Last week I was listening to a roundtable discussion on mpr about "what I wish I'd known when I was starting as an artist." The very first thing they recommended (or the first bit I heard, anyway) was Define success for yourself: does it mean fame? wealth? making lots of stuff? getting published? having lots of clients? And of course I thought, I wish I'd done that when I was starting.
Then I realized I had defined success for myself, in a way. Early on, I used to say, "I just want to get to do this for a long time." I didn't say it out loud much because part of me felt like that was a cop out, a way to settle, to not take risks. If I said success meant staying in it for the long haul, then I wouldn't have to bother with the drive to be bigger. I can't say how many times I've struggled with that over the last twenty years: should I be trying harder? should I be reaching more people? should I be striving to make enough money to send my kids to college (gulp)?
Then just when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I remember that I've made choices along the way: choices that allow me to make the after school snack every day, to read companionably beside my husband at night, to buy my groceries in the middle of the day, to get to do this for a long time.
Most days I don't dwell on either side of that coin, I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. In May, I'll celebrate 21 years in business (woot, woot, that's a long time!). I'll also celebrate my first day with a brand new business name. On April 30th, I'll say goodbye to Dreamland Designs, and on May 1st I'll say hello to Gina Sekelsky Studio, LLC. My husband gave me the name Dreamland in the first place, as a nod to my rich inner life. I worked with hundreds of local clients in the 1990's under the name Dreamland, and later with national clients through my wholesale line. When stationery stores started closing left & right, I decided to try my hand at etsy; the name Dreamland was already taken so I plucked lettergirl out of thin air, having no idea how much my etsy shop would come to mean to me. (Incidentally, I will be keeping the name lettergirl, and making it more official from a business organization standpoint.) Now that I am expanding into new ways of sharing my art (trunk show!), I wanted a name that encompasses everything I do.
Along with the new business name, I'll have a brand new website and a new blog home. Stay tuned for details!