5 things Roots taught me in 2019

Look who's blogging again! Yours truly! I can't promise this will be a regular thing...you know, because I have more pressing matters to attend to (i.e. your orders, designing new collections, rock climbing)...but recently a bunch of people seem to have discovered my blog post and found it helpful, so here we go again! 

1. I am not a corporation, and therefore I don't have to behave as such

Early on in my Roots "career," I got what I now consider to have been some terrible advice (for me). I was told that I needed to keep myself out of my business, meaning that I should find a business "voice" that was separate from my own, and that I shouldn't mix anything personal to me with Roots, the store. And I see how that could work for some people 

But the thing is that my art -- meaning Roots Metals -- is an extension of myself, an exploration of my culture, my mental health, and more. I am not a big business with a marketing team. I am just a person making art and sharing it with you guys. It feels disingenuous to hide who I am, what I'm interested in, and what matters the most to me just because I have a "business" Instagram account. Of course there need to be boundaries, but being a real human on my platform has allowed me to connect with my customers in a way that I never thought possible. I want people to know not just what they're buying but who they're buying from. It makes a world of difference. 

2. It's okay to say no

I think this is something a lot of small business owners and artists struggle with. For me, I always felt that if I didn't say yes to every single opportunity, I'd be hurting my business. I also thought that in saying no, I'd be hurting my chances of new opportunities coming my way. Neither turned out to be true. 

For example, I truthfully never really enjoyed custom orders. While I love you guys' ideas and being challenged in different ways, it felt like too much pressure. My anxiety would spiral each time, because I worried that I wouldn't meet my customers' expectations. I would often remake a piece three or four times because it never seemed "perfect" enough. This was in addition to creating new collections and keeping up with orders. It was too much. It didn't seem worth it to me. By saying no to customs, I was able to free my time and headspace to create work that I am actually proud of. 

Another example for me was markets. It always felt like something I "should" be doing if I wanted Roots to grow. I know a lot of other artists and makers enjoy these, but I never did. I am highly introverted by nature and I found it really hard to have to interact with people all day. Additionally, they were never financially worth it for me. Deciding to say no to markets was not only a huge relief for me, but also freed up more of my time to do things that I felt actually benefited me and my business. 

3. I will get better at my craft

This probably says more about my mental hangups than anything else, but I've always operated under this idea that however good I am at something is as good as I'll ever be. For this reason, I never challenged myself much when it came to my jewelry -- I avoided things such as fabricating in gold or setting stones. This might seem silly to you, but I just genuinely thought there was no point, since I wasn't "good" at it. 

Well, I'm glad I decided to challenge myself on that notion. The more I worked on a skill, the better I got at it. And now I'm happy to say that I am super comfortable fabricating in gold -- and setting *most* stones. 

4. not everyone is going to be happy with me or like me, and that's fine

I try my very best and do what I truly consider to be right. You're never going to please everyone, and that's fine. It's a much better use of time for me to put my head down and focus on what I'm doing than to worry about what someone else might think of me. 

5. forming connections with others is the best thing I can do for myself and my business

Like I said above, I'm super introverted. I need my me time and my alone time. But since I work from home, it can be very easy to isolate. Forming genuine connections to both my customers and other artists in the community is one of the best things I could have possibly done with myself in 2019. Connecting with others turned into some really fun, exciting collaborations and has taken me to places I never even thought about.