"You were the first one I thought of"
Sometimes hearing that phrase conjures up uneasiness. What could have happened that made someone think of me? Was it something bad? Should I be embarrassed or defensive? It's a terrible place that the mind goes, but nonetheless it does sometimes go there.
Luckily, lately I have been hearing that phrase, or something similar, quite often, but it is for a very good reason. People are thinking of me first when they need something creative and they trust me to do it for them.
First, a very good friend of mine asked if I could make a mask for her niece's First Communion. I haven't done masks in several months and most of the ones that I have made have been pretty basic with wild prints; nothing that would be fancy enough for a First Communion. But of course I absolutely love a challenge. I immediately started to think of satin and lace and went to work on a few ideas. I have to say after sewing over 600 masks last year, this one turned out to be my absolute favorite. It came out exactly as I wanted, if not better. It is the 3 pleat style, but when it opens up it fits the face beautifully and is covered with very pretty white lace overlay. So pleased with the result! As a thank you for thinking of me, I sent along a purple magnetic bookmark with a butterfly charm, something that holds a lot of meaning to my friend 💜
No sooner did I get this request, but another came in from a friend asking if I could make 90 decals to be used on teacher appreciation gifts. Turn around was pretty quick and it did involve finding the right image, sizing it well enough for the cups they ordered, cutting the design, weeding, prepping, and separating 90 decals, which was tedious. But she hooked me in when she said she would rather give me the business than someone else. I couldn't let her down and I got the job done a few days ahead of plan. To help them out with the application, I threw in two complimentary squeegees and made a video with some tips and tricks.
Finally, I got a message from a friend on Instagram. She is an amazing furniture refinisher that can take an old piece and transform it into an amazing treasure. She was hoping to get a couple of shirts with her logo and maybe a hat. The shirts wouldn't be a problem, as long as the logo was easy to trace into my cutting machine software, but I wasn't comfortable making the hat since I didn't feel I had the right type of heat press. She was very understanding when I told her I couldn't do the hat, and she sent along the graphic for the shirts. Unfortunately, the logo did end up being a bit of a problem, as the trace was not coming out very sharp. It didn't look like the original artwork and I was not comfortable making a product that was sub-par. I was about to let her know that I couldn't do any of the order, but then I did some research and found what seemed to be a font very close to the one used for her logo. It may seem like a simple graphic, but when you are trying to recreate something to look exactly like the original design, it has to be perfect. I was so relieved to see how well it turned out and I was proud of myself for not giving up so easily.
After the success with the logo, I was determined to figure out a way to make the hat she requested. My press is 12" wide, so it isn't ideal for working on the small, uneven surface of a baseball cap, but I am very excited to say I was successful!! So, I have now added the (limited) ability to make customized baseball caps to my shop. As time goes on, I hope to get a smaller press that will make these even easier.
So, what is the point of all of this? I often think that maybe I do spread myself too thin. I offer so many different product lines, so I can't possibly specialize and perfect that one niche like many others do. But after being told that I am the first person that pops into their head when they want a mask, or a decal, or a shirt, or any other type of accessory or gift, then maybe I do already have a specialization - I specialize in giving people exactly what they want, and I am very okay with that.
Oh, by the way, as I was finishing up this post, I got a Facebook message from a friend asking if I could make a few onesies. After sending me several ideas of what she would like, she ended the request by saying "I just like to ask you first before going elsewhere."
And that is how I remain the Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None.