Monday, July 10

{ hello . Miss Smith }

For the past couple of years I've had a yearning to start something for me. A small business, designing, creating and making things that I was passionate about.  A designer for more years than I care to say out loud, I've always worked and designed for others. Whilst I've prided myself on doing my best to meet the clients brief, that doesn't necessarily mean you spend your days designing things that make your soul happy.

It took a long while to decide what that small business would look like. Pages and pages of scribbles, doodles, notes, talking myself into and out of ideas as quickly as they came to mind. Although I am a children's wear designer by profession, and have toyed with the idea of my own collection many times over the years, the idea of this no longer held the appeal it once had. Slightly intimidated by all the amazing small companies that have sprung up over the years, designing the most amazing children's wear, and more than a little fazed by the idea of finding and dealing with manufacturers, I was looking for something a little simpler, smaller.

The idea that eventually took hold, was something I'd been interested in since I was young, something that pre-dated my children's wear designing days. My mum taught me to knit when I was small, and the fascination for the craft has never left me. I knitted through art college, originally applying for a Knitwear degree, before choosing Fashion, yet knitwear played an integral part of most of the collections I designed, including my final collection. Whilst not the most fashionable of things when I was at University, knitwear has seen something of a renaissance over the past few years. Companies such as LoopWe are KnittersWool and the Gang, and Purl Soho, have helped to elevate knitting from a singularly unfashionable past time, to an ├╝ber cool hobby, helped in part by the move towards a slower, more mindful, way of living.

The scope that knitting now offers is vast, but I was particularly intrigued by the extreme knitting which I'd seen around the net, something which definitely hadn't been around in my Uni days. I started building Pinterest boards, for mood, for knitting, for colour, and started looking for yarns, for gigantic knitting needles, and I started knitting again.

And whilst progress has not perhaps been as quick as I would like, progress, of a sort, has been made. The images I collected have been sorted, and a selection made to give a snapshot of the impression I would like my business to make. Words have been written to define the brand I would like to be, and a name has been decided on. lily&Bloom has been my moniker since I started freelancing and blogging. Though I feel a great fondness for it, it didn't feel the right thing to take forward into this new venture. And so, and to my Dad's great delight, please say hello to the beginnings of Miss Smith.
I've loved my first go at knitting with jumbo yarn, and have loved discovering new stitches, techniques, and a whole community of like minded knitters. I've been playing with developing my own knitting patterns, and feel a style, and knitting handwriting of my own is starting to develop, though perhaps not quite there yet. I'm trying hard not to get distracted by all the wonderful knitters out there who are already selling their wonderful wares, knowing that I need, and want to offer something different from everyone else.

This post is, in part, a note to self to stop procrastinating further on this project. And perhaps to stop calling it a project, and start moving forward at a slightly greater pace than I have so far. There is a fear in putting yourself out there, in putting things you have designed and made out there, the fear that no-one will be interested, no-one will want to buy what you are selling. But if I never try, then I will never know.  I read an interesting post on Instagram, posted by @lisa_king_consultancy about how Starbucks began, and whilst the 'how it began' story was still interesting, for me it was the fact that it began back in 1971 that held a fascination. Whilst undoubtedly a hugely successful company for many years, when you read over their history, it took nearly fifteen years for the company to resemble the coffee stores that we now think as typical of the chain. Now I have no pretensions or desire to build a company as big as Starbucks, but I do think it serves as a reminder that things don't happen overnight, that it's easy to look at companies that are doing well, and are growing, and think that that has happened overnight. The word I used when commenting on Lisa's post was patience. Having the patience to take it step by step, moving forward slowly, yet surely.

I would love to hear your thoughts on all I've written today. Whether it's sharing your experience of starting a small business, or your thoughts on what I've shared above, a few words of encouragement, or even words of warning? 

In the meantime, full of optimism, and renewed enthusiasm, I'm off to scribble down a few more ideas and thoughts.

{ have a happy day }

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. thank you for taking the time to scribble down your thoughts . i lOve reading All your musings .