You guys!!!! I am so excited to share the time I was a guest on the Simple Scrapper Podcast with Jennifer Wilson! I have been on Jennifer’s design team for five months now over at Simple Scrapper and was so delighted when she asked me to be a guest on the podcast! We had such a great conversation about living a crafty life even when there are hard times and even in the face of trauma. I hope you enjoy our chatter and feel inspired through these words. Click on the image below to go to the podcast episode!
Thanks so much for listening and thank you for all your support over these last few years! It would not be possible without you!
Hello Lovelies, this is a new series I want to share with you on my personal journey of building a brand from the ground up while coping with chronic mental illness. I am not a medical professional and therefore do not offer medical advice, only stories of my personal journey in hopes that others might be inspired as well. Mental illness lies to us every day, and it is my hope through sharing my stories, my truths, that you might find hope and strength too. If you would like to learn more about my journey I invite you to read the Larkindesign Brand Story. You can read all the posts in this series here. Thank you for being here!
Thank you all so much for your wonderful reception to this new series. Your thoughts and love sent my way were all so positive and I am thankful for each and every one of you! Today I have a mixed media layout to share with you and I want to use the blog post to share a little of the back story with you. It was really difficult last week to acknowledge and act on the realization that creating the digital collections was not serving me well. One of the things they don’t tell you, when you start your own brand, is that it is highly possible that you will try many different things before you succeed. For many business owners, they do actually launch successful the first time, and grow amazing businesses seemingly on their first try. For some it happens that way, and for me it has not happened that way at all!
For some, building a brand comes after many trials and errors, and it can be especially challenging to do this with trauma, PTSD, depression, and any other mood disorders. What that actually looks like in real life is that trying many different things means many different things not working out. That means failure. There is no denying that, for whatever reason, the digital kits I created failed to sell. I am pretty educated and have a pretty good idea of why, and in the end it’s not productive to beat myself up, or feel bad about it, it simply is. The hardest thing, actually, as a survivor, is not taking it too personally, accepting it as part of the learning experience, and being gracious to myself and others as I go through this.
I follow Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess, and have long been so inspired by their creativity and their business successes. I find it most inspiring that they will tell you how many times they, too, have personally experienced these trials and errors in their business. They call it pivoting their business. When something doesn’t work out, simply try something different. And keep trying until you get it worked out. I love their messages in this regard, and it is incredibly uplifting to hear that even incredibly successful business women have struggled to find the right fit, too.
On the outside, the trials and errors of building a brand can make the artist seem disorganized, even untrust-worthy. You’ve heard it all: “oh they just didn’t know what they were doing,” “they didn’t know what they were getting into,” “they couldn’t just stick with it,” and on and on. And maybe all of those things are true. On the other hand, no one really knows what they are doing and no one really knows what they are getting into when they start a creative brand from scratch. Even if someone pivots their business by stopping something that isn’t serving them, they are still not giving up and they are still working towards their goal. I have stopped making journal cards for right now, but I am still showing up and I am still working towards my overall goal of making a profitable business and I am not giving up. Not yet, anyway!
But the challenge with this side of building a brand, and also dealing with mood disorders, are the lies that trauma and abuse and suffering tells us. Through this entire journey I have had a chorus of negative voices that have told me I don’t deserve to be successful, I am not possibly good enough or talented enough for this, I must be crazy to think I could ever make this work, and on and on. Have you seen Girl Boss on Netflix? Sophia Amoruso goes through this to some extent, and at one of the crucial points in the series she tears up everything in her apartment and ends up screaming at herself in the mirror, and the mirror screams back at her, all the negative things she has internalized about herself. It’s such a crucial moment in the movie because she faces those awful voices head on, goes to get her surgery (practices self care) and then comes back more determined than ever.
I promise I did not tear up our house last week, and I didn’t tear up all my hard work, but in some ways deciding to pivot my business right now is an act of self care and a part of this winding road I am traveling on. It was messy and tearful, just as Sophia’s messy turn-about was messy and fraught with the realities of being human and having serious challenges with self esteem. And after a few days of self care, loving private messages from e-friends, and the support of my family in real life, I am back with new hopes and dreams (and it is highly possible I will create more product at a later date, just not right now).
In this process, however, I am learning volumes about myself and my own presence of mind, my own strengths, my own weaknesses, and while building a brand is happening, building ME is also happening. It is frightening, at some stages, and elating, at other stages. I have always heard when you go through re-pivoting your brand, and you are unsure of what to do, to go back to what you love. Go back to the basics. What I love and what my basics are has always been pocket pages, my pocket page classes, focusing on creating layouts, and most importantly, inspiring other creatives. I have long been trying to figure out how to bring my passion for creativity together with my journey of healing, and then this series was born and it has clicked.
And while I am working and healing and processing and struggling and succeeding, I can still create and must still create, and I find the art of creating so incredibly cathartic. That process is also important to share with you, because I know that even if you aren’t trying to build a brand, chances are you arrived here as a fellow creative. Maybe you too are a survivor – I think all humans are survivors in one way or another, and it is messy but beautiful, and we get to reflect these amazing things in our creative work. So here is the take away for today. As I was building my title for this layout, I was going to just write “learning how to love myself,” and I realized there was most definitely more to this.
