2018 | goals

The last post I wrote looked back over a brilliant 2017 so today as I step back into the studio I am planning and prepping (or at least attempting to) for the next year. Yesterday I looked back through the goals I made for 2017 and am happy that I reached not all but most of them. This year I am trying to be realistic with my goal setting and make them measurable. I used Powersheets for the second half of 2017 and have bought a year one for this year so I will be using that to plan, prep and track my goals…if I remember to actually do it which leads us onto goal number one….

In business….

Be organised, plan, prep and schedule my time.
This tends to be my downfall at times. I have all the things to do and I don't schedule them properly so I end up racing through everything with an air of total panic surrounding me. I also procrastinate sometimes….all times….and I need to stop that. I am hoping by time blocking my day using my very snazzy Lifestyled planner I can keep on track of the work I have to do and also make time for self development. I also need to schedule time each month for finances and accounts - I am SO terrible at this and really must get better because it causes me so much stress. One of my jobs this week it to work out exactly what I need to do in the week to week running of my business and then schedule it in to every week so I always have the time to do it…..that will work right?! 

Self Development.
I am determined to spend time on self development in 2018. I want to spend more time learning how to use my iPad pro (which I have had for over a year….oops) and also learn copperplate calligraphy. Along with adding these to my skill set I want to learn more business skills to help my business for example marketing and Pinterest. I am hoping that I can put aside at least an hour a week to spend on self development.

New Collection Designs
This year I launched four new collections which went really well and I would like to do 3 more in 2018 before I exhibit at Excel in April! I have a couple of ideas already - its just a case of making them a reality now!

Blog
Okay so this is one that I didn't managed last year so it is here again…BLOGGING. I MUST BE BETTER. I really enjoy chatting away here so I want to make more effort to make time for it. Ideally I would like to post once a week…but I am going to aim for at least once a fortnight to start off with - don't want to get too big for my boots!

Instagram
In 2017 I grew my following from 2k to 7k so my goal for 2018 is to grow it to 12k. I really enjoy using Instagram and I am so proud of the organic growth that I have had on the platform. Plus all the pretty is just the best. I find it a huge source of inspiration and a great place to engage and network with fellow suppliers and creatives.

Teaching
I lost a little bit of love for teaching at the end of 2018 as I found it hard to sell tickets and had a little bit of a low confidence moment seeing all the amazing calligraphers teaching in London and I thought no one wanted to come to my workshops anymore (I know, poor, poor Lauren). This year I want to find the love back for them and plan some for the upcoming months and also get an intermediate workshop plan in place. I would also love to do some kind of online course but I think that might be on the cards for 2019 not this year.

Wedding Clients
In 2017 I nailed down my ideal client and this year I want to find more of them! I have been pushing my invitation design and ended the year with five new invitation clients which was really great. In 2018 I would like to get 20 invitation clients in total a mix of Collection Designs and Bespoke.

In Life…

Health
I am the classic cliche of ‘Go on a diet’ being my new years resolution which I fail at every year, however in November last year I went on a sugar detox and although I only lasted 5 weeks it really made me feel a lot better in myself so I am going to do this again and do the whole 8 weeks and then once I have done it I am hoping that I can stick to it and have less sugar as a whole in my diet. I am not a natural exerciser and I actually hate it (ha) but it does make me feel better and I feel when I get up and work out in the morning even if it just a power walk with the dog it makes me feel much better in body and mind for the day ahead. My goal for 2018 is to exercise 4 times a week (more if possible) to get my body moving and my mind working…along with dropping the two stone I need to lose…(fab.)

Reading
I love reading and I miss it so much. I would like to read one book a month this year and make a conscious effort to spend half an hour in bed reading rather than watching crap telly until late at night. It helps my imagination and creative side whereas I feel a lot of the time TV dulls it.

Exploring and Travel
We live in the suburbs of london and we are so close to gorgeous Kent countryside and Surrey which I feel we don't take advantage of enough. This year I want to have a family day out somewhere new each month, a day trip to discover somewhere new and the beauty of what is around us.

Balance
My working hours have continuously increased over this last year much quicker than I expected them too and Oscar now goes to daycare 3 days a week. He also spends one day a week with his grandparents and still sleeps in the afternoon (long may that last!!). I end up only having one on one time with him one morning a week (weekends we spend mainly as a family!) this year my goal is to spend that morning doing something fun with my attention fully on him rather than trying to balance parenting/work. I can afford to take one morning off work and spend it with him and I must remember this.

So in a nutshell those are my goals for 2018, I think they are pretty achievable (except maybe the losing weight as ALWAYS) and I feel pumped for the year ahead. It already feels promising and I am excited for the journey it takes me on. 

What are your goals for 2018?

