This is a love letter of sorts. As is the case with nearly all of my blogs, this one begins as one thing; a celebration marking two years in business and ends up as another thing altogether; an acknowledgement of gratitude to the many who have helped me make it through these years of modest but steadily increasing success.
It’s important to celebrate milestones, not only because I love a good party, but also because a celebration helps me recognize what I’ve learned and experienced along the way. Marking a specific stage of progress acknowledges, in a heightened way, the work I’ve put in and the personal or professioal growth I have or have not achieved.
This month I celebrate my second year selling photography on Etsy. It’s been a major adventure that has stretched my brain in ways I could never have imagined. I finally fully mastered the computer - a beast I never thought to tame and made the leap from PC to Mac, which may have helped in the taming. Moving from film to digital -- something I swore would never be -- happened almost without my noticing. I’ve met and made amazing new friends -- many of whom I may never actually greet face to face, but who know a part of me better than some of my oldest, dearest friends. Each of these new friends is on a similar journey and each has shown a generosity that astounds me. They have helped me solve problems and maneuver hurdles. They’ve listened to me whine in my worst moments while pushing me to set goals and grow. They have each shared personal knowledge and expertise and best of all, they seem to want me to succeed almost as much as they want to succeed themselves. These new friends have been a very great gift.
My lifelong family and friends have shown their support as well, of course. Offering advice and listening as I verbally think through various challenges, always offering emotional encouragement and support, waiting patiently by my side while I take ‘just one more’ photo. Some of my friends have become my best customers, coming back time after time to purchase my work. I don’t imagine they understand how much those purchases have meant to me as I strive to grow a small business and master the mysteries of search engine optimization -- also known as “getting found” in the massive shopping mall that is the internet. During dark moments when I doubted success -- and those moments came more often than I’d like to admit -- one of them would magically appear to make a purchase for themselves, or for a family member or friend. Each one of those sales provided enough encouragement to lift my spirits through what were sometimes months of scarcity as I continue my forward progress.
Do you wonder why I’ve chosen sailboats to brighten my love letter? They were a wet, wild, exhilarating adventure to photograph and they represent a sample of my work, but they also visually represent my journey as I personally and professionally sail forward into bigger seas -- finding grander waves of adventure and discovery and occasional deep and scary troughs of rough water. The lesson I’m learning over and over is this; if I wait calmly and quietly for a little while - and try not to battle the current - the weather will clear and the sailing will be smooth once again. Giant leaps forward may be what I crave, but thousands of teeny tiny baby steps are my natural pace; the one that takes me where I’m headed if I can remember to be patient.
Michelangelo said something like this about sculpture: “Every block of stone has a statue inside and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” That’s how I feel about the images I choose to offer for sale. If I can photograph the beauty I see around me in such a way that allows another to see it as well, then a lovely connection unites us; we are joined in a way both impersonal and personal. It’s like sharing a wonderful secret -- how better to delight in something treasured than to share that treasure with a friend?
So cheers and thanks to you my loved ones, my friends old and new and my customers past, present and future for your support and recognition of this glorious adventure into beauty that I call my business. Wondering where my sails will take me in the next two years...I hope you’ll be with me.
With gratitude & love,