New Year, New Calm

"So, how's business?" This is the question I get asked most often from everyone I meet, from acquaintances I run into on the street to family or friends I see regularly. I'm not sure if it's genuine interest or just a crutch in an awkward conversation, probably a bit of both, but I'm not here to talk about the reasons behind the question, but rather to get real about the answer.

In all honesty, 2013 was slow. Very slow. Sure, in the first few months of the year, my answer would have been "sooo busy", because I was preparing for the One of A Kind Show. And, yes, that experience was all kinds of crazy and interesting and fun, but I was expecting the aftermath to be entirely different than how it turned out. I was expecting a sizeable jump in sales and opportunities, but that couldn't have been farther from the truth.

Now here's the kicker — I kind of loved it.

Slow sales usually hit me more personally than they should, but this time was different. Before Mikey J could compose his tried and true "think positive" speech, I had already put an end to the wallowing and chosen to look at the downtime as an opportunity, a chance to slow down and do some of the things I usually don't have time to do. So, I spent the summer training for a half marathon, teaching myself how to quilt, taking an intensive course on wholesale business, and breaking my 10-year hiatus from garment sewing. Oh and I took a 4-week vacation to Eastern Europe without a lick of guilt. Not bad. Living the dream, some might say.

I loved my new pace so much that I found myself rethinking and analyzing everything about how I run my business and my life for the last 6 months. Heavily influenced by Danielle Laporte's The Fire Starter Sessions, posts like this from Braid Creative, and an illuminating essay by Schirin R. Oeding, I realized that the underlying question I need to be asking myself is not how many new products I need to produce or how many figures I want to bring in, but how do I want to feel? The answer to that question became clearer and clearer as the year passed: serenity, peace, ease, calm.

I remember reading an exercise once that instructed you to think about someone you envy and, more particularly, why you envy that person. At the time, I couldn't really pinpoint anyone. But then one day last Fall it hit me. Obviously I'm not going to share with you the person I was thinking of, but I'll just say this, every time I see this woman, she just seems so put together, content and, above all, calm. There was a time when her presence would drive me into an aggressively jealous rage: Why can't I be more like her? What's her secret? After my blissful summer hiatus, I began thinking of this woman again and realized there was nothing holding me back from being every inch as calm and content as her. There's no secret. I just have to shift my perspective and my priorities. Be the calm you see in the world?

Obviously I know this is much easier said than done. I mean, how I'm going to stay calm while planning a wedding, I'm not so sure. But maybe that's not the point. Maybe the point is just that I'm going to try. You know how you crave vegetables when your body is low in nutrients? Perhaps this is the same thing — I'm craving calm because I need it now more than ever.

What does all this mean for Dear Edna? First off, I want to stress that Dear Edna isn't going anywhere. I still love sewing, love having a business, and love blogging. What I don't love is never feeling like enough and always pushing for something bigger that I, quite frankly, might not even want. Bigger isn't necessarily better. So, I'm letting all of that go. I'm scaling down, rather than up. I'm going back to my roots, to where Dear Edna started, with slower processes, limited product runs, and hopefully an overall more pleasurable and passionate experience for both me and you!

All that being said, I still have a lot of ambitious plans for Dear Edna in 2014, including a huge inventory purge, new aprons for both men and women, and hopefully some limited edition items like dressing gowns, pillows, and quilts! I plan on sewing a lot more personal projects this year too. It's going to be fun! Keep watching facebook, twitter and instagram to be the first in line when it all happens.

Thanks for listening!

E xo


the corbett kid. said...

sometimes brainstorming thoughts, feelings into words can help clear the mind. as difficult as this was for you to write, i'm hoping your calm washes over you.

i'm feeling a little bit lost, since this year started and perhaps writing it all down well, maybe that will help me out too.

thank you for writing this erin!

De Facto Redhead said...

Edna! I'm glad you found the words to put your feelings down "on paper," and I'm sure all of your readers can relate to the need for a little more calm in their lives. I can't wait for a new year of Dear-Edna-skillz, Dear-Edna-gets-"Maui'ed", and Dear Edna, one my very best crones.

De Facto Redhead said...

P.S. Is it zen to point out my own omission of the word "of" between "one" and "my"?