The creative bug is not easily shaken and is often times laughed at and called names. I refer to it often as a disease. One that is inherently there from birth, and shows up when fed the right things that cause and encourage it to grow. I refer to it sometimes as a sickness, for which it could have made me sick if I spent when I should not have, or paid too much for a hat, but I had to have it, kind of sickness. I refer to the fact that it can't be stopped and if it wasn't hats, it would be something else itching that driving pulse that seeks to survey the next project. Like something that gets under your skin, so much so, if you don't satisfy it, might drive you crazy. Or at least that is what you believe and have convinced yourself to keep the fire going, keep the dream alive, keep on trying to prefect this creative bug that stirs within. And lets face it.....the hunt is half the fun. Along with all the other things in life that are set before us to do and get done, being creative doesn't always seem like a "real job" to some, perhaps most.
So, I keep trying.
I have done a myriad of creative ventures in my life. Wondering in the process where it would lead, seeing in hindsight now that it all lead me to this point, preparing me for such a time as this. From early childhood, I wrote stories and poems and created drawings sometimes to go with them, painted, studied photography in college receiving a BFA, did needle crafting, dried flower arranging, created baby shoe wreaths, designed jewelry, gardened, blogged, lead worship and wrote songs, refurbished furniture, repurposed functional art, hosted an online livestream Bible study each week in my kitchen, decorated multiple houses for Christmas, planned and decorated 4 weddings (so far), cooked for a large family with six children, to making these purses from silly old hats. Surely being able to do all these things would constitute as a "real job". This bug has been around for a while. These hats end up in landfills and much to my surprise, nobody seems to want or know what to do with them. And when and if my eyes grow too dim, or my back too weak to bend over my table, or I just get too old to want to do this anymore, I will probably find some other creative avenue to venture down and adore. I need that outlet.
So it should come as no surprise that making these purses is still lots of fun.
Even when I don't sell any. WHAT? One detail that my husband does not fully understand how I can be so lax about, as he hopes I would sell them all, but graciously accepts the creative process. He has put up with some of my hair brain ideas that occupy space in our home and storage. His balance of being the "brakes" in our relationship keeps me from "accelerating" too fast or out of control. I love him for that gift that keeps me grounded and on the right track. The creative soul is just that...... creative. I make no bones that the business side of this is not my forte. I gratefully accept any and all advice he gives to make the business side run smoothly. I gladly relinquish that control.
|West Germany pair of earrings anchor the attached chain.|
These purses have evolved over the years and so have I. I am taking things a little less seriously, concentrating on the craft and focusing on improving the brand, look and excellence in the details.
Did you know that it took Thomas Edison something like 800 tries to get the light bulb right?
I know I don't have nearly 800 purses yet or even 800 hats in my possession, but maybe someday I can claim that number. I did meet a woman once who said she had 1000 hats. I told her I was not sure I would know what 1000 hats in one place would look like. Or what that would do to me if I saw them. I might faint or fall over with excitement if I saw them. Hoping I can see them someday.
So I just keep making Hattie Bags.
Even though I don"t know what is to become of them, or if people will get the concept, I continue to try and figure out what the market will bare and work hard to get them out there. This past fall I was part of a big festival that was going to be my first street festival and debut of sorts for Hattie Bags. In this festival you have to be approved by a panel and asked to join the other vendors. I was excited they asked me to join in. I had never set up and torn down a booth so this was going to be my first shot at that. All was going well in preparation for it until the weather report came in.......RAIN. And I am not talkin a sprinkle. I am talkin gully washer, with flooding, lightening and wind.
|Booth in the rain.|
So what is a girl to do?
I had paid my entry fee, paid for the expensive tent and made hotel arrangements, so I felt obligated to go......besides with Texas weather you just never know. So I pressed on through the rain. I set up in the rain, woke up to the rain and left in the rain. At one point, there was a river running underneath one of my display tables where my table and tent backed up to the street gutter. People were dropping the purses in the water, not really understanding the concept calling them "cute" and "what a great idea", but nobody was buying. This taught me several things. Either they were as wet as I was and not in the mood, my prices were too high, or this was not the type of marketplace for these bags.
We must keep learning through the process.
Then you put on silly hats and make the best of it.
You begin to laugh at the situation realizing there is not one dang thing you can do about it. You appreciate what you have learned in the process. You count your blessings for the exposure you did get for the few that ventured into your tent. We folded up shop a little early and I forged on to get home before it got too late. Not selling one purse. I have come to a place with that aspect of marketing, there is the possibility I will not sell one thing. I have to be ok with that beforehand and just keep creating, figuring out and perfecting the craft. Trusting the process. A term I became very familiar with along the way. I will keep creating cause the bug won't leave me alone.
My reason for this post is yes to describe my creative process, but also to express thankfulness to those around me that go through it with me.....like this picture of this sweet friend who traveled with me to this festival to help me set up and be another body to watch over the tent. She took time away to be with me, encouraged me and blessed me with warm coffee, treats and lots of laughs.
Thank you Anna. I love this picture of us. You always got my back honey.
Even though we sold nothing, we laughed.
I thank God for each person in my life who shares in my excitement, encourages my enthusiasm, and has been bitten by the bug themselves. Creating these purses kept my mind off another bug, the breast cancer bug, I had five years ago. That bug came along and paralleled the emerging evolution of these purse designs and my need to create. Perfect timing. God's perfect timing if you ask me. It got me out of the house to hunt for hats, old clutch purses, vintage jewels and fabrics. I have met some incredible people and contacts along the way who have hoisted me up and lifted my spirits. Through these contacts, I even had an opportunity to expose Hattie Bags in a style lounge at the Emmy's. That has to count for something and hopefully will amount to blessings.
Such as Blissdom, Junk Gypsies, Vintage Jolie, Annie James Boutique, Cowgirls and Lace, Gypsy and The Blue, Texas Country Reporter, Stephanie Piche, Annievive Palm, Sydney Rowan Walker, Catherine Masterson, family, friends, countless others and various charities who have auctioned off these one of a kind purses.
Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!
|Standing in my booth, thankful for renting the expensive tent, and smiling through the rain.|
So grateful for that creative bug gift from God.