Hello Creature friends,
You may have noticed some big changes with Creature this year! So, I wanted to take a moment to share a long overdue post about the future of Creature and the exciting journey we’ve been on these last few years.
We’re almost at year 3 and I often joke that Creature went through its terrible toddler years like any child. You know, super cute and exciting, but also throws banana mush at your hair and has public tantrums when it doesn’t want to do as told. Even though this is an expected reality when opening a small business, it’s still an emotional roller coaster ride as it happens.
When I opened Creature I was coming off of years of being stuck in the retail world and feeling my own creative talents getting lost in the safety of paycheck jobs. Even when I finally took the leap to open Creature, my dream, I still subconsciously seemed to create the safety of what I knew. The plan was to open with 50% my art and 50% artisans and hopefully open a brick and mortar within a few years. Well, it quickly became 10% my art and 90% artisan goods and I was lost again, right back where I started. I LOVE my artisans, these women are the best of the best, talented and inspiring individuals. But, I was an artist that wasn’t creating art again and I think any of those artisans would tell you that’s never a place an artists soul should be.
There were other factors happening too. I wasn’t sure if I’d have the courage to get personal with this post, but it’s a part of Creature’s story, and mine so here it goes…
Not too far into the first year I was in a situation where I was being turned inside out trying to fit into someone else’s idea of a beautiful woman. I didn’t even realize what was happening until it was over and the pain passed. It felt like someone had taken an ice pick and chipped away at everything that made me special trying to fit me into an average mold. And instead of coming out as a complete sculpture like they wanted, I was a cracked and broken mess with my anxiety/depression on full overdrive. Sometimes I get mad that I let it happen, a Creature is stronger than that, right? But, we go through these things because we are Creatures. We are not perfect beings, nor should we be. We feel, we’re flawed, we’re messy and we’re fucking strong and extraordinary because of that. Everyone goes through a time in their life when they learn this lesson… you can’t change for someone and you can’t change someone for yourself.
But, there is always a reason things happen, even if we can’t see it then or still feel angry about it now. I found my Creature again. I realized it’s not me not being enough, it’s that I’m too much. I am too much a Creature and trying to tame the Creature is never a good idea ;) I picked up a pen and drew “Lunar Raven” and I didn’t know it then, but it was the beginning of the new phase of Creature. A Raven is clever, creative, and magical. It symbolizes transformation and knowledge and so does the moon in all it’s phases. It was probably the first time in a year that I felt like me.
I also have had the best support system starting Creature. My parents and brother are completely unwavering in their support. No matter how crazy or frustrating things get, they believe in my dreams, sometimes even more than I do. And Josh, who I met shortly after creating “Lunar Raven.” That man is my love and better half (as corny as it sounds). You know the saying, “Strong women intimidate boys and excite men.” There could not be a more true statement about Josh. My ambition and passion NEVER scared him, quite the opposite. I knew he was different a few weeks into our relationship when I was sitting on the floor of my apt. with unbrushed hair, no make up and packing tape stuck to my pj’s because I was preparing orders and he just looked at me and said, god you’re sexy. Lol. He loves my messy parts as much as the not messy parts. He’s also been as much a part of Creature the last 2 years as I have been. He treats Creature as OUR dream, not just mine. Anytime I have a moment of anxiety or impatience, those “Why the hell am I doing this” moments… he is there telling me to suck it up, power through, you’re never giving up. I don’t want to embarrass him too much on here lol… but… who he is, his own passions, ambition, dreams, the adventures and silly moments we share, how we love each other has made me stronger in so many ways.
Around the same time we met, I had also started learning jewelry making with Starr Miller, something I’d wanted to do for so long. That happened when it was supposed to too, I was Starr’s first student. I thought maybe this will be an outlet or hobby, but I fell in love with the art form fast and it became a part of Creature.
The act of adornment is such a special and mystical act. Not only does a jewelry piece tell a story in itself and about the artist, but it tells the story of the person who wears it. It can be passed down through generations. When I wear my Aunts ring I feel her with me. My parents gave me a bracelet on my birthday that I haven’t taken off in 10 years. It has a Shakespeare quote engraved on it, “You must take your chance.” Every time I look at it I am reminded to never hold back in life. I wanted to create moments like that. My illustrations work a lot in symbols, symbols have power and with jewelry I can translate that into wearable art. As you know this past holiday season Creature featured it’s first complete jewelry collection and is only continuing to grow.
If you follow my personal IG account, you know I did my 365 project last year. Post a sketch a day for a year. It didn’t need to mean anything or even be good, but I had to put myself out there no matter what. And with that project the whole game changed. It was like adding the final ingredient to a cake I had been making for 2 years. I launched Creature’s first greeting card line almost entirely inspired by those sketches. I started spending more time with the Atlanta art community, which is the best community of strong, supportive and talented individuals you can find. And, things started to change.
I may be rambling, but there’s a point, I swear. I wanted to share these moments because someone might be reading this, whether a creative or not, who is feeling stuck or having one of those “Why the hell am I doing this” days and this is why you keep going, this is why you experience the struggles and growing pains…
I switched focus and started creating more, buying less. I left the part time gig that was no longer serving me and I put all my energy into making more art. And no it wasn’t easy; weekends were filled with markets and stress because I wasn’t making a paycheck every month like normal. Some products didn’t work or didn’t sell. My confidence as an artist went through moments of ups and downs. It’s still not easy, but that’s the point of all this, it’s not supposed to be. Even as I write this, I’m thinking of how I just said to Josh, “I feel like Creature should be moving faster.” But then I’m re-reading and I’m like wait, I guess that did all happen in the last 2 years. Just think what another 2 years will bring!
NOW THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
Creature will officially be solely focused on developing our brand. No more safety nets. Instead of being 10% my art and 90% artisan goods, we will be 100% Creature Art, Paper Goods and Jewelry. We now offer these goods wholesale to shops around the country and are excited to be growing our stockists and product lines! With this, I will be saying goodbye to the Collective Artisan side of our business. This is a transition that has been in the making and will continue throughout the year. I’ve marked all Collective Goods 50% off, so stock up and tell your friends! I still want a place in Creature to promote fellow artisans, especially emerging artisans! But, for now, those ideas will be a future post. :)
Thank you for being on this journey with us! You can expect to see new Creature products as we grow so please stay tuned! If you are one of those people I mentioned above, if your business is in the terrible toddler phase, you’re trying to figure out how to grow that business, or just going through personal things getting in the way of your dreams… feel free to email, DM or comment below! We’re all in this together and I’m here to support you any way I can. The struggle is real, and it’s there for a reason, what happens next is beautiful! Now back to creating…