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

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

Monthly Recap | February

Well well March you snuck up on me startling me into totally panic/meltdown mode. Things are not so chill over here at the moment that is for sure. But for now it is time to look back and February, not to sit in the corner rocking to and fro whimpering about the fact that it is March al-bloody-ready.

SO. Feb feels like it was about 3 days long (I have a feeling all these monthly recaps are going to start with mild panic....) and it has been a bit of a funny one. It has been very busy but I have also been in a bit of a rut, mainly with Instagram - which I use as my main platform for saying HEY I'M HERE COME SEE ME - which is also part of the reason that there hasn't been a WIHL post this month because it was meant to be on Instagram. I am not sure what has happened but I haven't felt the urge to post stuff which I normally do, normally I LOVE Instagram (too much some might say). However I am now taking part in Meet The Maker for March so hopefully, that will give me a kick up the bum and get my back into the flow and that WIHL post will be coming soon.  

I taught a few workshops in Feb which were all lovely, I really do enjoy teaching - I get so excited about meeting people and sharing my love for calligraphy and seeing people realise that with the right tools, practise and patience that they can succeed at calligraphy. I also made a load more coloured inks and sold lots of starter kits.

The amazing shoot that I was a part of at the end of last year in Puzzlewood was published which you can see here...I absolutely loved this shoot and that silk background is honestly one of my favourite things ever. Along with that the first ever shoot I worked on, which you can see here, was published in Wedding Ideas magazine! Such a happy shock to have another shoot in print!

I have also been working on some exciting branding projects which I haven't done in a while so it is fun to get my graphic designer hat back on and get into the nitty gritty of logos, fonts and colours especially as now I can add little calligraphy touches into my logo design. 

I spent a day at London Zoo handwriting guest names on their invitations. This was one of my first ever calligraphy jobs last year so it was really fun to go back there and do it again - plus one of my close friends is a designer there so we got to go get boozy after. This month I also turned 29 (I know I look so youthful) and went and celebrated in Edinburgh with my nearest and dearests which was fabulous. I also got four piercings and chopped off the hair that I have been growing for ten years. So wild in my old age.

It's not been a bad month - but it has felt like a stressful month. I feel overwhelmed at the moment and slightly like I am drowning which is not overly pleasant. I feel like my to-do list is never ending and I don't have time to do anything other than work, but then when I am working I don't feel like I am being productive and getting as much as I should be, and need to be, getting done. And then all in all that makes me feel very exhausted. I don't like to complain about having too much to do because I am EXTREMELY grateful for the fact that I have this opportunity and the support to follow my dream. I am just tired and want to just get on top of things ya know? Also the time to relax and read a book would be nice. Real nice.

Anyway enough of that onwards and upwards I say. March how are you doing? This month promises to be very full - my schedule for work is already pretty much jam packed and I also have two wedding fairs, Chosen Wedding Fair this Sunday at Islington Town Hall and then Most Curious on the 18-19th March at Truman Brewery. I am scared but very excited to do them, my first ones! Eek! If you are heading along then please let me know I would love to meet you...and maybe you can bring me snacks? Ta ;) 

Here's to Spring!

L x

MONTHLY RECAP | JANUARY

As we say goodbye to the first month of this glorious year I am looking back at the last month and planning the next month - I say planning - it is more like OMG S**T I HAVEN'T EVEN BEGUN TO GET MOST OF THE STUFF DONE I WAS SUPPOSE TO THIS MONTH and then furiously writing a list and working out how I can exist on 5 hours sleep for the next month (lols that will literally never happen). However, it may have flown by but January has been a bit of a babe.

Firstly the Lake Como shoot got published on my favourite blog Wedding Sparrow and all the pretty was finally out there for everyone to see and for me to shout about. I still can't get over how stunning it is. Then my Mollie Makes feature came out...say whaaaaaat...I am still pinching myself/doing a happy dance. I am such a magazine fanatic that it truly blows my mind that I am in one. Me, my little top knot and inky hands. The fact that people want to actually think what I have to say is worth putting in print makes my heart and head nearly explode with happiness. If you have managed to get a copy of it then let me know what you think (if you can find it anywhere - I think my mum bought all the copies in the New Forest). Talking of magazine features, my work was also featured in Perfect Weddings who shared the stunning Wrest Park shoot that I was a part of last year. 

I also shared my 2017 goals and shared my first WIHL post about my first year in business which people actually found useful which again slightly blows my mind and makes me SO HAPPY. Honestly, it's a wonder that I haven't already reached my goal weight with all the happy dancing that I am doing. 

I completed and delivered two wedding invitation suites and taught two workshops, one with the lovely Kimberley from My Wedding Fair which we have been planning since last summer and the other in Greenwich both of which were sold out!

On a personal note, my little love Oscar can now string words together and says 'Hello Mummy' when he sees me which makes my heart feel like it is going to burst. He also says poopies and weewees which is overly hilarious.  

So February you are coming and I am ready for you! Not only are you birthday month (YAY) but you are also the month that I am going to get all my accounts in order (not so yay) and prep for my wedding fairs in March by creating some AMAZING new collection designs. I also have a pretty stunning shoot that comes out tomorrow...follow me on Instagram to be the first to see that! 

I hope you have all had a fantastic January and here's to a brilliant February!

L x

Note to self....make sure to post a number of posts that is divisible by three in all months after this one..because that grid is SO ANNOYING.