When I took a month off from the shop, at first I let myself relax. I told myself that there was no pressure to create something right away. I gave myself a few days, and then I allowed myself to start thinking about my shop-- what I liked, what I didn't like, and what new things I imagined that I would have. I knew that I wanted some vastly different items-- more leather and a crossbody bag. I knew that I wanted the bags to continue to look modern but still with handmade touches. The goal was figuring out exactly what that would look like.
I don't know that there's any one way to find inspiration or stay creative, but I wanted to share a few things that worked for me.
1. look for inspiration outside of your product.
I make it a point to never search for bags or clutches that would be similar to mine on etsy. I do not want my inspiration to come from something I see and then tweaking it. I think too often people see something that someone makes and think "I could make that," and then with some tweaks, decide to sell it. That might be fine for some people or fine for something you make for yourself, but I do not want my handmade business built on that. I want it to be my own, something I can stand behind and say "this was my idea. this came from my head."
When I was planning my spring line, I bought a lot of fashion magazines. I ripped out pages of outfits and deciphered what about each outfit I liked. Then I designed the handbag using those elements.
2. ask yourself questions.
What gets you excited? What do you love? List everything from foods to activities to colors and work from there. Write or create from what you love.
3. who is buying/reading/enjoying the product/blog/idea you have?
I have in my mind the very specific person who buys my rouge & whimsy bags. Just a few tidbits: she wears lipstick (occasionally), is attracted to classic pieces, but doesn't mind partaking in a trend or two. When I make a bag, I think about that person. Will she like what I'm making? Would she want to buy it? If I answer "yes," I know I'm on the right track. If you blog, who reads your blog? What does s/he like to read? What are they looking for?
4. take breaks.
If you feel like you're in a rut, embrace it and go do something else! I like to go on runs to clear my mind. I also love to cook and in being creative in the kitchen, experimenting with Asian cooking, I felt like I was in some way stimulating another creative part of my brain. I also read novels, and took quiet time and prayed. These things, for me, were helpful.
5. play around.
When I come up with ideas, I like to experiment a bit with it. I make prototypes, I match fabrics and see if what's in my head really works out. Sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it does. But getting there and experimenting is part of the process!
are there ways that you find inspiration and stay creative?