SIDE PROJECTS For the past year, I've been honing in on my photography skills by creating images for collaborative projects (some still in progress). It's been teaching me a lot (a lot) about this art form and skill-set and I'm thankful for the many opportunities I've had to make the steps to improve my photographic imagery. And it's been FUN, you guys. Getting the chance to work with different people, spaces, and creative concepts... so great.
Additionally, I've been designing jewelry for an outside company. The beauty of this project, though working within the confines of a specific product base, is the creative freedom I have with the imagery involved. It's been pretty liberating designing without having to hand-make those designs. Which has given me some grand ideas of my own (keep reading to hear more about that!). This unexpected project landed in my lap and it's been a very good thing for me. So, that's that. Next...
WRITING I can't tell you the number of "intuitives" (a fancier name for psychics?) who have, over the years, told me that writing will become a huge part of my career evolution. Now, I'm just not sure if this will come to fruition on the surface of my career at all, but if the past year has taught me anything it's that writing hauls through the sometime clusterf*ck of my mind and helps makes sense of it all. But, I think this is true of any art form. If nothing else, it does that; helps with the clarity, with the laying out of the grand and the tiny; the torment and the wishes. I have both column and book concepts in the works; slow moving, but moving. Update in the coming months? Year? Ten years? Twenty? I just don't know. But I do know how very much writing has altered the course of my life, from the bones. Any writers out there? Do you feel this way, too?
MY SHOP This is the big news. But first, a quick back-story... I began making jewelry as a hobby (who hasn't?) years ago, beginning a part-time business in 2004 under the name Ciara Obscura. Soon after I added hair accessories to the mix and my business took on a new market, expanding out. I've always had a main shop site, but it was my Etsy store that helped me to reach a broader geographic and global market. Over the past several years, I've sold customized bridal hair adornments to places like Iceland, Australia, Canada, England, Qatar, Israel, Ireland, Mexico, and France. This was all kinds of exciting me for. It's the beauty of ecommerce and it led me to focus my company away from local trunk shows and more toward a primarily online presence.
But over the past few years, the hair accessories- and certainly the jewelry- markets have become super saturated and so I had to rethink the direction of my shop. It's why I've veered away from my Etsy shop and started to focus all efforts on my main shop. I got to thinking... should I leave it all behind and start something completely different? I felt stalled. I was doing fine as a business, but I wasn't gaining the upward momentum that I had wanted.
I began brainstorming, journaling, sketching, collecting, researching, daydreaming, hoping for a new path for the business. I had to really get (brutally) honest with myself about what was working and what was absolutely not working. It was not an easy time (on top of processing the close of my marriage and a divorce... overwhelming). I felt like I failed and wasn't sure how I would come out of it. I did everything for my company; just me managing the designs, their creation, production, the website development, marketing, and accounting. Though my skill-set for sure expanded during these years, I about lost my mind trying to maintain all of it. I feel like I used every teeny tiny piece of my brain building this business. I needed a break. So then I started thinking about what other products I could design that would effectively connect with my other products but also stand-out as clear extensions in the larger marketplace. And then the ideas began to solidify.
This Summer, with the help of a design and branding company, my entire online presence will be given a power-boost- a fresh shop + blog design, new logo, more effective marketing, and ... here it is... new products that extend beyond the the reaches of jewelry and hair accessories. I'm fine-tuning to a select line of adornments I that will continue to make myself. I'll also be adding a line of perfumed oils, based on five years of collecting and creating three distinctly different scents; based on and customized to wishes and dreams. This will make more sense once launched this Summer, but there's the heads up on that.
I'll also be adding two other product lines, one that can double as wearable accessories and home decor, and the other extending out from my base accessory lines. Both of these lines are conceptualized and designed by me and manufactured by another factory within the US; allowing for broader production and distribution in the mass marketplace. I can't give details here until it's all squared away and ready to launch, but I will share as soon as it's all ready to go.
I'm so ready to take this company to the next level. My heart and belly flip thinking about it. In the meantime, are there any products not currently offered that you would like to see in my shop? Please feel free to share in the comments below; I'd love to hear!
And thank you for taking the time to read this rather long-winded post. I appreciate your very awesome love and support. It means everything to me.
Hope you're enjoying a lovely weekend, friends.
[perfume bottles via my instagram]