Okay, we are now officially heading into a depression rather than a recession, it's going to be harder running any business (though as you know I think smaller businesses may have the advantage of being able to respond quickly) and we're all going to have to:
- Market harder
Come up with new products that are desirable and affordable
Work on keeping customers
Be prepared to put in more hours
and it's all going to be demanding and at times draining.
BUT - in the midst of all this, please remember that you're running (or starting) a creative business because this is what you want to do.
Years ago, I allowed my design consultancy in London to become nothing but a burden. I worried about it constantly, it felt like a weight on my shoulders and if at any moment I wasn't over-worked, exhausted, flu-ridden and miserable I felt it just showed I wasn't working hard enough. I suppose this attitude showed a lack of real confidence - or maybe I just didn't really want to run a corporate design consultancy, however successful. Maybe I wanted to design - which is not the same thing.
This time around, I love what we are doing with Baba Studio. This autumn/winter I am hugely enjoying getting all the new designs ready for next year. I sat the other day blissfully going through old Bohemian folk ribbons with a new idea in mind. I refused to be dismayed when I realised that one large bale of silk I bought on the internet has a gold medalion pattern that's too large scale to be used - they will make fabulous curtains and perhaps a party skirt for me. I didn't get flustered by the saga of two large parcels (one to us, one from us) that were both sent "express" and both got delayed - it all worked out.
However hard it gets, don't lose the love for what you do, and the enjoyment in building it. Take some time out to revel in your materials and tools, whatever they are, to take pride in your skills, to indulge in the most sensual and affirming parts of your craft/art/artisanship and generally to keep in touch with why you decided to do this in the first place.
Today I plan - slightly irresponsibly - to spend a bit of this afternoon away from emails and postage and invoices (which make up most of this time of the year - in spite of recession) doing some design. The kind of design I really like, that feels good to do, and that makes me happy.
Oh - and the picture is, by the way, Alex wearing an old Bohemian folk costume (kroj) hat - that hat is pure joy.