To say that 2016 was a whirlwind would be an understatement. The growth I’ve experienced through the constant barrage of challenges has been life changing, if anything.
Without sounding too cliche, like any business I’ve had those unexpected highs and soul crushing lows.Yet, what have I learned? What can I share?
I can share my experiences and my stories, because other peoples’ stories are what have given me energy to persevere when times were tough.
2016 started off with a phone call from my Canadian manufacturer telling me that they couldn’t keep up with my production and unfortunately, they wouldn’t be able to work with me as my company grew. That’s it. No warning. That’s life. I’m a pretty optimistic person, so I didn’t stress too hard. If I only knew that for the next 6 months I would be scrambling to find a new manufacturer, would have no product and have back orders out the door, I may have never been up for the challenge.
I almost gave up, I almost believed it was a sign to stop and I almost comprised my values out of desperation. I understood the direction the world was heading- everything is produced in China; I didn’t want to follow. I was adamant that it was possible some other way. That train of thought brought about tremendous pressures.
Fast forward to May 2016- my curiosity lead me to research the NAFTA agreement and Mexico. I don’t want to get into details, but my patience lead me to find amazing artisans who’s standards, values and work ethic matched mine. I have felt blessed ever since lol
After finding these amazing artisans to not only make my products but also finally bring my dream camera bag to life, after 2 years in the making, it brought the beginning of a tough year to a bitter sweet finish.
1. Follow those Fears :
Since I began Jolie Laide in late 2014 I have been terrified of putting my self out there in regards to shows, markets or pop-ups, or honestly anything remotely resembling selling my products and meeting my customers. I’m not sure why or where it began, but I have always been more introverted and self-conscious about my work. Perhaps many makers feel the same? This year, I decided I had to meet my customers and just meet new people. I am so grateful I did and now can’t stop, wont stop.
2. Collaboration over Competition :
This has been my ethos since I’ve begun. I’ve never ever been fond of being competitive, for some reason it cripples me or brings out a side of me I hate. Hence, I’ve taken the stand that when I admire someones work or talents I reach out and give credit where credit is due. If I feel we could work together, I reach out and maybe we could make something more beautiful with both worlds combined. I’m just gonna continue this one lol
3. Never Stay Stagnant, Always Innovate :
This is the name of the game in the world of design. Fear being comfortable. That has been my down fall from time to time. Complacency is never a good thing. Always think, whats next?
4. Stay True To Yourself :
This is an interesting one. It’s hard when sometimes you feel like your view on life or your aesthetic is not what’s poppin’ at the moment. So you try to appeal to wider range of people, you change or comprise your self in hopes of fitting in. NO NO. Don’t do that. You be you, and if your good at it eventually your time will come. Stay on course babe.
5. Get Involved :
There are so many other things I want to do in this lifetime. Yet, when your running a business sometimes to do it well, it’s the only thing you are really deeply involved in. It becomes your world. Even though this is amazing for business, it sometimes closes you off from other parts of you that your curious to be involved in and explore. After working with Photographers Without Borders in the past I recently joined them as there Photography Editor for their bi-annual magazine. It seems like a perfect fit and I’m really excited for the new new. It allows new ideas to grow, meet new people and might just challenge you in ways you didn’t know were possible x
There are too many amazing people who made this year possible, who have collaborated, supported and worked with me to bring my ideas to life.You know who you are and I thank you, thank you, thank you (prayer hands emoji) <3 Have a blessed 2017 everyone! Now back to werkkk..
Photography by the beautiful and very very talented Hailey Asquin<3