I noticed something the other day that I want to share. It's going to get a little deep so strap yourself in. lol
Recently, my story was featured in Boston Voyager Magazine as part of their Inspiring Stories Series. If you're unfamiliar, you can read that here. The photograph below is a printed version of my feature and is what triggered the connection I made and my "ah-uh" moment (continue to read below).
The above photo of me is a cropped version of the photograph below where I'm standing in the open doorway of the bay to my shop. If you look closely, behind me is ALL of my shop's contents, exposed for all to see and it's kind of messy! It's a working environment, set up to get things done. When I'm creating for you, I'm thinking about giving you the best of me and my work. I'm really not focusing on much of anything else nor should I be.
I now realize that this particular photograph was the perfect one to use for my feature in BVM! In that feature I told my entire story...total transparency...laying it all out there - the messiness of my life exposed for all to see, just like the mess in my shop.
Tuesday I had a lengthy conversation with the National Director of Communications from a very well known worldwide company. He thanked me for taking the time to speak with him and for my willingness to work with him and the company he represents. I was a little baffled by the comment and asked him to explain. He said that a lot of the designers he spoke with refused to work with them because, "they were building their brand". In other words, his company was now beneath them. If it wasn't for his company, I wouldn't be here doing what I am, as would a lot of leather working businesses! To me, it's an honor to give back, not an embarrassment.
(I'm about to tie both the photo and conversation together)
I want my brand to be about me; ALL of me! Not just what I'm willing to show you or just the pretty parts only, but the mess too; the confusion, the pain of trying to make something out of nothing, the heart ache and failure as well as, all of the successes, big and small...the true grit and grind of what it's like to be a human BE-ing in business and life.
Here is my reason why!!! I can either spend my energy trying to cover up the not-so-pretty, rearranging things and presenting the "make-up" side of me and my shop in order to impress you, prostituting my self and art in a way to drive traffic and therefore likes to my pages in hopes to increase sales, OR I can focus my energy designing and developing unique products, engaging in meaningful and soulful connections with my customers, and use my time to serve you, my community and the world the best I am able. I can use my energy to make me look better or make us all BE better. I'm going with the Option #2.