2015 brought major changes for me as I worked to discover my voice as a designer and create my brand. I put out the first two collections of my designing career, Eclipse & Safari, which was a very scary experience. It wasn’t frightening in the sense that I was worried about them being commercially successful or not; though profitability is always a part of it. I was more so concerned about staying true to my vision for each line and not bowing to the pressure of trendiness; I concerned about designing and crafting a product that was unique and unlike anything else; I was concerned about making high quality pieces that when I stepped back would give me contentment and personal fulfillment, as each and every piece I make has a little bit of my heart and soul in it.
I found that my fears were valid but misplaced. I think every designer, every entrepreneur, that has a passion for their art, faces these same pressures. There’s the frustration of submitting your work, your unique vision to the masses and getting some really positive feedback but that feedback doesn’t equate to sales. Then there’s the times when there’s no feedback at all, neither positive nor negative and you’re left staring at Instagram waiting for the likes to come in, wondering what you’ve done wrong. You begin to question whether or not you’re putting out a good product and if you should chuck it all in the waste bin and focus on your day job. You’re bleary-eyed, depressed and despondent only wanting to be liked on social media and seriously thinking about acquiescing to social media influences, jump on the trend train and make the same mass produced pieces as the big box stores. (No shade implied or intended)
This was me for part of 2015. I had some commercial success. I had my designs featured in a local small boutique in Houston, I had a few discussions with some stylist out of New York but I didn’t see the type of success I really wanted. I got depressed for a few months, I stopped designing, I stopped even wearing my own work. I was in a place of pity and self-loathing. But lucky for me that I have an AWESOME support system of family and incredibly close friends who are prayer warriors and realist who brought me out of my funk with real talk and encouraging words.
I realized I hadn’t failed as a designer, I hadn’t failed as a business owner, I hadn’t failed at anything simply because I made the effort and put myself out there. I had put my heart and soul into my work and put it out for the world to judge; I remembered 2 Timothy 1:7, “God did not give us spirit of timidity but one of power, of love and of self-discipline”. Once I remembered who I was and to whom I belonged, new opportunities came my way. My pieces can now be found not only on my website, T. Nicole Designs but also on BeLuxLife!
So while 2015 was a year of trial and error, learning and faltering, it was a year that I’m grateful for. I learned quite a bit about solidifying my vision and finding my voice as a designer. I learned to be patient with myself, as the kind of success I’m looking for doesn’t come overnight. It is earned through prayer, faithfulness, diligence and fortitude.
It’s perfectly ok to go against the grain because being different is what sets me apart. So I’ll continue to push forward, creating jewelry and accessories that are inspired and unique. Because while everyone else is singing the harmony I’ll be the one belting out a melody all my own. Here’s to a brand new year filled with unforgettable experiences and opportunities for personal and professional growth.