It’s amazing I make any money, let alone good money, because I don’t use ads nor engage in affiliateships or corporate sponsorship –
and more than all that, because I don’t take ethical shortcuts, and I don’t niche.
It’s honestly pretty incredible. I’ve built it from scratch!
And the good news is – the way this is relevant to your life, dear reader:
you don’t have to do all the things I do (or forgo the things I forgo).
This is good news because if I can make a go of it – you can.
You really can!
This morning I posted a photo showcasing my DOUBLE STRIPE tee and EASY TIGER jeans. The photo features two models – one tall and slender, the other short and full figured – both wearing my garments, custom made for their bodies. As I typed my caption I realized I’m the only designer I know of who creates traditional raw denim jeans – button- or zip-fly, relaxed fit, five-pocket, rivets and all – for all bodies. I’ve had more than one person encourage me to build a custom-jean empire – don’t you know, we need it! There aren’t enough jeans for full figures! There aren’t enough color and style options! I could be that one-stop shop for the family! And obviously if I moved to batch or mass manufacture methods, I could also lower the price point!
Except, I don’t want to make only jeans. I don’t want to spend all my time making jeans. And I don’t want to outsource this work either, which realistically means spending a thirty to sixty-hour week building a small batch or mass manufacture company – and then thirty to sixty hours a week for a few years after that, running that business.
I don’t want to do ONLY jeans work for a few years, and have to forgo my other design work, my self-education, my yoga school, my ability to pivot in about five minutes if I want to, my goofing off and making ridiculous shit just for the fun of it, deciding to do a deep-dive into custom chainstitched overalls and just make them over and over for literally no reason and to be able to stop making them the second I’m tired of it.
I don’t want to sacrifice that freedom. Not now, anyway!
(On the other hand you may, in fact, want to do something like this – build a batch manufacture business! In which case I think you might want to explore this post).
Niching is smart. Niching suits some artisans. If it suits you, definitely consider it!
But it doesn’t suit others.
Now later this afternoon – after writing, posting, sending out this week’s entrepreneur email, after having my Thursday lunch with my peer and co-mentor – I plan on heading downstairs and starting a king-size weighted blanket, just as a gift for my partner and I. This beautiful piece will be made with a luxurious oatmeal-and-slate cotton flannel on one side, and bold-ass tigers on the other! (You’re the first person to even hear about this, by the way!)
And of course – even though this project is a gift, it’s for me – because I’m a little Business Nerd just this morning I was thinking, “Wow someone could start a business doing this. Custom weighted blankets, in designer fabrics.” I started picturing the website, the seasonal fabrics, the logo and everything! I was writing copy in my head!
And yes, someone could make this business. In fact, I could help them. I could craft their mission and value statement, their name, their branding and typography and colors and vibe, I could write their copy, I could build their customer care model, we could get this going.
I’m just going to make this amazing weighted blanket, I’m going to add it to my portfolio and get hundreds of likes, it’s going to be a gorgeous heirloom piece, maybe I’ll host a livestream or teach how to make one. It’s going to live in my bedroom and be the best thing ever!
But it’s just a one-time thing. At most, I’ll make a few of these in my lifetime.
I’m not going to build a designer weighted blanket business. (Unless I help build yours!*)
What I am saying here is: really, really think through what you want to do. Traditional business coaches will tell you to research what’s marketable. Nuh-uh. Excellent product and service is marketable. And excellent product and service springs from your inspiration, your volition, your impassioned Creativity!
We need to start deeper than “Gee, what can we sell? How can we make a razor thin margin, but make a LOT of goods?” That is one way to do business – but it’s not the only way! So when I advise a Creative, I first ask them a lot, a lot, about what they love, what they hate, what they’re scared of. I ask them their track record for commitment. I ask about their support network, their resources. In about six minutes I’ve asked them questions no one else has – and we make a lot of progress. They come to decision-making on things they’ve been putting off for years.
And foundational to my process: I ask them what they would love to do – what they long to do!
Frankly, it’s weird as feck how many business coaches don’t start there.
Go forth. Be bold! Take your time making a decision, but go ahead and make bold moves.
Ethical artpreneurship is tough work. But I think you can tell – I wouldn’t have it any other way!
* Just a reminder: the two ways to partner with me are through my WHOLE ENCHILADA course (coming up this summer, then fall! – if you’re on my weekly email list you’ll hear all about it) – or through a formal mentorship, where I build your site, write your copy, develop your branding and marketing and messaging, and provide you with one-on-one sessions and access to the course).
I provide access to hourly sessions with me, to those who’ve taken my course or signed up for a mentorship. Otherwise – continue to follow me on IG, read my emails and this blog! Thank you homies, for your support and love.