"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman
The purpose of this post today is to give a little window into this part of my journey as well as featuring new work. Sometimes I feel a little like I'm fighting a two-fronted war inside of a maze. One battle on the inside (making the art) and one battle on the outside (selling the art). That's overdramatizing for the sake of metaphor - but the point is, it's not always an aesthetically pleasing and delicious picnic. My heart is just to share some of that process. For you, if you need encouragement. For me, if I ever want to look back years from now and remember how it was to just be starting, when things seem obvious only after I've learned them the hard way.
"Oh, you're the one who makes the naked cakes," she remarked enthusiastically. ... ...What? Is that really the automatic subtitle that comes to mind when people think of me and my work? It wasn't a welcome discovery, but it was a valuable one. I do enjoy naked and nearly cakes, but that's just the very beginning of my scope. My takeaway: as a young creative business with a still-malleable brand story, nurturing what people see and know me for goes a lot further than just "what are people already buying?" Because maybe, just maybe, they don't have a taste yet for what I want to create and offer, and I have to help get them there by showing what is possible.
I find an interesting synthesis between my business and the traditional model of a studio artist who creates a body of work on his or her own, then holds a physical or even virtual event to sell this work. The key here is that the work is already made, and people can see what they're buying. Once an artist is established and there is a body of work that he or she can point to for reference, people may also come with commission requests. To reach this level, there must be previously established trust.
It makes so much sense that the same truth would apply to my work. Every cake is a bespoke commission. If I want to do more than naked cakes, I have to show it. This is by far the main reason that I take part in styled shoots - to challenge myself to try new things, to take risks, even when I'm not being paid to do it. If I don't wish to be ruled by the pervading trends on Pinterest, I have to visually educate potential clients before they even come to me in person. If I want people to value my voice, they need to recognize it as distinct. If I want more artistic license from my clients, I must earn that level of trust. The original incident that prompted this little journey of self-discovery was quite a few months ago. In the time since then, I've been working on gradually building up a fuller portfolio of work, which is one reason I'm excited to finally share this shoot, which was recently published in Southern Weddings.