Field Trips

Oh! The People You'll Meet.

Stealing the title of this blog post with a slight adaptation of my own from my boy, Dr. Seuss. I have signed many a children’s book as a teacher to little humans who are *graduating* Kindergarten and their parents got me to write a wee note. It’s a cute one. Yay for parents like that! They were always my favs.

The purpose of this blog post however is not to recount my favourite times as a teacher. It’s to highlight the complexities of working as an independent entrepreneur. When I launched Field Studies Co. back in the Fall of 2017, I literally had zero expectations. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As an aspirational t-shirt seller I was completely naive to the world I was entering.

This is probably the best thing. Had I known the amount of blood, sweat and tears I’d be pouring into this “little endeavour” I’m not sure if I could have pulled the chute to start things up. I would have worried; will I be good enough? Will people with MBAs laugh behind my back? Will I lose a bunch of money? Can I keep up with REAL content creators?

I didn’t ask any of those questions though. I merely brainstormed ideas that I liked on snippets of paper with a trustworthy pen. I had no idea I was about to meet a TON of new friends and interesting people. This also would have intimidated me. New people. Social awkwardness. Intimidation. Exclusion. Who knows!

It started with a few casual messages from the new “business” Instagram profile. I felt protected by it almost. Like I wasn’t necessarily putting *myself* out there, it was @fieldstudiesco_ and if they do or do not reply, it’s not on me. However as things started up, it snowballed, a few messages led to a lot of replies, leads and introductions. All of a sudden I was being introduced left right and centre to all kinds of new people either online or in person.

So, while you may think you are starting a business wether it be online or a traditional brick & mortar, you are in for a real treat. Not only are going to grab hold of something that allows your passions to be driven daily and your dreams to extend to the grit you are willing to back them with, but you too will be fulfilled by so many new relationships and supporters, you won’t know what to do with yourself!

Three Young Models shot by Kitchener Waterloo Photographer Shannon Ford in Field Studies Co. T Shirts Fancy AF in all black everything on the blonde model and grey with jeans on the other two

 

Launching Field Studies Co.

 

I never thought I’d be brave enough to be one of those people that said things like:
“Oh ya… I ‘used to’ have a permanent job that I actually quit because it made me so effing unhappy that I chose the option of unemployment and relative* homelessness instead of my long standing potential career, which I was reasonably good at, and my guaranteed pension”
Never say never. I am now one of those people. I quit that job.
Maybe I’ll go back? Maybe not. I kept saying to others, I just want to see “what comes”. Something so yogi and existential that I feel I am misrepresenting myself in sharing that in these early sentences.
It is not exactly how I talk. I don’t usually leave things up to the universe. I went to University. Followed by a post graduate degree. Started work immediately after graduation. Neurotically arrived two hours early each day to work, worked until I realized I couldn’t remember my last meal. You know, that kind of Type A bullshit.
But now that I am one of those people I never thought I’d be, I get to say I walked away.
And it’s early so I don’t yet have to hold my head down and add… then I had to go back because I was hungry and poor. Granted I am working hard towards not letting that happen.
It wasn’t until I left my last job that I realized my passion and dedication to work can be applied to more areas than just the one I was in. So while I could make a big boss somewhere happy while I kill myself working every waking hour, it benefits me more to be doing that for myself. I knew I wanted to try something on my own, the dream of working my own hours, my own decisions and why not?- from a beach somewhere.
I spent months introducing myself and becoming really comfortable, even confident with the expression “Unemployed! And currently residing in the home I grew up in!” aka. Mom and Dad’s. I am almost 30, so while that is not abnormal in 2017, it’s not exactly cool either. I’m married too. Add that to the mix. But with exploration and risk taking you also have to compromise, insulate and make changes that allow those big beach dreams to potentially become reality.
So, months carried on with my happy face greeting others as an unemployed woman. I actually watercoloured and went on long walks, I drank coffee slowly and thoughtfully. No joke, I stopped to smell flowers. Legitimately. It was a dream and with each day  spent without an agenda I  knew it would not last nor should it. It was the necessary downtime to what was a highly stressful exit from my previous work.
Something happened along those walks and coffee sips where I started to build more confidence and  my healthy workaholic spirit back up. I don’t know if I was aware of ‘needing’ a focus. Something shifted without warning; I went from casually chatting with friends about wanting to sell sweaters to launching my own brand and e-commerce store in three days.
Three days! It was so exciting. I loved every single second. I describe it as ‘one Google question’ at a time. Things started off very casual with an awkward… how to start a brand search. I read some articles and started to have more targeted questions:
  1. What is Shopify?
  2. What is e-commerce?
  3. How to be a graphic designer? (in 24 hours)
So on and so forth. I wish I had kept a list actually. But surely Google has it stored somewhere in some weird Big Data folder of all the questions I’ve ever asked. Come to think of it… that is not something I actually would ever want to see. *what is the least used emoji? (I feel sad for them).* Anyway, I went from knowing absolutely nothing, to enough to launch in less than a week!
So, a brand was born. Field Studies Co. and fittingly it is a brand that represents your aspirations. In my journey to achieve my aspirations- a life with my own hours, from anywhere in the world, working with people and being creative I built a brand that represents the aspirations of everyone else.
Field Studies Co. is Your Daily. I hope I can achieve a brand that is authentic and represents others and their passions or pursuits.
I think what launching comes down to is being okay with failure. I learned from having left my previous career that it is OKAY to need change, to seek it and that not every work environment or job is going to work for everyone. I love what I’m doing now so I pray to the Brand Gods that I have something that I can continue to grow! But I know that everyone with the right passion could do something like this, you just have to be OKAY with yourself if it doesn’t work out. Never try. Never know.
XO
mk