"Life is full of lessons."
That was Then This is Now
MONOLISA designs all started in my Clayton, California studio in 2017. Although I appreciated my studio space at the time, it was a tight area for working. Materials, hides of leather, machines and tools were everywhere in very tight quarters. Overlooking the small creative space, I focused on designing the new MONOLISA collection. I was having the time of my life, tapping into my creativity and learning about the design process. I had no idea what the future would be like for my business or how people would respond to my designs. I was ready for the challenge, risk and unknown.
To get a sneak peak at my journey, below is a collage of pictures dating from 2017- 2021. There have been lots of changes over the years on both the business and creative side of my journey. There are however, some things which remain constant - getting up at 4 am for shows, battling the wind at outdoor events, my hair style - the big bun, my glitter eye shadow and learning from experiences.
Time For Reflection
What a journey it has been since launching my business. So many different experiences and emotions along the way. It has been hard, fun, humorous, unfamiliar, and challenging to say the least. My favorite moments are the insightful lessons and humorous side to my business. Many of those funny crazy moments are great stories I share later with family and friends - holding my tent down in a wind tunnel, battling the aroma of sewer near my tent, going to a show where no one shows up and jumping on an electric scooter to access my far away car. I am looking forward to many more interesting stories, hoping to share in the near future.
Flash back to 4 years ago, my first show at Fourth Street Makers Row in Berkeley, California. I was excited, nervous and had no idea what an outdoor show was like. It was my first time setting up a popup tent, but my husband was there to help every step of the way. It was a successful show. My family and friends came to support my work which was very special. Since my first show I have had the pleasure and experience of participating in 100 plus shows throughout California. The shows take a tremendous amount of energy, planning and hard work. The experiences over the years have delivered an abundance of knowledge no books or classes could ever teach me. I have met wonderful customers, received insightful information about my pieces and made some lasting friendships along the way. I am incredibly grateful for the memorable experiences, teaching moments and all of the customers who continue to support my work.
What I Learned Along The Way
Before I end this blog I want to touch upon some of the lessons I have learned along the way since launching MONOLISA. The list below highlights some of my favorite teaching moments. Thanks you for reading about my journey!
- It is never too late to start a business - I started mine in my fifties.
- In business you get what you put into it.
- I have learned to be comfortable being outside of my comfort zone.
- Acquiring new skills helps cultivate my creativity.
- There is more than one way to do a skill.
- Stone setting has taught me the art of patience.
- I wear many hats as a business owner - metalsmith, designer, bookkeeper, web developer, writer, marketer, sales and customer support - thats only a partial list.
- Continue learning, watching and practicing - the payoff will come and the learning never stops.
- Support other small businesses and makers.
- Try and have fun - don't beat yourself up too much!
- Fear of failure continues to be part of the expedition, but I keep at it and say during the hard times – “Just keep trying, don’t give-up”. So, that is what I do… keep going.
- Some days are easier than others.
- Each day is interesting, challenging and rewarding all wrapped up like a present.
- A large part of the creative and business process is learning from mistakes.
- Follow my mission - to create beautifully handmade limited edition pieces that add a touch of elegance to any personal style
"I fell in love with the creative process because of the unlimited possibilities."
This blog post is written by California handbag and jewelry designer, Lisa Ramos.
Take a peak at Lisa's other blog articles.
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