PLACES I HAVE STAYED – CASA CIELO

16.07.25.CASACIELO.0316.07.25.CASACIELO.02
16.07.25.CASACIELO.01
16.07.25.CASACIELO.09

Over on Places I Have Stayed – Casa Cielo. I can’t believe I hadn’t added it yet. Our little sky house was my home for 2 years while living in Mexico. We lived in a rickety little cottage with million dollar views among a motley crew of iguanas, large insects and very excitable roosters. This was the rooftop where I first started to experiment with dyeing fabrics and writing this blog. From this vantage point I started down a path that I have been following for the past 7 years. Unfortunately we took few photos of the space while living there but I managed to cobble together a selection from my old archives to hopefully give you a sense of how magical and odd our circumstance was.

Comments (0)

MIDDLE DISTANCE DEEP THOUGHTS

16.07.20.textilewaterfall

How is your summer going? You may or may not have noticed that things over at S&C HQ have slowed down a bit. As I stated in my previous post 2016 (and actually a fair amount of 2015) have been challenging – specifically with running this small business. Over the last year I have been wrestling with just how I want my life to be as an entrepreneur.

Before I started Scout & Catalogue I worked in a ‘regular’ job – one where I was expected to be somewhere every day, worked with a team and received a regular and very healthy pay check. In starting this brand, seven years ago, one of it’s biggest draws for me was that I would be able to choose how, where and what I was working on. This control was more valuable to me than stability in work and income. As S&C grew in success I was so grateful and also very motivated to grow with it. But these days I am feeling more stuck and unsure about my company’s next steps. Continuous growth means continuous financial risk, continuous hustle, continuous hours. Holding the company back, allowing for my own life to be more balanced, means risking the brands failure as more and more competitors flood this congested market. Scout & Catalogue has always been for me a job born out of joy. That is not to say that it is always fun because nothing is and a small business is CRAZY PANTS full of tasks that suck balls but the idea of creating an income, a lifestyle and a product that I can believe in has always been a motivator for me. I seem to be at a crossroads with this work – on one hand I can choose the health of my company and on the other the balance in my life – and to be honest I have no idea which road I will choose. Do you ever get to a place when a big decision has to be made and you exhaust yourself with cases for both outcomes? This is what happened to me this spring – I was rooted in the spot by indecision and nothing felt (or feels) clear.

So, I have made the short term decision to take my foot off the gas this summer. I am going to take advantage of the few warm summer months we get in the Pacific Northwest and sail often, meet friends for dinner, go for runs and trust that my next steps will present themselves to me if I have the patience (I seldom do) to wait. S&C is DEFINITELY still open for business but my social media presence may be a bit more sporadic and my email responses a day or so behind. I hope you are also able to take some time this summer to slow down and enjoy the beauty in the slow moments this season brings.

And lastly I just wanted to say a quick thank you for your years of support – for reading this blog (still), for buying our product, for following our progress via social media, for wishing S&C well. I so appreciate your involvement in this journey forever and always.

Comments (3)

AROUND HERE

16.07.11.aroundhere.0116.07.11.aroundhere.0216.07.11.aroundhere.0316.07.11.aroundhere.0416.07.11.aroundhere.0516.07.11.aroundhere.06

I haven’t done an ‘around here’ in awhile :

  1. I have been spending as many weekends out of the city as possible enjoying the gorgeous coastline outside Vancouver. But just to take a time out on blog writing – WTF is up with this non-summer we are having?? I know I should not complain. I know I live in a safe and stable country, with progressive leadership and all my comforts provided for BUT the only way to survive living in a northern climate is to revel in the brief hot spells of summer. I am sick of wearing sweaters in July. Annnnnnnd complain break over.
  2. Textile styling on the coast of Tugboat Island – one of the small gulf islands on the south western coast of British Columbia.
  3. A beauty shot of our Nomad Scarf in Soft Pink.
  4. Next week I’ll be installing a window display at the Aviary.
  5. Been thinking about hanging textiles for it.
  6. This year has been……shit. For a lot of people, in a lot of ways. I have started to work on some goods with the phrase ‘happy future’ just to remind myself that there will be a break in the clouds at some point. I’ll let you know when they start to be available…
Comments (1)

CANADA POST LABOUR DISPUTE

16.07.06.shippinginfo

As some of you know Canada Post is threatening to go on strike with disruption of service starting as soon as this weekend. There has been a postal strike one other instance in my time running S&C which lasted 10 days before the federal government ordered the union back to work. Our current federal government has made it clear they will not be interfering with this labour dispute so really – we have zero concrete information in Canada regarding our postal system. Fun times.

