Exactly one year ago, September 21, I came down the stairs in the morning, went into the kitchen and made coffee and feelt an overwhelming feeling of being free. It was my first day as a designer at Bear Bell Productions. All of a sudden that's what I was. A designer, not a Marketing Project Manager any more. Actually I didn't have the courage to call myself that yet - a designer. It didn't feel like I could. I hadn't accomplished anything that would grant me that epithet, I thought.
A year has passed since I started to work full time with Bear Bell. When you are in the middle of everything it can sometimes feel uncertain, like things are moving slow, not much happening, only a row of small insignificant events. But looking back, making a bigger picture, you see that all those small steps together becomes a big leap.
Over the year I have designed between 50 and 70 patterns, probably more. There are lot of other things that happened behind the curtains, besides designing and creating - marketing, updating and maintaining the website, accounting and so on. Here is a list of the accomplishments I've made, all the small steps:
- September 21. First day as a designer at my own company.
- Learned Illustrator.
- Took Skillshare classes.
- Made my first client presentation.
- Had my first client meeting.
- Made my first prototype products - patterned mousepads and a notebook.
- Sold my first pattern license - Zac - to Dojjans Shoebusiness.
- Attended the Formex exhibition in January
- Did my first own photoshoot of prototype giftwraps.
- Made my first pattern portfolio for gift wraps.
- Contacted gift wrap companies.
- Received the first sample of shoes with Zac pattern design.
- Vårdväskan.se bought all shoes with the Zac pattern from Dojjans Shoebusiness.
- Made my second pattern portfolio for printed leather.
- Took a marketing consultant assignment for two months and launched a TV.
- Vårdväskan started selling clogs and sandals with pattern design Zac.
- Compiled my two first pattern collections - History Repeating and Colonial Inn.
- Contacted a fabric printer and ordered my first fabric.
- Received my own first fabric with pattern design Adrian Paisley.
- Started my webshop. The first products were mousepads, a notebook.
- Ordered textile brand labels from China.
- Ordered zippers for my pillow cases.
- Had the first samples of pillow cases made for review and quality check.
- Went to the factory in Falkenberg and monitored the sewing of the pillow cases.
- Soles of rubber with my pattern is being produced for wooden clogs.
- Started working with Dojjans Shoebusiness, driving some of their marketing activities.
- Added the Adrian Paisley pillow cases to my webshop.
- Sold my first Adrian Paisley pillow cases.
- Made my first Facebook advertisement.
- Samples of leather with the Japanese Spring pattern is made for presenting to customers.
- Sold my second pattern license to the leather company.
- Ordered my own shoe labels from China.
- Did a collaboration with ceramics artist Lisa Hammar Posse, creating the 10 piece limited edition of "Raku Dolls meets Bear Bell".
- Started working on a new pattern collection for fabric and interior details.
- Visited the August Formex exhibition. My fifth.
- Designed and developed packaging for the Adrian Paisley pillow cases.
- Added clogs and sandals to my webshop.
- Made my second Facebook advertisement.
- Sold my first clogs with the Sakura pattern design.
- Other companies started selling clogs with the Sakura patterns.
- Did my second own photoshoot, of clogs and sandals this time.
- Added artprints to the webshop.
- Made a hand bag prototype out of a piece of left over Adrian Paisley fabric.
Looking back, quitting my comfortable, safe and well paid marketing job a year and a halv ago was a huge leap, scary like hell, but now I'm so grateful I made that jump. And now I call myself a designer with confidence, with countless of designs in my backpack, a porfolio of sold licenses, my own product line-up and starting to get income.
All I can say is that every day since I made this change has been an adventure and my life has now become even better than I could ever imagine.
And now, the second year begins... Full speed ahead!