So, the Connecticut Renaissance Faire has been over for a week now. It was a hard show, for a lot of people, and I ended it with a lot of thoughts in my head about how to improve my business, my shop, and my life as it relates to them.
Kate and I spent the last part of the show looking at our empty hangers, and brainstorming what sorts of things needed to be made in as great of quantities as we could manage before our next big show. Before the fall, for instance, we need fur lined medieval hoods and Barbarossa hats, which sell well in colder weather. And before Winslowshire this summer, we need to make head scarves, pick-up skirts, and Queenie skirts.
I picked up a copy of Marrus‘s book, “Lightsurfing: Living Life in the Front of My Mouth“. Marrus is somebody who I’ve looked up to for a while, as an example of where I’d like my life and my career to go. We are very different people, with different drives, motivations, and art forms — but she has found a way to make her art and her love support her life, and that’s something I’m still working on. I’d been wanting to read her book for a while, and after having a lengthy chat with her about life goals and such, decided to finally pick it up. While it is not (and is not meant to be) a “how-to” book for living your dream, I definitely found it to be spiritually good food, so to speak.
Once home, I also sat down with my husband, who is fabulous at brainstorming with me and coming up with ideas, to talk about what worked and what didn’t, what sells and what doesn’t, and ways to get me more time in my studio. One of my goals, when I started Storied Threads, was to sell truly unique things — not chemises and shirts and pants that one can find in just any ren faire shop. But it seems that may not be the perfect plan — I often have people coming into my tent at shows looking for just a basic pair of pants, or a basic pirate shirt, and I always have to turn them away. So I’m going to start making some more basic pieces, garments that can be the foundation of an outfit, not just the completer pieces.
And finally, Mike had an epiphany. My Doctor Who Awareness Ribbon design has been a big hit — I sold over 20 of them just at this last faire. But not everybody has a use for a patch, which (aside from embroidering it directly onto something) is the only way I’m able to offer it. Mike’s idea? Set up a Cafe Press store! So, I did, in order to offer this particular design in more ways — on mugs, t-shirts, iPhone cases, stickers, etcetera.
There is a long road for me to travel, and it won’t be easy, if I want to make my living doing what I love. But with the friends and resources and determination that I have, it will happen.