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To do or not to do.

I've been pondering my creative options for some time now. Of particular note is the idea of creating custom designed gift stationary sets. I've done a lot of research. There are a lot of stationary sets out there. The market is rich with great, great variety and quality sets.

So, should I pursue creating my own sets, with so many options in this space?

As the morning passed from a cool light breeze to an insipid hot day, I sipped a warm cup of mocha, lactose free, no sugar. I toiled over this question. To do or not to do? The time passed slowly until my fat chihuahua broke my chain of thought with demands to be let out of the studio. He was off to chase random noises in the neighbourhood.

By the time I'd finished my cuppa I had nutted out a truck load of questions. I'd hoped this process would help me decide one way or another. But, alas, I have not come to a conclusion.

The thing is, how do you switch off that inner desire to do, design, create, make...something? As a "Creative" I find it really difficult. This inner desire has been burning inside of me for a long time. I've frequently picked up journals and felt an ache to create my own journal. Images flood my mind, of a set aloquently laced with beautiful teals, warm oranges, ochres, pastels, and many colours of various shades. I can see my gunduy design as a key feature on each item or at least on the cover of a journal. The pages thick, textured and perfect for dabbing watercolours and gouache paints on them, thus lending it to being a perfect arts journal. Accompanying the journal are rustic pencils or a beautiful pen that is slightly weighted and rolls smoothly under the writers touch. Maybe, an ink pot sits to the side to hold organic inks or simply capture pencil shavings. Its use free to be determined by its owner. The pot itself is handmade in a rustic or textured clay finished with a vibrant colour glaze. It could be a little quirky and have little feet on it and a tail that acts as its handle.

Does it matter that there are already lots of sets out there for people to choose from? I feel like it shouldn't. I mean, I have a vision in my mind of something different and something that I find beautiful. I want others to be able to enjoy what is in my mind as well.

There are surely others that would like what I have to offer.

So, this is where I'm at.

To get me past this point of indecision I am going to do a little test of the market. But, first I will bring my vision to life with a prototype (a small batch will be designed and created). I will put this small batch of sets on sale in a couple of places and see how they go selling.

The challenge will be keeping the initial upfront costs very low. I also need to work out how I will source materials long term. I'm very interested in using eco-friendly, sustainable materials to make the sets. I'm thinking about such things as recycled paper journals, bamboo pencils or pens that use vegetable or plant based inks that can be sourced locally, earth based paints, and recycled fibres for book covers or other purposes. All of these things are lovely to wish for. The challenge will be sourcing them. I do think, however, that these elements are the things that will make my vision stand out from the rest of the market. Or at least sit amongst a small niche group within the market.

I've been researching potential providers and my own options for sourcing these materials. I believe there is a fair bit of work involved in making these materials myself and in sourcing them from others. I'm not one to shy away from lots of work. But, more recently I've had to realise and accept that my body can't work like it used to. I need to consider the personal strain of the work that might be involved. Will the gains outway the costs? I don't want to do this at great personal or financial cost.

So, here I am again back at the beginning. To do or not to do? That is the question.

I wonder how other sole traders go with unravelling these kinds of questions.

Anyway, this is just another day in the life of a "Creative".

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