Updated: Sep 29, 2020
I sat down in front of my computer to write out an email to my customers and give them a coupon code. This is becoming a regular occurrence for me, and I'm trying to offer more value to my customers by building the relationship and giving a personality to my company. It's not phony or manufactured like it sounds; I want customers to feel like they're dealing with me. That I put my name on this because everything is done by me for my customers. It's easy to forget that there are people behind products when all your purchases are of commoditized Chinese plastic.
I started out intending to promote my Saint Patrick's Day items, and as I started writing it became the story of how I started making jewelry and fell in love with it back in High School. As I wrote, I just let the ideas flow, even though the subject line no longer matched the body. Instead of stopping and figuring out a subject line that matched, I kept going, in a powerful stream of consciousness. As I was writing, without even thinking about it, the following line came out: "Come back in and be a part of my mission to bring custom to everyone." As I wrote it, I froze. That was my mission now. Custom for everyone. It was so simple and yet it encapsulated what I was trying to do more than any other thought I've had since August of 2018 when I first started doing commission work. It came out accidentally, without a conscientious attempt to come up with a mission statement. I felt it. It came from a part of me that I didn't need to access with any kind of awareness. It came from my heart.
I've always loved making things for people, and even more so sitting with them, figuring out what they need and making the idea into a thing. Even if it's something as simple as customizing a piece of jewelry I already make for a customer in a way that suits their style or preference better, the ability to do that for someone is ultra-gratifying for me.
Custom anything is out of the reach of most people. That's just a fact. Everything is commoditized now to a point where people go to a store, look at what's there, consider it all that's available, and then tune out after picking one of the options, but that's how the average person lives. There is a class of people in this world who have never owned anything but a unique commissioned custom made thing. Suits, houses, jewelry, decor, art, it's all tailored to their tastes because they can afford it. If I'm being 100% honest, I can't wait until that's my life, but in the meantime, I can help make some custom things approachable for people who aren't living the custom life.
Think about the abundance in which we live. The sheer volume of amazing things. It's often said that you're better off being a pauper in 2020 than a King in 1600, and there's a lot of truth to that. In spite of the negativity you always here, the state of living for the human race has improved steadily, around the world, for all of history. Even the poorest of the poor have things only dreamed of by the richest of the rich a mere 20 years ago. For me, making custom products for everyone is a no-brainer. I don't have to charge hundreds or thousands of dollars. I can bring people a level of personalization they never thought possible just by doing what I do.
I can make custom a word that normal people use to describe the things they have.
And I love it.
Custom for everyone is more than a statement for me, though. It's a philosophy that will now guide my business and my making. Whatever I make won't be about "I make this," it'll be "What can I do for you?" I've always subconsciously done that, but I've also made a lot of stuff as, what I like to call, portfolio items for my online store. As this becomes a more concrete business plan, the "portfolio items" will be limited while the "here's a thing, how should I customize it" method will be in full-effect. You'll notice in my Instagram posts when I show something I've made, I now always make some kind of reference to customizing the product I show or coming up with a new product along the same lines. I want people to see what I can do, but I also want people to know they aren't limited only to things I've already done. Custom for everyone means custom everything for everyone, and now that I have a mission statement / motto, I'm more focused than I've ever been. I have a direction, I have a plan, and now it's time to make it a reality.