A Step Back to Move Forward
Had to take a step back, away from the wheel for a little while. The site is proving to be quite a challenge–of course, it is. It's always harder to design for yourself than for someone else. Why is that?
It's interesting because when I started this project, I thought, "Excellent, this will record my progress and how far I've come in a certain amount of time." To look back now, what's happening is the naturally, very non-linear creative process, where sometimes taking a step back means moving forward. So, "progress" will be very loosely defined moving forward. Good talk.
So I took some time away from the wheel to focus on the brand, the site, the photography. I thought I could do it all, but all of that (in tandem with launching my second company, the business-as-usual of the first company, and fun life things like hanging out with Baby Max and my mom) meant something had to give. Plus, because the site and the brand haven't been feeling right, it's been a little discouraging for the pottery-making itself, since I feel like I don't have a place to house it, a way to define it. Måns even lovingly created a video of Baleine Bleue himself, swimming along in Japanese-inspired deco waves to help push the site along.
But it's still not feeling right, and processing photos is such a time-consuming, tedious process. Finally got the mood and lighting I wanted, but then I couldn't carve out time to go through the tedious task of editing all the shots. After a long day of work, the last thing I wanted to do was sit at my computer some more and edit photos of my bowls. Plus, the site was still bothering me. The logo's still bothering me. Hell, even the name feels off now.
So, I hired a PA. Haha. Learned early on that I'm better when I have a team to manage. Great, let's build a team then, starting with some photo editing help. She's actually a friend and is learning all she can about photography, so that she can switch careers from being a producer to a photographer. Blessings. I'm familiar with an early career switcheroo, and wholeheartedly believe that, if at all possible, you should pursue a career in a field that you love. It really does change your life. Anyway, she's helping me with all sorts of entrepreneur life things including scheduling meetings, managing my calendar, back-and-forth emails, and even figuring out the complications of The Goose's pet insurance. (By the way, happy to report that Chimichanga and The Goose have much better insurance coverage than Måns and me. Swell.) In exchange for her help, I'm paying her hourly and teaching her everything I know.
She's taken on the task of processing the photos. Hurray! Teaching her some Photoshop and some tricks along the way. (That little actions panel saved my mid-20s. Praise hands.) So now, I can nitpick and obsess over the brand and the site UX.
Went back to Portugal because it's just the most wonderful place on earth. No shortage of inspiration there. We flew into Lisbon, rented a car and drove up the coast, visiting beaches and other surf destinations. Stay in Coimbra for a few nights, then drove up to Porto from there. Porto, Oporto–you have my heart. We started to look at some property, seeing how the apartments are, how they're priced, how much an entire building would be. Of course, this little jaunt with a broker further fueled my dream of ceramics atelier + tea café by the sea. Um dia...
Most recent update from that, is that I think I'm going to change the name. From French to Portuguese: Baleia Blu. Obviously, the "blu" is more stylized, but I'm digging it unexpectedly. The sounds are softer, has more of a lilt to it. Portuguese is just the most beautiful language. Bought the domain while I was in Portugal, so when this is ready to launch, I'll be using that. (I know... I still haven't told anyone about this new site because I'm waiting for The Shop to be ready! And by waiting, I mean I'm toiling away with setting up email, PayPal, figuring out taxes, shipping, packaging... Why did I want to do this again?)
Baleia Blu Ceramics. Time for me to go back to the drawing board with the logo then.
Wacom + Photoshop can only take me so far. I'm still more comfortable with a pen + paper (How is that considered OG at this point?), so took out a couple of pens and my giant Moleskine and wrote out a few options. Since this is all in an effort to embrace the mess and not get into my obsessive swirl, I just did a couple, snapped some iPhone photos (eep!) instead of the scanner, and just roughly copy/pasted in Photoshop. One page. C'est tout. It's a brave new world.
And on Monday, I impulsively signed up for class again. It's time! Back to the clay. Back to getting dirty. As luck would have it, the clay studio has moved to a new location: a bigger, brighter space that's 1/4 of a block away from me. Stole away for a couple of hours today despite the workload and am happy to report that I'm back.
Water and earth to complement all this air and fire in me.