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Sunday, 19 October 2014

It's a beautiful life and it's only getting better

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I was writng a facebook post for my page but it turned in to a chapter, so I decided to post here instead :)

I am feeling very blessed this week as many good things have come my way. A client who bought a box from me after seeing a work in progress photo on my facebook page was so unbelievably kind to me when she received it, posting several facebook messages in various groups and on her status to rave about my boxes and even wrote me a beautiful review on Etsy, which is so good for building customer confidence in my budding store. What an amazing feeling, I am so happy to be able to bring someone so much joy AND pay a bill or two. Talk about getting two birds with one stone!

My Time Fairy business landed its first web related contract out of left field, which is wonderful, as I've been wanting to get a plan together for a while now to offer my services to small businesses. I'm creating or managing all of their social accounts, getting them started by following people, redesigning the website (it's a plug and play website - I don't write code!), reviewing and editing all texts and store listings and finally connecting all of these lovely sites together with uniform branding and all of the necessary widgets. 

That would be a really long title for a service, but I'm still not sure what to call it. Creating a web presence? Branding? Your suggestions are more than welcome!

I probably didn't charge her enough, but I don't mind because it's great experience and I really want to do a great job and keep it affordable so I stay accessible to micro businesses.  I'm at a place where I'm so happy to be reaching some of my goals that I'm not feeling greedy... I just want to spread the success and help others by sharing what I know while still providing a decent life for my family.  

My customer got a bonus logo redesign because my OCD took over and I just had to do it. Again, no matter... It's beautiful and it's professional experience other than creating my own (which I'm very proud of)  which will allow me to point my potential customers towards a product I can also be proud of and generate more business. 

There's more!

My face-painting company "La Fée Licia" landed it's very first major corporate contract for this weekend - I almost fainted from excitement! :)

I needed three to four girls and found them within a few hours through all of the amazing new connections I made this summer. (And one very old connection - a friend from high school I was convinced would be good at this. I finally got her to accept a contract and face her fears and I'm so happy because I was so right and she did as well on her first day as I was doing after a couple of years, and I'm pretty sure she really enjoyed her day to boot. 

Well I mean it pays really well and she got to spend the day with me, what's not to like? Lol! Totally kidding of course, I'm feeling  playful... Can you tell?

I'm touched by how great the girls have been too. I asked them to make sure they painted their own faces and to wear something colourful, making sure they looked like they were part of the animation team, and I was surprised by how into it they got, and how much they wanted to do a good job. It was cold today so pretty fairy princess dresses were out of the question, but I have this vision of an army of fairy princess in my mind and a fantastic contact that has promised me a lot of work. 

And finally... I had a great time today at my contract, the loveliest of evenings so far with my family and have my first art fair of the season tomorrow. I'm very excited to show off my new collections. My jewelry has taken a step-up since last year and my boxes are pretty in pictures, but simply beautiful and intriguing in person. The effects of the mica changing colours with the light are impossible to capture!  

I have never been this confident in my own creations and think (hope) it will show tomorrow and it will be much easier for me to talk to my customers, as I feel more sure of my product and even my prices since I started running everything through a standardized price calculator I made myself. 

I've always sort of believed in myself, but now I'm starting to really believe in myself, and believe that my dream life is accessible. I don't necessarily want to be wealthy (though it would be nice to have enough to live well and spread the love.) I just want to make enough to maintain the life that I have, and maybe a touch more so that I can get the kids into extra curricular activities and afford a few luxuries. You know, like dentists. lol

When I found out I was losing my position in my so-called cushy job, my first reaction was to be upset. (I guess that used be my first reaction to a lot of things but anywho)

Then I remembered how much I hated the job in the first place and realized what a blessing this was. I had options, and one of them was a decent severance package, so I decided to take the money and run. I said "I'll take all of my talents and combine them to make a living!"

I have been working 12, 14,16 and even a couple of 20 hour days over the past few months. I've neglecting my kids and other relationships, (not to mention myself) but I'm seeing results and I'm elated that my dreams are all within arms reach. I'll rest later.

