Creative Business Diaries – Bittersweet Frenzy
Hi guys! Welcome to a new interview in the Creative Business Diaries series. Today’s creator is Heather Meade, a graphic designer, entrepreneur, illustrator, and the owner of Bittersweet Frenzy. Check out what she has to say about creating, inspiration, about finding the courage to start again after your business fails, and about so much more.
1. What do you create?
Patterns! Illustrated patterns. Ridiculous, cute, pretty patterns.
Also in the business of making custom patterns for people.
It’s kind of a problem. I have patterns planned for everyone I know including a pattern of pancakes specifically for pants because I happen to believe EVERYONE could use a pair of pancake pants. Am I right?
(And yes, I may or may not have already started doodling ideas for a Tribe (editor’s note: the “tribe” is the 3LTribe, an awesome group of people, where you feel at home right away. Click here to check it out) pattern…*cough* which means yes, yes I have. Hint, there’s purple. Hope that is okay…!)
*Ooooh maybe I could make us some coloring pages too… 😍 *
2. Why do you create?
I have to! It is both a compulsion and my greatest joy.
3. When did you start creating?
As far back as I can remember.
4. What advice would you give to someone who wants to share their creations/start a business but doesn’t know where to start/is afraid of reactions?
Just start, and you do you. Literally just DO something. Give yourself permission to suck because seriously, nobody is sitting there with a bag of popcorn watching and waiting to hurl said popcorn at you. And if they are, they need a hug and their popcorn slinging has nothing to do with YOU.
I say just start because that’s how the energy flows. That’s how you grow and learn. I’ve started more businesses and creative projects than I can remember. Every single one taught me something new about myself, or how to better show up in the world.
Seriously, nothing in this great wide world is permanent, don’t be afraid to express yourself!
5. Favorite social media to promote/to find inspiration and what tips do you have to succeed on that network (if any)?
Inspiration – Instagram. Oh good lord the talent.
Networking? Talk to people wherever you go! Ask them a question. I asked my bartender what she’d like to see in a pattern and now I have plans to make a pattern of cats sleeping in martini glasses. Because why not?
6. Who inspires you and why?
The other fierce creatives in the world doing their thing despite the fear.
7. What are some of the disadvantages of the business you are in and how do you beat them?
It can be difficult with so much amazing talent around me to feel like I “should even bother” to “compete” with the established and up-and-coming artists out there. Then I remember that’s boohockey and that I’m MEANT to do this, and that MY particular unique style deserves/is meant to be seen, appreciated, and bring joy to the world. Spirit wouldn’t so adamantly inspire me if that inspiration weren’t meant to be utilized.
8. Was there a moment when you wanted to quit? Why?
I almost quit this whole business when I couldn’t find the right vendor to work with for manufacturing. There were shipping calculations, math, and tears, but I managed to find a manufacturer that allows me to create the products I love and actually still make a profit.
9. How has your business evolved since you started it? Did it go in the direction you were expecting?
Ha! Hahahahaha. So. Before I did Bittersweet Frenzy, I’ve done….
Happy Canary Studios, Dreamship Studios, Heather Meade Design (graphic design services), Cinnamon Stone Publishing (unsuccessful kickstarter for publishing the children’s books I’ve written but am STILL….sigh….illustrating), Miss Minikins (small handmade jewelry pieces), Pretty Illustrated (illustration services), Elegantly Heather (the “Imma be a lifestyle blogger dream” that never felt authentic to me), Pretty Plushies (handmade stuffed animals)
….I swear there are like 10 more but I’ll save you the trouble of reading about them.
I list these all to ILLUSTRATE (ha) my point – that we all imagine we’ll get an idea, and step forth with said idea, and do-si-do our way in a straight line to success. That’s rarely how it goes, and that’s okay. Life tends to be more of a macarena-meets-musical chairs affair anyhow, and it’s a lot more fun. Enjoy the process as much as possible.
Finding the right business is sort of like finding “the one”. You’ll date a lot of not-quite-right business ideas before finding The One that is uplifting, authentic, scalable, (and profitable!) for YOU.
Heck, Bittersweet Frenzy itself started out as a dropshipping vendor lifestyle brand with candles and jewelry from makers around the world. Then I learned how to make a pattern repeatable, *cue the angels singing* and it has been no stopping me since.
10. What makes you mad about the creators’ community and how would you change that?
It makes me mad that people severely underprice and undervalue their creations and time. It hurts the creator AND the competitor. It also flabbergasts me that people don’t utilize OTHER professional creatives where they’re needed. Do you have a business making jewelry but need a business card made? For goodness sake find you a graphic designer! Trust each other’s brilliance where needed.