What that means for you guys :

Until this issue has been resolved we will be shipping with a courier with no extra cost to you.

Canadian and US customers : items will be sent out via courier, with tracking and will arrive in approx. 1 week from shipping

International : this will be a case by case basis as in some instances the shipping will be affordable and in others it will not be (case in point I tried to send a $24 item to Finland last week and the shipping was estimated at $130). We will in all cases try to get your item to you and will email immediately to inform as to if it is possible.

Thank you so much for your patience through this disruption of service!

Comments (0)

HAPPY CANADA DAY + HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

16.07.04.scarfblow

Happy belated Canada Day and happy 4th of July! I hope your long weekends kicked off summer in all the best ways. We spent the weekend in the gulf islands – fishing, exploring, pointing at seals, eating BBQ, reading, napping, swimming…all the good stuff. Happy summer days everyone!

Comments (0)

MEXICAN IMPORTS

16.06.27.woolblanketimport

A few years ago I went down to Mexico and brought up a bunch of artisan goods and folk art that I sold in a series called ‘El Mercado’. It was hugely successful and I vowed to do it again and then never managed to make time for it.  It has been a very long time since I was last in Mexico and I always seem to have other pressing business tasks to fill my days. Luckily I think I have found a solution! A few months ago I reached out to a Canadian woman living in Oaxaca who is building relationships with local artisan families and facilitating business opportunities with brands like mine. In the next few months I’ll start carrying select Mexican imports that have been sourced and produced ethically – including some of these lovely wool blankets that sold out so quickly in my last sale. I’m super excited about this and can’t wait to see how it unfolds – stay tuned…

Comments (0)

DYE DAYS

16.06.22.dyedays.01


 
16.06.22.dyedays.03


16.06.22.dyedays.04
16.06.22.dyedays.05

I’ve been spending a lot of time working from home as I dye and dye and dye for wholesale orders. Good for the coffers / bad for the soul, I think.

Comments (0)

RESTOCK RESTOCK

16.06.16.halfmoonrestock.horiz

Back in stock – our hand dyed indigo and earth Halfmoon Coin Purses

Comments (0)

#SCbusiness : TO TRADE SHOW, OR NOT TO TRADE SHOW

16.06.14.#SCBusiness.07Once upon a time before we had personal computers or had heard about the internet there was a tool in place to help brands sell their products. It was called ‘The Trade Show’. In a time before online shopping and social media these shows were a big F-ing deal. This was one of the ONLY ways for a brand to make an impact on retail buyers which was all the more vital when your only sales channel was through brick and mortar stores. Still to this day trade shows are organized every 6 months and the product shown is for the upcoming season (ie. September 2016 show is for Spring/Summer 17 product). In the past orders were placed at the show and then delivered 6 months later which meant brands only had to have samples ready and could order their production run based on actual sales (this still happens today but with more pressure to also produce goods for immediate delivery). Retailers could feel confident that they were seeing the best brands all in one place at one time because there were few other ways for brands to make a name for themselves. Design reps – people paid to represent brands and book sales – made connections with stores and buyers and played a pivotal role in the fashion ecosystem. Because trade shows were THE vital sales conduit they were able to charge brands a large amount to show at them – as they should have being such an important cog in the retail machine.

And then came the internet.

I know it has been over 20 years of the internet being common place but I still feel like, even today, age old systems in MANY industries are scrambling to adapt to the massive changes it brought. In this case it has delivered the question, ‘Are trade shows worth it?’

My short answer is – I don’t know.

