Push pause.

My birthday is on Friday. It's a big one... At least for me. I'm turning 35. I've been telling friends that I have to be more serious now for more reasons than just my age. I remember quitting my job back in Chicago and moving to Cincinnati right before my 30th birthday. That was a huge mile marker for me because I had challenged myself to start a business by the time I turned 30. Now, looking back at five years of hard work (plus an extra for conceptual brainstorming) I am amazed at how far I've come, but I still have so far to go.

I've read so many similar stories of ambitious designers doing exactly what I did, struggling along the way, and I feel a strong kinship to them. It's painful to go through the highs and lows of being an independent designer alone. There aren't many mentors out there to help us along. I have a slogan that a very good friend said to me and it gets repeated in conversations often, along with a good laugh. Slow and steady wins the race!

When I was in my 20's, I didn't think living out in the country would be cool at all. I had worked in NYC for a year during college and loved the energy there. I didn't end up moving to New York City, but I still loved the idea of living in a big city, and so eventually I landed in Chicago. It had everything I wanted, except I hated the traffic and cost to live there was too much for a new entrepreneur when it came time to start the business. Once I moved back to Cincinnati, my lifestyle changed completely. I had little to no cash and all of a sudden, a more simple life looked very appealing, even cool (dare I say it). I decided I could give up all the shopping and travel I did in my previous life to have more control over my work and my output. I realized it was possible to use less, need less. Flipping through countless pages of Dwell magazine, I noticed other creative types had stepped out of big cities to move to smaller towns so that they could have the space they needed to imagine their dreams. So then I began to imagine my own "glass box" studio/home sitting atop an open field somewhere. The idea of building that ideal live/work situation where I could just roll out of bed and get to work in 2 seconds flat sounded wonderful me.

I started my business in a very small apartment where my studio took up every inch of a 10x15 foot bedroom. It was quite a challenge to be efficient in such a cramped space. Next, I moved into a 1,500 sq ft apartment where my business took up 70% of the space. A hallway became a closet at one point. I had an assistant come help me print twice a week and I sent out my sewing to local sewers. Then the big change came this summer when my fiance and I bought a house in Kentucky. My new studio is almost 1,500 sq ft (no shared living space...ha ha) and is a work in progress. (remember slow and steady...) It's not quite the modern glass box of our dreams, but it will do just fine for now.

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This is what the studio space looked like when we moved in this summer. My new stainless steel sink is sitting on the right side of the frame.

I am looking forward to hanging conceptual work up on the walls. This weekend we are putting up large pieces of sheet metal (3ft x 5ft each) to make a gigantic magnet board. We also plan on making a new printing table this winter with guides for larger screen production. I am so excited!