I honestly have to keep pinching myself that this year is over....HOW is this possible?! The last twelve months have flown by in a crazy blur (I swear having children makes time go faster - anyone agree?!) So today I am injecting a little nostalgia into the blog and recapping on the last year which has been full on amazing.
On January 4th 2016 Oh Wonder was launched to the world (aka my FB friends and personal Instagram followers) with a pokey little website and crappy photography, that I nearly drove myself crazy taking. I was terrified but so proud of myself for finally getting my act together and launching my little dream. Putting myself out there was the best decision that I made. A year later I have a website that isn't necessarily perfect and I am constantly tweaking things, but it is full of amazing images taken by brilliant photographers, products and services that I am so proud of and classes that I love teaching, I have nearly two thousand followers on Instagram (seriously this blows my mind every damn day), I am part of the most AMAZING communities, have made brilliant friends who I can ask any kind of question when I am stuck and know they will usually have an answer that I would never have thought of, I've helped people like me who have been too scared or nervous to follow their creative dreams and launch businesses (something I never thought would happen), I've had the pleasure to teach over fifty people calligraphy and taken part in 16 styled shoots (when my goal in Jan was to figure out how to take part in one!) some of which have been featured on the WORLDS biggest wedding blogs.
It's been insane. That's not to say that it's all been perfect, I am continuously fighting the battle of balancing my work and personal life which can leave me feeling burnt out and frustrated, and knowing how much work I can actually manage versus saying yes to everything (I am a people pleaser and everything always just sounds so exciting!!!) but gradually I am working it out. There will always be some days I don't get dressed or showered and the man in the post office looks at me like I am a total mess, but sometimes somethings got to give.
All in all it has been a beaut of a year for Oh Wonder and for me. I am mum to a beautiful toddler who makes me beam from ear to ear every day, I am surrounded by love and support and now I have a business that is beginning to be recognised within an industry I LOVE working in and I never feel like working is a chore...which to me means success (hopefully the piles of dolla bills, designer handbags and shoes will follow)
I have been and continue to be blown away by the support and kind words that I get from friends, family, strangers, clients, other suppliers, competitors, and what my sister calls my internet friends. You are all superstars and I honestly would not be where I am without you all. I hope you have enjoyed watching me grow over the last year and that you continue to enjoy the rest of my journey. I feel like this last year, whilst it feels like a novel already, is only the opening chapter in the story of Oh Wonder.
My five tips for starting your own calligraphy or stationery business
I definitely don't know it all, I am still a total newbie but here are my top five tips for anyone who wants to start up their own business.
• Community over Competition...find your competitors and then make friends with them. Chances are they are very similar to you and you'll get on like a house on fire and be the best of friends. Bonus is you can help each other out of sticky situations, give a hand when the going gets tough and pass on work that you can't do to someone you know and trust.
• Don't be scared, make the jump. Not everyone is going to love what you do, and at first that might make you sad (it definitely did for me) but you will find your niche and it will be full of lovely people who are perfect for you to work with and build relationships with.
• It doesn't all have to be perfect right away. When I first launched my logo wasn't perfect and my website was crappy but what mattered was that I had an online presence...I was a real business and person, not just some ghost. As I have done more shoots and work over the year and got to know more what my ideal clients and jobs are my website has evolved and will continue to do so. If I waited for it to be perfect before launching then it probably still wouldn't be out there.
• Network. Find online communities and go to events...I am not a natural face to face networker - I prefer to be at home in my PJs talking to people on Instagram BUT it is essential to meet people, it will get you work and build your brand...plus once your there it's a lot more fun than you thought!
• Be yourself. Personality is key, especially in the wedding industry, your clients have chosen you to be a part of the biggest day of their lives so let them see the person that they are letting be a part of that.