Thursday, June 17, 2010

What if this is the last wedding I design?

Have you ever thought, 'What if this is the last wedding I design?' I have. In fact, I think about it a lot. You probably wouldn't have guessed that but it's true. I'm constantly critiquing my art and wondering if I'm good enough. And if I'll be hired again.

Most people think I'm as confident as the day is long. And there is a lot of truth to that. But, I do have a very vulnerable/insecure side. A side that only my family and closest friends know exists.

I said to a dear friend one time, 'Is it normal to think 'What if I don't get hired after this job is complete?' Her response was brilliant. She said, 'It's not only normal but it's healthy. It means you're not resting on your laurels and you're constantly trying to better yourself and your business. It means your business will thrive.'

Do you question yourself, too? Are you wondering if you're good enough? If so, I think it's a good thing. My friend convinced me of that. And now I embrace that insecurity. I don't let it paralyze me. But rather, I let it strengthen me!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Notes From the Future "Mrs." - Sneak preview of my Etsy wedding elements!

I don't want to give away too much before the big day, but I had to share these lovely details with you. So let's jump right into the fun!

A while back Jodi blogged about a shop that she found on Etsy called Milkpod Studio. This artist makes the most incredible fabric bouquets and boutonnieres that you have ever seen. So of course I fell in love with her designs the second Jodi showed me her stuff {anything that has textural elements like that, I am all over it!} This is hand-craftsmanship at it's best. And Milkpod Studio was just featured in this June 2010 issue of Brides magazine! The article is called "The Great Pretenders". Be sure to check it out and see more of her amazing work.

So what is my second great Etsy find, you may be wondering? Well, it is a shop called Brydferth. The designer creates the sweetest fabric rosettes, and makes them into rings, necklaces, shoe clips, hair clips, headbands, and more. She makes them in a wide variety of colors, too. Honestly, I probably could have ordered just about everything in her shop. But ultimately I pulled the reins on myself and I had her custom-make my hair piece for the wedding and matching shoe clips. The hair clip is a rosette trio with ivory, white, and champagne rosettes. Check out the photo below, isn't it fantastic? The rosettes that clip onto my shoes are ivory and match perfectly. It doesn't stop there, either. For my flower girl, we had a headband made with three white rosettes on it. She will look so adorable. And, of course, everything will coordinate beautifully.

~ Jillian

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is That the Highest Priority?

As a business owner, I need to know what my staff is doing on a daily basis. Now, don't get me wrong. I trust them and know they're working hard. And I truly have no interest in being a micro-manager. But, there are times when certain tasks must take precedence over others. And if I have not properly communicated this to my staff, then we're operating under different assumptions about what is important. And that's how mistakes happen.

That's why approximately 6 months ago, I implemented a new system in the office. Here's how it works. Every morning, I receive an email from each staff member with a list of projects they will be working on that day. The list looks something like this:

  1. Highest priority...first thing to work on
  2. Medium priority
  3. Lowest priority
  4. Only if I finish #1, 2 and 3, will I consider this task!

Once I review the list, I take the opportunity to talk with each person about the day ahead. This two-way communication also gives me the chance to re-prioritize tasks on their lists if need be. {This hasn't happened often, but it has happened.}

This task may seem elementary and even a little silly but there really is a good reason for the exercise. Actually, two good reasons. The first is reassurance each morning that the highest priorities for both businesses are being met. And that there won't be any surprises when I think a task is being worked on {only to discover it's been given low-priority status}. I don't like surprises and this helps eliminate them.

The second reason for this exercise is to keep my staff {and myself!} on-task, motivated and accountable. This usually isn't an issue when we're swamped and trying to survive! But, it does become an issue when we're slow and not driven by an event {or two, or three!}. It helps all of us use our time wisely and efficiently.

I really like what this system has done for us. Not only has communication improved, but I think it's empowered each person to fully embrace their position in the company and understand how vital their role is to our success. And frankly, I think there is no better employee than an empowered one!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Delegation = The Answer to Time Management

It's been long. Too long, I know. Since returning home from the National Stationery Show, my life has been nothing short of chaos. We've added two new pups to our home. {And our cat intensely hates them both!} My children finished the school year. I've added a new employee at Gwyneth Paige {welcome, Betsy!}. An intern at In Any Event {welcome, Audrey!}. And we now have 15 stores in seven states carrying the Gwyneth Paige line. All this in one month's time!

One of the things I've been thinking a lot about these past few weeks is how I can better manage my time and all of the demands on it. I've come to the conclusion that there's not much I can do that's not already being done. However, one thing I can do is rely more heavily on the good people that work alongside me.

Delegation has never been my strong suit. It's my perfectionist, type-A personality that causes this problem. My husband says you'll never run a successful business and be a good employer if you can't delegate. And you know, he's right. It truly is the answer to properly managing my time.

So, I'm trying to delegate more. I find that this is allowing me to work at a higher-level during the day. And empowering those around me to make good decisions. It's a great feeling. Things seem to be humming right along. And though I feel the stress that only a business-owner does, it's nice to divide the other stressors amongst friends!

How are you doing in the delegation department?


PS - I've decided to take this blog in a new direction. {Okay, let's face facts. There hasn't been much direction at all!} I'm going to focus on the 'raw truth' of owning a luxury planning firm and a couture letterpress company. In a sense, this blog will become my new 'public' journal. And I'm going to hold nothing back. You'll get to see the confident side of me as well as the vulnerable one. You'll discover what stresses me out on a day-to-day basis and what invigorates me. I think that this direction will really give me a lot to talk about and inspire my posts. I'm really excited for the future of this blog and its sustainability!