s what I’m going to do at this moment: spend time in my studio, simply sewing. I have some projects that I need to complete, and some others that I want to start, and there’s no time like the present. It’s getting cooler in San Diego, and working out in the garage is quite comfy–I’ll eventually have to get space heaters to keep it warm, but I won’t worry about that yet. Right now, it’s crisp and cool and energizing!

So I’m off. To relish my life by enjoying my simple pleasures and add to my stock. And perhaps along the way my brain will sort out the next step. : )

“Getting to know you! Getting to know all about you…”

Alrighty. It’s been almost a week since my last blogposting, and that’s far too long for my taste. I have a lot to update you on, and some observations that I have gleaned via my “travels through the blogosphere”.

Remember how I had to set aside that ebook I had been reading, Creating a Blog Audience by Sister Diane? I had reached a point where I didn’t want to progress further until I felt confident to answer some of the questions she was posing. At a certain point in the book, I realized that I didn’t know enough about the blogging communities that I was posting my blog for– art, craft, and business–and I really needed to do some investigating.

Well, I can say with absolute certainty that’s easier said than done. The blogosphere at this point is rapidly increasing, and the more I felt I was visiting “the community”, the more I realized I was simply scratching the surface… I felt (and still feel) that I had reached the outskirts of a major urban hub, and said to myself, “Aha! My community!” when I actually should have waited and read some more signs to realize I had a long way to go… I think that getting to know the community you are writing for as a blogger is a never ending journey… I could visit blog after blog and post comment after comment, but I’ll never reach the end. 2 or 3 years ago, perhaps, there was a finite nature to the whole experience that implied there were edges to the blogosphere community that one could reach, depending on your interest. Not so much today. It’s like saying, “Get to know your internet!” Hah! See ya in 5-10 years when that’s done…

OBIT  KERR

So at this point, I have endless numbers of bookmarks and doubled my blog subscriptions. And I have 30 open browser windows on my Mac’s dock, waiting for me to get back to read them. I keep finding great stuff!!!  The book did exactly what it was supposed to do: make me think about what it was I was putting out there, for whom, and how it fit in.

And that’s led me to realize there probably isn’t much I can add to the fabric of the blogosphere, really. What can I do but what everyone else is doing–“spins” on information that’s already been explored in depth? How many purse tutorials can a person read? Redoing what others are doing is not what I’d like to do…

So. I’ve decided to continue reading Sister Diane’s book, and hopefully I can progress forward on posting information that’s interesting to a specific overlap of my chosen communities. The book has profoundly opened my eyes to the concept that I need to recognize what my niche is. It’s made me realize that my particular “spice” that I add to the recipe of information that I post needs to be uniquely my own. It’s finding and recognizing that niche that I have to think about. And the more I explore the blogosphere, the more I realize those niches are very very hard to come by.

I find a lot of similarities (in my head) between the blogosphere and reality. In the rush of globalization that’s been made possible by mass and social medias, we’ve moved beyond embracing the whole and turned inward a bit. Our instinct is to pull in and find our diverse uniqueness that separates us and makes us distinct. The Handcrafted/DIY movement is part of that, I think. Our individuality as people was lost in the emphasis on our individuality as a culture, and now we’re trying to get it back through our creative expressions. Yes, we need and strive for social connections, but now we seek them not through our identification as part of the whole (by doing/believing the same things) but through our uniqueness that demonstrates our variation on the identifying culture. We want to belong, and yet we celebrate our distinctiveness.

Being part of any blogging community presents a quandary: belonging on the one hand, being different on the other. Being just enough alike, but not a copy.

So I’m going to move forward. I’m realizing I will never see the larger whole of my communities in the blogosphere, never truly grasp how they all fit together, who are the movers and shakers, who are the followers. And I think that means I will never really know if my blog is distinctive from the larger whole that it’s trying to identify with at the same time.

But I guess that’s ultimately like the business, art, and craft worlds, too, isn’t it? Someday, I may find someone doing what I do and doing it much better, or realize someone’s taken what I thought was my own uniqueness and is using it for their own. “Like business, like blog,” I guess.

But I can’t let that stop me, can I?

Poiret Preview

Today I am proud to preview my latest experiment–a recreation of a 1923 Poiret Cocoon Coat! I have yet to get the button closure on it, but I am terribly excited about where this is going… I have longed to do something elegant and drapey like this for a long time, and think that my floral painting might look really good on it, especially around the hem up to the sleeves. This was made out of black velveteen using a pattern: Folkwear #503.

Front

Front

There are some adjustments that I would like to make to the pattern, as well as some alterations and piecing that I would like to do… I am not thrilled about using someone else’s pattern for things–I’d like to adapt it to my own, so I’ve got some thinking to do… If you had your druthers, what would you do? I’m thinking there is a way to make it more contemporary. Just haven’t hit on it yet. : )

Side

Side

But here it is, sans center front closure. I would love to have some feedback if you’re willing… Perhaps some vertical panels in the front and one in the back? Hmm…

Sleeve

Sleeve

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!

