Last year was the busiest, most milestone-filled time of my life. In the spring, with the help of an online class with life coach Jen Mazer, I clarified and wrote my goals for Finely Crafted and my personal path. As soon as I made a plan and defined what success would look like for me, the world started presenting synchronicities and opening up doors. For example, I met celebrity designer/blogger Emily Henderson, whom I had named as an ideal mentor in the class. At Paris on Ponce I bumped into two bloggers who then wrote about my shop, kickstarting the publicity I envisioned. I wished for a sunny workspace and stronger female friendships, and voila! In November I began sharing a light-soaked studio with the women of the Indie Craft Experience and Dashboard Co-op.
I have to be honest, though, about the double-edged sword of growth. Stretching in new directions is always painful, especially for introverts. I’m shy and nervous, feeling much more comfortable chasing dreams behind my laptop than out in the world. I cried and ruined my eye makeup right before I met artist Leah Duncan in Brooklyn because I was terrified, even though we’d been collaborating by e-mail for months. I didn’t sleep well for long stretches in 2013, and I often felt overworked, irritable, and anxious. Finding a better balance of work, relationships, and health is a top priority this year!
And now, from the comfort of my bed (getting more rest already, yay!), I’ve curated Finely Crafted’s biggest moments of 2013:
I collaborated with four artists
In an effort to try out my art direction legs and create unique products for the Finely Crafted shop, I co-designed home decor and jewelry with four artists around the country. I made a succulent print series with Leah Duncan, tribal-modern brass jewelry with Telle Lefler of Is Was & Will Be, lighting-inspired wood jewelry with Kristen Shearon of Havok Designs, and screen-printed kids’ pillows inspired by vintage planters with Laura Cherry of Laure Designs.
I met a design idol
Right after I finished my class, I saw that LA designer Emily Henderson (star of Secrets from a Stylist) would be making a presentation on “tabletops that pop” at AmericasMart here in Atlanta. In an assignment, Emily was one of three professionals I picked who, in a perfect world, would be my mentor. I put on my big girl pants and went to the Mart, then waited in line to introduce myself after her charming slideshow. We got along well and chatted for about 10 minutes! You can read more about that big day here.
I hired a helper
I ran into art history student Magen at my friend’s graphic design studio. She was looking for part-time work and eager to learn about arts and crafts as a profession. I snatched her up to help me keep the shop tidy, ship orders, and wait on customers at craft shows. She makes a sassy jewelry model, too!
I launched an online store
In October I began selling much of my “real” store merch on shop.finelycrafted.net. In my class, I dreamed up a virtual storefront that looks like a modern, western home I’d love to inhabit. My brother-in-law, Seth Kelly of Helmet Studio, patiently turned my pencil scratchings into digital reality. I’ve been working hard to wield all the design and commerce tools that come with the territory — Shopify, Photoshop, Mail Chimp, Instagram, Facebook — a tall order for a tech-challenged gal!
I got some media coverage
Five blogs featured my shop last year, and I had a photo essay about my Lustron home published in Atomic Ranch magazine! I’m so grateful that Tide & Bloom, Sweet Peach, Bloesem Kids, A Vintage Splendor, and thekitchn.com found me newsworthy!
I got a new workspace
After working mostly alone for 13 years, I’m now sharing a sunny studio in Candler Park with my friends Christy Petterson (left) and Shannon Mulkey (2nd from left) of the Indie Craft Experience, and Beth Malone (right) of Dashboard Co-op. Tracy Wagner from Tweet Design will be joining us soon. It’s a pleasant place for me to store extra inventory, ship orders, and photograph products, all while chatting with fun, likeminded women! At our upcoming potluck, we’re going to brainstorm ideas for using the space — hosting classes, event rental, etc. — so stay tuned for announcements!