piper’s dream report: week seven

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I’m so glad to hear that I’m not alone in sometimes feeling like the grass is greener on the other side.  And as so many of you pointed out – it especially feels that way when we’re online.  Because honestly we can all put our best foot forward  online and so I think it can feel as if people who we admire or we feel are living out their dreams never have any struggles or challenges.  Which is so not true.  And I think it’s something important to remember.  I definitely need to stop thinking that the people I admire for living their dream somehow have it easy or have all the magical answers.  I think that just ends up stopping me in my tracks and thinking “why bother”!

So with this new thinking in place, here’s how my week went.  I was determined this weekend to combat my giant and now ever-growing to-do list.  Note to self:  going out the Friday evening before and getting up at 10am doesn’t start the day off on the right foot.  Once I had some coffee in me though, I got to work.  Sat myself down at the computer…and just stared.  Where to even start?  I’ve been working on this for so long…yet I don’t feel like I have much to show for it.  Everyone keeps asking me things like “do you have your logo yet?”  Nope.  “Is your website being built?”  Nope.  Which is so frustrating…because I’ve been running myself ragged working on this…it’s just that it’s nothing tangible yet.  It’s still a lot of brainstorming and compiling products and images and trying to answer questions.

Like the questions the consultant had for me after I sent off my catalog of product images.  I think there was a part of me that felt like I worked darn hard compiling this catalog of artists and designers.  And you know what I wanted in return?  Have you ever taken one of those online quizzes where you pick a color you’re drawn to and it spits out what your personality is and what career you should follow?  Well, that’s what I wanted!  Here are my ideas of products I would like to carry…now spit out my business plan, tell me which products will sell and oh, while you’re at it, tell me what my branding should be.  But sadly it doesn’t work that way.  And if it does…it costs money and it’s more than I can afford to spend right now!

So we’re back to the questions.  Like the one that has become my absolute nemesis.  “So what kind of business are you starting?” Oh, I can’t tell you how much I hate that question.  Why?  Because for some reason I have a difficult time answering it.  I stammer my way through it “oh, um, it’s going to be an online store that will sell homewares, oh, and personal accessories like jewelry and handbags.  Oh, and it’ll be things that are by indie designers, so not mass produced items.  Oh and it’ll be a great place to shop for gifts.”  Not very exciting, is it?

I have been struggling with my elevator pitch for awhile now (again reading and reading everything I can get my hands on)  I’m not a writer – I’m not great at conveying my thoughts through words.  I’m a visual person.  Too bad I can’t just have flashcards of images at the ready when people ask that question!  But it is something that I need to work on so that I can confidently and excitedly describe my store.  I think I realized why I can’t quite describe it…because I have so many ideas and haven’t confidently decided – this is EXACTLY what I’m doing..  So how do I take all these ideas and images and products and figure out what that equals?  Because these days it’s all about branding.  What’s your brand?  What’s your aesthetic?  This is the part that makes me want to pull my hair out.  It’s all in my head and in images I’ve collected and in the ideas I have…now how do I get it to become my brand?  That’s a bit where I am right now.  I feel like my next steps, like working with a logo & web designer, can’t happen until I can explain what I’m doing.

Since I tend in my thinking to go the “glass half-empty” route and tell you all the things that I don’t know or have ready yet…I thought I’d flip this around and think of the things that I do know!

I know that it will be an actual online store rather than a curated gallery.  I thought this through and realized that since my dream was to have a brick & mortar store, I would like to continue this feel online and actually carry the products and be able to package them in my own personal way.

I have a fun concept for my online store that I’m really excited about.  (I can’t share too much about it yet – but I will as the time comes closer!).  The question now is figuring out how to accomplish it!

I have a large selection of artists and designers that I love and would like to carry in the store.  I just need to narrow this down!!

I have a definite aesthetic to the products I like and have chosen…I just don’t know how to describe it yet!  Is “cozy, fun modern” a term??

In order to answer the other questions, I’ve started to think that maybe I need some time to breathe and relax.  I’ve been going non-stop for 6 months now…and that doesn’t leave time for creative thinking and just having fun with all these ideas.  My life has been lived via my to-do list for a long time now…”what’s next on my list” has become my mantra.  I’m starting to think I need a day (or 2 or 3) of not starting at the computer or working on my to-do list and letting myself have a chance to just develop these ideas. Maybe journal or do something creative – something that will allow all these thoughts in my head to have a chance to develop, so that I can confidently say “this is exactly the type of store I’m opening and what my brand is!”

And I just have to say THANKS – I can’t even begin to tell you how much your comments/advice/ideas each week mean to me and how they keep me going!

(images above were taken by me from the Made in the 216 event)

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  1. Julie

    I agree… a break is always a good thing! For that is when all the answers start coming to me! Have fun enjoying your life! I never liked do to lists and don’t do them and I’ve been self employed for 12 years!

