QUEST FOR A FOUNDER'S STORY
Recently I started getting messages with people congratulating me with a work anniversary... 2 years of being a Small english founder. The daily volatility of managing ups and downs of day-to-day had kept me from acknowledging the fact that it has been 2 years already! I took a little step back to write a stream of words about the journey.
I don't think there is only one way to start a company. It is a different story for each founder. I started Small english because I wanted to have an outlet for my creativity which would directly interact with people. Therefore, I decided to not only print posters but to also put my illustrations on objects which would be wearable. At that point, I felt the need for an inspiration to be strong & focused & brave. Therefore, I created LLAMAS ALSO SHARKS. A trio which included a print, a ring and a poster and all of these objects would serve as an inspiration to find these qualities within myself. This was what I had decided to offer to the world to see, if the world liked my designs.
However, I did not want to make more things which would remain on shelves and collect dust and then later they would need to be put on sale. I did not want to outsource the production to people who I did not know. Therefore, I made the production work locally, in Amsterdam. I promised myself that, if nobody would want to have the things me and my collaborators were making ... then maybe these things should not be made. From the very beginning, I decided that Small english was going to be a self-funded adventure. No business loans, no investor expectations. Just a test to see, if my work can be engaging to others; if it can provide value. For this very reason exactly, up until this day every customer gets a hand written thank you note from the studio, because the ones who purchase Small english goodies directly contribute to our ability to grow.
It has been 2 years since the release of LLAMAS ALSO SHARKS trio. I am happy to say that now I work with a team of collaborators who share the same values. We are growing slowly, day by day. We are getting to know each other and we are getting to know our customers. Our goal is not to squeeze the juice until there is none left, our goal is to build a healthy organization where all parties involved find their inner strength to be sharks in order to do work for other sharks. Because. Being a shark is about making conscious choices. Whatever the line of work. Be a shark. The kind. The brave. The focused.
All my love,
P.S. For your entertainment I am providing a few photos from behind the scenes of the first Small english release. Every time I thought it was not working out, I told myself to stop being a cry baby and be a shark instead :)
The pretty picture of the shirt ;)
Making shirts was nuts. The level of detail I had decided to go with... I remember having a slight meltdown because I could not find the right buttons. A side note. You cannot even see the buttons because there's a layer covering the buttons. Sharks had to have a uniform where each detail mattered ;)
The pretty picture of the ring ;)
Figuring out of how to make the stone in the ring was probably the
hardest part of them all. The colors kept changing as I applied the
material the stone is made of. It took me about a month to sort out
how to not get any bubbles in the stone.
The initial success rate was 1:50. Yup. For each of the stones made, there
were 50 which were just not right. Talking about making mistakes in the process :D
AT ONE POINT EVERYTHING WAS A LITTLE UPSIDE
DOWN BEFORE IT WAS THE WAY I WANTED IT
LLAMAS ALSO SHARKS print was a 7 color screen print... Up until this day I do not know, if it was stupid or smart to do it that way because the amount of hours I spent at the studio. DUH!!! I really liked the outcome though. HOWEVER. I don't know, if I would sign up for that again :D
I also managed to get my hair at the right level of white for the pretty picture (every girl with platinum hair knows the struggle)
pretty photos www.outoffocus.nl
not so glamorous shots were made by moi