11 August 2011

Am I Unique?

I was playing around in the etsy forums the other day, and I came across this thread, and I thought it was really inspiring and thought provoking. The thread is entitled "How to Be Unique (or Weird)"

So many on Etsy have found their passion and are thriving, but don't necessarily know (or can't explain) how they did it. And others may be sort of floundering here because they know they want to make, say... knitted gloves... but haven't figured out how to make knitted gloves really theirs, truly unique, and absolutely special. Least, not beyond "I use quality fabrics or yarns" and "I find unusual materials".

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get started. Hopefully, this can help some of you tap into your own uniqueness. And everyone else, please add your own questions and ideas.

1. What's your medium? Is it attached to what you did and loved as a child?

As I've said before, I started out in jewelry. As a child, I was never into jewelry. I was into writing (ridiculous) spy novels.

Once I applied that favorite pastime to this hobby-oriented business, it took off. Using other skills I learned along the way (branding, design) I was somehow able to tap into my inner weirdo to bring forth a product that was strange and that worked.

List 5 things you loved (or loved to play with) as a child. How can you integrate them into your business?

2. When do people raise their eyebrows at you?

I once told my mother you should be able to keep a child in a dog crate if you want to go shopping. (Chill out, it was a joke.) I got that raised eyebrow thing then. I have a nasty habit of being fundamentally unable to stop the throughts in my head from spilling out of my mouth. Sometimes people think those thoughts are funny. As such, combining that childhood passion with my inner strangeness (that I choose to interpret as humor) helps make this business more unique.

When do people look at you funny? Make a list of at least 6 times. Even if it embarrasses you (which it shouldn't), how can you connect the funny looks to this business?

3. When do you lose time?

When writing an articles, I typically disappear in the subject matter and the act of writing about it. I can stay up until the wee hours working on a writing or design project. Both subjects are that compelling to me.

Ask yourself when you last forgot to eat. When you looked at the clock and were shocked to learn it was well after midnight. Make a list. And make sure that when you're doing this craft, time and food are getting away from you.

4. If you were the only person in the world you knew (and you had plenty of cash), how would you spend your time?

I call this "killing my family and friends". They're all great, but sometimes I think I can get unduly influenced by their beliefs, judgements, and habits. So I pretend they don't exist.

So pretend you're alone in the world. Are you doing this hobby? Are you taking some chances with it that have popped into your head but were to afraid to act on it? Are you mixing materials that aren't commonly mixed? Are you buying supplies that are really odd? Jot down a few things you might do if it was just you you had to think about.

Isn't is great? I thought is was a fresh way to look my business and me as a person. Here is my result:

1. What's your medium? Were you attached to it when you were a child?
I loved paper, writing, cross-stitch, drawing, painting, and music (more specifically, singing).

2. When do people raise their eyebrows at you?
I still have to think about that one. I haven't really thought much about it - I'll probably have to also ask Jeffery; he's good at knowing things like that. Jeff says that he raises his eyebrows at me when I say something silly. That's really helpful, isn't it? lol

3. When do you lose time?
That was an easy one. I lose time when I'm creating. When I make my journals, paper creations, and also when I write. There are many times when I'm busy making something, and I look up and it's almost 2:00 a.m. bad Shirley.

4. If you were the only person in the world you knew (and had plenty of cash), how would you spend your time?
I would be doing exactly what I am doing now - creating. I am more at peace with myself when I create. I feel like I'm doing what I should be doing, you know? It's becoming more and more an important part of who I am.

So, in conclusion, I think I'll never really be able to be "weird", but at least I'll be doing what I love to do! :)


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