I can't believe it... Has it really been three years?
This time three years ago, I quit my day jobs to pursue my design business full-time. It was the scariest decision I have ever made but now I can see that it was definitely the right move. I can't imagine doing anything else at this point and I'm so glad that I decided to take the leap. Looking back, it's definitely not what I had planned but sometimes life takes you to unexpected routes!
It's funny because my original plan for Chasing Linen was to create a stationery line. My goal was to design cards & prints, display at the National Stationery Show and sell my products to retail shops. Before I took the leap, I had a written out a plan from when to launch to how many accounts I needed each quarter. Ironically, I haven't accomplished anything on that list. To be fair, I did have a small stationery line and made some wholesale accounts with a handful of retail shops. I was pushing more in that direction but it never really took off. On the flip side, I was getting in lots of custom orders. Whether it was portraits, weddings or other miscellaneous projects, the custom side of the business was in high demand and it started taking over most of my time. I started to fall in love with creating custom works for clients, especially because it was collaborative. The joy it would bring when my clients received their one-of-a-kind piece was rewarding and just so much fun. The human interactive piece was my favorite and I loved that I got to bring someone's idea to life!
On the contrary, I started to lose momentum and interest for my stationery line and after a little over a year, I decided to close it all together. My business was growing each quarter and I had to go in the direction it was leading. Even though it wasn't what I was expecting, the outcome was even better than what I had planned for myself! Some of the best ideas came from listening to others. I realized creating something for the sake of selling was not the way I wanted to do business. Instead, I decided to LISTEN to the needs of my audience and then create products to fulfill it. This business model allowed me to engage and connect with my audience on a deeper level. They spoke and I listened. Plus it gave me joy to know that I helped real people, not just the "ideal customer" I imagined. On the finance side of things, my revenue has more than tripled since I've changed the business model and I'm not mad about it.
To sum it up, my biggest takeaway from running my business the past 3 years is this: LISTEN to your customers. Create products and services based on the needs of the market and listen to what is being asked of you. This will naturally aid into creating a business that SERVES others that in return serves you. This does not mean blindly creating everything that is suggested. My advice is just to start paying attention to what's around you. If you see a hole in the market place or an opportunity to create a unique service, take a mental note. Or even better, if someone asks you to do something new AND that is exciting to you, try it out! It just might be your next big thing. If it doesn't make sense or align with your mission, you don't have to do it but it never hurts to listen.
Overall, I'm so grateful for the past three years and where it has led me. It's been such a wild ride and I'm thankful for each season! I'm not sure what the next year would bring but I have some exciting things up my sleeve, which I can't wait to share more about. In the mean time, we're hosting a GIVEAWAY! To celebrate our third year anniversary, I'm giving away our signature hand lettered banner with a quote of your choice. That's right, we're going big! This is an instagram giveaway so make sure you check out this POST to enter. I'll announce the winner on ig story this coming Friday, which means you have 2 more days to enter. Good luck friends!