Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A day in the life of Cheeky Pickle

I was talking to someone the other day and they asked me what I "did" Well I hate that question and I hate saying what I "do" as I know that most people think I'm just trying to get out of having a "proper" job!

When I explain what I "do" I usually get a vague glance and a raised eyebrow and an "oh how lovely" kind of reply.  I'd love say I was a nurse or a teacher, but my life didn't follow that path. I decided on an Arts Degree so now I do what I do and I do what I can.

I've not got to that point yet where I feel I can reply confidently, "I run my own very successful business actually thank you very much!!" No, what I usually do is lower my head and mumble something about making and trying to sell cards.

I know, I know, I should hold my head up high and be proud of what I do, but in all honesty, I mostly feel like a bit of a fraud. Sometimes in the middle of the day I stop (usually mid cutting up an owl out of pretty paper) and think "what the hell are you doing, you stupid, stupid girl. What ever possessed you to think that you could make money out of sewing bloody paper?" As you can see, I do give myself a hard time most days.

Do you have your own craft business? How do you deal with the "what do you "do" question? I'd love to know, please leave a comment below.

So, what DO I do all day?

So anyway, I thought I'd write down my typical day, in order to make myself feel a bit better! (hopefully the hubby might read it too!)

6am - Alarm goes off and I'm up making coffee. Hubby is out of the house at 6.15am and doesn't return until about 8pm. So it's down to me to do the rest. Coffee (sans children) is an absolute must for me first thing and once that's downed I'm up and at em. I'm most definitely a morning person and so I try and get all the hard work done before 12 noon. I make school lunches first, then get the (one grumpy and one not so grumpy) children out of bed and start getting them ready for school. I try and fit a bit of cleaning in as well if I can.

8am - The girls are at separate schools at the moment, so we have to be out of the house by 8am and then it's an hours trip in the car for me dropping them both off. My little one just does 4 days at the moment, but it's the first time in 8 years that I have had all these hours to myself, so it's fantastic for the business and I know that she is very happy!

9am - I try and get an hours run in. If I don't do it at 9 it doesn't happen, so I force myself rain or shine to just do it! I always feel 100% better after and I always do my thinking when I run, so this is when I plan my day.

10.30am - I'm done, showered and at my desk with coffee in hand by 10.30 at the latest. I check e mails, orders, write blogs, send invoices, edit photo's, update websites/online shops, argue with photo shop, call stockists etc. Well anything that needs doing on the computer really. It's amazing to think that about 80% of what I do is on the computer rather than craft based, but it's a must.

12.30pm - I have some lunch and then try and get any photo's taken as the light is better at this time of the day. If I have time I might edit them or get on with a little designing. (I tend to do most of my "creative" work at the weekend. I think I'm more relaxed then, so find it easier to get everything out, make a complete mess and go with the creative flow)

1.30pm - I only have an hour now so I have to get to the printers, post office, take the dog for a walk and nip to the shops for anything that is needed for dinner. I'm always in a rush at this time of the day.

2.30pm - I go to pick the little one up before the long drive to pick my eldest up. We are usually back home for 4pm.

4pm - 8pm - If you're a mum I don't need to tell you how this part of the day goes do I? Homework, dinner, bath, bed is the easier version, but let's just say it's the hardest part of the day and by 8pm I'm ready for a glass or two of wine!

8pm - Hubby is home and it's always tricky trying to get the kids in bed once big daddy is in the house! I usually nip and try and catch up with e mails while he catches up with what's happened at school. I also whiz around trying to tidy up a bit.

9pm -  I try not do any more work after 9pm as I'm a bad sleeper and having my mind buzzing at this time is not the best medicine for sleep. So we usually watch t.v before collapsing into bed.

And that's my day. So for anyone interested, that's what I "do!"


