Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Next Step: Expanding Vision, Narrowing Focus

After my last post, where I laid claim to and named my own personal style, (and by the way, many heartfelt thanks to each of you... your support and enthusiasm greatly touched me) I started seriously thinking more about what comes next... expanding my vision of what I would like to do, and where I might like to go with the idea of 'Rural Retro'.


(Note: Nothing has to come next... my restless nature simply wants to go explore!)

After thinking of areas in which I could expand, I began to hone in on the specifics of each of those areas... narrowing my focus, breaking down the various steps.

I have a lot of ideas on expansion, but if any are to become reality, then I must go step by step and follow a path that makes sense to me.


One area of expansion would be building a line of products, (of which I am in the very early stages of creating and developing) and finding a venue to market them.

Now, seeing as I am already on Etsy and fairly comfortable there, the logical first step for me would be to open another Etsy shop, this one geared specifically to selling handmade items, (and possible some vintage items as well) all keeping with my vision of Rural Retro esthetics. (I am still keeping my Silly BooDilly shop, and will continue to sell artwork there, as not everything I do would fit into this new and more tightly focused venue... for as much as I like a tight focus, I also like room to roam when the mood strikes!)


You know, when I opened Silly BooDilly, I really just closed my eyes and jumped. It's always been a happy pool for me to swim around in and explore and I want it to stay that way.

But I have a clear focus and a specific aim in opening this other shop. I feel the need to have it separate. So with eyes wide open, I am now engaging in thought out actions, which include...

~ Conceptualizing various collections and defining what the look of each collection will be, and how they will fit into the overall theme of Rural Retro.

~ Gathering the raw materials.

~ Construction.

~ Photography.

~ Marketing and branding, which includes building the new Etsy shop, (everything from naming the shop, creating a banner, designating sections, writing shop announcements, profile and policy pages, and listing items for sale) along with creating business cards, logo, by-lines, packaging, etc. As well as deciding if I want a separate blog/website, (me thinks I would choose a blog for ease of use and simply have it function more as a website then a typical blog) and various ways to promote.


Whew. Of course, most all of these steps are a continually ongoing process, and in all truth I have second thoughts each day about if I really want to take this on... and upon reflection the answer keeps coming up, "yes" because it's really just one more act of conceptualizing and creating, and that's what keeps me excited!


Please bear with me over the next few weeks, as my posting may be on the extra sparse side while I focus on getting the new Etsy shop up and running. (I will of course let you know when it opens!) However, please make sure to stop back on Nov. 11th as I will be participating in a fun blog tour and offering a great giveaway!

And last but not least... if you are feeling a bit stuck and not exactly sure how to go from the beginning stage of learning the ins and outs of sewing/quilting, (or whatever medium you choose to express yourself in) towards moving forward into discovering your own creative voice, I happened to write a post on this very subject over at Whip Up, where I had the pleasure of being a guest blogger last week. You can find a few tips and self exploring questions to ask yourself... your answers will hopefully help to point you in the direction your heart may truly wish to go. xo

29 comments:

XUE said...

How exciting, Vic & how fun to be creating not only the sewn work but the whole range of marketing products. So lucky that you are a fab graphic designer too. Congratulations!

Kathryn said...

I love how you're sharing your thought process about the evolution of your work. It's fascinating to read and learn from you. And of course, so exciting to see what you'll be selling in the new shop. I look forward to the new development!

Candied Fabrics said...

This is very exciting! I can not WAIT to see where this leads you!

Hoola Tallulah said...

Exicting times, looking forward to seeing more :)

Stephanie said...

Best of luck with your new venture.

Esch House Quilts said...

How exciting! Good for you for taking the time (and energy) to sit down and think through where you are going with this direction. I can't wait to see how Rural Retro evolves!

Penny Berens said...

Oh, yes, you have definitely found the right path. Very nice. Lots of luck.

Kit Lang said...

this will be fun (and I daresay) educational to watch! :)

Jackie Russell said...

Congratulations on your new venture!

connie said...

