Thursday, September 30, 2010

Idea Seeds

Things in my head have been chaotic lately. This is a good thing. The chaos is all creative chaos. Some form of creativity monster has taken over my brain and filled it with about 437 ideas that all NEED to come out. They're bouncing around inside and pushing all the normal, sane thoughts out. I kind of love it.

One such thought has actually been planted in my brain for years. Literally years. And I FINALLY got to pull it out and put it to use when I made the custom coloring book last week. It was a huge hit. Within a few hours of putting the pictures online, I had 4 people email me to ask me if I was planning to do more of these so they could place an order for one. I had people send me ideas for promoting it and a lot of friends and family encouraging me to take a step in that direction.

About 4 years ago, I knew a little girl from church who was as much of a shoe-noticer as I am. When she was in preschool, she walked up to me one day and said, "oh those are beauuuutiful shoes." My heart melted and my brain started spinning. I thought, 'I should write a little story about her and her love for shoes. And then I could draw pictures to go along with it and print a copy of it for her mom.' And then I thought, 'I wonder if people would pay me to do that?' And then I thought, 'this is the greatest idea I've ever had.' And I thought about it and thought about it and looked up printing costs and researched types of paper and met with a few idea geniuses and talked about it and thought about it more. And then tucked it back up inside my head. Because I don't have the time or the start-up cost, the confidence in my talent or my idea, or the guts to tackle such a project.

But when I made the coloring book last week, I had a new passion for my little seed of an idea. I was loving every moment of putting it together. I loved thinking of ways to make each book completely unique, to make each illustration a refelction of the subject, and all the things the coloring books could be used for. I loved that by making it a coloring book instead of a storybook that the kids would be more involved in it, that printing would be cheaper, and that I would only need about 1/3 of the time for each picture. My little chaotic creativity monster went nuts.

So all this week, I've been talking to some great supportive friends and family who are SUCH encouragers and we've been discussing my idea and discussing prices and they've been trying to tell me that I'm worth more than I think I am and to not be afraid of getting myself into something like this. So yesterday, I FINALLY decided on a price and a package and a plan and I set it free into the world. In less than 24 hours, I had received over 150 hits on the item listing on Etsy.

I've got three coloring books currently lined up to get my feet a little more wet. One is mainly a promotional item for the idea. A sample book, basically. One is a fundraising effort for an adoption that is near and dear to my heart. And the last coloring book is a book for grownups that will not be custom - just one that I can print and have on hand.

As shackled as I've been by the fear of this little idea I had 4 years ago when a preschooler told me I had beautiful shoes, I couldn't be more proud of myself for stepping out and actually trying it. I'm still nervous about it. I'm still insecure about the timing, the price, my own talent, etc. etc. etc., but I'm trying to push through that fear and put value in myself and what I can create.

So basically, I just want to say thank you to all of you who said the tiniest words of encouragement to me. To those of you who said such giant and wonderful words of encouragement, and to those of you who just smiled when you looked at the coloring book. I took every. single. one. to heart and stored it up inside of me.

So here it is. My little seed. The project I've wanted to tackle for four years. You gave me the courage to do it.

Here's the link on Etsy: Steph Hagen Art - Custom Coloring Books


Brian Herzog said...

So proud of you!
Love, Dad

Julie Hill said...


An idea from me: color books for wedding favors?