What I Have Learnt | The Fear

Today I am putting out a post that will probably touch on personal but through many of the conversations I have with new and old friends, I think it is something worth talking (writing/waffling) about. Fear is a tiny word that can have a huge affect on people and when you are launching/running your own business it can be debilitating. 

N.B. I am talking about the kind of internal fear that affects your confidence and ability to make yourself visible - not the kind that engulfs you if you come face to face with a shark or lion so PLEASE GOD do not try and fight that fear - run for your lives (or whatever else Bear Grylls types recommend for these kinds of incidents.)

Three (ish) years ago I packed in my job as a supervisor at a high-end fashion store in Notting Hill wanting to set up a stationery business. And I choked. Big time. I spent a year ‘freelancing’ on the surface but inside I was freaking the eff out frequently. I spent days sleeping and crying with frustrating not knowing what I wanted to do or how to get where I wanted to be… Over this time I slowly went through my savings and basically did nothing, and it was embarrassing. I was embarrassed that I wasn't supporting myself and living off my boyfriend and I was embarrassed that I had no drive at all left in me, the drive that had got me through school, college and university had disappeared and I had no idea how to get it back.

The overwhelm took over me and the fear was uncontrollable. I didn't think I was good enough, I didn't think anyone else would think I was good enough and I certainly had no clue where to start. Even stuff like who to use for printing and on what paper - sent me into a total panic because it was so just too overwhelming. My natural response to feeling any kind of stressful emotion - sadness, anxiety, overwhelm - is to sleep soooooo as you can imagine not much gets done. I pushed away everyone that was trying to help me because I was ashamed and scared of how I was feeling. Yep, that's right - scared of the fear. HOW DOES THAT EVEN WORK GODDAMN. Way too many emotions.

As I am writing this I am sat on a train going up to the midlands to teach at The Handmade Fair for three days. Over the past year, I have taught over 100 people in groups of 10-20 and I love it, I get such a buzz from it, something that shocked me as I am naturally quite shy with people that I don't know. However this weekend I am teaching 100 people IN ONE GO, on three occasions, and I am absolutely terrified. It hasn't been helped by an overly stressful week but I have the hugest knot in my stomach and I am so so so scared that I am going to get up there in front of all these people and freeze. So how do I deal with this? By just doing it, at this point I don't really have a choice anyway I can't back out, but I have to trust my knowledge and my experience and just get up there and teach like I would any other time.

Fear is an emotion that happens to everyone, it's scary but what it does is release the hormone adrenaline which induces the ‘Fight or Flight’ instinct in us so we have options - we can either run away from it (for me this includes curling in a ball and going to sleep) OR we can fight it. Take that fear by the balls and say NO you will not control me I am going to kick your butt (please refer to my note above and please don't do this to an angry shark…swim for your life my friend SWIM). 

It has taken me a really really long time to get to the latter - but after I had my son I had this new found determination, I didn't want or need to do this just for me I needed to do it for him too and it clicked. That is not to say that the fear went away - putting myself out there was still excruciatingly terrifying but I knew that I just had to do it, so I took that fear by the balls put a website out there and released my baby into the world (business baby not real baby that would be terrible parenting). When it comes to business in my opinion and small amount of experience things are rarely as terrible as you think, and my website and brand was greeted by waves of enthusiasm from friends, industry peoples and potential clients. No one laughed at me, no one said are you being serious, no one asked me if it was a joke and no one turned around and said that I was awful and would never make it. All the things I was terrified about didn't happen, and why? Because generally the stuff we get ‘the fear’ about is usually made up in our heads.

Fear will always play a huge part in my life, I know that, especially the kind of anxiety led fear that I get which can stop me wanting to leave the house. But I have realised that when it comes to my business I cannot let it rule me and my decisions because I would never do anything. I get pangs of fear when someone asks me to do something I haven't done before, but then I ask myself why? They are asking me to do something related to my job i.e./ calligraphy not to lead open heart surgery. So WHY am I scared? I have always been able to work things out before and if I can’t I am part of an amazing community and usually at least one superstar in there can help me figure it out.

It’s the unknown that gets the fear amped up but we have to believe that we are a lot more capable than we give ourselves credit for. Whether you have run a business before or not (I haven’t) you will have a wealth of experience to draw on just from doing life. For me I worked in a designer store for four years - I have a huge amount of experience in client communication and giving clients an amazing sales experience, going from a store supervisor to calligrapher might not seem like the most related jump but I draw on this experience daily and I fully believe that it makes me better at my job. 

So to tie this up - as these posts get so long and I really don't want to bore you all to death….

  • Fear is a natural response to the unknown and we don't have to be scared/ashamed of the fact we are feeling it. 
  • Fear can be run away from or faced head on. Do the latter in business, the first if faced with a man-eating beast.
  • The things we are scared of very rarely happen because we have built them up in our heads.
  • Ask yourself WHY your scared…if the answer is ‘because people might hate it’ slap yourself and get on with it. People WON’T hate it and if they do then they are dicks and aren't your market.
  • We are much more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
  • YOU are enough and what you do is amazing so say F you to the fear and get yourself out there.

