If you ever get the chance to meet me in real life you will be struck by both how much I am just like I am here on my site AND exactly how “type A” I am. Things are either in the right place or they are not. The house is either clean or it’s not. And I have often done very well in my professional life (the one before I became a sartorial sassy maven) because the standards I hold myself to are significantly higher than are usually achievable. This makes me a very stressed person too.
This might make me seem like the best type of person to run a small business. I have attention to detail, impeccable record keeping skills, and ALWAYS want my best work going out the door. However, this is exactly the type of personality that can fall into trouble in a handmade or craft business.
The reason is simple: We always want our BEST work going out the door. And our best work is hard to achieve every time.
One thing I have learned in the time I’ve been doing this, which really isn’t as long as many/most, is that I need to strive to do consistent work, but it can’t always be 100% perfect.
A fellow small business owner and I were chatting. She has a very successful Etsy store (Forgotten Cotton) and often comes to me in my Type-A times of need. I had a product that had to go out and it looked just fine, but I wasn’t in love with it. I didn’t want to send it, but recognized that I also had to. During this conversation we discussed the roll of perfectionism in the handmade/craft business as a whole.
The truth is, the person buying my pillows isn’t going to notice that one stitch, that one slightly less than perfect edge on that one letter, or even bother to care about if the magenta ink is “magenta” enough. They are going to see all of those “imperfections” as what makes handmade items so special. They AREN’T perfect. That’s the point. They aren’t made by a giant machine that is calibrated everyday. They are made by you. With your two hands and whatever the tools of your trade may be. And that is exactly what makes it PERFECT.
I’m not going to be in love with every item that gets put into a poly bag and mailed. But I can be satisfied that they meet the standards set forth by having consistent expectations and consistent results. So, I will leave you with the follow quote to think on and apply to your handmade or craft business: