launching a dream…

It’s Thursday afternoon, October 14th, 2010.  Hard to believe it is October when the temperatures are in the 80’s!…not that I’m complaining.  I did enough of that this “summer” when it didn’t feel like a “summer”.  And here it is fall, yet summer seems to have arrived.  It will take me sometime before I get used to the seasons of San Francisco!

Topic at hand is not the weather but my launch of “Words and Watercolors”!  It’s been a LOOOOONNNGGG time in the making, if I consider that I printed my first cards under the “words & watercolor” name in March of 1994.  What a process!   Over 16 years later and I’m taking my product to the WEB!  “Back in the day”, as my kids would say, there wasn’t even such a thing as the WEB.  I marketed strictly the old fashioned way of reps, a brochure, a hope and a prayer.  Today I can add facebook, blog, and a website to the means I have of finding customers that may want to purchase cards in addition to reps (which I still intend to use) and a paper catalog.  In the mid 90’s I was a busy Mom with a Corporate Sales job.  I hoped to make my avocation (my artwork) my vocation but it just wasn’t meant to be.  I had too many balls in the air and “Words & Watercolors” gave up the ghost.  The success I achieved did provide confidence that people would like/buy my artwork.  I also learned a thing or two about the gift industry.  I found Brush Dance, after I stopped selling my own cards, and through them was lucky enough to develop into one of their best selling Holiday card artists and get a calendar “In the Garden with Peg Conley” printed since 2006.  After many changes in my personal life, (marriage, move to San Francisco, leaving the Corporate Sales Queen role behind), I decided to again give my “words and watercolors” a shot at achieving my mantra: “words & watercolors…around the world…enriching and inspiring…”  It took me awhile but with the help of Sarah (friend, neighbor and graphic designer extraordinaire) I was able to learn enough about Photo Shop and IN Design to create my own cards on the computer.  Sarah has been instrumental through this entire process from helping me create the design of cards to doing the mechanical production needed to get art to printers to designing the catalog and now the website.  I couldn’t have done a darn thing without Sarah!

So check it out!! Tell ALL your friends and family!  Help me grow this virally.  Like any good salesperson, I need to ask for the order, so I’ll ask for you to consider who might enJOY these cards, then purchase them and send on to folks!  Order some calendars for Christmas presents!  Let me know what you think…I love feedback!

On another note, I attended a panel discussion last night hosted by the “Fearless Women’s Entrepreneur’s Network”.   A wealth of information presented on the topic of “show me the money”…getting capital for entrepreneurs/small businesses.  There were a few ongoing themes that kept coming to the surface:  1.  Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart…but it is worth it!  2.  Start asking for money a year before you expect to receive it…it takes a long time to develop relationships and meet the partners that will be critical to your success.  3.  Be very clear about where you are going…a detailed, concise, accurate business plan a must.  4.  Have Manners!  (that was an odd one but apparently it IS very important to do the simple things…say thank-you, call back in a timely fashion, have information ready when you say you will….etc..and according to the presenters manners are not always present!)  5.  Talk to anyone and everyone about your business.  Have your “elevator speech” ready!  6.  You have to be committed!  (again that seems like a no brainer but apparently not), willing to listen to feedback, open to things not going how you plan etc…There’s more to say, I’m sure but off the top of my head (without reviewing notes) those are the big things…

Last but not least, I need to thank my husband for his belief in me,  for challenging me to be my best and for being honest with his comments (even when he knows I may not like to hear them!).  I could not have aspired to my dream without his inspiring me to live it!  Thank-you Mr. Mark!!!  Our 3 year Anniversary falls on Monday, the 18th of October….and I didn’t believe him when he would tell me, prior to our wedding, that my whole life would change after I got married!  Thankfully it did!!

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