How I Sew, Part 2: A Vest Tutorial

I touched a little upon my sewing process in a previous post called “How I Sew, Part 1”. Well, now I’m going to get a bit more detailed, because it dawned on my that this new vest project could be perfect to use as a tutorial. Those of you who may not be incredibly interested in sewing may find this post a complete and utter bore. But for those who are curious, this might be useful to you (hopefully).

I’ve been snapping pictures along the way as I work through each step. This particular post has a lot of pictures, because as I discuss details, I need visuals. So it may seem a bit longer than most posts.

First off, I have to say this vest is modified from one found in a commercial pattern package: Simplicity #2566.  While I can make my own patterns, I don’t really want to unless I have to, so this was a lot easier. I traced the pattern size that I needed onto paper (leaving out the seam allowances inherent to each pattern piece–I prefer to add my own.  See Part 1 for more info on that…) and proceeded to lop it into pieces…

Choose What You Want

Choose What You Want

Below is a picture of what my finished pattern looked like when I was done. I added a collar, extended the shoulder seam, and cut many of the pieces into halves… I also created a facing piece for the lining along the center front button closure on the inside.

Adjust your Pattern

Adjust your Pattern

This process required me to make notches in the new pieces I made, just to make sure that I was lining all the curves up correctly.

I knew what I was wanting–a festive vest with vertical panels in Christmas colors. The pic below is a shot of the fabrics that I chose. Not that the gold fabric is sheer… I would need to mount this to another fabric in order to use it, otherwise my vest lining would show through (or, alternatively, this vest could be worn only at adult oriented Christmas Parties… hehe…). All of the fabrics were actually too flimsy to use on their own. I think they may have actually been drapery fabrics, and so they hang beautifully but have no body whatsoever. All of them would need to be supported somehow.

My Selected Fabrics

My Selected Fabrics

The solution to flimsy fabrics? Flatlining. I would essentially “marry” two different pieces of fabric into one. And that meant finding a fabric to meld onto my fancy outside fabrics that wouldn’t be seen but would bolster it up and make it a bit sturdier. I chose a cheap $1/yard cotton broadcloth. Akin to muslin, it would do the trick. The process is called flatlining, not lining. Lining is a separate piece of fabric that makes wearing easier and more comfortable. This is a structural method.

I took my pattern pieces, laid them out on the cotton (making sure the grain lines match), and traced around each paper guide with a sharp soft lead pencil. Making sure to make little pencil marks where I had cut out all the notches, I then traced around the edges of each pattern 1/2″ away. This was my cut line. I now would have a 1/2″ seam allowance. Finally, I cut each piece out.

I then used transfer paper and a pouncer to transfer the lines on one piece of fabric to the second piece of fabric underneath it. Voila! You have a left side and a right side! My transfer paper is red, and it’s mounted to a piece of poster board for easy use. My pouncer is flat, so it creates solid lines. I use paper weights and cups to hold down my patterns, or I simply pin the paper to the fabric.

Pouncing Lines

Pouncing Lines

The next step is the hard one, and you need good eyes. But it’s a REAL time saver. Instead of tracing each layer out separately, I simply take my newly marked flatlining and place it on the fancy fabric. The trick is to make sure the grain lines match up… What’s a grain line you ask? It’s the direction of the threads. If the flatlining and the fancy fabric don’t line up with the same direction, the two pieces won’t behave nicely, and they’ll sorta fight. (My analogy about marrying to the two pieces together isn’t so far off, but there isn’t an option for counseling in the fabric world…). The edge of the fabric is indicative of the direction of the grain.

The picture below is comparing the grain line of a flatlining piece with the grain of the fabric underneath it by using the edge to see if it’s laid down straight. The direction of the threads in the flatlining should match the directions of the fabric, and I measured out from the edge at the top of my flatlining piece and at the bottom, making sure they were the same distance from the edge. Otherwise, if they were off (even by a little bit) the pieces wouldn’t fit, and the next step would be a nightmare.

Grain Lines

Grain Lines

It’s important to make sure that your flatlining pieces were cut out following each pattern piece’s indicated guideline. If they weren’t you’re setting yourself up for trouble even before you get to laying them out on your fancy fabric.

Pinning is also important. I pin the two pieces together along the stitch line, crossing it. Some people pin their flatlining along the stitch lines. I find that problematic at this stage, cuz I just wanna get these two pieces together without having to care about taking the pins out as I sew… So I pin them together so I don’t have to take the pins out at all… Lazy? Maybe. Time saving? Definitely!

