Things I've Learned From This Year: Business Edition

Hey pals.  So, if you remember in the beginning of this year I did a post all about the ways that I wanted to grow, both as a business owner and on a personal level.  And while I normally am one to say those things are cliche and so silly, this year I have been holding myself accountable and I've decided to do a little "half way check-in" to share where this year of growth has lead me and what I have learned along the way.

So, if we want to start with the business side of things, I'd have to say that this has been a pretty good start to the year for my little business.  One of my biggest goals this year was to get to partner with other brands to create products and tell their story through art and design.  So far that has been an incredible journey of getting to meet amazing friends, work with incredible and inspiring individuals, and make art that is so much fun encapsulating not only their brand and message but some of mine as well.  I'm really grateful for the opportunities that I've gotten as far as collaborative work goes, and I can't wait to expand this part of my business even further.  It is so magical and inspiring getting to work alongside another creative individual who is living their dream - there is honestly nothing like it and it inspires me so much to continue pushing myself and building my own brand.  


Beyond that, I really wanted to push myself this year to create art that spoke to me on a personal level.  It can be so easy to come up with an idea that's cute and witty and that I know will sell well, but I wanted to delve a little deeper and make the art that I wanted to see in the world.  I pour so much of myself into my art as it is - you get to see some of my quirks, my (hilariously) bad jokes and humor, and I really wanted to bring that even further and share some more personal art that I made during a very transitional time for me.  Sometimes, especially when running a business that is so much based on the fun and silly parts of life, it can be vulnerable and even difficult to share the not-so-fun bits or the transitional bits.  In my personal life I had been dealing with a lot toward the end of 2017 - not only was I having some major changes and things that felt very negative at the time in my life, but I was also going through one of the worst bouts of creative drought that I have endured since beginning to make art as a career, which HELLO it can be scary AF when you're sitting in a room staring at blank paper with no inspiration, no motivation, and no real drive to make the art which not only makes you happy, but pays the bills.  


It was a hard time, but through that I have learned a lot, grown a tremendous amount, and feel that I've come out better because of it.  With my spring collection this year I really really got deep down into myself and made some art that I feel like really embodies the journey that I went through personally (and professionally) and that collection will hold such an incredibly special place in my heart for years to come - not only because it was those pieces that broke my creative block and left me feeling more inspired and more in charge than I ever have, but because they tell a story of a time where I was weak, vulnerable, and needed art the most - something that I think we can all relate to.  It was a HUGE step for me to really share that vulnerability.  So often in the realm of being a business owner, especially with social media being so prevalent we are put into this box or up on this pedestal where we are supposed to make our lives look perfect - a perfectly staged photo, a fresh made up face, and the truth of life is that it's not like that.  Breaking out of the mold of what I thought I had to be to be seen as successful and strong has been such a huge part of my journey both as an artist and an individual and has been such a freeing experience.  While it's still a vulnerable thing to talk about, it feels amazing to be able to have honest open conversations through my platforms and to make art that is truly inspiring and uplifting, because it comes from such a real, raw place.  


Finally, YA'LL I'M STEPPING IT UP WITH PRODUCT DESIGN!  If you saw the pre-order of my latest collection, you know what I'm talking about.  I've begun to delve into textile design, making more purposeful products that are not only adorable and fun but that are functional and things that you can use in your every day life.  I've wanted to expand my offerings for such a long time and it feels amazing to finally be stepping into these categories that I've wanted to for so long.  Creating new products can be quite a daunting task - not only is it new territory that requires an intensive amount of research and planning, it's very EXPENSIVE territory that requires a lot of … well, money.  One thing I have never had with Honey and the Hive is the luxury of investors or a big start up fund, I've done this completely on my own, little by little, growing throughout the years as my budget will allow.  I began working at the kitchen table of my apartment with the capacity of being able to sell only original paintings (because I already had the paint and paper on hand, and making prints was too expensive at this point) until I had saved up enough money to buy my printer and begin making prints.  I sold only art for a very 



long time because it was what I could afford to do until I saved up enough to be able to produce my first batch of pins, and so on and so on.  There seems to be this pressure in the world of running a business that you have to be doing more, you have to be producing more, you have to expand and grow and the financial side is such a huge part of that.  For a very long time I felt like I was doing something wrong because I couldn't afford to do these things, but the truth of the matter is the path looks different for everyone.  Some folks are very fortunate to come from a place of financial security before they jump into a business, I however was not.  And while it may not seem like a big deal to most, getting to a point where I have saved enough to be able to produce these products - multiple products in the same launch - was HUGE for me.  It was very re-assuring that just because my path is different, doesn't mean that it is wrong and just because I have been a little slower than others in my growth, I have been allowed the opportunity to really feel and experience each stage and to appreciate the steps forward so much more.  Honestly, I am beyond excited for the formal release of this line, and I hope that it will be really special and be the real starting place for me to expand Honey and the Hive even further, to continue to make fun and inspiring products that make the world a more colorful place, and to stretch the bounds of my own creativity.

So, I'd have to say that so far this year things are on the right track - of course there are always highs and lows, set backs and successes, but I feel like I have gotten to a very pivotal point in my career as an artist where I am free to express myself, to create the art that I feel needs to be created, to get down and dirty and personal with you all and be able to share some of the vulnerability not only through my work but through just the discussions that we have and what I'm able to share with you too, and to really step into who I am and what it is that I want to be doing with this life and this business of mine.

If you have any questions or there's anything you'd like to know more about I'd love to know, sometimes it's so hard to know what to blog about or what is important to you all!  Please drop me a comment and maybe it will spark a conversation for a new blog post.  I'll also be following up next week with a little glimpse into my personal journey this year too.  Thanks so much for reading along.

Comments

  1. Thank you for this! I too feel like I should be further along than I am, producing more products than I am. It's good to know there are others who start small and grow organically. I totally relate.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment