balance

Wedding Season Woes & Whoas

Wedding Season is upon us! And it has taken me by storm. Today I made my 400th sale!  It’s been a rough month for me but this statistic really put all those woes in perspective. May, 2012 found me as much in sales as my first entire year did (whoa). Hence the lack in communication. And – trust me – I am NOT complaining, but my products have changed so much between now and then that a lot more goes into what I do now. And takes a lot more time (woe). Like these – which came out great, and one of these days there will be an entire post dedicated to Ashley’s Lollipop invitations – which required wire cutters and a lot of extra assembly time:

I never get any sleep anymore. I can’t remember a night when I went to bed before 2:30am. On my 2nd wedding anniversary, I went out for a picnic with my husband at the site where we got married (whoa – it was awesome… he had a whole picnic waiting for me when I got home from my day job), and when we came home prematurely due to the 92 degree day, I went immediately upstairs into my air conditioned bedroom and spent the rest of the night in there, alone, working on invitations (woe). Sad, right? In fact, I started this blog post almost 8 hours ago now and am just finally getting around to finishing it.

The big payoff is that I LOVE WHAT I DO.  I get to work with some really awesome people from all over the world who inspire me on a daily basis (and I get to do cool things with wire, which I never anticipated – that was all Ashley’s idea). It’s the really laid back, willing to think outside of the box brides (and often the super traditional ones who are REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THEIR WEDDINGS!!!) that are the most fun. Enthusiasm goes a long way with me. It’s so much more interesting to take an existing design and punch it up a little – plus then you get a truly unique invitation. And I get to experiment. Frankenvitations!

Last month (or was it this month?? I don’t even know what month it is anymore let alone what day) I was contacted by a bride from New England (Massachusetts, to be exact) who wanted a rustic, woodsy invitation. I had just the thing – my Sabrina invitation. But she wanted a birchy-piney feel, so we added in some pine trees and -BAM- Emily’s visions came to life. They came out beautifully. I’m extra proud of these. Even my husband loved them. And he honestly doesn’t comment on much without prodding. Take a look!

Thank you Emily for working with me to come up with a really beautiful variation of this design! I hope you are as happy with how they came out as I am =)

I am also working with a good friend of mine, Jessica over at Seven Layer Designs, on some new  ideas involving papercut invitations – more to come on that. I’m so excited (whoa)!

And if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, here are some photos of the latest Peacock Parties items!

I don’t know what I was thinking, launching a second Etsy shop in May. Of course I’m glad the new shop is up and running – I have a whole new line of items there… banners, dyed clothespins, cupcake toppers, birthday invitations, etc… and the response has been great!  Much much much more to come there in the future.

In the mean time, a BIG THANK YOU to all you brides who keep me happy on a daily basis with dreams of making this my full time gig. Not only the fun brides, but the ones who challenge me, too. The ones who think they’re nitpicky (actually all you’re doing is making me happier because you love your invites more when you get them!). The ones who come back to me when they have friends or sisters who get married or have babies and refer me their business. I am in awe of you ladies (and a few gentlemen!) and appreciate you more than you know.

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Balance

I’ve been so busy lately. My best friend got married last month, and in the weeks before her wedding I don’t think there was a spare moment to be had. I even put my shop on hold and halted all production for a full two weeks just so that I could focus on completing the projects I had on my plate at the moment and still have time to focus on the wedding.

 How beautiful are they, by the way?

As it turned out, the wedding was perfect and in my post wedding slump I turned my shop back on and got back to work.

It didn’t take long for the frenzy to return. 

For those of you who don’t know, I have a full time job in addition to my labor of love. It’s difficult, especially in the summer, to put in 8 hours at the day job only to come home, curl up with my laptop, and most nights not have a free moment to go outside, watch television, do the dishes, or even have a simple conversation with my husband.

Over time, this wears on a person.

How does one balance all of this frenzy and still maintain a clean house, a happy marriage, a balanced temperament?

  • First and foremost, I have an obsessive kind of love for stationery that is essential to making this work. If I didn’t love what I do, I would be crazy for submerging myself into it completely. What kind of person sacrifices their free time, their relationships, and their sanity to do something they don’t enjoy?
  • I have an absurdly understanding husband who knows when to leave me alone so I can work. Even when I’m barking at him. And in the meantime, does the dishes, mows the lawn, cleans the house… he is the best. And I don’t tell him that enough.
  • I am a perfectionist when it comes to tying bows, I have adhesive application down to a science. I have a great material supplier that provides a top quality product that I would not be able to survive without. All of these things come together to streamline assembly – I’ve figured out the quickest ways to do the most complicated and time consuming tasks. 
  • I’m not afraid to ask for help. Just last night, I was faced with “do I go hang out with my girlfriend who is visiting from out of town, or do I stay home and assemble pocket invitations?” Answer? Bring your pocket invitations with you, and have your friends help you assemble them. Genius. Everyone does 20 and they’re done in 30 minutes, instead of me staying home and doing 100 by myself all night long.
  • My clients are awesome. Every person I work with is different in many ways, but they all have this trait in common: they are all absolutely awesome. Many of them have had some wild ideas that I never would have come up with on my own (see my tuxedo invitations here), which helps to expand my repertoire while making their event unique. And I love that.
  • I learned to build my free time into my production time. Sure, if I sat down and did nothing but invitations for 24 hours straight I’d be able to get everything done in a day, but I would go insane in the process. I need to reserve some time every day for sleeping, eating, designing, blogging, maybe a shower? So I bumped up my production time accordingly. This way if I have a bad day, or if there’s a problem with the printers, or I have a little fender bender, or if I just feel like curling up with a book, I can do that and not feel guilty about it. I have already set the expectation to the client of when they will receive their order, and as long as I stick to that, everyone’s happy.

I guess the moral of the story is, do what you love, and it will love you back.