piper’s dream report: week fifteen

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Hi everyone!  I’m starting with a bang – I got the logo designs!!  It was like Christmas morning when I opened that email to see the first round of logos.  All the ideas and possibilities!  Oh.My.God…all the ideas and possibilities!  I truly had no idea how difficult this would end up being.  And I wish right now that I was handling things more gracefully.  I don’t know if it’s the realization that I’m actually doing this or that I’m getting closer and closer to opening the store or that it’s now decision time….but I’m now at a level 10 freak out!  For awhile, I was just barely keeping up with my to-do list.  Now that I’m down to about 6-7 weeks until opening, I am 100% completely & utterly swamped – and since it doesn’t look like my magic genie is about to show up anytime soon, I’m not sure how I’m going to get everything done.  How is it possible that my to-do list is growing?  And even worse?  A new fear has crept up on me…the fear of expectation.

It’s been so wonderful to feel the support from everyone and know that you’re behind me.  At the same time when I see “can’t wait to see your logo” or “can’t wait to start shopping”, although it completely warms my heart, in creep the doubts…what ARE people expecting?  What if my store doesn’t meet these expectations?  Will they be disappointed?  And that even goes for something as simple as my logo – what are people expecting?

image credit – Parker Fitzgerald

This all came about because I’m starting to phase from the planning stage to the decision making stage.  I can plan for the logo all I want – but at some point I need to actually have one.  (and apparently it’s best practice to only have one logo) But you can’t ask an indecisive perfectionist to decide on something like this!!  There should be rules against this.  My logo designer gave me wonderful ideas – about 7 different logos in different variations for the first round.  I had to somehow narrow down the logos from 27 different ideas/variations.  What?  To be honest, I was able to nix about 7 of them right away – they just weren’t me. But the other 20?  Such great ideas!  But which one is one sydney road?  Which one is me?  And which one would people like?  See – expectations!

At this point, I think my poor logo designer is wondering what she signed up for – I’m starting to wonder if I’m the bridezilla of logos!!  She has been unbelievably patient and understanding as I’ve gone back and forth between logos.  Out of the first round logo ideas – I only narrowed it down to 4!  I kept asking myself – what is my gut saying?  Well, apparently my gut has gone on vacation because I’m not receiving any kind of help there.  Here’s my gut reaction…”I like all these logos.”  Not very helpful.  So my logo designer took the 4 ideas and then sent me variations on those…with color.  You mean now I have to decide on color too?  And the font??  The second round was worse than the first – there’s so many possibilities!!  I had given her ideas for colors – yellow, chocolate brown, grey, navy blue, light blue.  Except we all know that each color has a bazillion hues – it’s like picking paint for your walls (don’t even get me started on how difficult that is for me!)

I was able to narrow it down to 2 different and distinct logo ideas.  She came back with some variations on those and then  it became time to pick just one.  50/50 – which one??  How do I possibly decide?  And this of course has now become wrapped up in me being able to decide everything else.  Because at the same time I’m working on the logo, I’m also having to make decisions on products for the store.  No more dreaming and putting images together of all the possible products I can have for the store – now I have to dig deep and say “yay” or “nay” to not only artists but individual products.  If a designer has 10 different pillow designs – do I get all 10 or pick out a few designs?  That’s what I’m in the midst of figuring out.

Let’s face it – I’m in decision overload.  Think a Magic 8 ball could help me?  Somehow I think I’d just keep getting the answer “ask again later”!  And of course I’m wondering…what do people want to see in my store?  What will they like?  Those great expectations again!!  I’m realizing that when you’re just starting out, it’s part research, part up in the air.  So until I know my customer more, I have to go with items I love.  It has to start with me.  I’m using that as my filter right now.  Does it pass the “I’d buy it” test?  That’s part of what my store is offering…my “eye” so to speak, my ability to curate and select items that work well together.

If only I could use that for my logo!  I think what has made this task harder is that it’s not just the logo I’m deciding on – it’s really about deciding on the whole look – colors, fonts & shapes which will be used not only on the logo but also on the website and packaging.  I just today got my 3rd round of logo and business card ideas.  And, you know what?  I’m finally starting to see it!  Doesn’t mean I’ve decided – but I’m one step closer.  In fact by the time you read this – I should have my logo!  Next up – deciding on designers & products.  Anyone have any good strategies for decision making?

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  1. Hannah

    You’ve come such a long way, it may not feel like it, but you’re getting there. Do you have a friend who’s eye you trust? Narrow down your choices to the ones you love but can’t decide on, lay them out in front of your friend and let them pick. And be done with it.
    You’ll get something you love and will be able to let go of it needing to be perfect. If you love it, and they love it, well….that means it’s great enough.

