It's been a few month since I've stopped by the old blog, and I can give you some very good reasons why. But ultimately, I wish I hadn't stepped away. Even though this place can be more of a dumping ground for me than a place where I create sterling, thought-provoking content. It is a place where I can write what I want, and therefore be a bit more myself. So much of what I do for Shipwreck is about finding the customer. The difference between being a hobbyist stationery guy and being Shipwreck Press on its second year, is the transition from focusing on self (how can I be better, what do I want to make, am I challenging myself, am I good enough?) to focusing on others (what do people want, how much are they willing to spend, how do I market successfully, how do I get the cards in people's hands so they can feel how different they are, how much of my vulnerability and cluelessness do I show?) Where does the self live amongst all the other? It lives here. And in my private notebooks.
I've made it 9 months now without going back into the service industry, and for that I feel no small amount of pride. I've been walking and sitting dogs, but when that proved not to be enough, it really pushed me to launch Shipwreck Circle, which though small, I would consider a HUGE SUCCESS, and one of my favorite things I have ever done. While it provides an incredibly helpful monthly income for Shipwreck, (and really has pushed SP to the point of paying for itself!!!) there isn't room for any of that income to income to me personally yet. And so I went back to the job search drawing board (who am I kidding, I've been on the job search all year).
I thought about becoming a barista, I took a class on latte art and was really looking around, but when it came time to bite the bullet. I just couldn't. I felt a resistance so strong I could only describe it as bodily. I felt not fear, but what? Revulsion? Let's call it revolt. I just couldn't go back into service after this incredibly terrifying but freeing experience of being a creative who is learning by doing. And so sitting on the couch with my lovely visiting sister, we walked through the kind of job that would fit my own, admittedly tight, requirements. I said I'd really like to be a personal chef for a family here. Come in twice a week or so to cook dinner, and prep meals for the rest of the week.
And so we started to reverse engineer it. "What's a good job that will get you closer to this one?" my sister so wisely asked. And I talked about how I've always wanted to throw supper club dinner parties, but how I'm not the best at the entertaining part, and really just want to do the cooking and maybe some of the decorating ( I have some social anxiety issues, which I am fairly good at overcoming, but hosting a party I am often very picky about whom I invite for this reason, and can often be seen in the kitchen at dinner parties as a way of managing how much socializing I have to do, finding a place and something to be doing and of course also I love cooking). I haven't met such a partner, and so, we moved on.
I had been thinking about doing a meal plan company, where I cook a week's worth of meals for people for years, but always felt like it would distract from Shipwreck, starting another company. "Well, then do it small for now," said my sister so wisely. I have a pretty packed fridge, and I don't think I have the room. "Get a mini-fridge," says sister. I'm pretty sure people would only do it if it could be delivered, "Then borrow your roommate's car for now, and figure out how to hire someone to do it." -sister. For every worry, she had a very simple answer that pointed towards, the kitchen and said "get cooking." I was impressed and immensely grateful.
And so, I decided to heed the wonderful advice of my big sister and start Meal Ticket, a lil' business project I'm brewing for my friends. I sent out an email and got enough response not to give up, and off I went. And right after my miniature revolt, and then my sister driven revolution, I found a day job that happened to fit my demands. A green cleaning company that hires mostly artists and creative types, that allows for musicians who go on tour, or artists who go to their mom's garage to spray adhesive to paper stock. And as often happens, I went from a guy watching the World Cup every day, full of nerves and worry, to the busiest guy I knew for the month of July. I cleaned houses, during the day worked on new designs for SC, maintained my Instagram, reached out to wholesale stores, etc at night, and on the weekends, I bought tupperware, I made menus, I set prices, I shopped, I cooked, I delivered.
I have learned so much about myself this year. I have accomplished so much this year. I have experienced the soul shocking pain of financial insecurity, and also learned that my dreams are powerful enough to overcome that financial insecurity (if only by a little). I've learned how to fill an otherwise blank page of a day as a business owner, and I've learned how to bite the bullet and find time to work when there seems like not a minute to spare. I cannot say this has been the hardest year of my life, because well, really it's been one of the best and easiest in a lot of ways.
I have NOT ONCE this year felt like, maybe I should pack it up, and find another career or way to make money. Put Shipwreck to bed for good. Not once. And that's a first. Even though it's never been more apparent the limitations of the work, never have I faced more rejection and blank stares and looming bills. And that's such a testament to how much, when you clear the pile, I love this work. Making beautiful, useful things. I will and have sacrificed a lot to do this. And it has and I suspect will continue to be worth it for years to come.
I've found and lost and found and lost my way this year. And I'm taking this time halfway (plus 1.5 months) through to try and refocus, re-center, clear the mental calculator, and remember all the tenets of who I am and why this business means so much to me and my one and only life. And a big part of that, that I forgot these past few months is my story. And so, I just wanted to catch you up. Still struggling, still smiling. Will not be stopped. Thanks for reading!
A place for product updates, inspiration, behind the scenes stuff, and in general a place for mind meandering.