You’ll notice in the picture below that I use quilting pins. I like them. They have the plastic head that make them easy to pic up with my stubby “man-fingers”, and they’re long, thinner, and usually sharp. I find they work with a wider variety of fabrics than the traditional shorter pins used for sewing, because they’re simply easier to handle. I also have a specific pair of sheers for cutting delicate fabrics. While it would be nice to use one pair of sheers for all purposes, sometimes those big honkin’ 12″ cutters are too big to wield easily for floaty wafting fabrics that demand a softer touch.

Needles and Pins!

Needles and Pins!

Now I had to deal with that sheer metallic fabric I chose. Backing it with a second fabric, I cut out that piece, placed it on my sheer, and cut those out first before I pinned my flat lining to it. Seemed easier to me that way.

Notice the grid created by the red and green stripes. How weird would it look if they weren’t symmetrical on the body? Or if one panel ran in one direction and the other panel on the other side of the body ran in a different direction? Probably not so fashionably kosher. “Like, how homemade lookin’, dude!” So a little attention to lining up the grain line and making sure both pieces are exactly the same will save a lot of embarrassment later on.

Backing Sheer Fabrics

Backing Sheer Fabrics

Finally, the two pieces are cut out!

See how they shine together?

See how they shine together?

Now to have the marriage ceremony and sew all the layers together! Flat lining is stitched 1/4″ away from your stitch line, which is conveniently half a presser foot width on your machine! Look at the pic below to see the correct placement of the stitch line. This is a Vegas wedding, so your stitch length should be as long as you can get it so the whole thing is done as quickly as possible. Wham! Bam! We wanna get to the next step of actually assembling the garment!

Sew!  Sew like the Wind!!!

Sew! Sew like the Wind!!!

However, being in too much of a hurry isn’t good either. Check out what happened to me below: a shoddy needle I ignored too long. See what happens when you don’t put into your machine a fresh, clean, bur-free needle of an appropriate size for your delicate fabrics? Your threads revolt, and you get stripes. Icky, ugly pulled stripes from threads that got beat up by your crude, brutish needle. Usually, a sleek clean needle pushes the threads aside, but not this one. This particular needle was a real thug, and simply shoved his way through, and met with resistance! Viva la Resistance! Yeah, well, your seem ends up looking crappy. Best to avoid confrontation altogether, and keep your neighborhood watch active: change your needles!!!

Bad needle!  Bad, bad needle! Shame on you!

Bad needle! Bad, bad needle! Shame on you!

Okay, so finally, having married all these pieces (busy little Vegas sewing machine, eh?), I laid them out on the table to see how it would look eventually.

Whew!

Whew!

And then I thought of the lining I was gonna add.

And decided I’d do that tomorrow.

So. This one was LONGGGG! But I think it’s helpful to anyone who is curious about the sewing process I follow. And perhaps a little inspirational, too. I do all of this in my garage, on the top of an old door set on two shelving units. You don’t need a fancy schmancy sewing room to do it (although in my dreams, my studio is to DIE for, and someday I’ll have that…).

Alrighty, next entry, we move on to assembling the garment!

Live life with Relish!

New Arrivals!

Whee! I had a good day today! Not only did I slam an entire project together that I am tickled pink about, but my black velveteen fabric arrived from UPS. Finally! And on top of that, I got a Folkwear pattern in the mail for a Poiret Opera cloak, which I will be using as inspiration for my own…

I am so excited!! Now I have a whole slew of projects to get done, and that makes me feel really good.

I still haven’t sold anything yet (and that really bums me out, but I can’t wallow in those thoughts for long), but I am confident that these new items will be different and fun. I look forward to doing some velvet painting on those opera cloaks, and seeing if they attract much attention. I’m also going to dive into a new series of coats that aren’t made out of velour, so they’ll be infinitely lighter and more wearable.

But tonight, just as a preview, I’m posting pics of the project I slammed together last night and today. A really nice piece that’s deceptively warm… A vest that my partner named “Gay Apparel”, so I think that’ll be this particular festive holiday-wear series of clothes… Kinda Christmas/Mardi Gras/Circus, I think! I really dig the standing collar. It’ll be up on Etsy and Artfire soon!

Until next time–Live life with Relish!

The Side Front.  Note the standing collar...

The Side Front. Note the standing collar...

The alternating panels seem quite "carnival-esque" to me...

The alternating panels seem quite "carnival-esque" to me...

The Collar can go up, down, or mid-way like this...

The Collar can go up, down, or mid-way like this...

Purchasing Fabric Online, Wholesale Dreaming, and New Projects!

