Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's Business Time

Yesterday I made the sad decision to indefinitely postpone the opening of my shop, Paper Soufflé. Unfortunately, I can't draw worth a damn and can't afford the computer software to design the ideas in my head. This means I had to contract with various freelance graphic designers and illustrators for the products I had envisioned, leaving me in the frustrating role of graphic manager. When I learned over the weekend there would be another delay of at least 9 months, I lost my marbles. As it is, I'm 10 months behind schedule. Ten months! My original plan was to open August 2007, and to put it off (for the third time) because of someone else's issues pissed me off, frankly. I've already witnessed this past year a few of my "never before seen" ideas done by other designers. There are very few original ideas, so when you have a good one it's in your best interest to bring it to market as soon as possible. These delays have made a few of my original ideas look like imitations, and I find that intolerable.

The time has come to regroup, rethink, and make lemonade out of all these lemons.

I have a new game plan. I'm going to start by marketing The Poem Company, something I haven't done over the last eight years of word-of-mouth business. I'm getting a new logo, web design, and promotional materials. For the next few weeks the website is going to be a bit of a mess while I fiddle with the look and copy. I'll try not to let the disorder bug me too much, and I hope you can do the same! :)

I'm also changing how I do business. In the past, I never offered printing or design. I wrote the copy while the client or stationery designer handled the design and printing. I am now going to offer a complete package of wording, design, and printing. I have one designer on board and excited to work, but I'm also open to the idea of several designers, each with a different style. I'm also toying with the idea of having one designer and, in addition, offering a reference page of preferred custom designers. These recommended designers would then handle the print and delivery of the final product via their shop. There are pros and cons to each business model, so I'm still deciding which way to go. In the meantime, if you are an invitation/announcement designer and are interested in doing something like this, please send me an email at jules[at]pancakesandfrenchfries[dot]com.

Finally, I'm going to broaden the scope of what's offered. The few completed items I had earmarked for Paper Soufflé will soon be available at The Poem Company. I can't wait to show you some of them! They are really sweet and I think (hope!) will be well received. I will also offer general writing services. It bothers me that this product is a bit of an outlier when you consider everything else offered, but I just don't have the money or wherewithal to handle another site design. I need to first recoup my losses from Paper Soufflé.

So that's it. Probably more of an update than you ever wanted to know, but I felt it only fair to disclose some of the issues that have kept my focus over the last couple of weeks. I am sad and feel like a bit of a failure, but also feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I have received so many kind and eager requests for more information regarding Paper Soufflé that it feels good to be able to finally say something definite, even if the message is one I never imagined or intended. I may open the shop up one day, but just not now.

Oh, and my post title? You can thank Susannah for that. I know most of you read her blog as well, but in case you missed her funny post on Flight of the Conchords, here is a video of a song whose chorus you will not be able to get out of your head.