I couldn’t decide what to call this post: “A New Beginning” or “A Fresh Start” or “Starting Over”?? All of those phrases sounded so redundant to me. Aren’t all beginnings new? All starts fresh? Well, kind of, I suppose. But what is truly new? Everything stems from something else. Right? Too deep? Why am I even bringing this up?
Because I am embarking on something new, but not totally new. I’m taking everything I’ve done so far, and I’m doing it again, slightly different this time, and hopefully better. I’m making a fresh start! Here’s the backstory…
At the beginning of the year I got a message through Etsy (a ‘convo’ as Etsy calls it) from a woman who said she loved the ‘Words to Live By‘ pillows and was wondering if I’d be interested in selling them on consignment in her store, The Handmade Showroom, at Pacific Place down town. I wrote her back and said ‘Yes!’ and we scheduled a meeting to talk about the details.
At the meeting I showed her the ‘Words’ pillows, as well as the ‘ Wizard of Oz’ pillows, as well as some potholders I’d made, and to my surprise she wanted them all. Her enthusiasm for my work was such an ego boost, but even more, the consulting she gave me was invaluable. We talked about pricing, and craft shows, and wholesale, and labels, and finally she said, “So tell me about the name ‘So Fashion.’”
I explained to her that it was something my son used to say, and that it is a combination of “old fashioned” and “so fashionable” and a play on the idea that everyone has their own way of interpreting things. When I was done she looked a bit concerned and said, “I’m just going to come out and say it…” and I interrupted her and said, “You think it’s weird. It is weird, isn’t it?” And she said something like, “No… I think it’s really important to have a name that you connect with, which obviously you do, but I also think it’s also important to have a name that your customers connect with, and I think they’d have a hard time connecting with that name. It took you a long time to explain it to me and I think it would be better if people could grasp it more quickly. And I have to be honest with you, because there’s a lot of stuff from overseas on Etsy, I thought maybe English wasn’t your first language.”
What a relief! Finally someone said what I really wanted to hear, and confirmed my doubts about the name. So we talked some more and I explained how I had considered using my own name, but nothing sounded right to me, like “Suzanne Harrison Designs” or “Suzanne Harrison Studio” and she said what about “Suzanne Harrison Home?” and I said, “That’s it! I love it!” Why hadn’t I thought of that?
So I went home and bought the domain name SuzanneHarrisonHome.com. Then I made some labels with my new name and the care instructions, and brought them back to the store. Then I built a quick website to support what was on the labels: SuzanneHarrisonHome.com. Then I got out a piece of poster-board paper and started writing ideas and to dos on sticky notes and sticking them on the board.
It might sound a bit impulsive to change my name, just like that, but in the instant she said “Suzanne Harrison Home” it completely resonated with me. It felt right. It felt so much more like me. I love that using my name makes it personal, and that adding ‘home’ includes a word I love, that represents the thing I probably value most in my life.
And it feels like a flood of energy has been released in me. Like this was the trigger I needed to start over, so to speak; to do things again, better, more deliberately, with the knowledge I have from everything I did the first time. I have a ton to do, which feels overwhelming, but exciting at the same time, and I’m not going to rush through it. I’m going to be organized and take it one step at at time. I’m not in a rush. I’m finally going to make a business plan – not a super detailed one, more of a manifesto + high level plan. I want to create some new pillows, but I want to create some other products too, get some professional branding, and the list goes on, and on…
This time of year is always about newness. The year is new, spring is starting to make an appearance, “Out with the old and in with the new” is in the air, it’s a new moon, and the start of the Chinese New Year. This year it’s the year of the fire monkey. I think it’s interesting (and perfect) that all of this is happening right now. And how excellent that this article about the year of the monkey on Refinery29 says:
… the Year of the Fire Monkey is a great year for fresh starts: “If you’ve been on the sidelines, waiting to start a new business or jump into a new hobby or back to school, it’s a very supportive year to do those kinds of things.”
Welcome to the new year — embrace it, and see what new paths it leads you to.
Here’s to fresh starts! Happy new year!!
And check out my pillows at the Handmade Showroom…