WavypreviewsidebackI recently ordered a bunch of fabric online.  I’m not used to doing that…   I’ve been told that people are getting more and more comfortable with it, but personally I like to feel the “hand” of the fabric that I’m purchasing before I actually buy it.  But regardless, I bought what I hope is a very basic, traditional fabric that should arrive with some of the characteristics is usually has when it’s in a store: black cotton velveteen.
This’ll be a first for me–I’m starting to explore wholesale sources.  I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase things like that.  I’m still not sure I know all the “ins-and-outs” but with some practice I think I’ll figure it out.  I look forward to the rates at which things can be purchased with a “reseller’s license”.  What I don’t look forward to is the necessity to buy everything in bulk amounts!  Just because I can get 100 yards of a particular fabric at an incredibly cheap rate doesn’t necessarily mean I can use it, nor that I can afford to pay for it no matter how cheap it is!  I’m still “bootstrapping” this business, so it’s gonna be a while before I see any profit.
There are several things that I am looking forward to being able to do, one of which is to be able to explore the Garment and Fabric District of Los Angeles with a little more “gravity”.  I am looking forward to visiting “The Mart” (I think that’s what it’s called) with friends to guide me through it.  I live way too close to LA not to take advantage of what they’ve got up there.  I need to explore it a LOT more if my wearable art venture is going to succeed.
In the meantime, I have been trying to use up what little fabric stock I have that’s left over from my 30-some odd bankers boxes of fabric that I regrettably “donated” to my former university over the last 10 years…  What I found is a bunch of odd fabrics of odd shapes that have been tantalizing to use…  It’s really forcing my creativity!
Left over corduroy, strips of old upholstery fabric…  It’s been my own little “Project Runway” of challenges–“How can I possibly use this?!”  Below is a picture of the 30’s-inspired corduroy coat I pieced together (listed on Etsy, by the way!).
And finally, here’s a preview pic of a coat I’m making with leftover upholstery fabric samples.  I found a picture of a coat by Poiret from 1923, and I’m using that as inspiration… Simple little “kimono-esque” look.  But since all the pieces were 8″ wide, I had to get creative…  Thus, a wavy, asymmetrical look…  I’m still workin’ on the sleeves (pieces is taking a LONG time), but it’ll get there…
Okay, enough for now!  Live life with Relish!

I recently ordered a bunch of fabric online.  I’m not used to doing that…   I’ve been told that people are getting more and more comfortable with it, but personally I like to feel the “hand” of the fabric that I’m purchasing before I actually buy it.  But regardless, I bought what I hope is a very basic, traditional fabric that should arrive with some of the characteristics is usually has when it’s in a store: black cotton velveteen.

This’ll be a first for me–I’m starting to explore wholesale sources.  I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase things like that.  I’m still not sure I know all the “ins-and-outs” but with some practice I think I’ll figure it out.  I look forward to the rates at which things can be purchased with a “reseller’s license”.  What I don’t look forward to is the necessity to buy everything in bulk amounts!  Just because I can get 100 yards of a particular fabric at an incredibly cheap rate doesn’t necessarily mean I can use it, nor that I can afford to pay for it no matter how cheap it is!  I’m still “bootstrapping” this business, so it’s gonna be a while before I see any profit.

There are several things that I am looking forward to being able to do, one of which is to be able to explore the Garment and Fabric District of Los Angeles with a little more “gravity”.  I am looking forward to visiting “The Mart” (I think that’s what it’s called) with friends to guide me through it.  I live way too close to LA not to take advantage of what they’ve got up there.  I need to explore it a LOT more if my wearable art venture is going to succeed.

In the meantime, I have been trying to use up what little fabric stock I have that’s left over from my 30-some odd bankers boxes of fabric that I regrettably “donated” to my former university over the last 10 years…  What I found is a bunch of odd fabrics of odd shapes that have been tantalizing to use…  It’s really forcing my creativity!

Left over corduroy, strips of old upholstery fabric…  It’s been my own little “Project Runway” of challenges–“How can I possibly use this?!”  Below is a picture of the 30’s-inspired corduroy coat I pieced together (listed on Etsy, by the way!).

Caramelswirlfrontb

And finally, here’s a preview pic of a coat I’m making with leftover upholstery fabric samples.  I found a picture of a coat by Poiret from 1923, and I’m using that as inspiration… Simple little “kimono-esque” look.  But since all the pieces were 8″ wide, I had to get creative…  Thus, a wavy, asymmetrical look…  I’m still workin’ on the sleeves (piecing is taking a LONG time), but it’ll get there…

Poiretkel55nwopftlsy Wavypreviewsideback Wavypreviewsidefront

Okay, enough for now!  Live life with Relish!

