I know. It sounds like a mid life crisis. It is not. Mid-business-life crisis, maybe. So I have been writing applications to be a maker for this amazing group, Madesmith, and for the Martha Stewart American Made competition. And sending e-mails to shops in the hopes that someone will actually open an email and like what they see and maybe, just maybe, place an order. And following up those emails with phone calls. Or, at least planning on following up those emails with phone calls. And taking an online class in retail marketing and line sheets. And looking into Trade Shows in L.A. - strangely, I have been loving L.A. lately - and N.Y. and Las Vegas. And as I was looking at all the huge trade shows, I began to wonder, is this what I want? Is this what I am striving for? What part of all of this feels authentic, for lack of a better word?
I have always believed in writing down what you want. That way, it focuses you. Gives you a bullseye, so to speak. But actually sitting down and pinpointing your exact endpoint with a project is very, very difficult.
I want to be recognized for my design. Of course. But how much? By how many people? 6? 66? 600? I don't know. At what point would it feel satisfying. And of course I want to earn money. But how much? Enough for holidays? Of course. Enough to send the kids to college? Of course. And enough to not sweat the bills? Of course! But above that, I don't know. Should I know? Should I actually be able to decide now how much money is enough? And won't I end up spending whatever I make anyway? Probably. So I don't think money is a good indicator. More like chasing your own tail.
So how will I know when I am successful? Here is my first blue print:
I will feel successful when I have enough orders coming in to keep my small shop of people who sew for me busy year-round (except for 6 weeks mandatory vacation.) There. That would feel successful. If I didn't have to check the damn work email all the damn time to see if anything - please, ANYTHING - was happening with my business life. That would feel successful and amazing because I am so sick of it I could gag. And, when I didn't feel like I was a beginner at absolutely every facet of my business life. That would be absolutely more than splendid. Splendiforous. All these are great. But, this week, or month, if I get chosen to be a maker for Madesmith, I would actually feel as if I were moving in the right direction. You know? Like I would be validated as a maker and a designer. Like someone out there, who wasn't my friend, actually thought my goods and my ethics and my hard work were worth something. Like they were important. Like my work was worth investing in. Now that...that would feel like success.
So there you have it. My idea of success. For now. For today. This is a working document. Maybe tomorrow morning I will sit back down with my big cup of tea and write and new draft. Just for tomorrow.