Today I’m chatting over at Tory Johnson’s (yep, the national television contributor) Spark and Hustle as a Daring Doer. I explain what I think is essential to a bustling online business, what keeps me up at night, and my must-read sources for business and design inspiration. Read on.
Our beloved Dream Reporter, Piper has launched One Sydney Road!!
Hop Jump on over to One Sydney Road to start shopping the long awaited lifestyle goods site lovingly created by Piper. It’s so incredible to see her hard work become reality. After following her journey for the past twenty-three weeks it’s hard to see what she’s been so worried about! She nailed this puppy outta the water. And that’s a huge sign of a great entrepreneur. Her launch, site, and product selection has the sophistication of a seasoned professional. And all her hard work on those product descriptions sure paid off too.
To know that MML may have in any small way helped birth this site makes me feel so incredibly thankful. Thank you all for encouraging Piper as she faced so many new challenges and fears. Your supportive comments have been the wind at her back. Now I think it’s time for us to all do some shopping…
… see you over at One Sydney Road!
And remember, if Piper and I can do it, so can you. Pursue your purpose.
I know, I know. I just changed the color of MML in September to pink (I had a pretty sizable girly moment) and now I’m switching it again-Â this time to coral. Originally, back in January of 2009, I chose coral for the MML logo and Jess LC was a celery green. Then this April I changed Jess LC to coral and switched up MML’s colors with the seasons. My first inclination was to keep the accent colors on Jess LC and MML different so they looked separate as both sites were pretty unrelated.
However, I now realize that I am a common thread between the jewelry business and the blog. And therefore, as a designer and writer, I should be the common link between the two platforms. Using the coral across both sites creates a subtle connection. Though the logo styles still remain independent of each other, the overall look of both logos is clean, uncluttered, and coral. I’m hoping this color bridge will also create better cohesion for customers clicking over to MML and for MML readers clicking onto the jewelry site. Though both destinations are unique, there is a thread tying the whole experience together. If you notice, Martha Stewart does the same thing with the robin’s egg blue color across most of her brands as well.
And hey, if it’s good enough for Martha, it’s good enough for me.
We can begin the official countdown!Â The store goes live in 2 days!Â I’m afraid I might not be coherent in this post.Â I haven’t had a day off in weeks and have been working long, long days (the kind where you’re barely conscious yet still typing away at the computer – I’ve definitely made a nice groove in my chair from sitting there so much!)Â Not that I’m complaining, I love what I’m doing, I’m just ready for a nap!!Â I’m busy right now crossing my T’s and dotting my I’s and then going back and doing it again!Â So many minute details but, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now!!
I’ve poured my blood, sweat & tears into this venture (well, luckily no blood – but definitely the others!)Â To actually see the result of my work, my years of ideas & dreams come to fruition – I don’t think I have words to describe that feeling.Â Other than to say…Oh.My.God!!!
The anticipation is killing me.Â I’m not sure what to expect when the store goes live – I’m assuming that my far-off fantasy of so much traffic hitting the site that it crashes will not be the case!Â But what WILL happen?Â This is completely not like me – I’m a planner.Â My accountant just asked me the other day “what are you expecting in sales for the first month?”Â I can guesstimate but it’s by no means accurate.Â Â I hate saying “I’m not sure” but…I’m not sure!Â And really that’s what helped get me to this point. For someone who has always lived thinking about the future and planning for all the “what ifs”, I’ve had to let that go and live more in the moment.
I honestly hope that people just enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed dreaming it up!Â (of course, a few sales wouldn’t hurt either!) I’ve set it up with the thought that one sydney road is about shaking up the everyday and surrounding yourself with things you love.Â And I can say that every item I’m selling has met with the “Piper loves it” test!!Â I know there will be many more challenges ahead (marketing, anyone?!)Â But right now, the focus is all on the store going live.Â And the thrill of finally getting to show you what I’ve been working on this whole time!!