  1. Thanks for sharing this Ali. My little crafty biz is really no more than a hobby. As much as I'd like it to be more, I get paid too well in my 'real' job (plus I do like it too) to be able to focus 100% of my work time of creating (and all that goes with running a small business. I constantly have those moments when I'm mid-hem and think 'what the hell are you doing this for? you make almost no money from it and let's face it, it's going nowhere'. But I persist. And I admire your business and craft so much because you actually have a unique product and somewhere to take it. There are so many product extensions associated with your art. I'm sure it's a struggle at times but you're making the world a prettier place, making people happy and inspiring (I'm sure) many, many crafters out there just like me. I've so enjoyed coming along for the ride with Cheeky Pickle, and your honesty and openness is truly special. Keep doing what you do, because it is special :) Thanks, Nicola

  2. Thanks Nicola. I do love what I do. I think I need a bit of "guilt" therapy! LOL! Thanks for reading and commenting - Ali xx

  3. I can so identify with all this! When I get asked, I mumble "I kind of paint stuff..." which doesn't really cover it at all (I paint, I sew, I write magazine projects & I'm setting up something else based on my hand-drawn images) but makes people say "oh how lovely, how relaxing that must be". The painted stuff is often frantic and pressured because it's mostly done to order and customers always have deadlines! But like you, I also spend more time on the computer than painting.

    1. It's a confidence thing isn't it Wendy! Some people have it and others struggle. We struggle!

  4. Hello Ali,
    I wanted to drop a line to tell you this....You are a designer and you MUST shout it from the rooftops. Practice it in the mirror till you say it bold and confidently because that is what you are and a fab one too. I've just scrolled through your blog and saw your photos from your recent show, it looked AMAZING so stop doubting. Be confident. The sooner you accept you are a very talented designer the better fro you and your business :)x x x

    1. Thanks Jo! You are right, I know you are, but it just doesn't come natural to me. I'm not naturally full of it! You are right though. The more confident I am, the more confidence I will show in the business. So I MUST start thinking of myself as a professional designer! Thanks Jo, great words of wisdom as usual xxx

  5. I second what Jo said. You are a designer, an artist. Yes we need nurses, teachers etc but we need designers and artists too. The human race needs diversity and unique people doing unique things. I am currently in a blessed position to be almost finished a nursing degree (a dream of mine) and then hoping to work just 2 days a week as a nurse and working towards a creative dream of creating art and holding art retreats. It would be very easy for me to just say I am a nurse however I am endeavouring to say to people I am a nurse and an artist. I encourage you to be proud and blessed to do what you do. Your creations have inspired me and blessed me, your designs have made me smile when I was feeling low and that to me is just as special and worthwhile as what any nurse or teacher do. Also you are able to be home with your family and nothing can be better than that. I don't know you and you don't know me but I want to say to you that I think you are awesome. Thank you for what you contribute to our big delightful world. Jo xx

  6. Hello Ali!

    It is so nice to meet you! I just found you on Facebook via someone else and I am always happy to meet another fellow artist! I LOVE this blog post! It has really hit home with me! You took the words right out of my head and put them down in your post! It's nice to know that I am not all alone with these feelings in this huge adventure of business owning!

    I finally decided to quit my "day job" (with the encouragement of my very supportive boyfriend) to start my own greeting card business. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to sell my art and now that I am finally doing it I feel like I don't know how!! Every day I am learning something new about how to run things! And every day there are moments of doubt: "what if no one likes my stuff? what if I can't sell anything? what if? what if? Usually I am a pretty confident person but starting my own company challenges that confidence! loll!!

    I feel exactly like you when people ask me what I do: they tend to look at me and not know what to say as though making greeting cards isn't a real job! Tell that to multi-millionaire Hallmark! Lol! Ironically though, there are many people who are so chronically unhappy at their "real jobs". It is North American standard to want to peg another person according to their profession and we forget that we are so much more than what "we do".

    As Jo has said so well, the world needs designers and artists. Art is essential in the creation of everything that surrounds us! So being an artist or designer or illustrator IS a real job! At the end of the day when all is said and done the important thing is that I am very happy with what I do and I think that that is what matters most. We are lucky to be doing what makes us happy! Don't give up!

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Michelle :)

    1. So sorry Michelle, I've only just seen this!

      Yes it's scary when you give up your day job, I set up my business after having kids, so I kind of had an excuse to to do something from home and not work for a while. I do feel the pressure now though and every day I am waiting for an order to come in!

      I hope you find your way and you continue to be happy. It's not an easy road to follow but it's certainly a great one.

      Good luck :))) xx Ali