After six years in the business of creating and selling designer kids clothes, each time we design a new Collection, it definitely gets easier. But it continues to amaze me how many hours go into catalog layout (let alone all the creative development, art time, photography and Photoshop work that goes in before even getting to print time). We’ve established somewhat of a “look” to our catalog pages and our graphics and clothing styles but we always try to keep it fresh and interesting. Last week, our summer intern looked up from the catalog pages she was proofreading and asked my husband, Ken, and I if we were ever afraid we’d run out of ideas. We both answered simultaneously, “Never.”
We’re not concerned about reaching the limit on our creativity — our only concern is reaching the limit on time to make all our ideas a reality! Maybe it’s because we’re both somewhat “creatively obsessive” — meaning our brains never seem to shut down — so we’re always throwing out new ideas for our designs… always. But the key to always having new ideas is to feel confident in dreaming them up AND throwing them out there.
Was I forever this way? Well, I think I’ve always had a creative side or streak in me that was never fully exercised until starting my business. But I was not always as confident (or maybe “comfortable” is more accurate) in launching out new ideas that could potentially be denied, dismissed, or laughed at. Let’s face it, no one likes to feel rejection — even if it’s only for an idea. Interestingly though, I’ve learned that those of us not born with the creative confidence gene can actually learn to develop it. As you create (with whatever it is in your life that you’re doing — new recipes, interesting outfits, a unique fundraising idea) and those “creations” are positively received, that positive reinforcement seeps into your soul to make you even more confident to continue to keep trying new ideas. And so the inspirational cycle goes…
I’ve experienced this kind of development in my own creativity and I’ve watched it firsthand with my kids over the past few years that we’ve had the business. They’ve witnessed a constant barrage of new ideas for our designs being tossed around, and even more importantly, they’ve seen the open-minded way that Ken and I usually receive each other’s brainstorms. As a result of living in this kind of environment, I’ve noticed my kids unabashedly offering up ideas, suggestions and creative solutions in ways they never have before. I get a warm feeling inside every time I hear one of them start to say, “How about we try something like…”
So what comes first: the creativity or the confidence? Fortunately I think it can and often does work both ways. If you believe in what you do and what you create, others will see the value in it too, and you’ll feel confident to continue thinking outside your box. And if you are a good, constructive, open-minded listener you will not only help others to have the confidence to keep on keepin’ on in the creative department, but you will likely also spark additional ideas for yourself. Kind of like creative karma. We all have more good ideas than we think. Throw ’em out there!