I'm very lucky to have very strong relationships with people who understand that I love them just as much and are patiently waiting in the background as they root for me and do what they can to help me reach my goals. 

As for the kids, I still make sure to get my story time with them every night. A minimum of fifteen straight minutes (often they stretch that to more like thirty) of my undivided attention. 

Just the three of us, quietly cuddled up in bed.  It is still the highlight of my day, and a constant reminder of what I'm working for. They have voiced their displeasure over the lack of attention, but I've taken the time to explain what I'm doing and that sometimes you have to make huge sacrifices in order to reach our goals. We are losing time together now but building towards a better life and more quality time.  In a couple of years, we'll be in a good place, and I'll be content, making a decent living through my various ventures, helping or bringing joy (or both!) to people along the way and continuing to live a life that may not be perfect, but that I'm finally generally happy in. 

Nothing will bring me peace of mind like the certainty that I will never have to accept a boring, mind numbing office job again. 

Artists and routines just don't mix, and I have never felt better than since I stopped trying to make myself fit in that box just because it was the safest choice, the most possible money and best benefits...

Money and benefits don't do squat for you when you're slowly dying inside!

When I step back and take a look at where I was and where I'm at, there are no words. 

It's like I was a completely different person and even I don't recognize her. Heck, it's hard to remember being her. It's been such a long journey but I realize every day that someone up there is on my side and wants to see me succeed. 

I have been sent so many absolute Angels on my path over the past few years, and even my customers are amazing, kind, patient and understanding.  They make me ashamed of how ungenerous I have been in the past in my judgement of businesses and my lack of empathy... and it's not quite the term I want to use but the "sense of entitlement" I've displayed in the past.

All of these people (clients, colleagues, new friends whether online or in person) along with my wonderful friends and family have me feeling like the luckiest girl on earth and like I can do absolutely anything I set my mind on. 

There have been many obstacles, and I've had to rethink the plan a few times, but I continue to think of news ways to generate income and push my three businesses to succeed and I know that if I just keep swimming, I'm going to get where I'm going. 

Thanks for reading, I'd really love to hear your thoughts. You don't need to have a google account or sign in to anything to leave a comment, you can leave it as anonymous (do include your name and website if your have one and want to, I'd love to check it out!)

Thanking the heavens and all the kind helper angels here and up above who have been helping me create this wonderful, seemingly charmed life. Wishing you all so much love and happiness xxoo 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Made in Quebec: Spotlight on Audrey Boucher

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Quebec is a beautiful province, and the culture here is unique and rich with talent, which is why I've decided to create this weekly column showcasing some of Quebec's most talented artisans. 

For our very first instalment, we will be focusing our spotlight on Audrey Boucher (born Caron.)  She is a 26 year old wife and mother of two "tornadoes" as she calls them (at ages 3 and 8 months, I can believe it!)

She is also the proud owner of Folie Plastic, where she offers all kinds of items for babies and tots, and has even started creating for women as well. As she puts it: "mothers deserve to be spoiled too!" You'll find unique bibs, blankets, bags and much more in her shop.

Audrey's designs have grown to include gifts for mom too :)
When asked what motivated her to start her own business, she tells me it all started when she was pregnant with her oldest.  She could never find baby products that lived up to her expectations. She was looking for a mix of natural and ecological materials, but with a funkier, edgier style. Since she couldn't find what she was looking for, she whipped out her sewing machine and started making the items herself.

Beautiful pumpkin embroidered bib
"But why Folie Plastic?" She laughs and tells me she was "plastic Berta" when she played roller derby, so she just added a little "craziness" and Folie Plastic was born. Her slogan is in french, but loosely translated, it's "unique and fun creations for babies and mommas that rock".
It's important as a seamstress to offer something unique, as it can be hard to stand out in a crowd, but Audrey has found a way to do so by offering different mixes of organic, natural and ecological materials. She also uses bold fabrics and colours that speak to the edgy, stylish mom. She's recently even purchased an embroidery machine, so she can offer even more personalized items, which is one of the shop's strengths.  She started designing and making her own items in the spring of 2011 and a few friends wanted to order. Then a few more, and it just snowballed until she decided to start a Facebook page and went public the same year. She had been working at it part time until recently in September when she quit her day job to concentrate on her growing business. 

