I don't remember if I mentioned it over here (I know I did on my personal blog, and on my personal Facebook page), but I'm taking two classes right now. Think Big, and Think Big 2 (you don't have to have already taken #1 to take #2, they're not those kinds of classes). I've dipped my toes into mastermind groups and business groups before, but this is different - these are geared towards ceramics and potters, not just generalized "here's how to use Instagram and Snapchat" kinds of lessons.
Each class has a series of six lectures; one track focuses on Branding, and the other, Marketing. Again, with pottery in mind - this is already giving it a different vibe for me because the worksheets that come with the lessons aren't filled with the typical "name five things you can do to find a new wholesaler this week" or "how to hire your first employee" kinds of questions. They're filled with "how do you want your work to make people who buy your work feel" and "is the feeling you want to create for your customers present in your marketing materials" types of questions.
Already, in the first week of class, I've thought more about what's being asked of me than I have in any other business group I've been in (sorry if you run a business group I'm in and you're reading this - it genuinely is nothing personal!).
So far, the classes seem, while getting you to think about your business, they're coming about it from a "what is your True North" kind of direction rather than a "we all know this is building up to you selling your business for hundreds of thousands of dollars so let's not worry about the heart of it but more like how to make it look good to investors". Does that make sense? I know it probably sounds like I'm cracking on other groups I've been a part of, and that's not what I'm trying to do... I think it's more that I've had a habit of dipping my toes in all sorts of groups that start off being all "we're for the handmade artist!" and wind up within months talking about hiring employees to make your things that you just sit back and design. That's not me. I need to get my hands dirty.
So what is my True North? What is the Emerald City that keeps my feet on the path of the yellow brick road until I get there? What is the hill of Watership Down that I keep heading towards, no matter the side journey?
If I only took one thing away from growing up watching my dad and his best friend and how they lived their lives, that lesson would be that most people just want to be heard. They may be angry, they may be lonely, but at the heart of themselves, they just want someone to listen to them.
I want my work to make you feel like I hear you. If you're a knitter, a crocheter, if you secretly collect frogs, if you're a Doctor Who fan, if you put your energies into gardening or baking and feel like your coworkers don't understand why you do that, if you've just not yet found that one mug that holds the heat of your evening tea in perfectly while you curl up and read a book... I want you to know that I hear that. I may sometimes get sidetracked, I may have a crazy idea that I feel compelled to follow to its completion, but I will never stop making things for you. You. Who's reading this right now. Yes, you. I'm over here making things from my heart, with you in mind.