Well, dear readers, it’s been one year since I started my creative business–Carrot Condo.
Some of you read about it here as it happened. Friends and family came to my launch party last November (pictures and stories are here) and supported me with gusto. I had four Storybooks You Can Color and one set of Cards You Can Color.
When I look back at this last year, I am inspired to keep plugging along and astounded at how many great things happened:
All four storybooks are nearly sold out! I need to decide if I’m going to do a second printing or let them be a first-edition only to make way for new projects.
I now have eight different Cards You Can Color. My favorite is AIE, the name we gave to this little yogi-dinosaur. She popped out of my sketchbook one day when I’d been attempting a Very Serious Drawing. At fist, I was mad about her cuteness when I’d been aiming for depth, but then, I fell in love with her pluck. Now I try to model her attitude.
At the one market I sold at last year, I met Lisa Coulson of Panda With Cookie. Now, not only has our dinosaur card-ornament collaboration sold out of the first set, I am grateful to claim her as both a mentor and friend. She has taught me a lot about running a creative business, has modeled what it means to take time to do your best work, and put total faith in me when we began our collaboration. Thanks to Lisa, my dinosaur cards with her ornament are also sold at Tender Loving Empire, a shop with three locations in Portland and an incredibly inspiring story (read it here).
Speaking of friends, I’d admired Amy Daileda of Vivid Element for years in our weekly yoga class, but I didn’t talk to her until about a year-and-a-half ago. In that one brief conversation, she offered to teach me all about selling on Etsy and help me with my business goals. Now I gratefully claim her as a friend, too. I admire her quiet strength and passion. Thanks to a bold moment when we agreed to try something new, we now go to a zumba class together once a week. Zumba! I know! We’re yogis swinging our hips around to ear-crushingly-loud music and strobe lights. It’s good for me–forces me to lighten up and let go.
In August my writing group did a goal-setting exercise. I said I wanted to get into three shows for Carrot Condo. That felt daunting at the time, but here I am! The first show has already happened and went well, except that I learned I cannot set up my folding table by myself. It worked on the carpet in our basement, but on the smooth gym floor, it slid out from under me…repeatedly. It was like wrestling a wet octopus. (Thanks guy with the nice beard who hid his laugh and offered to help!)
My big challenge now is to figure out what’s next. I have tons of ideas, but which ones should I pursue first? As you know from earlier posts. I’m learning how to set goals and project deadlines for creative work. It’s been difficult; as a teacher, I just followed the college’s calendar and had automatic deadlines and breaks, and I knew how long prepping and grading would take. Now, I get an idea, and I have to think through a lot of details and unknowns. (Actually, one lesson I recently learned: just assume it’s going to take twice as long as you expect the first time around.)
If you’d like to follow along, I blog about my projects at www.carrotcondo.com. “All But The Kitchen Sink” is a more personal space, and some of you have been visiting me here for years, so I wanted to share here to say thank you. Carrot Condo is still tiny, and I have much work to do, but I would NEVER have gotten this far without all the encouragement and enthusiasm from you.