I am always trying to reflect on where I am and what this business means to me in order to figure out what's important and where I am headed. Hitting 10 thousand followers on Instagram recently has prompted me to go one step further and get some of these thoughts out of my head and onto paper (or screen). I feel its time to talk about some of the struggles behind running a creative business, particularly on social media and also the positive shift that I have experienced over my journey with Home Vibes.
Social media – the ultimate love hate relationship!
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest...whatever your media of choice there are definitely undeniable advantages of tapping into the socials. From a business perspective there are some obvious ones, like exposure and advertising, but its also great for connecting with like minded people, building a diverse, world wide community, finding inspiration, sharing ideas and seeking support. However, as you have probably found (whether your account is personal or business), these benefits don’t come without potential pitfalls. Spending too much time scrolling often ends in comparing yourself to others, feeling deflated, defeated, frustrated, jealous or even inadequate. Of course, we all know that most feeds are carefully curated, hand picked images of the individuals extensive camera roll but it still doesn’t stop the instinctual, emotional reaction we have when we are continually running a subconscious comparison.
I'm not a jealous person by any means and I'm usually not one to compare myself to others, but I've definitely experienced this with my macrame and my business.
Since I started making macrame when there really wasn’t much of it around, there was a time where I became protective of the techniques behind the art form as I watched it become more and more popular. Now, thinking back I don’t really know why I reacted in that way. I think it was because I had found something that I really loved doing and I guess I was scared that if I shared how I did it, everyone would be able to do it and it wouldn’t be as special any more.
Over the years, I have also had some low points; I have seen many others copy my designs; I've had times where I've thought twice about posting on social media in fear of people taking my idea and running with it, only to leave me behind; I have questioned if sharing my patterns and tutorials is really what I want to do and I have regularly felt overwhelmed with urgency because I want to be the first to "design this" or "create that" which has, at times, really reeked havoc with my priorities.
Thankfully, I am now in a much healthier headspace.
Sharing this addiction of making things and being creative gives me such a sense of contentment and satisfaction, it fills me with excitement and gives me purpose. I know I am here for the right reasons and that’s the most important thing to me regardless of what anyone else is doing, but I will say this...
I truly believe there is a place for everyone in the market but more importantly I also strongly believe that this heavily relies on mutual respect for each other.
If you can make macrame, you have a skill not everybody has. Make macrame endlessly, but make it for the right reasons. Make it for the love of creating, make it for a stress release, make it for fun. Use that gift with integrity. Don't copy. Don’t steal someone else’s time, energy and passion just to make a quick buck.
Of course, macrame can be a source of income (I couldn’t do this if I didn’t get paid!) but if you’re selling your art, sell it for it’s true value. Don’t undercut others just to win the sale. Don’t make “custom orders” that are from a screenshot of someone else’s work just because you can do it cheaper.
For this industry to thrive, we need to respect our time and skills and sell our art for what it’s truly worth, even if it is "just a hobby".
That includes the time, money and resources it takes for you to dream up your vision, source your materials, prep your project, make, style, photograph, promote and package your product and to communicate effectively with your customers (and that’s not to mention all the other things involved in building a brand and running a business).
I feel if we all do this we can turn the perceived negative of “competition” into a positive “community” where we can all benefit from doing something we genuinely enjoy doing. “Community over competition” is thrown around all the time but I think it’s often misused and the actual essence of the saying is disregarded.
No one owns macrame but we are all invested in it, so let’s keep it real!
Looking ahead, I am in a place where I am actually motivated to share macrame! Stay with me, I’m not just saying that, I'll tell you why. I feel so excited and so lucky to be immersed in an art form that is morphing and developing so quickly into so many different styles and being part of an industry that supports so many individual makers from all over the world. After all, this is a handmade, human made craft - not something that can be made on a machine! I love to think of all the mummas, students, full time workers, retirees and everyone in between taking time out for themselves to make macrame. Not just the act of making it but all the fuzzies that go with it; the anticipation while waiting for the cord to arrive; the glee when it does arrive; the overwhelming itch to start right away; the enjoyment of watching patterns emerge and most of all the sense of accomplishment of creating something to be proud of.
I know exactly what that feels like and sharing that excitement and addiction of making things is my motivation behind this business.
I am genuinely so looking forward to sharing this with as many people as I can because I get so much out of seeing people enjoy macrame as much as I do!
Please, if you're new to macrame, old to macrame or somewhere in between, get in touch, I'd absolutely love to share the froth with you!!