In my previous life as a Creative Director for a fashion retailer I used to walk the shows every 6 months. I hated them. They were large and overwhelming and instead of inspiring me they left me feeling like fashion was raping the world of it’s resources in order to provide us with bootcut denim sprinkled liberally with Swarovski crystals (it was the mid-2000s). Even a decade ago online shopping was barely a thing and so the trade shows were still offering their traditional market service – bringing retailers and brands together in a way that was difficult otherwise. Before online stores photographed product completely for their listings, before blogs recommended brands that inspired them, before social media brought us behind the scenes of every facet of business you really only got to see and learn about a brand through trade shows. So despite my distaste for the scale of the shows I did still recognize that it was necessary to be there and that I was learning about product in a way that was not possible in another context.

By the time online shopping really gained steam and the internet landscape started to shift and become more interactive (remember when websites were completely static like pages from a magazine that were only updated once or twice a year??) I had left my full-time position, moved to Mexico and was starting to sell online myself with S&C. As you all know my brand began as a blog and so, in this new interactive internet age, I was able to generate sales from the comfort of my own home and without the fees involved with travel and shows. Awesome. Then because I had a devoted blog following and an online shop I was contacted by interested retailers that were willing to buy wholesale from me without seeing me at shows at all. Also awesome. ‘Who needs shows?’, I thought brazenly. And I didn’t attend any for a few more seasons.

But then….things changed. Again.

Most of my blog readership now had a bunch of my product and in order to get to my next level of business growth I would need to create more interest and widen my brand awareness. I looked into a bunch of things – PR support, showrooms, event collabs – and finally settled on doing a show. The cost for me was high but I felt like, from my experience walking the shows in the past, there was sure to be a return that would more than compensate for the show fee, travel expenses and my time out of the studio. And so I headed to New York and spent three days on the other side of the trade show circuit – as a brand. I left feeling mixed about the experience and I continue to feel mixed moving forward. When asked if I would recommend doing a trade show I usually ramble a list of pros and cons about the system which I will lay out below in no particular order:

  • Since there is now so many ways for a brand to gain exposure and for retailers to buy great product trade shows these days tend to be much smaller than in times past. I really like this because it feels like you are a part of an amazing boutique for three days. There is more likelihood of buyers actually seeing your product when they don’t have to cross a football sized convention centre to find you. This is especially useful if you are hoping to expand your sales network by impressing new buyers as they walk by, dazzling them with your trend relevant product and perfect price point.
  • If you don’t live in a retail centre this is a chance to book meetings with wholesale accounts that you already work with (it’s great to meet your buyers in person) or to book meetings with clients that have expressed interest but are a bit gun shy around placing orders before seeing your work.
  • This can be a great tool for brand positioning – always make sure to book yourself into a trade show that represents other brands you admire. Buyers will see your work in the same light as the brands you are showing with. In some cases buyers want to see that you have shown at a trade show for several seasons so they can trust that you are a solvent company that will still be in business for years to come and are worth developing a relationship with.
  • These days shows compete for relevance with their own marketing footprint and there is a chance they will promote you through their media channels which can be great exposure.
  • Hanging with like-minded people – every time I’ve done a show I have met great entrepreneurs who understand what I am up against and are awesome business resources. I also found my factory at one of these shows by just chatting to another vendor about my manufacturing issues which has changed my brand and personal life 1000x for the better. Outside of booking actual sales there is the opportunity to make unplanned connections that set you up for a healthier and happier business.

But also :

  • Show costs are expensive. These days orders are RARELY placed at the show itself so after you chat with a prospective buyer you don’t really know if they are going to place an order. When trade shows were the only sales channel between brands and buyers the buyer needed to close the deal at the show but these days, when they can find you and other brands in many different ways, the pressure is off. For some reason shows still charge like they are the only way for people to connect and they are not. When you add travel expenses to cities like New York it becomes questionable as to if your financial return will actually be worth it.
  • If you have a solid brand presence online I am unsure that your work in a booth is going to make that much more of an impact to potential clients. You could also just email them to introduce your work or even send your ideal retailers samples instead of paying thousands on a show.
  • Traffic is way down – the last show I did there were essentially tumbleweeds rolling down the aisles because – not to beat a dead horse – there are tons of ways for brands and buyers to connect and so the volume of buyers present has dropped dramatically from the shows I attended a decade ago.
  • If you are paying a showroom to represent you it can get costly quick and you need to have the extra expense padded into your per unit price. I currently don’t which is an oversight of my pricing strategy more than a con related to a tradeshow. As a side note – if you hire a design rep make sure to hire them with a sales commission term so they have incentive to sell you work and not just party.