  2. Ann

    Piper, I had a successful jewelry and clothing store for about seven years. I generally used the “would I wear it? Do I love it?” rule. Almost everytime I bought something I wouldn’t wear, but I was certain other people loved, it sat on the rack! Your store is a reflection of your taste and the people that shop there like your taste. They don’t come to you for Susie-down-the-street’s aesthetic. It confuses them. So if you were throwing a dinner party, would your want your guests to see these things? And you don’t need to buy every pillow in the collection! If the first five sell, get on the phone and re-order some more! Quiet the voices and pretend all of these lovely things are going in your own home! Because what doesn’t sell well, will! You might as well love it! It’s going to be okay.

  3. Lori

    Again, making progress!! In Marketing we always learned about a ‘test market’. Do you have some good friends or potential shoppers that you know you can send your product ideas to and they can take a look and offer ideas? You know I would in a heartbeat. That’ll give you an idea of what your customers think. Also it gives you another eye to make sure you don’t have too much of one thing or maybe are missing something here, etc. Just to round everything out. Just a thought. 🙂 But if you love it, I’m sure it’s going to be great! Just take deep breathes and think “Living the Dream” 🙂

  4. You can do it! I think this is a good time for you to go back to the work you did on copy. How do you want your customer to feel when they “enter” your store? Which logo, font, color choice then best brings out that feeling? Note your emotional reactions to each.

  5. Jenny

    Oh Piper, I’m so like you in regards to decisions. I flip and flop and go through every scenario in my head until I don’t know what to do. I feel your pain. But I’m sure everything will be beautiful – I love what Ann said above. Great advice!

  6. Natalie

    Here are my thoughts.. Your designer has made several logos that are equally brilliant. None of these logos is a bad looking logo. And since they are all, in your eyes, equal, then it means you can’t make a bad choice! No matter what you choose, you get an awesome logo! (I think the same can be said for your stress about narrowing down your products as well.) So try not to let the pressure of picking the very most perfect one get to you, because there might not even be a very most perfect one to begin with! Your brand can conjure up so many different wonderful fresh ideas, it’s unreasonable to say that it can be defined by just one or two colors and a certain font type. Just like you won’t be stocking only pillows of a certain design, and only plates in one or two colors. Picking the logo is just giving your users a *specific* color and font type to look for and go “Ah! That’s one sydney road”, even though a million other aesthetic combinations might be equally inspired by your brand.

    As for expectations, I think most of us are just “expecting” to see that you have created something you love! And you’ve given us a few hints as to what kind of items and look and feel you’re going for, so we all have a bit of expectations in that regard, but they’re all based on your own ideas! I think we all have a vague image in our head, just waiting for the real thing to fill in the blanks. We’re expecting the same things you were before you started the “definition” process of your business: keywords like fresh, cozy, modern, fun. But we aren’t expecting the website to have a yellow color scheme, and we won’t be disappointed if it turns out to be blue instead. We’re just going to see “Oh! Blue! How fresh, cozy, modern, and fun!” Just like we would if it were yellow =)

    And I agree with the previous posters that you should stick more to your gut and interests when choosing your inventory, and not what you think the customer’s expectations will be. Everyone has different tastes, and the people who find that your taste isn’t what they were expecting will move on, while the people who share your taste will seek you out and pass the word along to like-minded friends!

    You’re doing sooo amazing and we’re all super proud of you and inspired by you! Good luck fighting your way through your to-do list swamp, and be sure to reflect on how far you’ve come!

  7. Eva

    You have actually gone through the worst part of decisions … investing for your store first of all-time and money. Everything else, as picking your logo or choosing between products and artists should be the fun part. And yes the rule is to question yourself whether you would buy the product your putting in the store. You seem to be a very organized person, so keep on working on these do lists.- i suck on that part 🙂

    ps. a small note: i know we are talking about a business here and an investment in the line, but don’t forget to look in into your heart as well and even follow your feelings-not just logic. after all we do that for our well being!

  8. Emma Jo

    I’m like you – indecisive perfectionist! So i have nothing to add exept i watched à movie yesterday called “mr. Nobody” , i recommend it! (its relevant to you decision-making)

  9. Suze

    Sorry to add my little contribution to the pile of expectations but… I’m so excited! Can’t wait! 😀

    For the products selection i agree with both Ann and Lori here above. I guess you’ll refine and perfection your strategy (and maybe even your own aesthetic to a certain extent) testing the market and in parallel you should just trust your (excellent) style. Furthermore selling something you love and you’d buy yourself is what makes this business fun, no?
    Hugs from Suze!

  10. Melony

    Hi Piper! First, you deserve a pat on the back! You are going after your dream and making incredible progress. Congrats!

    As for choosing the logo and missing your “gut”: You’ve narrowed it down to two options, right? And you love both options? Okay – Fold the options up into small squares, place them in a cup, and draw. Your gut will then answer. If you’re excited with the option you draw, your gut is telling you that’s The One. If you’re a little disappointed, your gut is saying the other option is The One. Try it!

