When Laura Croft did her first Goodbye Hello journal at the end of 2016 she wasn’t expecting a whole new career and her very own business to grow out of it. And yet two years later she is the proud owner of Letter&Brush and her story is a beautiful example of what happens when you make your happiness and wellbeing a top priority in life…
“If you could have asked me two years ago what my dream was, I doubt I would have said to learn textile design and start my own business. I certainly always loved homeware and pattern and envied those designer makers at craft fairs and on Etsy. But I never considered it would be something that I could do.
The Project Love’s Goodbye, Hello journal changed all of that...
When I first came across the Goodbye, Hello journal (given to me as a gift by my sister-in-law) I was recovering from a tough 2016 - with starting a new job and planning a wedding consuming every ounce of energy & creativity I had - and had begun to realise how much of an introvert I was at heart.
The goal that came out of me doing the journal was simple:
“ 2017 is my year of making time to feel nourished and alive” and my intention was to “Bring back my love of crafts”, something that has always nourished me. And so that is what I did.
With this as my focus for the year, I started making lampshades, using bought material, for gifts but more importantly (and rarely!) for myself. I was used to crafts being something I did for others but I began appreciating it as something to enjoy just for me. I finally learnt to screenprint on paper; something of a life-long ambition. I started an Instagram feed of my creations and realised what a huge community of designer makers there were out there. Inspired by them I realised that I wanted to be able to screen print fabrics of my own designs.
Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018 helped me set myself a realistic goal of “learning to create repeat patterns”; just one step towards my final ambition that I’m still working towards. I worked out how I could do this. I signed up for classes in mark-making, in learning to use Photoshop and in creating repeat patterns. I worried about coming up with my style but found Austin Kleon’s book “Steal like an artist” a great comfort in just getting started designing and keeping multiple creative avenues open. Most importantly along the way I met many inspiring women; artists, illustrators & textile designers who took me out for coffee, gave me feedback and helped me deal with my imposter syndrome; that I’m not a textile designer because I didn’t do a degree in it! As Austin Kleon says “Be an amateur”; there’s freedom in it!
As my skills grew my frustration about not being able to treat my passion like a job grew and I negotiated with my job trialling a 4 day working week. This not only helped me towards my goal of starting my own homeware business, but worked towards 2018 being my year of “lightness” - an intention I set in my Goodbye/Hello journal; having this day to recharge myself makes me more effective in all other aspects of my life.
I took the advice of a mentor and applied to a craft fair without knowing exactly what I would sell as a deadline for myself to come up with my first product range for Letter & Brush. I know I am only part of the way through my journey and I am finding it helpful to start thinking ahead to what my next goals might be as; starting an Etsy shop or finally learning to screenprint on fabric. I am still breaking my goals down and finding classes to help me learn what I need to learn. It’s made me appreciate that goal setting is useful year round and I’m excited to learn that this year’s Hello/Goodbye is more of a year-long journal. Hooray!
Having these future goals in mind helps me see the path to get to where I eventually want to be, however when I look back at most of my intentions and goals for 2018 they were about travel, family and my husband. Moving to a 4 day week has protected my time to travel, to spend time with my family, especially my lovely nephew and niece, and with my husband and it is this balance that Hello/Goodbye helped me to see clearly was important to me building a life I love.
So finally, I thought I’d share the things I’ve learned from this process…
If you don’t know now what your “overall dream” is don’t worry - and even if you do - it’s more helpful to work out what your “next dream” is … despite what people often tell you life is long and you can do that next step next week, next month or next year! Trying to get there in one big leap just isn’t possible.
Focus is good but keeping several avenues open to you is ok; spending time on something different can revive your energy and inspire you for the other thing.
Break down your goals into things you need to do or learn and then find people or classes that can help you do that.
Finding people who are doing the thing you want to do will also boost your confidence and most people are happy to give feedback & advice as they’ve been where you are today!
Finally return to your Goodbye, Hello journal intentions and goals throughout the year and check in how your doing or if they’re still important to you”
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