I have been in turmoil people. Absolute turmoil for the past 3 months or so and I have thrown tantrums and stormed from the office to the high street to eat biscuits and drink hot chocolate in a coffee shop on more than one occasion and yes, I inhaled those biscuits and yes, I felt guilty afterwards. But there’s nothing quite like frustrated indecision to get you onto the biscuits I’d say.
Now you wouldn’t think that something as innocuous as a cheese plant could do that to a grown woman would you? But boy, have they plagued me. Sometimes, most days. Some days all day. The relationship that is Sarah and cheese plants is starting to wear thin.
I liked cheese plants. We had one in our first flat and we kept it alive for a number of years (which I think goes to show how resilient and therefore how lovable cheese plants can be). But once we’d managed to kill our beloved cheese plant off, circa 1994, I don’t think I gave the genus another thought.
Roll on to summer 2015 and I had a very rare girlcrush on an item of clothing. It was a Vivienne Westwood dress and, you’ve guessed it, the pattern was cheese plant leaves. I liked the greens and I liked the cut and I managed to snaffle one at a rockbottom price and realised I couldn’t really walk in it… but still…. I stroke it and look at it in my wardrobe now and again and just, well, love it.
(and that’s fine because if you were to line up photos of me at trade shows over the last 7 years, you’d find that I really do get the most out of every item of clothing I buy – so having one in my wardrobe just for strokes isn’t that profligate).
So let’s get to 2016 when I take an idle wander around the floors of a well known department store to see what’s ahappenin’ and I notice that, yes, owls have, indeed, had their day. The pale pink and grey ‘Pantone colours of the year!’ are moving on and we’re still trending through flamingos, pineapples and Rio stylee stuff. (please see “Mid Week Rant” for the other trend that prevails).
and there I am, surrounded by flamingos and pineapples
…. and I think to myself.
“It’ll be cheese plants next”
And so, as I liked cheese plants more than I like owls, pineapples, flamingos, toucans and, indeed, unicorns (they’ll be everywhere soon….) I thought…
“I should design some products with cheese plant patterns”
Turmoil. Because I’ve been drawing spider plants, ferns and cheese plant leaves for months now; moving them around the screen, playing with colours, tweaking, changing layer layouts, taking out elements, putting them back in, putting new ones in, isolating, combining. And then I’ve looked at the cost pricing of having product printed and worked out the cost-trade-retail ratios and yes, may just make some money here and then I wonder if the artwork is good enough and whether we’ll get a garden centre or two interested and then I start to see cheese plant leaves popping up in a few places.
… and suddenly, I’ve found myself feeling sick in a coffee shop with crumbs down my front thinking “I can’t compete with them.”
Last week was particularly bad. I was beginning to question it all, and I mean everything. The very existence of cheese plant leaf artwork on my desktop felt like a virus in the files. And it’s taken a lot of soul searching to conclude that I’m going to pop all of those artwork files into a folder and chuck them into the virtual abyss that I have named “Artwork in Progress” and here’s why I’ll probably never do anything with those files:
- I’m not talented enough to compete with the true artists out there. If I were, I would spend my life being an artist and making money from my art would make me happy.
- I don’t want to lose sight of what 2littleboys.co.uk is all about. We make cool shit to keep kids happy, beautiful stuff to keep memories and the odd funny thing for older people.
- We don’t make patterns
- We’ve never followed trends or even capitalised on trends we’ve foreseen before. Why start now?
- We’re not big enough (or talented enough) to compete with the companies who create beautiful product with patterns and who can create a ‘story’ with their ranges.
- I kinda like unicorns, pineapples and toucans, but not enough to create a range of stationery around them. What if the trend after cheese plants was something I really didn’t like?
But most of all, and this is key.
I don’t want to.
And that’s the joy of being the boss.
But it won’t stop me cringing every time I see a cheese plant leaf on a product. I’ll get over it, because FINALLY, I am exhaling and the turmoil of indecision is over.
And now I’m off to buy some soil, fertiliser, a nice big terracotta pot and a plant to grow in my living room. I’ve moved on from cheese plants. I’m thinking a ficus.
If there’s any company out there who likes some of these designs – don’t copy them, license them…. We’re fabulous licensors and our rates are very reasonable ;).
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