03 Jul An Update + A Message to Fellow Creatives

As most of you know, I closed our little retail space in June and I wanted to share why, so people can understand the direction our company is going and that we are indeed still growing despite closing a part of our business.

The studio was a triumph. I had always wanted to own a retail store and I did it. But in the process I completely overextended myself. I was constantly exhausted. Between the store, the events, and my position as a photo editor for Hawthorn Creative, I had nothing left. Nothing to give anyone in my life unless they were a client. I was living out my dream but I didn’t even have enough energy to truly appreciate it.

Two years was the goal. I had wanted to own my shop for two years, and I did. And during that time it was a successful, profitable business. Ending on a high note, I closed the door, creating the time and space needed to re-focus my goals, launch new projects, and regain an inner personal strength that I had somehow lost along the way…

{Image by Lindsay Vann Photography from our Sweet Siren Branding shoot}

I have also taken the second half of the summer off from events. And that may come as a shock because how could we turn weddings away? How could we say “no” to watching our business grow? Don’t we want to make the money and be the very best there is?

…and the answer is no. We don’t. I don’t.

I want to consciously approach each event we do with careful consideration for who the clients are and what this day means to them. I want to be sure I preserve my creativity, and take care of myself and my team. I want to be the best we can because we do the right amount of events each year for us, and we don’t take clients that are not the right fit just because we need the funds. I want to grow because we’re doing good, honest work, not because we’re busy all the time. I want to look back at the year and feel a sense of accomplishment, not relief. I want to always feel this happy and at ease when I take a moment before the ceremony to pin flowers in the bride’s hair.

{Image by Dreamlove Wedding Photography}

I was inspired to write this blog post, to put it all out there, because a fellow industry artist, Sarah from Saipua, does this. And because I was totally and completely verbally abused by a fellow vendor at a wedding two weeks ago. I can safely say that I have never been treated like this in my entire life and it took several hours of it for me to realize that the verbal garbage he was slinging my way had absolutely nothing to do with me. He was overextended and dealing with a slew of his own client issues. I just wanted to grab his shoulders, shake him, and say, “this day isn’t about you. It is about these two people who are very much in love and we just need to do our job.” Two weeks later, I’ve reflected on the experience and this is what I realized: how can we do our best work and exercise our full creative force if we’re constantly exhausted and feeling taken advantage of? We can’t.

Today, Jennifer (a By Emily B. team member) pointed out this specific Saipua blog post from Sarah, and it inspired me to say out loud, “Hey. I’m an artist and I don’t have to feel abused and exhausted to know that I am great at what I do.”

This particular excerpt pulled on our heart strings…

This evening I had a phone meeting with the mother of a bride who was considering hiring us. It seemed harmless, but once on the phone she talked without letting me say a word for 25 minutes about how wrong our proposal process was, how we didn’t do enough research on the venue, how our business doesn’t make any sense.

She made me feel really insulted and just bad. I wanted to hang up 5 minutes in, but then I thought that everyone deserves to be heard. When she finally relented I didn’t know what the hell to say. When I started to tell her about how important flowers are to us and how we’re trying to grow them to make our flowers even better I started crying. Which is oddly out of character for me at work. She told me that as a female business owner I should learn to separate my emotions from my business.
I told her keeping my emotions involved made me better at business.
Then I hung up on her.

I’ve been there.

And like Sarah, I want to stay emotionally involved. I don’t want to let clients and fellow vendors send me running with my tail between my legs. I want to stand up for who we are as a company and  conserve my emotional resources so I can invest myself fully in the process, so that I can give everything I’ve got and knock each wedding out of the park.

So that’s why I closed the shop. And that’s why I am taking the second half of the summer off. To preserve my wildness and my creative force, to thrive and be better at being human.

To feel like this, more of time…

{Image by Lindsay Vann Photography from our Sweet Siren Shoot}

Lastly, most of you know that I also lost my dear, sweet Olive in June. Not a shock, as I knew she had cancer, but losing your very best friend is something you can never, ever prepare for. And to have it happen on a double wedding weekend for By Emily B. was incredibly challenging and painful. But my team, my amazing, selfless team of women, rallied around me and we turned out three amazing events in just over a week, despite the grief. Olive was and always will be an integral part of By Emily B. She was my sidekick and is so deeply missed.

{Image by Lindsay Vann Photography}

And without covering up the pain of losing Olive, my heart was able to heal a bit by welcoming this new little bundle into our family last Sunday. World, meet Fig…

So yes, I took the second half of the summer off and I plan to spend all of it with Fig. Mostly napping and swimming. And I hope that somehow, this can inspire other people to do the same. To find a way to be consistently conscious about your needs around your work. Are you exhausted? Find refuge, say no, hang up the phone on people who are making you feel bad. And then call me: we can hash it out and commiserate. And then we can move on and continue to do our best work.