L x

 

 

2017 | A Recap

So basically all of my blog posts start the same. Usually, an exclamation involving how quickly the last (insert timeframe here) has gone by and then an apology for how LAME I am at keeping up with my blog. Although these end up being empty promises I am TRULY sorry. I have all these grand plans to keep up with my blog and ideas to write about (because I also truly love waffling on here) but I am truly crap at prioritising it and in my crazy unscheduled working days it gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. Usually along with accounts too. Oops. I am not going to say that I am going to try and be better next year (because you've heard it all before) but I am…..

Anyhow today is New Year's Eve - the last day of 2017. WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL (see I told you - I am so predictable). It really doesn't seem like a whole 12 months ago that I was looking at the rear end of 2016. Beyond mental. However quickly this year has passed it has also been a crazy one. 2017 is/was my second year in business with Oh Wonder and it has pushed me further than I thought possible and whilst I have had some pretty crappy moments I have also had the most amazing ones too.

In Business…

2017 was the year that I stood up in front of 100 people, three days running, and taught modern calligraphy. It still blows my mind that I did this. I am not a naturally confident person - I don't like standing up in front of people and I am much more comfortable sitting on my sofa than in a big group of people I don't know. There is a story about me playing Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at primary school (god knows why I am admitting this on the internet)….. and it basically ends in me not singing at all. Not one single word. And just standing in the middle of the stage staring at my parents with hate in my eyes as if it was all their fault. My dad filmed the first 10 minutes then it got awkward so he turned the camera off. The outcome of this debacle for small Lauren was that I have never got up on any kind of stage since (except potentially a couple of drunk group karaoke incidents when I was a teen). At the end of 2016 the lovely Megan from The Handmade Fair, unaware of the Joseph debacle, asked me to be an expert at the fair held in May at Ragley in the Midlands. Completely blown away I said yes and felt fine about it until the night before when I had a total meltdown on my best friends sofa. Cue nausea, hysterical crying, refusing pizza (SAY WHAT) and begging her not to make me go. After a sleepless teary night, however, I put my big girl pants on and travelled up to Ragley and spent three days making the nicest of friends and having in all honesty, a load of blooming fun. I felt like I was going to pass out before the first workshop and was sure my voice and hand were both shaking I stood up there like a boss and taught 100 people how to do modern calligraphy. The feeling after was totally euphoric and the next two days of teaching were really fun. Having people come up to me after and tell me how much they enjoyed it honestly made me want to cry. It is one of my biggest achievements of this year (and potentially my life?!) and the good it has done for my confidence and self-belief I cannot even put into words. Also, they have asked me back for 2018 sooooooo seemingly I did okay. 

After this, I went on to teach 6 workshops at The National Wedding Show, one of the biggest bridal shows in the country, at London Excel. Mind-blowing. Talking of the National Wedding Show, in 2017 I also exhibited at three wedding fairs. Starting off small at The Chosen Wedding Fair getting bigger at Most Curious and then finishing off with the biggest at Excel. I love working for myself and being my own (I am a closet loner) but meeting people face to face and speaking to them about the work that I truly love gives me such a buzz. It's exhausting but the most fun and I can’t wait to do more shows next year. I also got to do two of the shows with two of my business besties which made it all the more awesome.

This year I have also had a load of styled shoots published (mental note to actually keep count of them next year) some of which are in print which is WILD. I am such a lover of magazines so to see my work in them is just beyond humbling. Through working on styled shoots I have met the most wonderful array of wedding suppliers all of whom are a total joy to work with. Being able to work to such creative briefs for styled shoots is one of my favourite things to do and seeing the professional images is always so exciting.

2017 was also the year that I met and worked with some truly gorgeous brides and grooms. I nailed down who my ideal client is and then I worked with some who blew my socks off at how perfect for Oh Wonder they were. I worked on two weddings at my favourite wedding venue - Aynhoe Park and the pictures were just breathtaking. I had my biggest on the day wedding order for a wedding in August with whom I worked with one of my favourite Planners Krysta from For The Love Of Weddings. We were both having a pretty awful time when we were pulling this together and she showed me the true meaning of sisterhood as we helped each other pull off the most EPIC of weddings. I also worked with the amazing Kat Otter and Jay Archer flowers who created the most breathtaking of weddings and to see my work in the middle of their insane talents was just incredible.

In 2016 I became a part of the fantastic communities….and in 2017 my community turned into my friends. I am so grateful to be able to call some of my greatest competitors my closest friends. The undying support, laughs and love these ladies give me is overwhelming and they fill my heart with so much love. During my lowest OH F*** moments they are always there to pick me up and they are first to raise a glass to me for my wins. Quite simply without these ladies I don't think I would have achieved (or survived) half of what I have.

Along with all this, I have also taught countless private and group workshops, been interviewed by the lovely She Can. She Did, launched four new collection suites, grown my Instagram following by FIVE THOUSAND followers, worked with some incredible brands such as Fresh beauty, The White Company, Heaps and Stacks, Ferrero Rocher and Laura Mercier, made some baubles which went crazy and the reaction to them filled me with all the love, and I had an amazing brand shoot with the wonderful Holly Booth. Phew…..its been a busy one for Oh Wonder.

