hi, my name is linda

I'm a designer and paper shop owner from Seattle and I blog about things in my life that are simple, beautiful, practical or fun. I love books, flowers, organizing, and above all, good food.

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One Fine Dae uses images owned by me as well as others which are credited to their rightful source. If you see anything that belongs to you and want it removed, let me know. Photos that are mine are free for you to share on your blog or social media accounts as long as you credit and link back. Thanks!

Blog design and original content ©2009–2016 One Fine Dae / Linda Pham.

let's talk business (2)

let's talk business, ch.2: being true to myself and my craft

/ Wed, March 26, 2014

one fine dae

It's funny. Not too long after I wrote my first "let's talk business" post, several conversations that I took part in (online and off) coincidentally were centered around the topic of being true to yourself, your work, and your values. It's weird how the universe has a way of grouping certain situations like this together. It doesn't happen very often, but I find it quite serendipitous whenever it does.

When I started One Fine Dae almost four years ago, I knew that one of the things I always want to do is be true to myself and my craft while running this business. Because to me, crafting is an art form, and art to me should always make me happy. But I've learned that business combined with art can sometimes blur the line between doing something because you truly want to and believe in, and doing something because of money. 

It's hard when large, well-known companies approach me wanting to do business, but require me to alter my work that makes me feel uneasy. Or when they want a large order, but their target demographic or style isn't aligned with mine. Let me tell you, it's a tough call sometimes. But so far, I've managed to make decisions that haven't left me feeling anxious, regretful, or uttering the phrase "Seriously? WTF." I've felt those feelings and uttered those words many times before, mainly in less ideal circumstances, and they never sit well with me. Thus, it makes sense for me to be a little selfish and protective of my company and ideals, especially when happiness is on the line. 

one fine dae: let's talk business, ch.2

Aran Goyoaga's studio, via Instagram.

I went to a blogging event last Friday, my first, and one thought that resonated with me that all three speakers agreed on was that you should find your own voice and create things that ring true to who you are, and not what others like or are already doing. I couldn't agree more. I remember one time in English class my senior year, we were learning about European authors and the rise of Shakespeare, and my teacher was talking about an author whose work was considered to be like Shakespeare. I asked him how come he's not as well-known, and he calmly said, "Nobody remembers second best." 

It's hard, I admit, not to try to do something that someone else has already become so successfully at. Or not to lose my sense of self or style when business opportunities arise. I just have to stick to what I know and value, and be dedicated.

let's talk business, ch.1

/ Mon, March 17, 2014

one fine dae: let's talk business

Blooms, taken with iPhone

. . . . .

So, I wanna talk business. Not quite sure how the rest of this post will turn out as I did not brainstorm this topic prior to writing it. I just had a jolt of thought around the idea of doing business as I was finishing up some work, so I want to document it before it quickly flutters. Sorry if this post will sound choppy.

Anyway, business.

I don't really consider myself an entrepreneur. Okay, I'm not. I think that word applies to those people who are always hungry to start new companies, open up new businesses, and take big and risky investments, one right after the next. It's their thing. They're entrepreneurs. It's what they do. I'm not like that. At all. I've actually never wanted to own my own business of any kind. The thought of having to deal with difficult clients, employees, finance, and business politics do not sound fun to me at all. A friend of mine who recently opened up her own company can certainly attest to that. 

However, I've always been a person who loves making things. Inventing things. Creating new things from old stuff. Giving things new life. A new purpose. And the happiest feeling of all comes when my creations are used by other people. When they're weaved into the daily lives of others. In a way, that's how I know my work is admired and has meaning. This is probably true for creative businesses of any kind, so I might be saying something that goes without saying, but I think it's nice to express it in writing.

one fine dae: let's talk business

Another reason why I don't consider myself an entrepreneur is the fact that I've never had an interest in anything relating to business. I've never taken a business class or gone to a business seminar, and in some ways I don't care too much for all the text-book stuff on how to run a business properly...especially ones that have expectations for their bottom line to be a certain number by a certain year. I get that. I get that typical businesses have to have all that, otherwise they seize to exist. But I feel kind of like a rebel at times for not thinking that way. Is that wrong? Perhaps. But I'm doing what I feel is right for my kind of business. And not what a business in general should do. 

Everything I've learned up to this point and done for my little paper shop have been through gut feeling, trial and error, personal values, social media, conversations with other small-business owners, and success stories from businesses that I look up to. It hasn't been efficient or smart, at times, but I love the learning curve. It's valuable to me to know something doesn't work or feel right because I've personally tried it, not because I read somewhere or someone told me that it doesn't work. 

one fine dae: let's talk business

The past few months, I've put in a lot of time and energy into my shop. Brainstorming new ideas, releasing new designs that have been idle for however long, and taking care of boring administrative stuff that I wish would do itself. And recently, I finished putting together my wholesale line sheet. Not just something written out in the body of an email (yes, guilty). A proper line sheet! I didn't expect putting something like that together would take so much time and effort, but it did. And I did it. And you know what? It feels so good. It's definitely one of my first big steps to putting more structure into growing my shop, and taking this whole business thing a little more seriously. 

The thought of owning my own business still scares me at times. Maybe because I don't have a formal education on it, or the desire to get one. Or because the term business to me sounds stuffy and sterile. Not sure, really. But my small shop grew out of the idea of wanting to make the perfect planner to use (ha, I'm serious!). Which eventually morphed into wanting to make pretty paper things, sharing it with the world, and making money in the process. And I am so happy and proud to have it be a business. I've treated it more like a hobby rather than a business at times, but that's okay. It's all part of the learning curve I mentioned. It's been a slow journey, one with hiccups and mistakes no doubt. But the steady, organic growth that is taking shape is something that feels right, and that's what I'm sticking to. 

I've mentioned my shop and shared my creations before, but never talked about the business aspect of running a shop and owning a business until now. I want to make this an ongoing series and share with you my successes and failures as a business owner, and hope to hear your experiences and stories in the process.