Stress to the max!

I am sitting in my shop today eating cake, drinking coffee and reading Frankie. I look normal from the outside but deep down I am freaking out!

We are going to Brisbane Finders Keepers next week and unlike the other Finders Keepers we did before, this is the first time we do inter-state market. We dropped off our stocks at the freight company on Tue and I supposed to feel relieved after that. The truth is before I packed up, I worry we don’t have enough stock. After we packed up, I worry the freight company missed part of our stocks. Now sitting in the shop I worry the weather in Brisbane next week. I worry people won’t buy. I worry people won’t come. I worry about EVERYTHING!

I know I know. I am making myself crazy. But before you think I am insane please read about what I have to deal with this month.

The bamboo swaddle I ordered in Feb supposed to arrive at the beginning of June so I can bring them to Finders Keepers but in fact they haven’t even printed yet.

The bamboo dining set – the best seller in the shop, have been delayed after delayed and people on the other side of the world are not cooperative at all. I have been organising this since November last year and things are still not here. I am so upset.

I am freaking out not only because I know they sell well and I feel like missing out but also I am going to exhibit at the trade fair in August, even if they managed to finish everything by the end of this month, it still takes a month to ship here, and my trade fair is on the 2nd of August. I don’t think I can make it and that trade fair costs me $10k.

There are other things too like training new person to work at the shop, miscommunications between orders and delivery, never-end-to-do-list, emails, invoices, housework, walking the dog, losing weight, etc the list goes on… haha

I don’t even know who’s reading this but please don’t worry about me. This blog is my outlet, it’s my personal diary to share my tears and my joy. I feel much better now writing about my stress. Everyone deal with their stress differently, I am very lucky that writing helps me feel better. The world is fair. We all have 24 hours a day. We start new the next day.

1150ceaebb091e75994d9e6fb09737f4

Advertisements

Never stop working

I always want to write a book or at least a diary about running a gift shop but I’ve never got the time.  On one hand I have so many ideas I want to share on the other hand I feel like I am still very new compare to others who had their shop for like 30 years.

Since we have the pop up, we’ve never stop working. It’s like I am busy before I even get out of the bed.

Opening a shop isn’t as fancy as I thought. Years ago I was day dreaming with my best friend, dreaming we’ll open a gift shop/ book shop/ cafe and we thought we would be chatting to customers, drinking coffee, open and close whenever we feel like. Well obviously we’re very stupid and dreaming too much!

Running a shop is HARD WORK and it’s even harder for a designer! Getting products in from other suppliers are difficult enough but designing your own is even harder. I have to draw, source the materials, communicate to factories (if I am getting them made in bulk) getting samples, more communication, more samples, and things are not according to plan you have to find another factories. The process may take 6 months to a year! In between this process, it’s a lot to learn and there’s also a lot of self-doubt. I don’t know if people will like my design, whether people will like that particular product, and I don’t know if people prefer this colour or that colour, the lists go on.

Behind the sense there’re also lots of invisible stress because I have emails to reply, social media campaign, stocks to order, photoshoot to organise and if I am late for one thing, everything will delay. As an artist or a writer, I draw or write when I feel like this, as long as I submit the work before the deadline is fine but running a shop is doing different things in daily basis. it’s particularly hard for me because I can’t break up a drawing to do in different days or weeks, but sometimes I just don’t have the time to do one drawing in one day! Not to mention I need to get into the right time right mind set to draw. It’s all very hard.

I hope sharing this insight with you make you appreciate independent designer more. It’s  not that easy.

 

 

See you in Brisbane!

aw18_a6web_bris_72dpi

Finders Keepers Brisbane here we come!!!

This is going to be our first time to showcase at Brisbane and I am so excited!!! We still haven’t figure out how to get there yet with so many products but yay!! I am sure we’ll sort this out at the end! I think same as every single market I’ve been to, I am starting to get worried about the sales, the set up, the stock, everything, so fingers crossed for us!!!

Can’t wait to meet all my Brisbane followers!

 

Melbourne We Love You!

Untitled design.jpg

It’s been two years since we move from Sydney to Melbourne and WE ARE LOVING IT!

Two years ago we moved to Melbourne for a dream. Now I think about it I realised how crazy this idea was. We came here to chase a dream – to open a shop, to have a successful business and to be rich and famous 😀

We were very lucky that we’re making a great progress towards our dream and we’re very thankful to all the people that encourage us and support us all the way. Living in a new city is hard and running a business is even harder. Melbourne has given us the best opportunity to shine and I cannot believe how far we have came.

Thank you. Thank you all for all the generous support, kindness and friendship.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

I always tell people that my mum is very crazy and that ALWAYS starts a good conversation. The love hate-relationship between most of the mothers and daughters always comforts me, it’s always nice to know I am not alone. Sometimes you think you have the worst mum and sometimes you think you have the best.

No matter what your situation is I hope you have a wonderful day with your mum (or your dad!)

PS. Mum insists to post this photos coz she wanted to show people how pretty I was 25 years ago… lol… and I am was like…. yeh right…who does that….

We love Japan!

I honestly can’t see any reason to dislike Japan. It’s such a safe country and you feel welcome all the time.

