As we're in the last week of November I thought I should take the time to reflect on what's been happening here at Edie Rose Ashley this last month. It's been quite surreal stepping out of the shadows and putting myself and my work out there for the very first time. I hadn't planned on launching my business in November, but when my wonderful friend Claire asked if I would like to have a stall at their annual Christmas Fair at Ribbons Tea Room, I thought I should take the plunge. It wasn't until this moment that I realised I had been waiting for something to push my introverted self out into the spotlight.
I had a lot of finished pieces that I wanted to share with the world, but to be honest, my main hurdle was choosing how I was going to present myself. As some of you who have read my previous blog post will know, finding the right name for my business was my white whale. I had happily accepted to have a stall at the fair, but panic soon set in when I realised I hadn't got a concrete name in place. It's like trying to find that perfect cherry to put on top of the cake you've been slaving over for so long - you know, for those of you who like cherries. My website was done, I had numerous paintings and card designs that I wanted to use, but how could I move forward without a name?
A selection of work at the Ribbons Christmas Fair 2017 © 2017 Edie Rose Ashley
I soldiered on, and spent the coming weeks of October and November finishing off paintings, hand drawing gift tags, and knitting like a mad woman and finally the name Edie Rose Ashley clicked. To find out the full story behind the name click here. Once I had successfully completed that challenge it suddenly dawned on my anxious brain that I was going to have to talk about myself, and my business, with people I had never met before. Now to some people, such as my boyfriend Jai, this comes so naturally it's positively frustrating. However, for someone with social anxiety like I have, it definitely threw a spanner in the works. I guess I felt like I had received such positive feedback from my family, that the general public did not necessarily have to be so nice! Oh how wrong I was...
Whenever I have a social situation coming up, I'd spend days if not weeks leading up to it thinking a million and one things in my head, all possible scenarios and eventualities that could happen. In the end, the day comes, and more often than not, I either don't go, or everything goes fine and I survive. However, this time I couldn't back out. A small part of me also knew that I shouldn't feel this way, and that it would be a good experience for me to put myself out there. Constructive criticism and market research is just as valuable as the positive comments you receive!
Handmade and hand written Christmas gift tags at the Ribbons Christmas Fair 2017 © 2017 Edie Rose Ashley
The morning of the fair came, and luckily, my amazingly creative mother also had a stall their that day, and we were both packed and ready to go. I set up my stall and was so nervous as people started pouring into the entrance of Ribbons Tea Room. However, my extremely supportive boyfriend was there on hand if I ever needed help talking to customers. It was such an amazing experience to go through. I received so many wonderful comments regarding my work, and everyone was so lovely and positive, it was like a weight had been lifted. I cannot thank those people enough. Especially my family and friends who came down to support me. It really did mean the world to me.
Since then I have been given such a confidence boost to go forward and create more lovely things. My experience at the fair taught me that I need to paint much, much bigger than I am doing at the moment! I had been painting on such small canvases because I suppose they felt less intimidating to me - as weird as that sounds. So I am now putting all my energy into working on a larger scale and giving myself the opportunity to experiment with different colours and techniques. Looking back it's really refreshing to see how you develop as an artist and a designer. It's interesting how much one day can change your perspective on the work you do and how you choose to express yourself. I am really grateful for Claire for giving me the opportunity to put myself out there, and I am very excited to show you what's to come in the future.
This one is for Claire.