And there it is. I just don’t know. I think there are tons of reasons to do shows and as many reasons not to. Like everything – each brand has it’s own unique sales mix and I’m sure for some companies shows are a pivotal business practice. For me it is a little ‘neither here, nor there’ and while they definitely offer value I am unsure if they are worth the large cost associated with them.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with shows – comment below if you love or hate them and which ones you had the best success with….

Comments (3)

STAMP STAMP

16.06.07.handstampsilk.pnk

I’ve been practicing with hand stamping with indigo…

Comments (0)

WALL TAPESTRY

16.05.30.scarfselfie.blog
I was shooting some Astral Scarves and whipped up this copper hanging rack which has me thinking….maybe wall tapestries for the fall? Thoughts?

Comments (1)

DYE DAYS

16.05.24.astraldye.01


16.05.24.astraldye.02
16.05.24.astraldye.03


16.05.24.astraldye.04
16.05.24.astraldye.05


 
16.05.24.astraldye.07

Spending these slow Spring days dyeing scarves for wholesale orders. It is always amazing to me the colours that come out of natural dyes – they are never what I expect but are always so, so beautiful. I also found some blank silk tank tops that I had made way back in 2012 that I’m dyeing up too – hopefully they’ll be available to purchase in a few weeks time. Each of them will be dyed with natural dyes and will be one of a kind…

Comments (0)

SECONDS20

16.05.11.secondssale.FINAL

What she said.

Shop here.

Comments (0)

ANNUAL SECONDS SALE TODAY!

16.05.16.secondssale.01


16.05.16.secondssale.02
16.05.16.secondssale.03


16.05.16.secondssale.04
16.05.16.secondssale.05


16.05.16.secondssale.06

Our Annual Seconds Sale starts today at 9am (pst) HERE. There has never been a bigger one with almost 200 items listed just to kick off the sale – more items will follow as things sell. It has been so fun to sift through old product – I found FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS (!) – and I hope you enjoy getting your hands on some one of a kind pieces at highly discounted prices. Enjoy!

Comments (0)

GETTING READY FOR OUR ANNUAL SECONDS SALE

16.05.11.secondssale.blog

Mark your calendars! Everyone’s favourite sale – our Annual Seconds Sale – is happening this Monday May 16th and running until Friday May 20th. It has been over a year of stockpiling lightly damaged goods, sample products and misprinted items and there is a TON of fun stuff ready for you to buy at hugely discounted prices. This sh*t is going down in our Etsy shop (the normal season collection will still be available in the online store) and there is so much stuff that items will continue to be listed throughout the week so please keep checking back.

Going live on May 16th at 9am (pst) / here / each listing shows you the exact item you are purchasing and describes why it is on sale / all sales are final.

Comments (0)

DYE DAYS

16.05.05.earthdye.01


16.05.05.earthdye.02
16.05.05.earthdye.03


16.05.05.earthdye.04

It has been awhile since my last en masse dye session – last year I did a month of intensive dyeing for totes and smaller goods and it has tided me over until now. I am currently pulling together an order for Urban Outfitters and they asked for a fairly high volume of our discontinued hand dyed colourway – Earth. This is the most fun recipe to work with because the results are SO bananas – every colour in the rainbow combines in new and surprising ways…

Comments (0)

INTRODUCING : LIMITED EDITION ASTRAL SCARF

16.05.05.intro.astral.0116.05.05.intro.astral.0216.05.05.intro.astral.0316.05.05.intro.astral.0416.05.05.intro.astral.0516.05.05.intro.astral.06

