Bear with me while I try to articulate all of this… I tried not to let the emo-cry take over while I wrote it.
Firstly, as you know, PRIM is forthcoming next month <exact launch date coming soon> and I am so excited for these new pieces and this overall new look for Merriweather. As I told you in my first post about PRIM, this collection is to be a bit more grown up. More on this later…
Speaking of growing up – that’s something I am doing personally also. Kinda weird since I am just about 26 years old so the last time I thought about “growing up” was like, before college. The last big shift in my life was graduating college and starting Merriweather Council – well, I’ve arrived at the next big shift spot in my life.
I resisted it, you guys. I really really did. DID NOT WANT. But, here I am.
What am I talking about? You know I got married to my fantastic husband <from here on, known on the internet as C.> whom I met at Mass College of Art and Design in 2007. Based on what I just told you, you might be surprised to know he is now an officer candidate in the US Navy. Yes, this is the part I resisted. Hello, we met in art school, this is like, full 360. FULL. But he has always supported my passions and encouraged me to seek out opportunities that will make me the person I want to be. And I do love the crap out of him.
With that, my new life as Navy Wife has begun. That’s a pretty big shift for me.
I admittedly know very little about the military in general and I do not come from a military family – and neither does he. This is a whole new world for me but I am learning. It’s sort of a slow go since there are about 45,000 acronyms you need to get a handle on before you can read anything.
C. is currently in training and in 8 or so weeks, it’ll be time to start planning a move to somewhere else. Where? Not sure. Hopefully the lower 48 somewhere. This part actually excites me a great deal because our apartment is so tiny and while I do love and adore Boston, I could stand a change of scenery. I’ve been in Boston now for about 8 years.
I am in full on purge mode here at home… as is the case before any impending move. I can’t even believe I still have things to purge, honestly. So it is with material things I guess. Which brings me to my next point…
Every year for the past 3 or 4 years, I have done a handful of shows each year, mainly in the summer. I loved doing that – of course it has it’s downside but overall I really enjoyed being out in the world and among my people. Unfortunately, this year my summer focus needs to be elsewhere, so all of the things I have stored up for show stock need to go. This means there will be another big <BIG> merriweather sale sometime in the next month or so.
Merriweather has changed a ton in the past year. Maybe it is not super obvious to everyone else but to me, it has. I used to have a whole set of things I thought were true about Merriweather – or that I wanted to be true – that weren’t, aren’t or can no longer be. Maybe I’ll extrapolate on that in another post but for now – 2012 was a crazy incredible year for Merriweather and in 2013 I honestly spent the first few months trying to catch my breath but there was no time because things were still going super fabulously and also I had just gotten engaged.
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
I went with the flow through 2013 and that was great too! I allowed myself to be less of a workaholic and spend some time planning my wedding, which in itself was a creative exercise. I wanted to make sure I didn’t regret not paying enough attention or enjoying that experience in favor of making a few more dollars in 2013. Not to pat myself on the back or anything but I surprised everyone, myself included, by being a majorly chilled out bride to be. However, I am glad I had a relatively short engagement because at the end I was very ready to move on from caring what color things are and discussing other people’s shoe choice. However, It was good for me to allow another project into my life.
Interlude to my next point…
Like I said, I resisted this military life thing as much as I possibly could before I turned into an epic bitch. That’s the truth. My husband is an extremely smart, thoughtful, talented person who is good at and enjoys many things. He is very lucky in that sense. “Why can’t you do one of those other things you love? Why this?” I asked repeatedly. Basically it boils down to the fact that he has a deep desire to serve this country. That is something I admire and respect but ultimately do not <cannot> fully understand because I myself do not have that fire within me, hence why I sew things together and haven’t joined the armed forces.
I wanted it all my way until I realized that the way I want it doesn’t include a husband who will forever wish he had served and might possibly hold it against me for not letting him. As much as I didn’t want to live a military life, I didn’t want the other option either. Plus, I am learning that a military life is not in fact all bad as I once supposed it to be. <Keep in mind what I said earlier : admittedly I know very little about military life.>
It’s not forever and we’ve agreed to four years with the possibility of a few more depending on how it goes <as opposed to the expectation that this is a lifelong career.>
I have for a long time struggled with how to reconcile my online life with my personal life with my online business... I am sure many of you can relate to this. And I have always wanted to write a personal blog. I have made a few meager attempts at in in the past too but ultimately Merriweather was my main thing – which means two things – I didn’t have the interest or time to focus on something else and also, my time was consumed doing Merriweather things so I did not have much to say outside of that realm. I don’t have kids, or coworkers, I am not traveling all the time, I don’t do big trade shows or have a deep connection to religion or politics. I went big on Merriweather Council and it took over my life – but that’s what I wanted at the time. Anything I had to say could fit here nicely because it was probably related to work – and also I was really busy doing the work so I didn’t have a lot of time to even do the blogging. I had a sort of narrow life. I did the work, I sold the work, I did the marketing, I tried to learn what I could, I went to sleep… I mean, really…. this is seriously what I did the first two years!