I had been approaching my journey to healing as a single destination – that one day I would be healed, that one day I would be able to love myself fully and wholly, with scars and all. I am proud to say that I have learned a little more about loving myself through this part of my journey, and I have learned that loving myself is the journey to healing. That may sound so basic to some, but for me it clicked. And I also realized that there isn’t a specific destination, that this is a lifelong journey. I am so thankful you are with me on this journey, messy and beautiful. If you’d like to see my process for creating this layout, you may view it here.
Are there negative voices in your creative life too? How do they manifest themselves for you? I would love to hear from you. Join me next time as we continue this creative journey. Thank you for being here and being part of this community!
Hello Lovelies, this is a new series I want to share with you on my personal journey of building a brand from the ground up while coping with chronic mental illness. I am not a medical professional and therefore do not offer medical advice, only stories of my personal journey in hopes that others might be inspired as well. Mental illness lies to us every day, and it is my hope through sharing my stories, my truths, that you might find hope and strength too. Thank you for being here!
Today I thought I would just write a few notes to you, just from my heart. This week has been a learning week for me, and I feel some changes are on the horizon, so I want to share a little more about that. Ultimately my goal here at Larkindesign is to inspire you, dear friend, and empower you in your creative life. I truly believe we can be our best selves when we are our best creative selves. But creativity takes an inevitable toll. It costs us something – an emotional cost, if you will.
I know that many of us turn to creative ventures in an effort to calm chaos and/or to express things within ourselves that maybe have no words. Sometimes we just need to get away and work with scissors and papers just to have fun. Most of us in the scrapbooking world are here because we treasure our memories enough to record them, document them, and curate them. So much value in creative work, and also a cost. Yes, it costs money, but it also costs us energy and time. Sometimes in the social sharing world it can cost us perspective too!
For the past three years I have been sharing my own work here and have been slowly building a brand. I have made so many beautiful friendships and have connected with artists, designers, customers, YouTubers, and bloggers around the world. If you read my Brand Story you will know how this industry helped me stay alive, actually. And all I have wanted to do is give back. So I created content, and videos, and classes, and collections, and have been sharing them here with you. It has been a joy to create products and it has been empowering to grow this little spot on the Internet. It has also come with a tremendous cost. An emotional cost.
I decided this week to stop creating digital collections – maybe just for a little while, I don’t know. I so very much appreciated those of you who have purchased and downloaded the products here, and they will remain up in the Shop if you are still interested. I am also planning to open up a Facebook group for Hybrid Project Lifers, and am excited to get that going. Growing a brand is really hard work, and it takes years. It also takes seeing what works and what doesn’t, what brings joy and what doesn’t, and being constructive enough to tell what you do well and what you don’t do well. Your feedback and your responses really help in that regard, so thank you every time you have told me my work is beautiful.
As I have shared in the LD Brand Story, I function every day with the remnants and in the midst of trauma recovery. I don’t know that I will ever recover fully, and I do know that I will always cope with it on some level. What happened to me as a child and in my 20’s had a profound impact on me, as I continue to work through that, and as such it has an impact on my business as well. I want to share a bit about that because I know I must not be alone in this. If you are trying to run a business with trauma and PTSD and depression or any other emotional challenge, please know you are not alone. Please reach out to me, to others, because we can be powerful emotional support to each other.
I have learned this week that it is incredibly hard for me to see the beauty in my own projects and products that I create. Abuse does this thing to you – it breaks trust. People who abused me told me things to make me believe things about myself or to make me do things that broke boundaries, and as a child I believed what they told me. What they told me, however, was designed to manipulate me and control me, so the horrible things they told me became truths, and the good things they told me were lies. I have had to fully realize that any time some one is communicating with me, my inner child is not trusting what they are saying. In fact, the voices of my childhood are often much louder and much more insistent that the voice of the present, and that means it sometimes drowns out the good I am hearing now.
I realized several years ago that this truth meant that any relationship I have ever had has been impacted by this – because when someone says they love me I am not fully able to hear that. Now, when someone says my work is lovely, again I am not fully able to hear it. I am working on this within myself, because I deserve to hear good things about myself and I deserve to believe good things about myself. And please, continue to provide feedback because it is important for me and for our community. And again, I know I am not alone so whenever you leave feedback you might be telling someone who really needs to hear that today. Feedback is so very important! If you are a Creative, you may feel similar ways as well. It can be hard to hear the good things about ourselves, or to trust the good things we are hearing about ourselves, because of our past trauma or depression. I strongly encourage you to reach out to professionals and to others who are understanding, to help in your journey.
I have also learned just how important it is in our community to raise each other up. There are designers and creatives here who pour their hearts into everything that we consume – the products we purchase, the Feeds we scroll, the videos we view. So I am committing to making a part of my work lifting others up however I am able. I welcome your feedback on ways to make that possible, and would love to hear from you in that regard. I also plan to open a Facebook group for Hybrid Project Lifers and hope you will join that and participate there. Thank you for being here, thank you for supporting me and for being part of our amazing community. Sending you creative vibes and energy wherever you are.