    And remember – the logo you choose today is not your logo for life. As your business matures and grows into its own personal identity, you can tweak the logo as much or as little as you’d like.

    Finally, try to let others’ expectations go. This is YOUR dream and you deserve for your dreams to come true. It’s normal to worry about what your customer wants or will like. But isn’t part of the fun offering your customers something they might not have thought of or known about on their own? If you love it, the like-minded shoppers will come.

  11. Melony

    P.S. – Engaging the other side of your brain and/or getting your mind off the task at hand will often help jump-start your intuition (or “gut”). So here’s a little silly crafty project for you:

    2 pieces of cardboard about 8 x 10 inches (e.g. – recycle a cereal box)
    1 vertical stick (e.g. – paint stirrer, old ruler/yard stick, relatively straight twig)
    Paint, glitter, decorative papers, etc.

    1. Trace your hand on the cardboard twice (same hand) and cut out.
    2. Decorate the hands in whatever manner or theme is meaningful to you.
    NOTE: One hand will represent the palm side and the other the outer side, so on one the thumb will be on the left and on the other the thumb will be on the right so that when they are later joined together they will match up.
    3. Once the decorated hands have dried, place them back-to-back with right sides facing outward.
    4. Glue the vertical stick between the two hands.
    5. Give yourself that pat on the back you deserve!

    Decoration ideas:
    Paint the “nails” in your chosen color combo or decorate the nails to spell a message.
    Freeform paint or doodle the back of the hand ala henna painting or incorporate your new logo into the design
    For the palm side, why not map your dreams for one sidney road as if you were reading osr’s palm? Or write yourself an insipirational note or quote – write in a spiral or in the shape of a heart?

    There are no rules or right or wrong ways to decorate your hands. Let go of all expectations and just have fun. How do you know if you’re having fun? If your hands aren’t dirty, you’re certainly not having enough fun! 😀

    Remember to celebrate yourself and all of your accomplishments with a little pat on the back! ;D

  12. Natalie wrote pretty much exactly what I wanted to say (about the logo AND expectations) so re-read her comment!

    My logo-designing experience was similar – in the final round I loved all three of my potential logos. So I knew that there was no “wrong” decision! Every decision was “right” because I loved them. In the end, I picked the one that was the most versatile as far as using some of the elements for other design elements (the lace of my logo being the big ticket). So I hope you’ve chosen one now and are happy with it – I’m sure it’s fabulous! And we’re definitely not going to be disappointed, but we do expect that you’ll be able to be proud of your new venture! You’re doing awesome!

  13. lulubrownskin

    Hey Piper!

    The BEST tip for decision-making:

    There is NO right or wrong decision! Once you take a gulp of this thought, decision-making becomes a pleasure, because either way, you win.

    We learn from EVERY path down which our decision or decisions take us & THAT is another wonderful thing about decision-making 🙂

    Your gut or instinct is your other powerhouse, & don’t worry, she may just have nipped out for a non-pareils-laden cupcake! She’ll be back with you in the decision-making arena toute de suite ;D

    I am SO with you on the perfectionist-pedestal AND in the decision-making-dam; It’s a trait from which MANY of us suffer.

    Some time ago, I took heed from the above advice I am dishing, & boy what joy, pleasure…relief! I actually enjoy making decisions now hahaha.

    These days I like to refer to myself as a RECOVERING perfectionist & indecisive, AND on the good days [which are becoming more & more frequent] I refer to those mini monikers NOT AT ALL 🙂

    Take another BIG gulp of that aforementioned good stuff &…..happy-joy-decision-making lovely!

  14. Amy

    Hang in there! It’s always darkest before the dawn. And as someone who’s looking forward to your store, I can tell you I have no preconceptions. From the name to the design of your blog I know you have design style. Whatever you choose, it will be fabulous!

  15. Lana

    This is so exciting Piper, you are so close now, well done for committing to your dream!x

  16. Piper I know you may be freaking out, but you really are doing so well and I love that you share the journey with us!

    I think the big difference now is that your ‘dream’ of having a store is now becoming ‘real’ and as such it has merged with you – i.e. the shop and you are one. It’s personal and therefore probably scary. It’s a ‘woman thing’ actually and very common in business. Men don’t do or feel like this at all – they are able to separate themselves from it all where as women take it personally.

    I think all the tips you have gotten through the comments above plus your own filter of checking each item against ‘would I buy it?’ is the best way to go. Like you say, over time you will be able to get a clear profile of your ‘market’ and that will make the buying decisions easier.

    Deeeeep breath hun…iiiiin aaaaaaaand ooooooout! There. You feel better?

    You are doing great my friend. Nearly there!

    xx C

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