The Last Theatre Show

The last theatre show I have on my docket closed tonight.  I went in for strike for Noises Off, and the finality of it has hit home.
This is an unusual point in my life.  Several chapters have come to a close in rapid succession, much like a series of epilogues at the end of a book.  As I move on from a relatively secure job at my former university, I am also finishing up my current employment in theatre, which is what I have my Master’s Degree in.  At this point, I am not doing anything in the field that I had spent my life preparing for.
And that’s a scary situation to find one’s self in.
It’s odd…  At this point in time, many a man has started to go through a sort of “mid-life crisis” for themselves…  And on the surface it seems to me like there are a lot of similarities…  Not only have I chosen to cut ties with one aspect of my career, another aspect has finished up naturally.  Working in theatre has been the driving force of my life thus far, and it’s terribly disconcerting not to be either teaching it or working in it.
I’ve also had several personal things in my life come to an end–organizations I used to belong to, even friendships that I had thought were more solid than they were…  I’m left with the feeling of being sort of adrift…
On the other hand, I am in an enviable position.  I am starting out with a new beginning.  I have opened a new book, and starting a new chapter.  I am investing my time and energy into a different direction.  A sequel, if you will.
And that is a good thing.  The trick is to stay diligent.  It is easy to flounder…  I’ve been feeling confident one day and despair the next…  To choose a path through the forest (and yet be open to watching for clearer pathways) is not always the easiest thing to do.  And sometimes it seems like a dark forest that I’m entering right now…
But I have to remember that there are wonders of nature that are waiting for me to see them.  Vistas of sunlight cascading through the forest, streams that turn into tiny waterfalls, and birds with songs that echo through the woods.  I’ve felt that feeling before, literally…  As a second grader, my family lived in a housing development called Oak Run, outside of Dahinda, Illinois.  There were forests and animal trails, and beautiful hidden valleys with creeks that dazzled the eyes and stirred the imagination.  That dark forest is only dark until you find your way and make your mental map of where you are.
Wow, I forced that analogy through the wringer, didn’t I? Haha!
Well.  I have to keep progressing forward, working diligently at what I enjoy.  This business is going to succeed, I feel it.  And relishing every single moment–even the unsure ones– is what this is all about.
Live life with Relish.  Because otherwise, what’s the point?

The last theatre show I have on my docket closed tonight.  I went in for strike for Noises Off, and the finality of it has hit home.

This is an unusual point in my life.  Several chapters have come to a close in rapid succession, much like a series of epilogues at the end of a book.  As I move on from a relatively secure job at my former university, I am also finishing up my current employment in theatre, which is what I have my Master’s Degree in.  At this point, I am not doing anything in the field that I had spent my life preparing for.

And that’s a scary situation to find one’s self in.

s_sunset23

It’s odd…  At this point in time, many a man has started to go through a sort of “mid-life crisis” for themselves…  And on the surface it seems to me like there are a lot of similarities…  Not only have I chosen to cut ties with one aspect of my career, another aspect has finished up naturally.  Working in theatre has been the driving force of my life thus far, and it’s terribly disconcerting not to be either teaching it or working in it.

I’ve also had several personal things in my life come to an end–organizations I used to belong to, even friendships that I had thought were more solid than they were…  I’m left with the feeling of being sort of adrift…

On the other hand, I am in an enviable position.  I am starting out with a new beginning.  I have opened a new book, and starting a new chapter.  I am investing my time and energy into a different direction.  A sequel, if you will.

And that is a good thing.  The trick is to stay diligent.  It is easy to flounder…  I’ve been feeling confident one day and despair the next…  To choose a path through the forest (and yet be open to watching for clearer pathways) is not always the easiest thing to do.  And sometimes it seems like a dark forest that I’m entering right now…

forest

But I have to remember that there are wonders of nature that are waiting for me to see them.  Vistas of sunlight cascading through the forest, streams that turn into tiny waterfalls, and birds with songs that echo through the woods.  I’ve felt that feeling before, literally…  As a second grader, my family lived in a housing development called Oak Run, outside of Dahinda, Illinois.  There were forests and animal trails, and beautiful hidden valleys with creeks that dazzled the eyes and stirred the imagination.  That dark forest is only dark until you find your way and make your mental map of where you are.

Wow, I forced that analogy through the wringer, didn’t I? Haha!

Well.  I have to keep progressing forward, working diligently at what I enjoy.  This business is going to succeed, I feel it.  And relishing every single moment–even the unsure ones– is what this is all about.

Live life with Relish.  Because otherwise, what’s the point?

Quality of Life

Will: No, I need to provide for my family.
Emma: But provide what exactly?  The understanding that money is the most important thing?  Or the idea that the only life that’s worth living is the one that your really passionate about, Will?”
Glee, Pilot Episode
I watched the rerun of the pilot episode of Glee tonight.  I’d not seen it, and with all the promotion it had been getting, I decided to check it out while I was flipping through the channels.  I landed on it seconds after it started, so I figured this was my chance-I was president of my Select Choir  in high school… I wanted to test it’s veracity, I told myself.
I enjoyed it.  Still a little High School Musical cheesy, but with an edge.  Not dramatic like fame, but more like a sugar coated black comedy.  Sometimes sharp, sometimes needing to be sharper…  Still feeling a bit Disney-fied in the end, though.
But this exchange between these two characters hit me like a ton of bricks.    It reminded me of another conversation between two very different characters in a totally different kind of film:  Golden Boy from 1939.  I’ve never seen it, but I’ve shown this exact clip of it in my old intro to theatre classes.
Anyway, Golden Boy is a Depression era movie about a man who is struggling between choosing the life of a prize fighter and instantaneous financial success, or the life of a classical violinist which is his heart’s desire.  He wants to support his parents and siblings, and tells his father that money is the answer.  His father, on the other hand, wants his son to do what makes him happy.
In the clip, a debate ensues between the two, where the son says that his father wants him to live for tomorrow, but tomorrow may never come.  The world moves too fast, and owning things makes people happy, and money is the answer to it all.
His father says that things and money don’t make a person happy.  He tells his son that only when he does what is in his heart will he truly awake and sing and be who he was meant to be.
We’re in the middle of bad times economically in this country.  But the lesson is the same:  Life is not printed on the back of dollar bills.
Follow your passions.  That’s what life is about.