As I’m nearing the “go live” date, I’ve had to take a step back and try to view it all through new eyes.Â I’ve been staring at these products and the website for so long now that, to me, it’s starting to not have that new feeling anymore.Â I’ve been trying to view it as if I’m new to the store – what would my reaction be?Â Not an easy task to see it as someone else’s work and not my own.Â I’m much more critical of my own work than I am of anyone else.Â I keep wanting to update things – make the photos more polished, the content wittier, come up with new ideas – all before I’ve even let others see it!Â There’s that feeling of wanting to make that first impression count.Â But I know the site will evolve as it grows & I learn more.
As I was looking at the site this morning I couldn’t help but notice there was a big grin on my face.Â All the ideas and products have come together and if I do say so myself – it’s looking pretty darn good! After all these weeks & months (and years!) of working on this store, it seems funny to say this yet it’s true…the adventure is just beginning…
Where You’ve Come From
In the meantime, I’d like to share something I’ve been thinking about a lot: what I know now. I’ve now been growing my jewelry business for twelve years (3+ years full-time). It’s been such a long, long road. And when I think about the business and where it is now three years after my move to Chicago, I am sometimes a bit frustrated. It’s not as far along as I’d like. I sometimes think, “why isn’t this better and bigger?” Why did it take me over three years to just get this far? Knowing what I know now, it is frustrating that I wasn’t able to grow quicker, better, faster.
But the truth is, I only know what I know now because I tried and kept doing new things for three plus years. I didn’t know back in 2007 that I needed to re-brand and re-design. I didn’t know the same people, connections, and short cuts I know now. And I have to trust that I did the very best with the knowledge that I had at that point in time. So when I think about how the business is doing, I need to reflect on how far it’s come, not what I could accomplish if I started from scratch tomorrow. I think I could do what I’ve done in the past three years in just three months. But that’s what experience is all about.
So to honor my business history, I’m sharing a glimpse into my growth of Jess LC through the packaging from the last five years. It really demonstrates that we can’t beat ourselves up for taking such a long time to get better, but just laugh at the past and keep moving forward.
Jess LC Circa 2005
Oh boy. Isn’t this a stunner. Those rhinestones crack me up each time I see this picture. I don’t know what I was thinking back in college. But I’m pretty sure I thought it was a great ‘visual effect.’
Jess LC Circa 2007
Okay, I’ll admit, there is nothing actually “wrong” with this packaging, it just isn’t to our taste or branding at this point in time.
Jess LC Circa 2009
These labels went on white patent bags with black grosgrain ribbon. Not bad by any means, just a bit dated.
Jess LC Circa 2010
Ah, these boxes make me smile each time I see them. Packaging these puppies is so much fun because I love the shapes, colors, and the icy blue tissue that goes inside. This reflects what I’m all about right now.
And the stud boxes are too cute for words. Love.
Hey guys! I’m on my way to New York today through Friday for a press preview at my PR firm’s Soho showroom. It’s going to be similar to this summer’s desk sides, but the magazine editors will be coming to the showroom rather than me going to their offices. I’m hopeful that this trip will lead to some new coverage in 2011.
The E-Myth Revisited
One of the very few things I’ll be packing is this paperback copy of The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. It got a stellar recommendation from Mike at TPE which inspired me to pick up a copy myself. Though I’m only 66 pages into the book, I can already tell it’s going on the MML Bookshelf very soon. I’ll also be posting about topics Michael covers in the weeks to come since it’s the most relatable and applicable business book I’ve read thus far. In the meantime, go pick up a copy for yourself if you’re starting your own business or considering it in the future.
(I’d suggest checking half.com for a used copy and getting it for just a few bucks.)
I hope you had a great weekend! I took some time to catch up with friends and prepare for the super busy week ahead of me. Tomorrow I head to New York for a press preview for Jess LC – I’ll explain more about that in tomorrow’s post. After the trip, I will be catching up with a friend visiting from Denver for Halloween weekend.
Though I’m not sure what our plans will be, I do know that I will be dressed in the simplest costume I would love to recommend to anyone else who hates keeping costumes around the house all year long. I’m going as a cougar: black sequin cocktail dress, silver sprayed roots in my hair, and costume jewelry. So easy, witty, and best of all, “costume clutter free.”
Doing Five Things Well
I’m sure you’ve heard the advice about writing five things you are thankful for in a gratitude journal. Research has shown that by recording what you are grateful for helps increase the overall joy you feel.
