“It must be SOOOO nice to be a designer, and to sit around and stitch ALLL day!”
I’ve heard this expressed many times, and I just wish it were true! The fact is, being a designer is not the glam life many stitchers imagine it to be. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But the days of sitting around and stitching are too few and far between.
The business of designing is just that – a business first and foremost. And like all businesses, there are interesting parts and not so interesting parts, and parts that we wish could be done by other people. Think about your own typical day. You have chores that have to be done, emails to answer, phone calls to make, bills to pay, meetings, and sometimes at the end of the day you feel like you haven’t accomplished much. So I thought I’d write a bit about a typical day for me.
I start each day going through emails, and I stay on top of emails all day long. Phone calls are top priority – customers always come first. Then I work on getting orders out, to make sure that I make the mail and delivery deadlines. If there are no orders to get out, I work on new designs. I have to juggle design obligations for magazines and DebBee’s Designs, so I usually have 2 or 3 new designs in various stages before they are ready to stitch. I might spend some time “shopping” in my stash, pulling threads for new designs so I have everything assembled when I’m ready to stitch. Frequently I have to visit the local needlework store to augment my stash, consult on colors, or get some canvas cut. If the local store doesn’t have the perfect thread, and it wasn’t in my stash, then I spend some time on the internet, or looking through color cards to find the perfect thread for the next project. That usually leads to more emails to the thread people, asking for threads (and I hate waiting for them to come in just as much as you do!).
I usually don’t set aside time for inspiration in every day, but each day my mind does wander a bit, sorting through possibilities and solving problems. My morning gym routine seems to be a good time for thinking, and I find myself thinking of design issues while I’m huffing and puffing through my exercises. I also find that drive time is a good time for problem-solving – thank goodness for the voice memo feature on my smart phone! Snatching productivity from what seem to be non-productive moments helps to keep me on track.
If you’ve noticed so far in my typical I haven’t stitched yet. That’s because in my typical day I don’t stitch until after dinner usually, the same time I stitched BEFORE I became a designer. It seems no matter how hard I try, stitching time occurs in the evening. Sometimes if I’m lucky I pick up a needle mid-afternoon for a couple of hours. But sitting and stitching all day is a rarity.
It isn’t all bad though. Far and away the best part of being a designer is meeting people. We think of stitching as being a solitary activity, and usually it is. But in the business of designing, I get to meet wonderful shop owners, stitchers, fellow designers, thread dyers, publishers – all fabulous people in the industry. I’ve been super busy all month (hence no blogging) getting ready for Fall Market this weekend. Trade shows are the reward for our business efforts. Our new designs will hopefully be well-received, and show up soon in a shop near you, but the ultimate of any market weekend is seeing our friends in the biz. And soon I’ll get to go to EGA National Seminar, my treat to myself – a week of stitching and being a stitcher among other stitchers. Pure heaven!
I guess it is nice to be a designer after all!
P.S. Here’s one of the new designs, Happy Hour! Hope you like it!