My personal work space is my oasis, so I always wonder what other people's studios or work-spaces look like.  When asked about hers, Audrey bursts out laughing "it looks like a war zone!"  She's had several shows in a short time, has several orders and a new collection to prepare... She admits the studio could use a little cleaning, but it looks amazing in the pic she sent me. 
I asked her to tell me about her process, I wanted to know what inspires her, how and where it all begins... She says her kids inspire a lot of her products, so I would say the old adage "necessity is the mother of all invention" applies here!  She mentions she also gets inpired by materials and prints.  When she falls in love with the colours, texture, print... Inspiration just follows: music in her ears and material running through her fingertips...

Organized and efficient, she hasn't had too many blunders with the business.  She says her worst mistake was leaving to send a package and forgetting it on the table. Not bad, considering that sounds like something I do daily! The worst thing that's happened to her since starting the business was uncovering a case of plagiarism. Finding her own photos, right down to the descriptions and her own slogan on another person's website!  She wrote to the person and they took it down, but they never even responded. She felt hurt by the lack of respect for artisan's work. As she says "we put our hearts and souls into our creations, and we grow attached to them, it's so hurtful that someone would just steal them and pass them off as their own!"
Audrey Boucher owner of folie plastic
Audrey being silly
She seems very happy with her life, you can sense a quiet contentment emanating from her. She says almost every morning is a magical moment, when she sees her three "dudes" faces.  That their smiles are her biggest source of joy. 

As an artist, her favorite moments are when she receives postive feedback from her customers. She feels so proud and it's always a source of great joy. It feeds her passion and pushes her to keep going. She mentions that the first few times she or her products were recognized were very exciting too. I believe it, I thought it was really cool when she mentioned she already knew my blog (I'm semi famous! - not!)
Amazing work embroidering this beautiful dear
Bad luck isn't going to stop this baaad mamma, no way! On the way to her very first fair, already as stressed as anyone who's ever done a first fair would be, the car broke down, filled to the brim with her stock. She made it there in one piece and a little rattled but enjoyed herself very much. She decided to return this year and got hit by another car on her way there! She laughs it off and says you know what? If I'm accepted again next year, I'm still going. 

That's right Audrey. You just keep on trucking. You're well on your way to making it to the "top" you see yourself at in five years.

I had only two last questions for her before we ended our conversation:
What's your wildest dream? "To sell to a celebrity!" 
And your worst nightmare? "That my kids lose their creativity as they get older!"
Bah, with an artist as a momma, I don't see that happening anytime soon!

Thank you so much for your time Audrey! Be sure to check her out, show her some love by following her or ordering from her shop. Perhaps an early Christmas present?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Hey, It's my Birdthday! (Again?!)

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It's that time of year again...

This year for my birthday, I'd love to hear a few ka-chings coming from my Etsy app (it's their notification sound that you've just made a sale)

I've been extremely busy lately, working double and triple time to get the shop going and get myself ready for the three fairs I've got coming up.

It may feel like it's still early to be thinking about Christmas shopping, but now would be a great time to pick up some amazing presents for the whole family!  

Ask me for a custom order, and get something personalized, making for a beautiful gift the person knows you put real thought into! Plus you'll have the added bonus of knowing your money went to supporting a small family business rather than a big corporation!

A keychain with their name in letter beads, a special unique gift for a teenager

A jewelry trinket box for someone special (I'm making one now with a jeep and a tree on top)

Jewelry for the stylish woman.

Art prints that you can frame yourself. 

Really the sky's the limit, so don't be shy if you have something in mind!

Both shops are on sale with 20% your purchase of 15$ or more with coupon code BDAYSURPRISE 

Hope to be seeing you on etsy! and