When I heard this years ago, I quickly took to the activity and faithfully documented my gratitude for several years. But over time, the activity became more of a part of the motions, just a part of my day like putting socks on or brushing my teeth. Don’t get me wrong, my gratitude for everything in my life is still super high, but the act of writing down the things I’m thankful for has lost it’s luster.
When I went to bed at night, I’d think of my five “thankful things” and then the perfectionist in me would creep in in a tiny voice and say,
“…. but I wish I had done X, Y, and Z better today.”
“…. but I didn’t get as much done as I wanted on the business.”
“… but I was just a little bit short with so and so.”
“… but I didn’t hit my goal for _____.”
I’d be thankful for a moment and then my ego would chime in with a few let-downs. Though things had happened to me that I was grateful for, I had personally dropped the ball in a few ways as well.
And then one night I decided to silence my mind’s negativity by thinking of five things that I personally had done well that day. Five actions I took that led to positive outcomes. And that’s when it clicked for me. Though I still recount daily the things I’m thankful for, I no longer put a number on those items and instead focus in the evening on my own personal positive actions. This isn’t to brag to myself, but it is to help me realize that though not everything that day went flawlessly, I still did five good things. And that was the perfect response to my mind’s criticism of anything that I didn’t do perfectly.
I highly suggest trying this tonight if you find it’s a bit easier to recognize the good that happens to you more than the good that happens because of you.
Hi everyone!Â Deep breath…I’m almost there.Â But I jumped the gun (I think it’s the Sagittarius in me – I can’t help but spill the beans!)Â Important lesson learned – don’t announce the date of your opening until you’re 300%, written in stone, sure.Â I feel like I’m coming to you, tail tucked between my legs, to say that I’m not going to meet my own, self-imposed opening date of October 25th. Not an easy thing to swallow – but probably very common for new businesses.Â I’ve been frantically working to try and meet that deadline.Â Luckily, I ended up speaking with my consultant this week and she gave me a reality check.Â I don’t want to just open – I want to know that I’m ready, that my site is ready and that I have my ducks in a row.Â Â (right now, I think my ducks are just running around in circles!)
After talking with her, I felt like I could breathe again. I’ve been putting in 12 to 16 hour days trying to get everything done by Monday.Â And everyday I’ve ended the day exhausted and wondering how the hell I’m going to get it all done.Â For as much as I’m accomplishing – it’s still not enough – I have days of work left.Â I underestimated how long each task would take.Â Taking photos of product?Â Well, that should only take a day.Â Try 3 days and counting.Â Not to mention, you learn as you go.Â We spent all day taking photos only to realize the next day that they’d look better against a different backdrop and come out much better when it’s a sunny day.Â Yep, we had to retake them all.
The business has become a family affair.Â As I’m typing this, my hubby (who took a week of vacation to help me!Â Hmm, I’m thinking I may owe him one) is taking photos of all the products and my mother-in-law is busy ironing, playing personal assistant and most importantly, feeding us!Â And the best part has been hearing them ooh and ahh over all the products – if that’s not a confidence builder, I don’t know what is! I’ve been so mired down in all the little details and the tech side that it’s been a well needed boost to physically see the products and remember that that’s why I’m doing this.Â I absolutely love what I’ve found and can’t WAIT to share it with people.Â That’s why I’m doing this.
So many things left to be done…content to be entered, photos to take & resize, testing the whole website…not to mention my emails are piling up and my blog feels like it’s collecting dust.Â But you know what?Â I still wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world!Â I’m on the cusp of something I’ve spent years dreaming about.Â If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?!
Seeing the website come to life has been absolutely thrilling.Â Seeing all the products together, the website design, the content – I spent years writing down ideas, spent years dreaming of what could be – now it’s a living, breathing thing!Â It’s, for lack of a better word, unreal.
Thank you so much for the amazing support you all have been sending my way for weeks & months.Â I don’t think I’d be where I am right now if it weren’t for everyone cheering me on.Â I’m hoping you’ll stick with me for a little bit longer – I’m much more confident in saying “one sydney road will be open for business on November 1st.”Â In theory, I could probably open by the end of next week but there’s something cool about starting out a brand new month with my store.Â Although perhaps I should just say “opening soon”!!