It’s been a few months since the new collection launched and I wanted to spend a bit of time introducing the new product here on the blog. When I produce a new collection there are a million steps along the way from ideation to the finished piece arriving on your doorstep and in the minutia of running a small business I often forget to tell the story of the work I have created. And so here is the story of the Astral Scarf :

Way back in 2011 I was busy dyeing scarves at a time when there was almost no hand dyed work in the market. I was overwhelmed with orders for my oversized cotton scarves (which I still carry) and I wanted to offer a higher end option to give my customers more choice. Wool seemed like an important addition to S&C but finding the right quality of wool gauze turned out to be a huge ordeal. At that time I was living in Toronto and I scoured their manufacturing district to no avail. I looked throughout the US and even Mexico and nothing seemed quite right. Finally, after almost a year of searching, I found what I was looking for in India. I am convinced that everything we own in a lightweight wool originates in India because I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE else (and that includes a brief dip into China as a source. Guess what? They were ordering their wool gauze from India too). At this time in my company’s history I was still hand making every single item so the idea of having to buy in volume and trust an outside source for my work felt like a really big step. I jumped in, ordered a large bunch of soft blank wool scarves and have never looked back.

For the first few years I applied a very light dye recipe to the scarves. They are very delicate and a lot of the regular techniques in dyeing were too harsh for them. Our original Astral scarves did really well – mostly because the wool is so soft and light – and they stayed in the line for several years, right up until I moved from Toronto to Vancouver. At that point I lost track of my blanks and promptly forgot about them as I started working with new techniques for the line such as leather marbling and shibori. It wasn’t until I gave up my Vancouver studio last Fall that I stumbled onto the box of Astral blanks and started to mull over how I could bring them back into the line.

When I began to consider how to dye the scarves for this season I was met with the same dye challenges as before – mostly that their delicate nature prohibits a lot of the processes and chemicals used in other dye work. Because of this I turned to natural dyes which LOVE protein fibres (aka. fabrics made from animal products – wool, silk – as opposed to cellulose fibres which come from plant bases – cotton, hemp, linen) and have a relatively low impact dye process. I also wanted to work with a more structured dye design and developed a technique where I layer different dye colours along and across each other – almost like an extremely loose and organic plaid – which leads to the fabric over dyeing and taking on new hues where the original pigments intersect. I love how the scarves feel both organic and structured with this technique.

If you have ever played around with natural dyes you will know how finicky they can be and so I worked with the idea that each scarf could be it’s own piece and I wouldn’t have to recreate one dye recipe over and over again. For me this brought a ton of joy to the process – allowing me to play and create like the first days of S&C in Mexico. In my opinion these scarves are some of my best dye work to date and I hope you like them as much as I do. They are perfect scarves for the spring season – light enough to take with you anywhere but still warm enough to keep you comfortable on cooler nights.

Comments (0)

NATURAL LEATHER LIFESPAN

16.05.01.vegtanchange.02
16.05.01.vegtanchange.01

A lot of the leather I work with is natural vegetable tan which means it has not been coated or treated with any stain or pigment. It also means it darkens with time and wear and can stain from the oils in your fingers, as well as from light, water and general life chaos. Some people have reservations buying it because they don’t understand what it will look like over time so I thought I would post a little before and after of the Tonala Pequena Zip Wallet I’ve been using for about a year now. As you can see the leather has warmed in tone, stretched to fit the enormous quantity of items I jam into it on the regular (seriously you can fit so much into these if you just keep stuffing) and just generally become more awesome and beautiful with time. See that little darker area along the right hand stitch line? That is what a water stain looks like just for reference.

So I guess this post is a bit of a PSA about natural veg tan leather. Yes, it will change over time but rest assured – you are heading somewhere more beautiful and functional than where you began.

