Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mission Accomplished

In an earlier post, I talked about my excitement over having landed my first custom order client for my nascent handmade greeting cards business. Let's call that the honeymoon phase. Everyone knows what comes after the honeymoon...real life. Having been paid in full, I now had to deliver the goods. Simple, I thought, until I actually sat down to do it. That's when real life reared its head. Why is it that things take so much longer to do than you think they will? And why is it that the materials that were once so plentiful seem to mysteriously dry up at the most inopportune moment? And why...oh yeah, I forgot about Murphy's Law. Who the heck is Murphy and who made him a legislator anyway?

When I entered the world of small business, I found out the hard way that stuff happens precisely when you don't want it to and you have no choice but to figure it out on the fly. I discovered that my particular shade of gold cardstock was nowhere to be found but in a small variety package with several other colors. In order to purchase enough to complete the project, I would have to buy six or seven packages. And to top it off, the client wanted matching envelopes. But wait... I found a supplier with a million colors of cardstock who is sure to have my shade of gold and there's a two day turnaround time on orders. Great...except the catalog with the color chips from which I must order takes nearly two weeks to arrive. And NO, they DON'T have matching envelopes. Then the printer runs out of ink in the middle of running the graphic motif for the order. And I couldn't find a supplier for the gold-edged paper I use inside the cards...and on and on. What began as a pleasant diversion turned into an onerous task.

Among the changes I had to make in order to complete the order were: choose a similar color cardstock with matching envelopes, develop a relationship with a printer to cut and score cardstock for me to free me from doing it by hand, juggle print cartridges between two printers until replacements arrived, and cut paper and apply gold leaf paint to the edges by hand. Now add to this scenario "drop everything at a moment's notice to deal with family issues" and you get an idea of the juggling act I had to pull. Oh yeah, did I mention I'm also a graduate student?

In spite of the hurdles, I successfully completed and delivered my first order a few days ago and it was a great feeling. I learned a lot in the process and realize I still have much to learn. If nothing else, I learned that when the next set of hurdles comes my way, I'd better have my track shoes on because I plan to stay in this race.

Here's a picture of the final card.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

No comments:

Post a Comment