Sunday, April 27, 2014

Who Am I? Why Am I Doing This? Do I Even Want To Do This?

I don't like blogging.  I shouldn't say that.  I don't like blogging when I feel like I'm not connecting to anyone.  I don't like doing things that don't impact others.  That's something I've always loved to do.  I have always had a desire to make an impact.  Something.  Whether it was in a dance performance on stage, whether I'm teaching a student, writing a birthday card, or cooking a meal, I want you (yes you!) to walk away with more.

So when I started West Coast Leslie Designs, I just knew I wanted to make things.  I wanted to make things that other people liked as much as I did.  I loved the feeling of wrapping up in a big cozy scarf, that encircled me and made me feel warm, safe, happy, and felt like home.  (ah that concept of "home"!  It's maybe the best thing ever-to feel at home).  So I started making scarves, and selling a few scarves; to an Aunty, to a former student's parent.  Then I thought, well I could really do this. So I made more.  I applied to 1 (ONE!) craft fair, I got in, I started my Facebook page (it was slow-it's still slow), someone saw it and asked to sell my stuff in their store.  At the same time a really good friend of mine started a VERY similar business to mine (albeit in a TOTALLY different geographical area, but an area I still had strong ties to), and she started a Facebook page and she starting selling her items.  WHOA! Talk about a major self esteem blow.  When I looked at what she was doing all I could think was "she has a better name than I do, a better logo, better merchandise, better prices", and it seemed (to me) that she was WAY more successful than I was. 

All the while I kept making and feeling the pressure to be "legit".  A pressure I put on myself, a pressure that was being fed by comparing myself.  I felt like I couldn't make an impact unless I seemed credible.  People wouldn't accept me and my brand if I didn't have a business card.  People wouldn't purchase from me if I did have a website; an online store.  

So I rushed. I'll spare you the gory details (e.g. buying things, then having to call the web company to ask for a refund as I was NEVER going to learn how to use WordPress). I jumped in-DIVED in really (that's how I roll-no time to think, I have an iDEA! LOL) And now I feel the need to step back. Do I love the name West Coast Leslie Designs? (well that Leslie part is kinda cool, but it sure is LOOOOOOONG, especially if I hand write all my tags) Does a vintage looking silhouette represent my brand?  What the hell is my brand?  How do I find out what my brand is without shelling out thousands of dollars to people who claim to know all about online marketing and strategy (ps if you've spent any decent amount of time working in retail, you already know A LOT of it!)  I love coral as a colour, but does it have the long term appeal I'm looking for.  Will this font last the test of time, or am I going to have to re-brand myself in 2-3 years?  It's daunting and scary, and I look at people on the web I admire and feel bad about myself because (I feel) I'm not making the impact that they are.  I read the copy (that I wrote) on my website and think "Who wrote this? This feels fake-that's not how I talk. I think some of these things, but not all of them." I look at my website and wonder if it represents who I am, what I want for others, and what I can offer you! 

I think for many of us (online, blogger types, crafty types) we look for how we can make a difference.  We want to make a difference.  Our souls crave to make a difference, even if just in a couple of people.  And that's what I'm going to try to do.  So don't mind me, the gal in the corner over thinking EVERYTHING but also trying to go with her gut, with her intuition.  Being genuine about myself and what I do.  

1 comment:

Shannon Molnar said...

Omigosh! I'm a fellow market-vendor in Chilliwack and I totally know how you feel! It is SO EASY to get overwhelmed trying to feel 'legit.'

I can relate to those worries that nobody with buy your goodies if you don't have a pretty website or branding that that other company does. Since we really just started in November, I'm quickly learning the importance of building great uplifting relationships with other non-related vendors because it helps to remove the pressure that we put on ourselves. At the end of the day, we are all on our own journeys and I think we all need to be there for each other to remind us why we started it in the first place! We should connect sometime! Shan.molnar@gmail.com