Bold. Loud. These words resonate with me. They ARE me.
For decades I used to temper my boldness in business. Quiet down so as not to disturb or offend. It's an interesting social experiment when you look into how we all act differently in each situation presented to us. When we're younger, we do exactly as we are taught because we appreciate our elders (at least Gen X does!) and we want to learn from their experience. As we come into our own, we find our style and voice. Then, something happens in your mid-40s where comfort really starts to settle in. You learn how to set boundaries. You state your truth. You learn how to not own other peoples shit. You learn how to be YOU - just YOU! And it ROCKS!
The image above is part of a project I've been working on for a few years that started out as one simple greeting card for a friend. The response was awesome and the encouragement started to flow in with statements like "you should really sell your cards!"
I've always had a creative side and being in the advertising and marketing field for my entire career (almost 25 years! Damn where has the time gone!?), creativity is just part of your day. You cannot read a magazine, walk through a shop, or watch a show without thinking about branding elements, logo design, product and packaging design, the list goes on. My role has always been to work on strategy, develop business programs, manage agencies, cross-collaborate with teams and launch it into the market. I've never really thought about building a card company or lifestyle brand. I've always been happy consulting with businesses and organizations on how to do these things.
But the encouragement kept coming in. So, I went for it! When I started my Etsy shop with one card, I just thought it would be fun to learn the platform, see if people would find it and honestly, use it as a creative outlet for myself. I had all the tools to create and produce high-quality cards in my office. I was able to create them on-the-fly and print on-demand. I still do (design, print, trim, score and package). There was no risk and it's a lot of fun. But I started to think of really funny, snarky, in-your-face kind of cards. Because, you know, I'm BOLD. I'm LOUD! I even changed the name of my site from CiaofornowDesigns to CHEEKYBOOM (because branding is everything, right?) I needed to speak to what I was doing and stop trying to be corporate/buttoned up. I'd design one and show it to my husband or friends. They'd shake their heads belly laughing but there was always this sense of "oooh,.....will people be offended, the swear words might be off-putting..."
Fuck that. I did it anyway. One by one. I just started adding more to the site. And day by day I got orders. I was receiving orders from all over the country and I wasn't even doing any marketing! Oh how I love the Etsy platform for that! I've got a lot or work to do but I'm going for it. All in. And it feels good. I am being me. I'm not asking anyone for permission.
So here's the thing...and you have heard this before....BE FUCKING YOU! BE ONLY YOU! You are the only one. You are unique. You have a purpose in this life. Your gut will always tell you what it is. You just have to listen. Drown out the outside noise. Don't worry about what other people think. Just do your thing and do it without censoring yourself. There are always people out there who think like you and will appreciate what you're doing because you are being yourself. And you will probably be an inspiration to them too. You still gotta respect your elders and know your audience, but you HAVE to be YOU! Awesome, bad ass, fucking wonderful YOU!