What fun! I admire your thoughtful post and the incredibly thoughtful process you use in creating your art. You are a constant source of inspiration. I am so scattered right now... Maybe someday I too can get some focus.

Good luck on the creation of your new shop.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Fascinating to watch from the sidelines ... enjoy your journey!!

Clare Wassermann said...

Go for it - you are having a vision - use it xx

Nina Lise Moen said...

I'm looking forward to see where Rural Retro takes you. Hope you'll enjoy the ride getting there!

Diane J. Evans said...

So glad you're jumping in feet first -- the Nike company would be so proud of you ("Just Do It"). Can't wait to see what you'll create -- it's always wonderfully artistic and inspiring. Here's wishing you the Best of Everything!

Diane

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Look forward to seeing the big reveal! What an exciting time...I wish you every success!!!

brand-eye said...

I'm excited to see what your new shop looks like, it'll be fabulous I'm sure.

Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

Oh so very cool Victoria, good for you. Can't wait to see. Love that pincushion! xox Corrine

Nina said...

This is very interesting. I'd love to know more about how you feel artistry and commercialism interact - and I'm glad you're not narrowing down everything you do to fit the brand!

Victoria said...

Thanks for all of your support!

Nina, good thought provoking question, thank you for asking. I think it's very important for artistry to interact with commercialism, as long as the artistry side stays strong and doesn't give in to the temptation of fast paced production over quality and good design.

It seems to me that we use to live in a world where this marriage was more common... craftsmanship and design was highly prized. Just compare how well an older home was designed and constructed to a newer home built in the last couple of decades. I've lived in homes built over 100 years ago, homes built in the 1960's, and homes built in the last 20 years, and I can tell you that while things may look lovely on the surface of all three periods of home building, the underlying quality and craftsmanship of the home built in the last 20 years is sorely lacking. (I even wonder how many will still be standing in 100 years, as they sometimes seem to be made of spit and Kleenex.) Shortcuts seem to be the fast route to commercialism, design is only surface deep, and the integrity of the art is often left along the roadside.

But what if we could step back a bit and re-embrace a better work ethic, taking pride in the artistry and how items are designed and made for the commercial market? What if we once again became a society that gave a damn about the consumer? Items would have more intrinsic value, helping to cut back on our throwaway mentality, while nurturing the soul a little.

I think that is why it's vital for artistry to interact with commercialism. Civilization is commercial by nature. We all need certain products and we all need to make a living. But we can help our society be a much happier and healthier one if we once again start to value quality of product and consumer satisfaction.

(And just for the record... I don't think that handmade products necessarily equals good craftsmanship, better design/artistry, or overall superiority, as, (unfortunately) a lot of handmade isn't made well. It's up to each individual to bring their best to the table, whether they are an individual crafts person, a factory worker, house builder, or a CEO of a major design firm.

Thoughts anyone??

Victoria said...

PS. I didn't even touch on the aspect of branding and marketing products in order to appeal to the public, convincing them that if they buy product X their lives will be happier... and this very well may have been your original question, so I should address that. (Get ready for another long winded response!)

Obviously when a product is marketed the seller hopes to convince the buyer that this product will bring something better to their lives. This is true whether the product is mass marketed, or if it's a one-of-a-kind original sold by an artist... the buyer must believe that this item will somehow make life better for them, either by bring joy and beauty into there home, making a task easier, being a wise investment, elevating one's perceived status, (oh my, just look at all the products that have been bought under that belief... and all the debt that has been accumulated as well!) Etc., etc.

I think that ethics call for truth telling, and that selling should not be deceiving. I also believe that every consumer should heed the wisdom of the little boy in the fable "The Emperor's New Clothes" who was young enough to not be burdened with the fear of what others might think, and told the truth... "Hey, the king is naked!" He wasn't going to be duped, and neither should we. It's up to every individual to really step back and ask themselves, "Do I truly like and want this item?" (And if so, ask why... if the answer has something to do with status, and how you believe you will be better viewed in the eyes of others for owning it you may have been duped by the commercialism of the product.)

