This weekend marks the one year anniversary of pretty and grit. To spare you, I turned this what was going to be a far-too-long Instagram post into a journal entry for those of you interested in the full, raw and honest scoop. I don’t feel like formally celebrating, but perhaps reflecting a bit on the highs and lows, and stating how thankful I am for meeting so many wonderful people so far. (Thank you.)
This past year has been an amazing, humbling ride to say the least. Both personally, professionally, and for pretty and grit.
I first launched the brand with the intention to foster it as my side baby. And that it was. A screaming, kicking, all-consuming, time-sucking, beautiful adventure. Too many late nights to count made me question my existence. But all the hustle, amazingly produced markets, and great conversations with customers and other badass makers is completely worth it and pushes this experiment forward.
Last year, the launch party and holiday sales came out with a bang. I don’t think I slept more than four hours a night for a few months. After the first few months, I worked on jewelry most Fridays and worked my full-time job for four days during the week, and most weekends.
When I look back to November 2017, I realize that I was in a completely different place — personally and professionally. My life situation has completely changed, but I am still the same person with a similar outlook to the first post that I wrote last year. During the past ten months, I moved, I left a great design job that I had for seven years and took on a tenure track graphic design professor gig at Daemen College in Buffalo. I also continue to work as an independent brand consultant and designer.
The life changes and new career path I’ve taken have given me new perspectives and inspiration. Teaching has been incredibly challenging and rewarding, and my first baby (pretty and grit) has taken a bit of a back seat this fall, but it is still around and will continue as I get a little more situated in my new job. This new journey will allow me to help evolve a great design program (What a dream!), keep up with the design and UX industry (I’m a nerd ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), grow my independent design studio (I love people), and continue making jewelry and getting better at the craft.
Ok, now for some straight talk and the biggest lesson so far imo...
I’m not really sure if what I’m about to say is taboo, but I feel I need to say it. We are continually told to ‘do more work’, ‘hustle’, and we live in a culture that prides itself in lack of sleep and being ‘too busy’ (100% guilty here). After taking some time to truly reflect the last four months or so, I am slowly learning to take care of myself from the inside out, and to be as efficient and thoughtful as possible with my time as it is my (our) greatest asset. It means saying no. It means asking a fair price for the value of your work so you can at least profit a little. It means to spend time with those who lift you up. It means sticking to a plan and a schedule, and to plan and schedule time to chill the eff out with your people too.
If I don’t learn to smell my own roses, I’m going to gloss over the beautiful nuances that life that is presenting me. This year has made me realize that I look forward to the opportunity to grow a family with the right guy someday (not in a rush, but where you at dude?!), and to soak in all the fun stuff that happens as I learn to slow down a little and realize that there is more to experience beyond the hustle.
That’s not to say I am deeply passionate about what I do and enjoy every moment that I am working, teaching, designing, or making jewelry. I simply feel that my time working is now more productive because I am more focused and present while working, rather than burnt out.
So you ask? What next? Well, this next year, I look forward to:
(1) coming out with at least four new collections of jewelry.
(2) going wholesale in 1 or 2 stores around town.
(3) dropping into 10-ish markets.
(4) making some $ for pretty and grit as I’ve reinvested it all to date.
(5) lots of travel, mountain bikes, and running.
(6) share more of your stories as time permits (keep em’ coming!).
(7) developing skills and business acumen, which will help the business and also build my skillset as a design professor.
So keep a look out, and don’t forget to visit me at my holiday market lineup or take advantage of free shipping all holiday season!
Thanks for following along and keeping pretty and grit afloat this first wonderful year.
XO — Casey
(photo credit: dawn m. gibson)