A couple of week's ago I posted about The Design Trust's monthly challenge to get creative businesspeople thinking about how they run their business. On 1st February this month's prompt was posted and I've been working on my response since then. It's a bit of a doozy, divided into two parts, so I decided to split my answer into two posts. The first part of the challenge asks:
More specifically Patricia asked us to spell out our 15 WHY's -- why we are working for ourselves, why are we a creative, why are we a designer/maker, etc. I've decided to split my "Why's" into three categories: personal, practical and soulful.
1. I want to run my business so that I can stay home and raise my son. I want to grow the business and earn some money for the family, but understand that the growth will be controlled and I don’t want to take on more than I can handle while still giving him the attention that he needs.
2. I LOVE letterpress printing because I get to use many different aspects of my creativity (messing with the machinery, computer designing, troubleshooting the press to get the best results)
3. Why am I a sole trader? Before my husband and I moved to the UK I was working in an office, as a legal assistant at a large law firm. They paid me fairly well to be a paper shuffler, but I dreaded going into work every day. When we moved I wanted to find a way to make a bit of money without going into an office and working for somebody else. I'm so lucky and grateful for the support of my husband in this endeavor.
4. Creating in all its forms (be it cooking, knitting, doing home DIY or printing) is a wonderful outlet and I feel most like myself when I have the time to work on projects.
5. I loved getting married but the planning was not the most fun. I want to be a practical wedding vendor who makes the invitation process as easy as possible for the couples that I work with.
6. I love making beautiful things but projects that take ages to get a final result start to bore me and I rarely finish them. With letterpress printing, the results come as soon as the inked plate meets the paper.
7. I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things that I make. With projects like sewing or knitting that results in lots of frogging or seam ripping. With printing, I am able to make small adjustments while printing and most of the time I end up with a result that I am happy with.
8. For practical reasons, I decided I wanted to start my creative business as a letterpress printer (as opposed to other crafts I enjoy) because there is a market for fine printing of wedding stationery that I hope to tap into.
9. Another practical reason I chose letterpress printing is that with I was worried that I would get very tired creating the same product over and over again (if it was something like sewing handbags). With printing, even though the process is essentially the same, the final product is so different it makes it exciting to print every time.
10. The UK letterpress market isn’t as saturated as the US market so when we moved over here I saw a good opportunity to get myself into an emerging market.
11. As mentioned in point #3 above, I worked in an office for 9 years after graduating from University and every day doing uninspiring office work made me feel like I was dying a little more inside. There are, of course, many aspects of running a business that don't feed the soul (hello TAXES!) but the creative side of things balances out the boring admin parts.
12. Being a creative is in my blood -- I've ALWAYS been a crafter, I grew up watching my dad run his own custom furniture biz, and since I was a small child every gift from my Aunt (my dad's sister) included craft supplies because she is also an avid crafter. I've run the gamut of craft and love all of them -- sewing, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, oil painting. I just can't help but create and I'm happy now that I've found something that I can (hopefully) earn a living from.
13. I want to work with people that appreciate the things that I make and understand the value of handmade.
14. I want to spread the joy of letterpress so the technique doesn’t die out... Letterpresses stopped being commercially made over 50 years ago and if people don’t rescue and use these beautiful old machines (my big press is from the 1890’s!) they will disappear.
15. I want to succeed so that I can finally believe in my creativity. Pshew! Well, it's taken me almost three weeks to get through the first part of the challenge so I better get a move on for part 2. It's shorter but probably the more difficult part of the challenge so I hope I'll be able to get it up before the end of the month! Wish me luck!