Will: No, I need to provide for my family.

Emma: But provide what exactly?  The understanding that money is the most important thing?  Or the idea that the only life that’s worth living is the one that your really passionate about, Will?”

Glee, Pilot Episode

I watched the rerun of the pilot episode of Glee tonight.  I’d not seen it, and with all the promotion it had been getting, I decided to check it out while I was flipping through the channels.  I landed on it seconds after it started, so I figured this was my chance-I was president of my Select Choir  in high school… I wanted to test it’s veracity, I told myself.

I enjoyed it.  Still a little High School Musical cheesy, but with an edge.  Not dramatic like Fame, but more like a sugar coated black comedy.  Sometimes sharp, sometimes needing to be sharper…  Still feeling a bit Disney-fied in the end, though.

goldenBut this exchange between these two characters hit me like a ton of bricks.    It reminded me of another conversation between two very different characters in a totally different kind of film:  Golden Boy from 1939.  I’ve never seen it, but I’ve shown this exact clip of it in my old intro to theatre classes.

Anyway, Golden Boy is a Depression era movie about a man who is struggling between choosing the life of a prize fighter and instantaneous financial success, or the life of a classical violinist which is his heart’s desire.  He wants to support his parents and siblings, and tells his father that money is the answer.  His father, on the other hand, wants his son to do what makes him happy.

In the clip above, a debate ensues between the two, where the son says that his father wants him to live for tomorrow, but tomorrow may never come.  The world moves too fast, and owning things makes people happy, and money is the answer to it all.

His father says that things and money don’t make a person happy.  He tells his son that only when he does what is in his heart will he truly awake and sing and be who he was meant to be.

We’re in the middle of bad times economically in this country.  But the lesson is the same:  Life is not printed on the back of dollar bills.

Follow your passions.  That’s what life is about.  Live life with Relish.

To Tweet or not to Tweet. That is the question.

I have set up a Twitter account, and wonder if it’s worth it…  I’m worried that it’s the CB radio of the 21st century…
I have some real misgivings about Twitter.  I have heard all about it and really like it’s ability to speak to so many globally–that’s a wonderfully useful asset for so many reasons.  It’s unbelievable how handy it can be for certain situations–take the Iranian incidences that happened during their recent election, for example.
But I am unsure it’s really worthwhile anymore for promoting handcrafted items…  From what I can glean, it’s usefulness has slipped in an incredibly short amount of time…  I’ve read articles that have suggested getting into Twitter at this point is a useless endeavor; that the time has passed on it’s effectiveness, and it’s fallen into mass junk tweets.  Much like email, now people are trying desperately to avoid junk tweets as much as they avoid junk emails, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do so even though you can accept/decline following.  Determining who is worth listening to is problematic, and therefore it’s starting to become convoluted and complicated.
I’ve not heard that much that’s actually good about Twitter from the handmade community.  Sure there is the ability to let all your followers know when new items are available, but I am not at all sure that’s actually useful in the long run.  Sister Diane, on CraftyPod, did a podcast that discussed this briefly a while ago.  (FYI, I highly recommend her podcast–good good stuff!)  Her concern was that we are sending the wrong message when all we use our online community for is to flood it with messages regarding our new products.  It somehow cheapens the whole and makes a bad impression.  I agree with that…
So I’m a tad hesitant to jump into the “Twitter Pond”.  I’m not at all sure it’s going to be something that I can actually use beyond simply informing others when my stuff becomes available.  I guess I feel I have other means of doing that…  Because, frankly, if people are in a shopping mood, and they’re looking for something I am making, I’m not that hard to find.  I’m just not sure artistically handcrafted items are the “impulse buy” sort of thing.  Art doesn’t seem like an impulse buy to me.  And I somehow feel that advertising using Twitter is about encouraging impulse buying.  It would seem to me there is a much more discerning consumer that purposely purchases handcrafted items, and no amount of twittering is gonna speed up that discernment…
I think in the end, I respect my customers too much to do that…  But am I making a mountain out of a molehill?  I’m not sure I want my items to seem so easily “pushed” on others… I’m just not that easy, I guess (haha)!  Ease of access is one thing, but there’s a fine line between informing interested followers and simple mass advertising…
I guess I respect my potential customers too much to inflict what I feel is a certain “cheesiness” on them…  I mean, I might as well text everyone’s cell phones…  Would that prompt anyone to run to their computer to buy a new vest??
I feel like Twitter is some kind of carrot on a stick, and it’s dangling in front of me, and I’m not sure if I really want it…  Hmmm…
Thoughts?  Lemme know.
Until next time, live life with Relish!

