Slow down July! We’re nearly through this month, and I’ve had very few moments to sit down and reflect on the last few weeks. We’ve had brushes with real summer weather and even made it up to the Russian River for a day to nap and swim and picnic in equal measure. We came back with pink thighs (both of us) but recharged after a short, but full day without cell phone service.
I’ve been almost entirely focused on growing my business and being a grown up this summer, doing things like: Getting insurance! Renting a production space! Hiring my first employee! All of these scary-exciting developments have been sped up by some new large wholesale orders that I’ll be sharing more about soon. Moving all the production from the sidewalk and garage to an actual production space was a long-needed move, one that I was afraid to make. Hiring a production assistant was something I’ve been wanting to do for a few months as well, so I could free up those long production and sanding hours, and reinvest that time and energy back into the business.
Long story short, it is really exciting, and also terrifying in a mostly wonderful/OK way. Although, for some realness on the internet, I’ll admit that I’ve had endless worries and anxiety about building up my wholesale orders AND keeping up with online sales and often wake up in the middle night worrying about it. I’m a micromanager and worrier and its been a continual challenge to let go of some details (like sanding and packaging) so I could tackle other bigger projects (like oversees distribution?!).
This week we’re flying to Seattle then Portland for a family trip + work trip combination, with a little air travel and train travel thrown in FOR FUN! We’re going to visit Intern’s family for a family reunion, plus I’m tacking on some Seattle retail shop visits to promote the wholesale collection. We’ll be stopping in to see my family then hopping on the train to spend a few days in Portland, visiting a few friends, a few more retail shop visits, and hopefully do a little fun-relaxing-exploring before we fly back to San Francisco and kick off another round of wholesale order production.
I used to feel guilty when I neglected this space, but now I think I am too busy to feel that guilt. I’m also aware that most of my posts in the past few months have been primarily about how busy I think I am. Even I’m tired of reading that. I’m really neglecting a much longer list of things, hobbies and interests and the blog happens to be one of them. I’ve started to find it harder and harder to write about anything personal beyond work and work-related worrying, but that could be an excuse I’ve invented to keep the blog on the back back unlit burner for now. Intern and I are both in a very work-y place personally, a phase that fits well with where we are right now in our lives. I know we both won’t always be working this hard, or feeling driven to work all the time, but we also know we may not have another phase of our lives where our attention isn’t split, so now might really be the best and only time to work this hard.
The holiday rush has been lost on the cats. While I’m running around (like a headless chicken) fulfilling orders, wrapping product, running to the printer, delivering 15lb boxes (of organizational joy)around the city, these lazy cats are sleeping through the daylight hours. Aside from a few manic dashes through the house, or some feline excitement over new tissue paper and fresh greenery to inspect, scale and eat, these guys are unfazed by the holidays.
In my downtime (ha!) I made vanilla extract (3 months ago) that is now quite potent, and ready to be wrapped and shared. This weekend I had my first popover victory, with truly puffed and popped thyme, gruyere and pepper popovers. I’m tweaking the recipe for Christmas breakfast, to accommodate the dairy-free members of the family. So far, so good. This weekend I also sanded, hauled, packaged, assembled, labeled and delivered many, many packages of record dividers. I’ve got one more day of packaging, wrapping and delivering before I am done for the season. Hurray! And lastly, we’re decorating our tree this year with the objects that have been at the forefront of my mind these past few weeks- laser cut cats and record players!
Happy Friday! I’m wrapping up a wild (not really) week of client work and, ok, personal projects. Check this animated crazy-cat-lady gif off your list Kate, you’re done! This was definitely born during a procrastinating-time theft kind of working afternoon, and I’m not even embarrassed. Sometimes you just gotta do it, and get it out of your system.
I’ve finally come to terms with this fall/winter/rapidly approaching holiday season. We’ve got a few holiday events under our belts around here already, with a few more coming up this week and over the weekend. The tree is currently standing (for now) and the exceedingly messy office has a whole window full of lights.
Many holiday projects are underway over here: sewing, knotting, stamping and stitching, and tickets are booked for a quick holiday trip home to Seattle. Work projects are slowly and surely getting wrapped up for the year. Merch now has letterpressed gift tags in the shop, printed by The Aesthetic Union using the logo I designed a few months back. We’re very close to launching a brand new Kate-designed website for a client in the next few weeks, and I’m excited to share a Skill Exchange surprise by early next year!
This weekend was both lazy and full, without feeling rushed or too busy. I think we’re both still feeling exhausted from this summer of full- we’ve both been racing through the summer, through projects, meetings and work. My cough is still hanging around, and Intern is feeling the effects of a very busy work schedule. We found ourselves doing a few things we hadn’t planned this weekend, which turned out to be just what we both needed. We treated ourselves to extra rest, but also a few neglected chores around the house AND we found a way out of the house and into the sun for a good long walk in the morning, and a walk over to our friend’s house in the Mission in the evening.
We performed the boring but satisfying task of a refrigerator deep clean and sweeping of the floors, always with at least one cat undermining our efforts or under our feet. We caught up with a Seattle friend on Skype and managed to get all of our groceries and laundry done in one afternoon. After a weekend away, and feeling sick for three weeks of September, I’m feeling caught up with the tasks and rest I’ve missed. My motivation for work took a big nosedive towards the end of September, but I’ve found a good stride again, and am looking forward to a few new (exciting) projects in the coming fall months.
I’ve made a few big decisions about Skill Exchange, namely that I’m taking a break from coordinating any new public events until January. This was a hard decision, because opportunity came knocking three times(!!) in unexpected places, testing my resolve to take a break. I know January isn’t far off, but I need to regroup, and I need to focus my attention on a few business issues before Skill Exchange can move forward and grow. Things will be simmering and quietly cooking in the next few months, and I’ll be ready again in January to share some new plans and projects. In the meantime, I have a some other design projects in the works and I am eager to get cooking these projects as well.
The cats and cat photos in this post are of course, completely unrelated to the topic at hand. I just wanted to remind everyone, we’ve still got more cats than people over here.