In Life…

I have spent the year watching my baby turn into a little boy full of love life and a lot of sass. Every time I look at him my heart wants to burst he is such a perfect little being. Watching him grow is a true wonder and I am forever grateful that he came into my life. My goal when I started Oh Wonder last year was to be full time by the time Oscar started at school….things have gone much much quicker and I am now finding myself trying to balance still spending time with him. Whilst there are plenty of times when I am half on my laptop and half paying attention to him I have tried to switch off and spend lots of quality time exploring and teaching him new things. Mum guilt can be a total hoe sometimes and I definitely find I have moments when I question if putting so much time into my business is the right thing to do when I have a little human. But undoubtedly having my work makes me a much better and well-rounded person. I think it is important for him to see that you can do anything you want to if you put the time and hard work into it, being a good mum is the most important thing in the world to me - but it isn't my only role and I never want it to be. I have learnt that taking time for myself to be Lauren, not just mummy makes me much better mother in the long run.

As some of you might know I have an intense fear of flying and whilst I have had it since I was 12 over the last few years it has really taken hold and got a lot worst. One of my personal goals this year was to try and face it. I spent my childhood travelling the world with my parents and the thought that I couldn’t do that for Oscar hurts me. So in the summer, I booked on to the Virgin Flying without Fear course which I took in November. The week leading up I had 3 panic attacks and I was a bundle of nerves on the morning of the course. Not only did it 100% help, it was actually a really enjoyable and interesting day. My plane knowledge is now second to none (bring on the aviation quizzes) and whilst I won't be taking my cabin crew exams anytime soon I am planning holidays for 2018. 

Speaking of holidays we took a wonderful baby-free (and plane-free!) 12-day break and drove through France into Spain and then back to France for one of my best friends thirtieth birthdays. It was the most relaxing trip spent in great company and definitely very good for my mind and soul.

This year, however, wasn't all highs. In July we said goodbye to my darling Grandma. It happened quickly and it was beyond devastating. My Grandma was one of my greatest inspirations, fiercely creative and even when she lost her sight she would find new ways to create art. She used to be a great calligrapher and some of my favourite books were given to me by her. She and my Grandad had the most wonderful of lives together and their story was the greatest of romances. Seeing him without her makes my soul ache and ending the year without her and with him also in bad health fills me with sadness. Their love will forever be an inspiration to me and they have been and always will be the reason why I am so in love with love. To have what they have is a gift, that can be taken away in an instant and should never be taken for granted.

So there we go….if you have stuck with me through all that then THANKS, 2017 has been pretty wild and I am really looking forward to what 2018 has in store for me and Oh Wonder. Not only do I turn 30 (I know, I know I really don't look it) but I have an INSANELY exciting project coming out which I cannot wait to share with you all. It is killing me not being able to write about it in this post. 

I want to thank each and every one of my followers, friends, clients, supporters and colleagues for their continuing support. Without you, all Oh Wonder wouldn't exist and I am forever thankful to you all. Wishing you all a New Years Eve filled with love, laughter and lots of bubbles and a prosperous 2018. See you the other side. 

The top five lessons I have learnt in 2017
1. Sometimes the right thing to do is to say no.
2. Community is THE most important thing.
3. Sometimes stepping out your comfort zone can make the world of difference in your business and life.
4. Don't take love or life for granted.
5. If you don't look after yourself you can't look after anyone else.

L x

September Feelings

Hello Strangers! Have you been wondering where I have gone? I am sorry. I am still alive and kicking I have just been buried under a tonne of wedding commissions for the last few months. One of my never ending goals is to be more organised with my blog (and life) and it is a working progress but I want to be here more and serve you guys because I love this little space of the internet that is mine. This summer has been a mad one...but I will save that for next week for now here is a new blog feature...the feeeeeeelings feature. I absolutely love making mood boards, I mean hello have you seen my Pinterest?! So I thought I would introduce monthly mood board posts showing what I am feeling this month.  

September Moodboard.jpg

Somehow we seem to have fallen into September...I am trying desperately not to think about how quickly this has happened. But what it does mean is that we are heading into Autumn, which is my absolutely my favourite season. As much as I love the sunshine (as long as it isn't too hot) there is nothing I love more than being in jumpers and boots kicking through crunchy leaves and snuggling up under blankets in the evenings. Septembers feelings are based around blushes and neutrals along with cool greys and dark blues, intense patterns, layered materials and of course heading towards cosy layers. I find that flora, patterns and fabrics are what I lean most towards when searching for inspiration for designs there is just something so beautiful about them. The style of calligraphy that I am using most at the moment is this loose style - I just love the effortless flow and bounce of it.

So September, I think you might be a bit of a beauty (especially as I am jetting off to France for 10 days! Woohoo!) but I promise you will see me here soon and I am not disappearing for months again!

Ciao for now.

L x

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