I have set up a Twitter account, and wonder if it’s worth it…  I’m worried that it’s the CB radio of the 21st century…

I have some real misgivings about Twitter.  I have heard all about it and really like it’s ability to speak to so many globally–that’s a wonderfully useful asset for so many reasons.  It’s unbelievable how handy it can be for certain situations–take the Iranian incidences that happened during their recent election, for example.

logoBut I am unsure it’s really worthwhile anymore for promoting handcrafted items…  From what I can glean, it’s usefulness has slipped in an incredibly short amount of time…  I’ve read articles that have suggested getting into Twitter at this point is a useless endeavor; that the time has passed on it’s effectiveness, and it’s fallen into mass junk tweets.  Much like email, now people are trying desperately to avoid junk tweets as much as they avoid junk emails, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do so even though you can accept/decline following.  Determining who is worth listening to is problematic, and therefore it’s starting to become convoluted and complicated.

I’ve not heard that much that’s actually good about Twitter from the handmade community.  Sure there is the ability to let all your followers know when new items are available, but I am not at all sure that’s actually useful in the long run.  Sister Diane, on CraftyPod, did a podcast that discussed this briefly a while ago.  (FYI, I highly recommend her podcast–good good stuff!)  Her concern was that we are sending the wrong message when all we use our online community for is to flood it with messages regarding our new products.  It somehow cheapens the whole and makes a bad impression.  I agree with that…

So I’m a tad hesitant to jump into the “Twitter Pond”.  I’m not at all sure it’s going to be something that I can actually use beyond simply informing others when my stuff becomes available.  I guess I feel I have other means of doing that…  Because, frankly, if people are in a shopping mood, and they’re looking for something I am making, I’m not that hard to find.  I’m just not sure artistically handcrafted items are the “impulse buy” sort of thing.  Art doesn’t seem like an impulse buy to me.  And I somehow feel that advertising using Twitter is about encouraging impulse buying.  It would seem to me there is a much more discerning consumer that purposely purchases handcrafted items, and no amount of twittering is gonna speed up that discernment…

I think in the end, I respect my customers too much to do that…  But am I making a mountain out of a molehill?  I’m not sure I want my items to seem so easily “pushed” on others… I’m just not that easy, I guess (haha)!  Ease of access is one thing, but there’s a fine line between informing interested followers and simple mass advertising…

I guess I respect my potential customers too much to inflict what I feel is a certain “cheesiness” on them…  I mean, I might as well text everyone’s cell phones…  Would that prompt anyone to run to their computer to buy a new vest??

I feel like Twitter is some kind of carrot on a stick, and it’s dangling in front of me, and I’m not sure if I really want it…  Hmmm…

Thoughts?  Lemme know.

Until next time, live life with Relish!

The Strength of Heat

The strength of heat
Lately, it’s been really hot here in San Diego.  Abnormally hot.  And the humidity has been pretty high, so it’s felt a bit warmer than it actually is.  Yesterday, we set a heat record for 88º.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  “88º!?!?! What a wimp! That’s nothin’ compared to how hot it gets where I live!”
And you’re probably right.  The difference is not in the varying degrees of temperature, but in the varying degree of people.
I moved to California a little over 15 years ago, and it was a startling culture shock.  I had never seen palm trees that I could remember, or juniper trees, or bougainvillia.  I certainly had never experienced such a subtle change in the seasons–I was from the midwest and had just finished graduate school in Minnesota!  When it was winter, you knew it!  When it was summer, you carried shotguns to ward off the mosquitos!
But living in southern California all these years has somehow changed me.  I am not the same person that I used to be when it comes to my body’s reaction to climate change.  Cold seems colder.  Hot seems hotter.  And that’s because I simply don’t experience the radical changes in temperature that most of the other country experiences.  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.
And that’s the point.  Let me say it again:  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.
Right now, in my development of Relished Artistry, I am experiencing the equivalency to a lot of “heat”.  I’m not in my comfort zone, and I’m certainly not living a life that compares to anything that I have lived before.  Being an entrepreneur in the world today is not what being an entrepreneur was like many years ago (make that even 5 years ago when it comes to the internet)…  I realized that a lot of the books that I was reading were inapplicable to the economy as it exists today.  That was clear.  The references that worked in the past weren’t going to work for today.  But doing something about that is what’s really the challenge:  what exactly does one do?
One gets used to the heat, I guess.  One starts to become comfortable with inconsistency.  One doesn’t let is stand in one’s way.
So.  Screw the heat.  I’ve got work to do.  : )
Live life with Relish!

