Just like this blog, the creative business goal is ever-evolving and taking on a life of it's own. The planning and development stages can become overwhelming and at times disheartening when one realizes that it can't all be done as quickly as I had hoped. At times I want to focus on the creative design and construction aspects and then I remember I need to consider a new bank account for the business which swiftly moves into a realization that I hadn't even considered packaging, labeling, or shipping. No new blog posts for over a week and what happened to my usual thoughts of deep Spring housecleaning? Do I have everything ready for work tomorrow? Which office location am I am going to? Is my 9 am meeting tomorrow? So many directions and so many distractions. It was time to reign in all of the swirling thoughts and just breathe....
I started Blue Cupboard for the love of all things vintage, worn, chipped, frayed, and rusty. I would rather have an old tin cup versus a crystal champagne flute. An old sugar sack versus fine linen. Well worn jeans versus a tailored skirt. Just writing this makes my mind relax and fall into a contented state. It is really amazing when you reach a stage in your life when you know what you like, are, and love. No justifying or explaining, just "being". This is what Blue Cupboard is all about. A piece of life that is comfortable and familiar. A simple treasure that you touch each day and welcome the familiarity of its being. A useful item that exceeds expectations in its longevity and function. No batteries to replace or software to update or a recharge needed. Just basic utilitarian usefulness.....I like the way that sounds, utilitarian usefulness. Perfect.
Blue Cupboard is what I would describe as a "daily dry goods" line. It was hard to narrow down all of the collection pieces I envisioned as the line grew and yet did know there were two GIVENS in the line:
- The best construction and most well made item I could produce
- Made from honest, hard working, tried and true, and familiar fabrics.
There was a moment when I completed a mitered corner on the Blue Cupboard kitchen towel. It was lovely. The edges matched and hems lined up. It was at that moment I just knew I wanted to make many many more mitered corners and make them on something that would last a long long time. A timeless style that equated to completely useful. That one favorite item you just can't bear to throw out after many years of use. It may be ripped, stained, or worn thread-bare but you just can't make it to the trash. We all have one or several of those. They just stick with us and that is perfectly fine.
With each passing day, the Blue Cupboard vision becomes more and more real. The ideas are fluid, the quality is the best this human can produce, and the volume is limited. Blue Cupboard is made completely, 100% top to bottom, by me. No helper elves in my studio (although at times I wish there were), no one to clean up my creative space when the day is done, and no one demanding I meet certain quantity goals. Just me creating for you. One wonderful piece at a time.
A limited edition Blue Cupboard original.
Once I decided on the business name, the initial collection pieces, and the prototypes were created. I developed a simple fabric logo tag which I shared in a previous post and plan to stitch to each item. A couple of fun buying trips searching for fabrics was next. Blue Cupboard is what I would call natural fabrics and must be 100% cotton (denim, ticking, and canvas). A sturdy fabric that is easy to care for and one that is not afraid to tackle a spaghetti mess or to wipe chocolate from a child's face.
I have ordered another batch of Blue Cupboard stitched labels and found a wonderful source for fabrics. My sewing machine is handling the sturdy fabric layers with ease and the item pattern dimensions are finalized. Production is underway and moving smoothly.
During a recent chat with Michele at Hello Lovely Studio (a GOREGOUS blog that you must visit) the subject of business cards came up. This got me to thinking about the presentation and packaging. As I looked over the many many sites offering business cards and putting together samples from their templates, there didn't seem to be "the One" that fit the vision. Either they were too modern and sleek or didn't have the right blue color or the layout looked wrong. Again, back to brain clutter with trying to imagine what the finished card should look like. In typical JoanMarie fashion, I took the thoughts to bed with me and just as I was falling asleep, the idea hit me and I jumped out of bed, ran to the computer, and found exactly what I was looking for. In Blue Cupboard style, the business cards are unique and individually written for a personal touch. A photo shoot of the packaging is on the way as I move closer to the next steps.
I could share the process I used for a business plan (shhhh....there isn't one....) or the layout of the colors, fonts, and logos for marketing (wait....oops, these are all in my head) but that makes Blue Cupboard feel foreign to me. I am a SMALL business starting without extra funding or consultants. To me, it was vital to create the foundation in a manner that felt comfortable. Some may think it a mistake not having these plans at this time but I found that by trying to complete those took me away from the spot I needed to start and that was the creating. The administrative components will come together when the time is right and right now, I want to make sure what I am designing is "right". I want a business plan to meet the needs of the designs and not the other way around. Possibly an ignorant way to look at starting a new business but then again, when everyone is walking to the right, I just have to see what is in the "left". It is with that theory that I feel Blue Cupboard will be a fresh and welcome addition to the world.
Are you dreaming of creating a business or design that is all yours? Do you get befuddled by the enormous amount of "do this" or you won't succeed information? I say this to you....just breathe.....create....and as you admire....breathe again.
Let me know your thoughts and if a brainstorming session to wrangle your ideas together is needed, I'm your girl!
Wishing each of you lovely Spring days and a bunch of sunshine!