Oh, best beloveds, I need your input concerning marketing, etc. Any and all constructive criticism will be very much appreciated.
The header of this blog is also the front face of my business card. I added the definition of Freak Flag from Urban Dictionary in order to explain my thinking behind the name. It is also a reference to the song from the musical, “Shrek” and a nod to a favorite tune by Southern Culture On The Skids. On the back of the card above my contact information it says “Fly Your Flag.” My intention is to encourage people to not be ashamed of or hide who they are but rather to celebrate and embrace our differences, to boost self-esteem, and add a little fun and joy to the mix.
A much younger friend recently schooled me on some of the darker, kinkier, street meanings of the word “freak” and suggested the phrase, “Recreating Individuality” instead of “Fly Your Flag”.
I kind of like it, but need some input here. I am out of touch with popular culture in a lot of ways largely due to my age (64) and lack of interest. I don’t have the developmental issues the most influential up and coming age group has now. Been there, done that.
But I also need to sell stuff. Already I live in a very conservative rural area and do not sell much locally, thus the push to develop an online presence. I have been on the receiving end of some negative remarks about my company name and motto, but for the most part people around here just don’t seem to understand it.
Speak up, please. Share your thoughts. As long as you are not intentionally being rude I will welcome anything anyone who reads this has to say about marketing and branding. I am already part of an online group concerning this, but I would particularly cherish input from my readers. I feel I have a closer connection with you.
I went for a screening EKG yesterday and was told that it looks like I have had a heart attack; one of those silent, sneaky ones that tend to happen to women; especially postmenopausal diabetic women with polycystic ovarian disease. I have been referred to a cardiologist and expect the lecture on losing weight, taking statins, and exercising. Trying hard not to freak out too much (no pun intended) but my immediate reaction is, “Well ,no wonder I have felt like crap for so long!” and trying to come up with a plan to manage yet another chronic condition. I was very sick all last fall, 3 straight months of one damned thing after another, knocked flat on my back, and I am just now recovering. I think the infarction probably happened sometime then. I am trying not to be too paranoid about thinking that every twinge is angina now.
Ironically, a friend who was practicing her Reiki nailed it many months ago. She said she felt something going on with my heart and I blew her off. In addition to all the physical stuff happening last fall, there was some serious emotional turmoil as well. I have often said that I felt like that particular person ripped out my heart and stomped on it. I had no clue that could be taken literally. In spite of the emotional pain, he acted as a catalyst for my growth and dredged up some long-buried crap that I needed to face and clear out. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was productive.
On the dying side (after all, isn’t that what this blog is supposed to be about?): It has been frigging cold here. Snow flurries and snow on the mountain tops yesterday morning and very windy, which causes the cold to bite through to the bones. Typical Spring weather in western NC. I am itching to get back into the studio, got some special orders for friends I need to get done. And a bit of a whine here; standing on cold concrete in an un heated garage is not my favorite thing to do, even with a kerosene heater.
I have bought a planner called The Freedom Journal, which is specifically for those of us who are trying to be self-employed. I have committed to spending 2 hours a day minimum in the studio no matter what, even if it is just sweeping the floors and cleaning. Dying is a messy art. Wish me luck folks, and send good vibes. I need all the help I can get and being accountable to you will go a long way toward me getting stuff done. My goal for the next 100 days is to get all 60ish of my blank shirts dyed, photographed, and posted on Shopify. Stay tuned.
Much love to you all. Stay warm.
Update: Ice storms, rain, Nasty weather. Cold garage and a stinky kerosene heater. Still moving stuff around and cleaning up. Illness.
But I have shirts and I have dye. Not progressing as fast as I want, but I guess this is a prime opportunity to practice patience. Feels like I am spinning my wheels and getting nowhere, but I know better.
I am enjoying my vacation from Facebook. My anxiety and annoyance levels have dropped dramatically.
I am still working on the studio, getting organized and cleaned up. We had a cold snap with temps in the teens and a couple of days of snow that made working out there impossible in spite of having the kerosene heater going full blast.
I have signed up for free business classes offered by the local Chamber of Commerce starting in February and continuing through March and have connected with some photographers who have been very helpful in advising me about product photography.
I have a meeting soon with a local business about doing some stuff for them.
Still looking for an online store. Maybe I am being too picky.
More to come. Stay tuned.
I know this doesn’t look like much to those of you who live further north. My house is on top of a ridge on a very steep hill. My road wasn’t cleared for two days and even after it was cleared the steep part of the hill was still ice since it does not get direct sun. Cabin fever, anyone?
Facebook is no more as of a few minutes ago. I am not sure when or if I will go back to it. I have never been a big fan of Tumblr and am on the fence about Instagram. It looks like Pintrest will be my distraction of choice for the next little while and I am not sure how long that will last. Here I am trying to learn to be an entrepreneur and I am sick and tired of ads being shoved up my nose every time I turn around. Capitalism is not my thing in spite of trying to sell my work. Marketing and self-promotion are not my strong suites and I shy away from people who are aggressive self-marketers. It was one of the many reasons for leaving Facebook.
I started this page as a business page, as a way to sell the stuff I dye. It seems to have turned into more of a personal blog and I am wondering if I should continue to combine the two. I love color, am fascinated by combining and blending color combinations and by how it effects people’s emotions and moods. The graphic at the head of this entry is an example. I don’t agree with the astrological data (the colors match the seasons but not the characteristics of the signs) but am intrigued by the word associations with the colors. (Apologies to whoever I stole this from. If you don’t like it, contact me and I will take it down. I found it in a random internet search ages ago.) I am also an advanced amateur photographer (most of the pics on the blog are mine) and an avid gardener who particularly loves flowers. So if you want to talk about color, I am your person.
A more business savvy friend of mine said that people like to have personal connections with people they buy from. I have never considered that. I know I am more inclined to take my business back to people I feel connected to but I never considered using that as a business strategy. I am known as a galloping extrovert. I have always liked people and am fascinated by their stories. I would like for the clothing and yarn I dye to be a reflection of the people who wear and use it. But using my people connections as a sales gimmick feels manipulative to me. Nothing pisses me off more than an insincere salesperson.
So, what think you, dear readers? Please chime in. Should this blog stay strictly business and sales? should I set up another blog for thinking out loud? or is the combination of the two acceptable? I wonder if it might be a little confusing.