Comments (0)

TAKING ON WHOLESALE ACCOUNTS

16.03.10.SM.LI.01

I have talked about the ‘triangle’ of sales channels in a previous #SCbusiness post and briefly outlined how important it is to have a range of sales avenues – namely, direct to customer via your own online shop/brick & mortar, wholesaling to other boutiques and then ‘events/other’ – in order to keep your business in stable financial health. Usually, despite aspirations for sales channel balance, a business will largely focus in one area of the sales triangle – creating a certain mastery of what is needed to facilitate business in that area before they move on to another sales platform. As is the case with S&C where for years I have focused on direct-to-customer sales through my online shop and have only been carried in a select group of boutiques. This was a natural solution for me because for the first 4 years of my business I handmade every item myself which made getting volume in manufacturing up to a place I could reasonably wholesale almost impossible. But that is no longer the case! Thanks to the help of my factory volume is no longer and issue and this season will be the first one where I am actively looking for new wholesale accounts. This is where I would love your input : where in your hometown would you love to see S&C being sold? It’s impossible to keep up with all the great boutiques popping up across the US and Canada so I would love to hear your thoughts on where you love to shop. Please send along a store recommendation via the comment section below or DM me on instagram or twitter your city and the names of your favourite shops so I can reach out to them. If a wholesale connection is made thanks to your recommendation I will send you a little something-something as a thank you for connecting us! 

Comments (5)

#SCbusiness : TAKING CARE OF OUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH

16.04.25.#SCBusiness.06

As much as social media wants us to believe differently running a small business can be isolating. Or at least it has been so often that way for me. Over the last six years, for better or for worse, Scout & Catalogue has mostly been a one-person show. When it is going well there is nothing more exhilarating but when it is, for whatever reason, stalled out it can feel like the loneliest work place in the world. If you have read my #SCbusiness series before you will know that I flat out do not recommend running a business by yourself. Ever. If I were to start this again I would have found a partner to work with and then over time brought on more lovely people to round out the team. Not only does it help to have complimentary skill sets contribute to a project but it also helps to have multiple energy levels push something forward. We are all human and a human being is not a machine. We have highs and lows from year to year, month to month, day to day. When you are the only energy point pushing a project forward it will ebb and flow with your moods and that makes it difficult to run something with stability.

Over the time I have helmed my company solo I have celebrated wins and endured losses. More recently I started to look at when these business successes and failures seemed to occur and almost always they directly related to my personal energy level/emotional well being. If I was excited about Scout & Catalogue you guys were excited. If I was indifferent so were my sales. The benefit of a team working on a project is that, while everyone will naturally vacillate energy levels it is very unlikely that EVERYONE on the team will be up or down at the exact same time. With at least one person always in a positive place your company should be able to maintain a steady energy level and move forward at a stable pace.

So, three cheers to the people that are working in teams but what about the rest of us? Today I wanted to talk briefly about my struggle to maintain emotional health while running a solo project. So many of us these days work as freelancers or from home or on self directed projects and I think there is a real need to talk about ways to help keep our inner worlds healthy so we can preform our jobs to the best of our ability. With my personal energy levels directly corresponding with my sales return this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and my pocket book. I definitely want to preface this conversation by saying I am not, in any way, an emotional health expert – all of my thoughts on this matter below are from my own experiences and we all have our own vantage point on the world. Everything I discuss in this post is from my own unique perspective.

Very early in my days working from a home studio I noticed that my emotions tended to vacillate a lot more than I remembered when I was in an office environment. My theory is that we are communal creatures and day upon day of being alone is difficult. Office environments are far from perfect but they are a way to build community into our daily life and in that regard I think they are quite valuable. When I began working from home, I struggled to maintain emotional balance but often pushed my issues aside to get through the work I had piling up around me. I decided to work harder instead of listening to what my intuition was trying to tell me. It will come as no surprise to you that working myself to the bone was not the answer. In 2014 I finally made the call to head to therapy and guys, it was AWESOME. Through the work I did that year with my therapist I started to figure out ways to support myself so that I felt less alone, less isolated and less in small business purgatory. Namely, I realized that whether I worked for someone else or myself I needed to get community back into my daily life. Below is a list of things I’ve implemented or am trying to implement as a person running a passion projects on their own. In no particular order :