We started off from Tokyo and caught the train to Yudanaka, Nagano to see the monkey in the hot springs. Unfortunately the day we went was too hot so no monkey want to have a hot bath and either did my father in law! 😭 We booked a really good hot spring space, where you have your private hot tub on the balcony but he only tried it once! Meanwhile in the other room jumped in over 8 times🤣 definitely  worth the money for me!

After spending a luxury night at Yudanaka we caught the train to Kanazawa which is a little town on the west side of Japan and famous for its traditional housing and the Kenrokuen Garden.

We were very lucky to have beautiful weather to enjoy the park on that day. I can imagine how beautiful and busy the park could be when it comes to cherry blossom season. The number of gardens in Japan are crazy and even normal people have a beautiful Japanese garden in their backyard. I wonder how many people are gardeners in Japan??

After a short stay in Kanazawa we headed to Kyoto.

It’s a beautiful city full of culture and elegancy. It’s very modern around Kyoto station but once you walk to the other side of the town it’s like your world has transformed into old elegant movie like scenes.

During our stay at Kyoto we also made a short trip to Nara where you can feed wild deer at Nara park.

“According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, the god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō.[20] Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country. (Wikipedia)”

It’s such a nice feeling to see that the wild deer and humans can be in one place so peacefully. And that’s how the world should be. No cruelty.

And that’s the whole feeling about Japan. Although I don’t agree with their whale hunting policy, I feel extremely peaceful in this country even when we are in the car. The drivers seem to be very patient and the road and it’s incredibly quiet. You can’t hear people talking really loud on the train, there’s not a single piece of rubbish on the ground, even children seem to behave so well in this country. I wonder how they do that?

Another thing about Japan I just noticed is everyone is so skinny, I have never seen anyone wear gym pants. In fact I don’t even see a gym at all 😱 especially with all the yummy food here how do they not get fat???

A brief stay in Japan won’t help me understand all these but it’s nice to have an idea what other cultures are like. When I was on the train I think to myself Japan is such a wonderful country the Japanese doesn’t need to leave the country at all. They have everything. However if you never go outside to see the world you will never understand other cultures. If you never wander you will never realise how good your country is.

Japan here we come!

I love Japan!! I think Japan is one of those countries that everyone would love. There are so many interesting things in Japan, if you are interested in culture, go to Japan. If you’re into electronics, go to Japan! If you’re interested in shopping, go to Japan! There’s just so many things to like!!

We have spent a few days in Tokyo and it’s beautiful! It’s such a modern city and have all the high rise buildings but when you turn the corner you can find the most traditional houses. It always amazed me how well the Japanese keep their culture so well.

Following Tokyo we are going up to the north to Nagano to see the monkeys in the hot spring, then to the west coast to Kanazawa then down south to Kyoto then back to Tokyo. It’s a very intense trip with heaps to see however Australia is so far away. Once you’re overseas you have to make the most of it!

Daisy and Me

IMG_0277.JPG
Daisy when she was 3 months

Some of you may know I have a furbaby called Daisy. She turned 2 a few days ago, I honestly think she’s one of my biggest achievements.

I used to be very afraid of dogs when I was a kid, I was chased by dogs all the time – it was crazy. Mum didn’t let us have pets, so I grew up terrified of animals. It wasn’t until I met my husband and he helped me to understand that animals are amazing and humans are terrible 😀 I am also surprised that she is still alive, because I’ve never grown anything. I can’t even keep my cactus alive!

We adopted daisy when she was 3 months old and she changed our lives forever. Daisy came from a family in country Victoria where her first owner had a Boxer already. Unfortunately the Boxer didn’t get along with Daisy so they needed to rehome her.

We are extremely lucky to have Daisy, she seriously has helped me to a better person. I could never imagine I would be chatting to people about my dog as I used to be very anti-social and hated walking. Now I talk to everyone (about my dog) and go to the park 3 times A DAY!

I think Daisy has transformed me into a more patient and understanding person. She teaches me how to use my heart to understand not just what I see with my eyes. She also makes me understand how important time is. We all know dogs only live for a short time and of course I want her to have the best time!

 

Work In Progress

PRI0011A4.jpg

I know I won’t be the first one to tell you this but I still have to say it- managing your own business is HARD WORK!!

Every business is different and I can only tell you how hard MINE is. Before we started to make money we worried that we won’t survive. Once we were starting to feel alright, another wave comes and and we need to paddle a little harder to try to keep our head above the water. We constantly worry about different things, timing, marketing, stock etc.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a dream come true for me to have the shop and be able to showcase my work to people, while putting a smile on their faces. EVERY coin has two sides. When you see me sitting in the shop looking at the computer, I am not always online shopping (just every now and then :D) I am constantly designing new products, getting new stock and thinking what can I do to make this better.

And when it comes to designing, I actually have no idea what I am doing. (Not that I know what I am doing with other things either!!!  😀 ) I may be good at drawing a picture but when it comes to professionally designing something I am clueless.

For example, I needed to re-deign our packaging for our children’s dining set, bamboo coffee cup and muslin swaddles urgently but I don’t know how to turn a template into a box!

Without a professional training it’s very very hard. It’s like asking someone to make a Croquembouche with no recipe. I just don’t know where to start.

I am glad that I get it all done in the end but man it’s HARD WORK! There are so many times that I wish I have more proper training in different parts of business but I think my brain and my time don’t agree with that. I will just try to do my best to learn on the job!