Friday, 16 March 2012

Creative Conundrum

At the end of an extremely long week where I have spent all my waking hours devoted to growing White Poppy as a business, I am feeling completely done in. If someone had told me at the beginning of all of this that I would be working 12 - 13 hour days sewing, promoting, discussing business ideas with my sister...sometimes having some fairly 'robust' conversations about the direction we are currently heading in...I probably would have run a mile. Well, actually, I probably wouldn't have because all of that time spent has been my choice, but there is no denying that starting out a little business like ours is heaps of hard work. And there isn't always reward at the end of that. In fact, at the moment, our true (and only) reward is just to see beautifully-finished, handmade items that we have produced ourselves, cutting every piece of fabric, stitching every petal, shaping every bow - you get the idea. At this point at least, the rewards are certainly not financial! It is such a feeling of accomplishment to put the finishing touches to a piece of hair couture that might one day be worn by a girl on the most important day of her life, or might even be worn by a girl on the most ordinary of days, but a day that feels special because she is looking gorgeous and rocking one of our handmade hair accessories. That is always the hope. The fear for both of us is that we have spent hours designing and creating a thing of beauty that is then going to sit in a box, never to be purchased or loved by any girl other than ourselves. It eventually gets to the point where, like today, I sit and wonder what on earth I have signed up for with all of this. I look at my work table, which is currently covered in bits of Russian veiling that I cannot seem to shape into the design that I have in my head for a really stunning little bow embellishment for a vintage cocktail hat - instead it seems insistent that it wants to curl itself up into a shape resembling an empty onion bag - and I ask myself if I have the chutzpah to keep going with this long term. For now, we are still in the honeymoon period of the business where everything should be nice, shiny, new and exciting and it still is, to some extent, but we have only made three sales so far. Promoting the business is hard work too; we have only 20 likes on our Facebook page, no followers on our blog (this feels like my personal diary now, rather than a public avenue for discussing our wedding concepts), and we are feeling a little like a very minuscule needle in the haystack that is the internet-based home business world. So I am facing a creative conundrum; do I pick myself up, brush myself off and keep plugging away at a venture that seems doomed to obscurity and, perhaps ultimately failure? Or do I try to head in a completely different direction altogether? I have toyed with the idea of actually selling some of our work at local artists markets. It would at least be a litmus test of our potential buyers' tastes and interests...if I sit there for hours at a stall and no-one even comes up to have a look at our creations, then I guess I would know that I was on the wrong track. Do you think we have given ourselves enough time to at least get a feel for how our business will perform as a simple online concern? Or do you think we need to give things more time? Sending my questions out there to our hypothetical readers... Hoping for a little love, laughter and happily ever after for White Poppy, Michelle

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