It's been a few years since I've been responsible to a board of directors (my previous work was in the not-for-profit sector), or responsible for a staff of any size, and the freedom has been intoxicating.
Sometimes people assume Wise Daughters is a collective, I suppose because it kind of has that vibe, and because some other craft enterprises are structured as such. I jokingly reply that it's a benevolent dictatorship. I've been a collaborator and a compromiser all my working life, and I still think I play quite nicely with others, but being a dictator really kind of rocks. I'm beholden to nobody. If I succeed, I get to take the credit. If I fail, at least I won't feel I was powerless in the face of opposing forces, the way I sometimes did in my previous jobs (they were mostly elected forces, not much concerned with social justice).
So, here I am, mistress of my work domain. And, for the first time in my life, mistress of my domicile too. No partner, no kids at home, just a silly little dog who knows I'm the leader of the pack. In fact, I'm living alone for the first time EVER. Went from parents to roommates to partner and from there into motherhood, which lasts forever, but not under one roof (well, maybe if you have video game playing boy-men, but I have fiercely independent girl-women). When I found myself suddenly single last summer, the shock morphed into curiosity and then into invigorating experimentation into doing whatever the hell I want.
For example, last night, for Valentine's Day, I took myself to an incredible concert/reading with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and Lawrence Hill. It was right up my alley, and I didn't have to be concerned about whether anybody else was having a good time. Recently I went to the live finale of Canada Reads at CBC. I play Scrabble often. Why? Because I can.
I am totally embracing my inner nerd (ok, outer nerd). My daughters joke about the number and variety of obscure free arts events I subjected them to as children (these experiences made them what they are today, if you ask me). Now I am at liberty to unapologetically pursue the oddest cultural activities I can find. Plus, I can eat single ingredient meals, hang around in my undershirt and fluffy swan slippers and yell answers at Alex Trebek during Jeopardy. It's fantastic.
Will I feel this way in 5 years? Hard to say, though I've read a lot of recent media articles about how singletons make up a large and growing percentage of households. Whatever happens down the road, I'm so glad I'm getting this time to truly be mistress of my domain.
It's awesome being the Chief Curator and Benevolent Dictator of Wise Daughters, don't get me wrong.
But sometimes I get so caught up running the business, I let my own creative pursuits fall to the bottom of the to-do list. Summer affords me time to make stuff. A couple of weeks ago I felted a bunch of chocolates, actually destined for Distill Gallery, but will soon make some to sell here too.
This morning, I finally pulled out the silkscreen supplies I bought after Christine Pensa's excellent workshop here in the spring. I had made some stencils, and found a local supplier for organic cotton napkins, but had been a bit tentative - fearing screwing up, I suppose. But it was a triumph! I happily screened away until not a single blank napkin remained, then promptly ordered 100 more! I plan to sell cheerful sets of 4 this fall. Here is my first design:
Making stuff myself is not only satisfying, but a rather important income stream for Wise Daughters, given the greater profit margin. I make soap that sells here, at Wonderworks and at Red Tent Sisters. It's great to have a presence in different places, without saturating the market, of course.
The next big thing for me is my Wise Daughters Wear - the jammies/loungers about to go into production.
It feels like my baby is experiencing a growth spurt, and it's very exciting!