Some people might be wondering, why doesn’t/ didn’t she hire some help or something? Right now, that is not the kind of business I want. I truly enjoy the Merriweather Council I have right now – I have a lot of freedom and flexibility and I’ve been able to do a lot of awesome things because of the Merriweather Council I created. There is certainly the possibility that a new and different Merriweather Council could emerge in the future. I have always said, and I can’t imagine thinking any other way – the tactile process of embroidery is what I love. I LOVE to hand embroider things. I can’t move into manufacturing in that area because it’s not possible – it would be a completely different product. I like this look and I like being the person who creates these things. If any help comes in, it will be for other tasks that I do not love. Yes, hand embroidering everything limits the amount of work I can do. That’s how I want it right now and also in order for Merriweather Council to offer the products it offers, this is the way it NEEDS to be right now. I feel good about the work I do and the way I do it. I feel happy for my fellow makers who are able to grow at a quicker speed because they offer a different type of product. Everyone has their thing and this is mine.
Again, I am sure many of you can relate.
Because Merriweather Council IS me, and I AM it, it has been a strange experience trying to strike a balance between “here is my dog/ my house/ my husband” and “The Merriweather Council has been featured in X magazine! / new items coming soon / I’ll be at X show on X date…” These things sometimes go together because they sometimes support each other. Sometimes it’s cool to see a sneak peek at the person behind the business. Sometimes it’s overkill/ doesn’t work. I think i’m probably guilty of too much mixing of business and personal at times. I did the best I knew how at the time.
Some people have managed a seamless convergence of the two. I, on the other hand, have always felt a little hesitant and weird to mix them together too much. You may have noticed that until just before I got married, I barely ever mentioned or posted photos of my husband. It didn’t feel like something that belonged here. And if I wanted to rant about something related to business, that doesn’t really jive with customer acquisition does it? See where I am going with this? Sometimes it works, and for some people it works. For me, I think the indecision and inconsistency of not feeling sure about this mix has held me back on both fronts.
Yadda yadda, Danielle, shut up and get to the point.
My narrow life is expanding.
I started a new blog which I thought originally would just be for me, my mom and C.’s mom mostly. Now I feel like this is a great opportunity for me to do the writing I always enjoy and want to do more of, and also finally make a clearer division between my two selves : Merriweather + Danielle.
It has also become so painfully obvious to me over the past year or so that there is a serious lack of honest women’s lifestyle blogging. I enjoy a beautiful photo of a cupcake just as much as the next person but I relate more to the giant mess of living spaces and humble efforts to make something at all let alone make it magazine worthy. I have no interest in glamorizing any aspect of my life – but if you think about it – when it comes to business blogging, that’s sort of what you do. So here we have it, two very different things that sometimes overlap appropriately. I am thinking it will be more appropriate to post vacation and dog photos there.
Everyone has the opportunity to run their business the way they’d like to and the way that fits their situation. That is the beauty of self employment. I can think of a handful of people who do things totally not the way I would/ can/ should/ feel good about but that I truly enjoy. I don’t want anyone thinking I don’t enjoy a good baby photo, a home remodel or some other personal life project photo mixed in with a business feed - I do! I just think for me, right now, a more separate and more consistent balance is better.
I don’t expect everyone who knows and likes Merriweather Council to get to know and like Four Years In. I know the world doesn’t need anymore lifestyle or personal bloggers – I just want to connect with other people who are interested or experiencing similar. We will see where it goes from there.
When C. first made the final decision about joining the Navy as an officer, the first thing I did was google “navy officer wife blog” and was surprised to find very few results. However, that is not the sole purpose of this project.
If you are interested, I am inviting you to check it out. Otherwise, at least you know what’s going on in merriweather land now.
What does all of this mean for Merriweather Council?
1. More grown up look overall. Ushered in by PRIM.
2. Less shows in 2014
3. Big sale. Fresh start. <less to move>
5. Everything else stays the same mostly. I fully intend on Merriweather being my gig for years to come. I did what I enjoyed for the past three years, and now I have new ideas for Merriweather Council and, refreshingly, BEYOND Merriweather Council. Nothing bad about that!
There is no reason for me to consider subtracting this blog or any of my other accounts – I’ve just added a few things to go along with my other project. From here on out just expect my merriweather accounts to be mostly business and my other accounts to be mostly personal with a dash of overlap.
Thank you for reading this. Please feel free to find me over at Four Years In and subsequent accounts. <I’m a sucker for / serial account maker.>
It means a lot to me – more than a lot – that people have been interested in the work I do. I feel so fortunate to have a supportive circle of family and friends and to be part of a community of people like myself who strive to create their brand and their livelihood from their own creativity. Hopefully I will fall into another great community as well because I know the benefits of having it thanks to people like you.