I hope that maybe this post is in the least bit helpful!

Chat soon! 

L x

Note - I am posting this after the handmade fair which was GREAT! After I got over the horrendous nerves it was absolutely fine and nothing awful happened like I had imagined and I just got on with doing the same thing I do every time I teach. The sense of achievement afterwards was amazing and I felt so proud of myself for doing it. So the proof is in the pudding - the reward for facing the fear can be so rewarding! 

the handmade fair

Styled Shoot | Horniman Museum

Hello hello! Today I am sharing this stunning fine art shoot that was featured on Bloved a few weeks ago. The whole shoot was shot on film by the wonderful Faye Cornhill and it is just perfection. I am lucky enough to live about 10 minutes away from The Horniman Museum which is home to this stunning 19th century glasshouse which I LOVE (seriously though I am like totally mad for any kind of conservatory/glasshouse). It also happens to be the place that we went for Oscars first outing when he was a teeny tiny babe at three weeks old...so I love it even more for that reason.

The team for this shoot were absolutely amazing - so lovely and so talented that it was an absolute dream to be a part of. I created a deep burgundy and white suite with a vellum wrap around and twine and wax seal details ( obseeeeeeessed) along with some delicate vellum place settings that looked so beautiful amongst the stunning tablescape. You can see the whole original feature here and some of my favourite images below.

I would love to know what you think about this shoot! Leave me a comment or pop over to my Instagram and leave me one there!

L x

Dream Team || Photography Faye Cornhill Photography | Styling + Coordination Lovestruck Weddings | Venue The Conservatory at the Horniman Musuem | Floral Design Blue Sky Flowers | Cake Little Bear Cakery | Stationery Oh Wonder Calligraphy | Hair + MUA Kylie McMichael | Silk Runner + Ribbons Lancaster & Cornish | Veil & Accessories Britten Weddings | Beaded Gown Needle & Thread | Off the Shoulder Wedding Dress Stephanie Allin | Lace/Tulle Bridal Separates So Sassi| Tableware Rentals Classic Crockery | Chair & Linen Hire Options Hire | Bridal Shoes Harriet Wilde| Film Processing Canadian Film Lab | Floral Hair Vine Paper Petal & Wild | Styling Assistant Heartshaped Weddings | Videography This Modern Revelry | Model - Maid of Honour Maria Laszlo | Model - Bride Holly Phillips | Model - Groom Sergio Verdug

Monthly Recap | March

Erm. Right. So the first QUARTER of this year is now done. How? Is there some kind of time lord shenanigans happening here? Because days, weeks, months, QUARTERS seem to be flying by. 

So moving on swiftly from those scary thoughts - March has been a super fun month - with the main events being that I exhibited at my first two wedding fairs which I really enjoyed! The first Sunday of March was spent at the Chosen Wedding Fair in Islington. It was such a nice day and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of lovely couples and suppliers. As it was my first fair I didn't really know what to expect and it was the first time that we had properly set up my stand background and shelves (lovingly built by my darling baby daddy) so I was a bit nervous but I was really happy with how it turned out. A couple of weeks later I exhibited at Most Curious with all the cool kids and although it was the looooongest weekend - I was totally exhausted by Sunday - it again was so fun, I met loads of lovely lovely people and discussed lots of amazing wedding plans. I had the same stand set up but this time the AMAZING Gee from Bloom and Burn gave it a little spruce up with some florals which were total PERFECTION, I literally sent him one inspiration image and he nailed exactly what I wanted. Total Babe.

During March I also did the March Meet The Maker Instagram challenge which was great - I had been in a little bit of funk with Instagram during Feb so this really picked me up and I really enjoyed all the daily prompts - in total honesty I didn't quite manage to get all the prompts but I actually did more than I thought I would, so well done me :) 

I have had two shoots out in March - Secret Garden Banquet on Rock My Wedding and the Victorian inspired Horniman shoot on Bloved both of which I loved and will be blogging about this month (promise). I also took part in a couple of shoots which I can't wait to share - so watch this space for them too.

Along with generally getting prepped for the fairs March was also full of lots of client work - some for private wedding clients and some corporate work. Both including lots and lots of envelopes which I really enjoy because it's just doing calligraphy for hours no faffing about on the computer, which in a life full of admin, is nice from time to time.

April is yet another busy month but the sun is shining and I feel pretty ready for it (I think....maybe....kind of?) it is also full of lots of fun 'life' stuff as well as work with Oscars second birthday this week, a trip to the New Forest for Easter planned and also a girly weekend to Oxford with my sister at the end of the month - so lots of exciting things to look forward to. Work wise I have quite a few exciting on the day projects to get started on for early summer weddings along with some new collection plans....ooooooo. I feel like I need a lie down just thinking about it....