  • Find a shared workspace. Working on a solo project is far less isolating if you are sitting next to 20 other entrepreneurs who are also facing the same challenges you are. Chat it out. Collab it out. Get your network hustle on. Shared workspaces change lives…or at least have changed mine.
  • Feel the feels. We spend a lot of energy avoiding feeling negative emotion. Sometimes simply stopping and acknowledging that you feel crappy gives you a sense of relief and possibly even renewed energy to tackle the day. No one feels happy all the time so striving to do so is an impossible goal. Instead remember to enjoy the good times but also to be kind to yourself during the (inevitable) rougher times.
  • Stop fighting the ebb and flow of life. We KNOW we will have good days and bad. Stockpile social media posts, new products to launch, collabs to announce for when you are NOT inspired. It is easy to generate content when you are feeling it but so difficult when all you are doing is hating everything and fantasizing about moving to Bali to live a simpler life. Guess what? You will feel just as much happiness and pain in Bali as you do right now so why not give yourself a rainy day media pile to pull from whenever you just CAN NOT anymore. I managed to do this for a brief moment this past Feb/March and the relief I felt being able to pull from a cache of creative when I was feeling anti-Scout & Catalogue was such a gift.
  • Exercise. For years people were telling me about the power of endorphins and I would look at them cynically from the vantage point of my couch. Now I am going to tell you about the power of endorphins. A couple of years ago I started exercising on a regular schedule and my base level of happiness is consistantly higher. As an extra bonus my body looks and feels better but it was the change to my inner world that really caught my attention. Added bonus – when I eat healthier I feel better. Making and eating food that is good for you is an act of self-care. But also, sometimes self-care is eating a pint of artisan ice cream in one sitting. No judgement!
  • Business groups. Find a group of people that are running similar types of projects to you and get a support group going. Everyone feels alone. Everyone faces the same challenges. Everyone feels better after chatting it out and making connections.
  • Working intentionally. This was a big one for me. It is very hard to stop working when you are running a small business. There is constantly something that needs to be attended to and for years I felt like every day I did some sort of business task whether it was my ‘day off’ or not. It got to a place where burn out was almost a daily occurrence for me. Earlier this year I started what I call ‘working intentionally’. I bought a big calendar and I now assign work to each workday. When I finish the task for that day then my workday is over. It has made a massive difference to my emotional well-being and lowered my burn out rate. It gives me incentive to finish my work in a timely manner and it makes the time I have away from my business feel guilt free and relaxing.
  • Treat Yo Self. Sometimes you can have every intention in the world to get through your task at hand but you just can not seem to make it happen. Listen to yourself and cut yourself some slack. You work for yourself and what you lose in financial stability you gain in time management. I am HORRIBLE at this and constantly sit at my desk getting nothing done but feeling obligated because I penciled it into my big calendar. But again, we are human and not machines. Sometimes whatever is going on for us does not fit into the schedule. Be good to yourself and allow for unexpected time away from the daily grind. Almost always you will return refreshed and with the energy to do the task at hand way faster thanks to the break you gave yourself.
  • Find and cultivate hobbies outside of your job. It will feel like you don’t have the time for this but you do. Do it.
  • Reach out. If you are feeling down and it is day three of doing work from home in your sweatpants without a shower and it just feels like life is a mundane and tasteless struggle – call someone. Or leave the house and strike up a conversation with your local postal worker, barista, uber driver etc. Life is better outside. Even if it’s just a 30 minute break. Or one dinner out with a friend a week. Anything to remind you that post shower and dressed in a cute outfit even the greyest days have a silver lining.
  • And lastly, if after building in all of this feel good for living your best life while self employed stuff you book a massive client/order and you throw all your balanced living intentions out the window in a fit of getting-shit-done and you end up feeling crappy and then you spend extra time berating yourself for treating yourself poorly when you know better and how could you find yourself AGAIN in total burnout?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Just chill. And take a deep breath and cut yourself some more slack and remind yourself that self care, as with everything in life, is just about baby steps in the right direction. And sometimes you have to take a few steps back on your journey forwards.

I’m curious what you guys do to help create supportive structure in this increasingly structure-less work world? Comment below with your tips – I am always interested in what helps make the daily grind a little more lovely…

Comments (6)