The rush of selling, the rush of time.
Inspirations and musings on building a life (and business) in creativity

Dear Mollie,

October starts the mad dash to the end of the year. For those of us in the business of making physical things for sale, so begins the marathon season of craft fairs, ramped-up marketing, 24-hour online selling and the retail frenzy of Christmas. It’s an important time of year—when a year can turn from loss to profit—but it’s also an exhausting one when the joy of creating and making is overshadowed by the reality of selling.

I’m not a good saleswoman. When UPPERCASE was a physical store from 2005-2009, I’d just let people wander in and do their thing. I’m not one to initiate small talk or sales talk, preferring to let the products sell themselves on their own merits. Sure, I’d be pleasant and answer questions and have conversations, but it was always an effort on my part. It felt unnatural to me, as nice as a customer was. When I closed my retail shop at the end of 2009, it was a relief. Not just from the financial strain of carrying the cost inventory and paying the magazine’s print bills, but that I could turn “off” for a while. I took a year of maternity leave before I returned to the shop and opened the doors, but this time solely as a publishing office.

That year at home with my new baby and running my magazine was one of tremendous growth. Maternity leave was profitable, even with shouldering the cost of rent on a space that I didn’t use for those months working from my basement with my baby at my side. It was proof that an online business of selling magazines, subscriptions and books could be viable enough to support my family. I’m so grateful that, a few years on, this remains true. 

My intent is always for the magazine to stand on its own merits and not need me to “sell” it overtly. Sure, I have to ask for subscriptions and support here in the newsletter and on social media—it’s vital to do so—but really I want the magazine to sell itself. Right now, Issue 23 is being packed up and prepped for shipping today, all set for its October 1 release. I hope you’ll see for yourself how lovely it is.

I’m looking ahead to 2015 and issue 24, to be released in January. I’ll have to have content finished up next month for design in November, printing in December. This will mark 6 full years of UPPERCASE magazine. If my time developing UPPERCASE magazine were a college education, I’d have a Master’s degree by now! 

I’m often asked how I get so much done in a day, as a one-person magazine company. Honestly, it depends on the day and where we are in the magazine’s cycle. My day is always a juggle of what is imperative and what I want to be doing, with the must-do always winning out. What I have learned, though, is that time cannot be controlled. It is basically unmanageable. Time is disobedient—it won’t stay put when you ask. So the way around this is that you have to be everything that time is not: you have to have discipline and set deadlines. You have to control how much time you spend on a task. You have to create a checklist of goals and dates. You have to stay strong in the current lest you be swept away.

Musing on the number 24 and the passage of time, I’m curious about your 24-hour day. What do you have to do in order to make time for being creative? What’s your day like? Submit your day in creativity here.

"I taught myself calligraphy to keep the art of the handwritten letter alive. It has become a lovely career where my work has been seen on various Anthropologie projects, as well as teaching workshops and on Etsy. My style tries to hold onto the nostalgic and timeless nature of the art form, while playing with the whimsy of the modern twist of calligraphy today."

Today's the last day for the Open Pitch. Submit your ideas for content over on this page

Do you love to turn found objects into art? Do you hoard fabric scraps and then make them into amazing textiles? Do you turn flea market finds into extra special things? Share the process and results of your scrappy and scavenged creativity in the next issue. DEADLINE: OCTOBER 24. Enter here.

I’d like to help promote you and the things that you make and do. Tweet me an image of your work @uppercasemag on Twitter #uppercasereader and I’ll retweet it. For some Twitter Image Tips, click here. If you want a long-term presence on the UPPERCASE site, a Calling Card will be live on the UPPERCASE site from now until April (that's 6 months for just $400) and includes a specific blog post about you as well as social media support. Something to consider for your Christmas marketing plans.
I love this Instagram photo by Australian reader Amy Devereux! She's dressed head to toe in her favourite colour. Amy uses watercolours to "create artwork that explores elements of nature, fantasy and abstraction." She is inspired by botanical and scientific illustration, European fairy tale imagery from the 1970s. Follow Amy on Instagram.
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter where I'll be posting photos of the freshly printed issue just as soon as I have it in my hands.
Who and what is UPPERCASE?

UPPERCASE publishes books and magazines for the creative and curious: products that spark the imagination and inspire creativity. The eponymous magazine was founded in 2009 by publisher, editor and designer Janine Vangool who continues to wear pretty much every hat imaginable. The quarterly print magazine is loved by 3900 (and counting!) subscribers around the world. Truly an independent magazine, UPPERCASE is supported by its readers through subscriptions and by a roster of stockists.
Copyright © 2014 UPPERCASE publishing inc, All rights reserved.

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