Lately, it’s been really hot here in San Diego.  Abnormally hot.  And the humidity has been pretty high, so it’s felt a bit warmer than it actually is.  Yesterday, we set a heat record for 88º.  And there I was, pluggin’ away at a new vest in my non-air conditioned garage studio, sewing under halogen lighting…

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  “88º!?!?! What a wimp! That’s nothin’ compared to how hot it gets where I live!”

And you’re probably right.  The difference is not in the varying degrees of temperature, but in the varying degree of people.

Heat Exhaustion 2I moved to California a little over 15 years ago, and it was a startling culture shock.  I had never seen palm trees that I could remember, or juniper trees, or bougainvillia.  I certainly had never experienced such a subtle change in the seasons–I was from the midwest and had just finished graduate school in Minnesota!  When it was winter, you knew it!  When it was summer, you carried shotguns to ward off the mosquitos!

But living in southern California all these years has somehow changed me.  I am not the same person that I used to be when it comes to my body’s reaction to climate change.  Cold seems colder.  Hot seems hotter.  And that’s because I simply don’t experience the radical changes in temperature that most of the other country experiences.  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

And that’s the point.  Let me say it again:  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

Right now, in my development of Relished Artistry, I am experiencing the equivalency to a lot of “heat”.  I’m not in my comfort zone, and I’m certainly not living a life that compares to anything that I have lived before.  Being an entrepreneur in the world today is not what being an entrepreneur was like many years ago (make that even 5 years ago when it comes to the internet)…  I realized that a lot of the books that I was reading were inapplicable to the economy as it exists today.  That was clear.  The references that worked in the past weren’t going to work for today.  But doing something about that is what’s really the challenge:  what exactly does one do?

One gets used to the heat, I guess.  One starts to become comfortable with inconsistency.  One doesn’t let is stand in one’s way.

So.  Screw the heat.  I’ve got work to do.  : )

Live life with Relish!

Growing, Friends, and Inspiration

I got two more garments done today, as I sewed the buttons on two vests that I will be posting in the next couple of days to my two online vending sights.  Here’s a couple pics as a preview:
Vestredfrontpreview Vestredbackpreview
Interestingly, the way to make sure that more people see your stuff is to not post all of it at once.  A wise online entrepreneur using Etsy and Artfire and other handmade-centric merchant sites won’t post all their inventory in the beginning.  One trickles it in, because the merchant sites all have “recently posted” features.  The more you spread out the posting of your items the better it is, because then you show up more often in that mechanism and more people see your post.  If you post everything all at once, you’ve sort of wasted a lot of opportunity to be seen over an extended period of time.  So I’ll be posting these new vests over the next week, but not both together.

I managed to put together a new “Page” to my Facebook profile, which is centered on Relished Artistry, and sent out a mass email to all the people on my friends list (regardless of how I knew them) so they could join as “fans”, and not have to be constantly peppered with business-related posts through my own personal profile.  I’m gonna try really hard to keep the two separate and distinct, as I don’t like the idea of using my friends to promote my business.  My ethic is this:  I do what I do and I have what I have.  I don’t need to push it to within an inch of it’s life on all of my friends who don’t really care.  That’s not cool in my book.  I’ll share new stuff once in a while, but I want to keep my friends not lose them to capitalism.  I’m excited about the Page–we’ll see what happens.

I was told through my partner that my greenery looks like grape leaves.  I think I’m gonna run with that… I am gonna start practicing bunches of grapes and see how they look on velvet.  We’ll see what happens.  I’m also exploring pushing the “medieval” feel of things, and considering using “illustrated manuscripts” as inspiration for artistic expression.  We’ll see.  I’d like to figure out something to actually say with that style, not simply decorate stuff.  I’d like to incorporate some kind of statement that’s fun and interesting, as well as artistically expressive to wear, but we’ll see.  I have some thinking to do about that.

Okay, more later!

Live life with Relish!

Artfire and Etsy and Facebook! OH MY!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.
Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 day, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)
My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, 2010 will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.
Having a store in both places can’t be bad.
But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.
But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share what you’ve worked diligently on with your friends, quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.
I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let them know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?
So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  And constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not what’s in my future.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…
Live life with Relish!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 days, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)

My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, in 2010 they will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.

Having a store in both places can’t be bad.

But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.

But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me somehow.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share with your friends what you’ve worked on diligently, and quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal and honest” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.

I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let everyone know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself on them over and over.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?

So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  Constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not  in my future, I know that.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…

Live life with Relish!

The E-Myth Regurgitated

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.
This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.
One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.
But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.
And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.
<sigh>
I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.
What’s the point?  Vacations?
People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.
Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.
Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?
Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.

This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.

One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.

But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.

And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.

<sigh>

I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.

What’s the point?  Vacations?

People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.

Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.

Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?

Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

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