Monday, May 30, 2011

Longevity And Relevance

Some days I feel like a manual typewriter in our computerized world...and some days I wish I had a manual typewriter instead of a computer.  In many ways I secretly suspect I would be happier in my naive bliss.

When you are in a business with a very narrow playing field for a long time you gain certain perspective and insight on things along with the honing of your skill.  You are a savvy business person, and you are kind to your customers and listen to their wants and desires.  You believe you are doing your best to stay competitive, up to the current trends and yet be true to yourself.  You think you are going along and doing just fine.  But then the day inevitably comes when you discover that what you think you know may not be relevant any more.

I am frequently fascinated by how many things seem to matter that never used to.  Like the specific definition of a word, or how changes have come about in how we approach what used to be common place business practices.  Naturally everyone has an opinion and naturally no one agrees.

I feel as if I could get lost in minutia some days.  Did I say this wrong, did I do that wrong?  Is it really wrong since it's my business?   Do collectors really care about these things, or is it just that we, as artists are over thinking it now?  Do I seem like an antique white elephant in the room?  If I do, is it just today or is it everyday?

It's not enough to make my bears and sell them anymore.  Now I have to be a photographer, a writer, and a coder.  I have to worry that someone will think I copied them because I had the same idea at the same time, and I have to be concerned that I am unique enough, when I make traditional bears.  But on top of all that...I have to think about everything in the business end with new perspective too.  The world changed somewhere along the line and I am just getting the memos about it now.

It's exhausting and sometimes I am not surprised I can't get out of my head enough to actually work.  Computers are a wonderful thing in that they have brought us all so much closer together and we can share information so freely now and also that we can reach people the world over that we never would have dreamed of 20 years ago.  But maybe there was something to be said for a little less sharing and closeness?  I don't know.  Maybe I am just getting old.


jenann said...

No, you are not getting old - just over-worked and over-technologised!
I have a couple of ways round this. Wednesdays are 'no technology' days in our house. The phone is pulled, the TV and computer switched off, if it's cold, we light the wood-burner and in the evening we use oil (kerosene) lamps. I hand sew or knit on Wednesdays - no sewing machine. My husband uses traditional farm and garden equipment instead of his machinery. We read a lot and make a big fuss of our animals - more than usual, even.
Friends, neighbours and family think we are eccentric, but accept it now. By Thursdays we feel as though we've had a mini vacation and are ready to deal with the noise and bustle of life again.
The second thing I do is that once in a while I have childhood day - I buy in some of the treats I loved as a kid, play with my bears and dolls and we have a picnic lunch. Great fun, very relaxing and highly recommended!
I was never stressed as a kid, so a day of being a kid again is a restorative. Perhaps I'm a little crazy, but I love my life!

Amanda said...

I think Jenann's comment is great. I think I know where you are coming the market is now does'nt help and people seem to want to get that edge over their competitors. Hmmm, not sure if competitors is the right word to use? There could be a whole post about that word!

Aimee Jeffries said...

Ha! I love jenann's comment too :) Things just seem to be evolving and changing at a faster pace. Scan this, automate that. I find myself saying more often than not that something is a bit TOO convenient to access or use. Happy to say I still do not have a cell phone, but I'm sure I would get a lot more done if I weren't glued to the computer, and Facebook LOL

Melanie Jayne said...

Everything you write here is so true, When I start to feel bogged down with every thing, I often try to shut it all off for a while and become a little bit of a recluse, simply bear making and avoiding the outside online world. That usually does the job for me.

mmm I'm with Amanda I dont really see other bear makers as competitors either, being competitive kinda takes the enjoyment out of what I do and I totally like Jenann's comments

Sue said...

At school we call it 'information overload'. I have started trying to avoid listening to the news, as it is so depressing. All the media we have in our homes, cars etc, can be so intrusive and stressful. Just trying to keep on top of everything can be a struggle. I would LOVE to stop and smell the roses!

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