Hi everyone! After our announcement of the 100 Kisses Giveaway winner earlier today, I’m back to share a DYL shared by Bryn of Bryn Alexandra if you’ve been following Bryn’s journey into interior design over the past year you’ve seen her grow her business by leaps and bounds. And I’m thrilled to re-share her intentions that have helped her develop such a strong company and huge blog following.
As for the new DIY-DYL (do-it yourself DESIGN YOUR LIFE) there are no submissions for October, so our next date will be November 25th. So if you’d like to share your intentions, please send me your link by November 22nd and I’ll link to your DIY-DYL on Thanksgiving Day.
DESIGN YOUR LIFE: bryn of bryn alexandra
This Design Your Life series couldn’t have come at a better time. My husband jokes that I’m having a “quarter life crisis” and truthfully, I am. But I think it’s just a part of life – I’m discovering who I am and what I want to do with my life. Which is why I was so happy when Jessica asked me to do this. So here they are, my life intentions!
Do What You Love.
This is the most important intention in my life. I’ve always loved interior design, ever since I was a child. But in college, I decided it’d be best for me to pick a career path that would most likely get me a job post graduation. What 20 year old is that sensible? Fast forward and I found myself at 25 hating my careerÂ and miserable. I decided on my 25th birthday to just put myself out there for interior design. So I did. I put myself out there on my blog, on Craigslist, and surprisingly I nabbed a few brave souls who have trusted me to work my magic on their homes. And to my surprise, they like what I can do! I won’t lie, it’s a struggle everyday juggling two jobs, and with each glimpse I get into the life of an interior designer the more I realize my day job isn’t for me. But that just pushes me harder to work at what I do love.
Confession time – I’m a major introvert. I’m one of those people who gets uncomfortable in social situations. My entire life I’ve only ever needed/had one best friend. Today, my husband is my best friend. He’s my support, the person I laugh with, the person I complain to, and that’s all I need. But as I get older I realize that relationships are an important part of life, no matter how big or small. So that’s my second intention – I want to build relationships and work at them. It’s harder for an introvert, but it’s no excuse to miss out on those specials bonds.
Okay, another confession – I used to be so obsessed with material things! Ugh, embarrassing. Woman love their designer handbags, sunglasses, etc where I come from (Dallas). I got caught up in it and in college I worked an almost full time job to pay for nice things. I even got into some debt. I’m not proud of it. But then I grew out of it. I learned the value of money, and what’s important in life. I’m glad I went through that stage because I learned my lesson and I’ll never do it again. I learned a $800 purse is no better than a $50 purse. Now I live simply. I purge things when I don’t need them. I rarely shop and if I do it’s at thrift stores. I now value the simple things like a good cup of chai latte or a great home cooked meal in with the husband.
Be Myself & Be Confident.
I do often fall victim to jealousy, and I hate it! Jealousy is such a terrible, pointless emotion. Even though I find myself jealous of someone else’s possessions, or hair or whatever it is, I always try to counter those feelings with appreciation of myself. As I’ve grown older I’ve learned more to love who I am. So what if my curly hair always looks a bit crazy? Can you imagine how boring life would be if everyone was the same? I always have to tell myself – be yourself. Live creatively. Love yourself. Embrace the differences that are you! If you are happy and confident with yourself, jealousy suddenly doesn’t become an issue.
Try New Things.
I’ll end my intentions with the least serious one of the group – it’s always great to try new things! I love trying new foods, new hobbies, new experiences. I used to hate mushrooms but now I love them! Sometimes my husband and I will put on movies in different languages just to check out something new. We moved across country from Oklahoma to Los Angeles, CA. That was an experience! Spice up your life once and a while with new and different things, even if it’s something as little as choosing a different dish at your favorite restaurant.
Another big thank you to Jessica!
Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.
A special thanks goes out to the following Ambassadors who participated in the 100 Kisses Giveaway
(in no particular order)
Dressing Mommy (asked not to be included in the giveaway, but wrote a really sweet review)
And last but not least, I had to share this awesome Polyvore collage created by Meghan of Savvy Cinderella.