  2. Anna

    I agree with Julie, take a break. You are going on vacation soon too. Focus on your dream and the “how” will follow.

    Jennifer Lee offers a Right Brain Business Plan ecourse (http://www.rightbrainbusinessplan.com/)
    I personally have not taken it but I plan to. I have heard great things about it from several people. Carolyn from Spring Inspiration spoke about the course in the Law of Attraction episode 2 video. Carolyn’s Discovery Sessions was born from that course.

  3. Grace

    My partner is an amazing graphic designer http://www.keithkitz.com, and he is willing to work with people on tight budgets to create custom logo’s. He’s also great at listening to all those rambling thoughts and turning them into a cohesive image that reflects your brand.
    You can contact him here if you’re interested: info@keithkitz.com

  4. Piper – You are so much further along than you give yourself credit for!

    I’m with everyone above — take a breather. And then come back and start soliciting bids for the help you need. Some bloggers offer copywriting help, like Tara of Scoutie Girl and Jules of Pancakes and French Fries. If it’s not your thing, then don’t force it!

    Or..e-mail me when you get back! I’m happy to help. 🙂

  5. Leigh

    Sounds to me like you know exactly what you’re creating:

    An e-commerce boutique that sells home decor, personal accessories and great gifts by emerging and indie designers. The store is carefully curated, selecting items that are whimsical, cozy and modern. We want you to feel xyz when you enter our boutique.

    You have all the makings of a fantastic elevator pitch. You’re so worried about not getting it right, that you’re not recognizing what you actually have (done).

    If you’re not a verbal person, then get someone who is on your team. Run ideas by a friend. Hell, shoot me an e-mail. But the answers are there. You just have to recognize them.

  6. Erin

    Loving your blog, and following along with your adventure. I’m working on my own start-up, and find myself struggling with many of the same challenges. One thing I read this week really stuck with me, and I’m trying to apply it to my planning process: it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to get done. You can always go back to improve and refine later, and tweak the plan or the website or whatever.

    Good luck!

  7. Kristin

    I think that often times stepping away from a project provides a fresh perspective. Don’t lose heart. You’re doing great!

  8. Emma Jo

    Hi Piper!
    Great post, I know the difficulties with elevator pitches…As a industrial designer I’ve now narrowed it down to “I make stuff, like your watch, this elevator or the coffeecup you’re holding” and people seem to understand it 😛

    If I was the owner of your store I’d probably say something like “I run a cozy-fun online shop, selling lifestyles including bags, chairs, ribbons etc made by independent artists” (or whatever you’re selling)

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Lori

    Piper, I agree with everyone else. You need a break and maybe it will come to you while you’re on vacation. Sometimes the best inspiration comes while you’re not even thinking about it. Again, I agree with them, it does sounds like you almost have your pitch, you just need to word-smith it some. Do you have someone creative in your group of friends that you can work with? Or someone that you’ve meet online/blogging? Because you know what you want to say, you just need to take those words and tweak them some so they sounds a little better. But that’s all. I’m not good with word smithing, so I won’t volunteer my help. 😉 Sometimes you just have to reach out and take other’s help, which isn’t easy and maybe you’re struggling with that too. There are lots of volunteers above to help you and I know I’ll help you with whatever I can. Again, I can help you narrow down products. 😉 You’re obviously not alone in this and have a lot of support behind you and people that want to help you. Take someone up on it. It could help you and make you not feel so overwhelmed and maybe more fun in the process! 😉

  10. Karen

    It sounds to me as if you are building: “An online lifestyle boutique featuring unique, handcrafted designer goods for the chic individual and their environment.”

    I’m at the same stage you are in starting my company. It does feel as if I have invested a good deal of time, thought and effort (along with some money) with not as much as I would like to show for it! That said, I try to remember that while I want a cohesive brand, I don’t need it to be perfect!

    Thank you for your honesty as you share your journey. Best of luck as you continue to move forward!

  11. Kate

    I can’t tell you enough how helpful it is to talk to other people about what you want to do. An outsider always has insights, suggestions, and a plain old ‘unexposed’ point of view that is SO helpful when you’re trying to be creative. It’s great that you’re blogging this out with us, and I hope that we can help you keep spinning up new creative ideas!

    I personally love “Shabby Chic” to describe some aspects of my personal style, but not everyone knows what that phrase means. If you’re a visual person, what about using visual words? “Whimsical lines”, “warm and colorful”, “bold and mod”, etc. What if you thought about the visual parts of your store (from your catalog that is coming along nicely?) that you LOVE and see if you can put those into words to find a theme and/or trend that you think identifies your store?

    I also love thesaurus.com when I’m stumped 😉

    Just my $.02….thank you so much for sharing this journey with us, I love your updates!

  12. I really get inspired by your posts and I am so touched to by the honesty they contain. Maybe if you show your vision to others they can help find the words you are looking for. Whatever you do, I am sure it’s just one more step on your journey to success! 🙂

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