So here we go....April, Spring, Quarter Two....I am coming for you! 

L x

What I Have Learnt | Instagram | Part Two

Well hello there and welcome to part two of What I have learnt about Instagram! If you haven't yet read part one (WHY?!) you can find it here. So settle down with a cuppa and fight the attention seeking toddler and dog away (surely that can’t only be my life?!) and get reading all about what I think about hashtags, having a cohesive page and lots more! As discussed in my last post about Instagram I am so far away from being insta-famous (goddamnit) but I am happy with where I am with my posting and engagement so I just wanted to share some tips that I have found helpful! 

HASHTAGS

Hashtags - those pesky little buggers. Annoying but essential. It is how the search system of platforms like Instagram and Twitter work and also if you don't use them then you aren't going to be getting in the #dream top nine and people can’t find you. You can use a maximum of thirty per post and in my opinion I would use them all. I personally have a little note in my phone with them all in and I just copy and paste and then add a couple which are more targeted to each post. When searching for hashtags to add to your ‘catalogue’ if you type into the search bar one of your hashtags it will come up with related ones if you are falling short of ideas! 

HAVING A COHESIVE PAGE

For me as a creative and visual person having a cohesive page is really important as I see my Instagram as an extension of my website. The images on my account are a mix of professional styled photos and pictures I have taken myself with my iPhone. I don't touch professional images (huge no no to edit any photographers images) but with my phone pictures I always edit with VSCO and use the same filter each time. Now I do not profess to know anything about photography lighting drives me crazy and getting whites took look the same quite literally makes me want to throw my phone in the bin BUT I do have a little area that I do most of my flat lays and I try to do it when the lighting isn't direct sunshine but before dusk. It is worth finding a little area where the environment is pretty constant to take your photos. Find a filter that suits your branding and style and then stick to it, apps like VSCO are great they have so many options for editing. I am also one of those insanely annoying people that posts a picture to see what it looks like on my grid and then deletes it straight away (SORRY to anyone that gets notifications for my account!) to make a proper post. Uber annoying I know. Sorry. 

STYLING

This point follows on slightly from the last - I am SO far away from being any kind of styling guru but after I went to a Makelight workshop and saw the styling GENIUS Emily Quinton style some of my calligraphy I started to pull together a bit of a styling box which I pull out when I am putting together a flat lay. This has made life waaaaay easier as I know where everything is and its super easy to grab the bits I need. I have a selection of ribbons and materials and also a couple of backdrops from Capture by Lucy which are amazing and since getting my Ash Bush penholder that has made a lot of appearances! Using the same selection of items to style up my images also brings together the cohesiveness of my page…for me, luckily, the things that I am taking photos of are generally pretty small so I don’t need a lot of styling tools just adding a bit of ribbon or material in brings a bit of depth to the photo. 

SEEING YOUR PROFILE AS AN EXTENSION OF YOUR WEBSITE/PORTFOLIO

As I mentioned on my previous point I see my profile as an extension of my website, it is essentially a up to date portfolio for my work. On my website I only use professional images that I have got from shoots but on Instagram I can post less than perfect images of my works in progress and show them off. Quite often when I get enquiries from potential clients i will point them in the direction of an Instagram post if I have done something similar in the past. For me also it is a great way of attracting new clients and I do get a lot of my work through people that have found me on there. Because of this obviously it is important to be professional on your profile when communicating with your followers and also posting on other peoples pictures. In short. Don't be a d*ck on Instagram.

INSTAGRAM CHALLENGES

I love an Instagram challenge, its great if your lacking a bit of inspiration and the people who organise them generally know what they are talking about so you’ll be posting content that people react well too. If you follow me you will know that currently I am doing Joanne Hawkers march meet the maker and I am really enjoying it. I have also previously done week long Rising Tide society challenges and one by Jenna Kutcher. It is also a great way to engage with other creatives who are doing the challenge by looking through the associated hashtag.

STORIES

Instagram stories are awesome. I love them. In a world of perfect curated Instagram pages they are a great way to show real life and behind the scenes without the pressure of it looking Instagram perfect. I love to use stories to show new materials, projects I am working on and sneak peeks along with a little insight into my life (mainly videos of my son and dog BECAUSE THEY ARE CUTE plus they literally follow me everywhere and I can’t get rid of them) I am yet to talk on stories as I sound like a four year old when I talk in videos so yeh probably going to keep avoiding that, but if you have the confidence to then go for it, I think its a great way to communicate with your followers. To top it off you can filter them and add a little bit of text to explain to your followers what the hell is going on. 

WOW so to round the second part of this essay up. I love Instagram. These tips might not work for everyone but I am very happy about where I have got in the last year of having my business account and I wanted to share a little bit of my learning process with you…just incase it can help…and if it does then please let me know - it’s always nice to know that someone out there is reading this.

L x