And one final thought on artistry and commercialism... Look at the marriage of artists and the store Target, whose advertising is generally spot on in getting us to want to shop there. Here is a prime example that ties everything that I have said into one ball. Through this venture we all have had a chance to buy affordable goods designed by artists who otherwise most of us would not be able to afford. Masses flocked to the last opening of Missoni. Now, obviously the quality of the mass produced Missoni, (or any of the other artist/designer backed limited lines for Target) wasn't near the same as a regular Missoni, (artist/designer) product. Is that good or bad? Well, it may appear from what I said in my first comment that I think that's bad... but I don't.

It would only be bad if all Missoni/artist/designer products, adopted a cheaper quality. If that became the norm. But I see nothing wrong with creating cool, artful design and producing it to the best of ability at and for a lower cost, so that many people can enjoy it instead of just the privileged few. There is nothing dishonest in that, as anyone with intelligence should know that a mass produced, designer product, (even if it's a limited line) sold at Target for a fraction of the price of what one would normally have to pay, isn't the same thing in terms of quality. This type of interaction between artists and commercialism makes it more fun to be a buyer of limited means!

But I do take issue with the re-sellers who try to truly profit on these deals... flipping the item bought at the bargain price and reselling it for a grossly inflated price. They are really playing the commercialism game, knowing that folks are going to pay much higher prices then the artist or Target ever intended. And once again, that is where the consumer needs to get a grip and not be duped by the commercial hype.

Okay... Nina, I have most likely said waaaayyyyy more on the subject then you had ever intended when first asking the question. You'll know better to ask my opinion on anything next time!

Colleen MacDonald said...

My heart is literally pounding with excitement for this new venture of yours. Your little preview of items made me gasp! Do you imagine that I'll be able to Christmas shop this year in your new store? No pressure or anything....

Victoria said...

Oh Colleen, you are so sweet! Thank you! I am hoping to be up and running by the beginning of December... I know that is cutting it very close. The initial minutia has cut into the actual sewing production time, but happily the details are almost all sorted out! xoxo

Cheryl Arkison said...

Look at you! That's some commitment, but I completely get the excitement and drive to make it more. I'll be watching as you go!

aracne said...

I will watch with interest how you will be making your dreams and plans come true. It seems to me that you have clear ideas and that the path to follow is already in place.

lostinfrance said...

Oh what joy! I stumbled across your blog via Pinterest and have been 'bloggle' eyed reading as many of your old posts as I can! I am so pleased to have found you. Your work is beautiful and so inspiring. I have been a quilter now for just a few years and having chosen to live a much simplified life in France (away from the hustle and culture of London)it is just wonderful to find such an inspiring woman online. You have made some very perceptive points in your writings, about creativity and finding ones own creative vision and voice. Your latest venture is most interesting and refreshing in its honesty and thank you for sharing that process and I wish you much luck (your response to Ninas' question touched on so many things that i have thought myself about quality of workmanship, consumerism etc) PLUS I absolutely LOVE your photos! I'm a bit of a fan of tumbling decaying buildings and cars myself. You have given me much food for thought and am already making me look at fabrics and quilts in a very different way. Thankyou; this is the first blog I have signed up to and I really look forward to following your journey.

Victoria said...

lostinfrance, Thank you for your wonderful enthusiasm and very kind words, you made my day! Sounds like we have a thing or two in common and I wish you much happiness living the simpler life in France... how fabulous!

pippa said...

I love your reflectiveness about the next steps that you take. I'm sure whatever you do will be amazing, just stay true to your amazing aesthetic and the truly unique, beautiful work that you do! Can't wait to see what you pursue ;)

pamala said...

I send you heartfelt wishes for a successful new venture. I was instantly captivated with your beautiful photography. Gorgeous work, highlighted beautifully!

Nina said...

Hi Victoria,
I've only just checked back on these comments to see if you'd added anything after my question... Wow! I'm really pleased to have asked something that provoked so much thought! While I don't think I completely share your take on the issue, it's really interesting stuff - I think you should do a full post on it!
Thanks for engaging with my question so enthusiastically.