Ideas are never a problem around here. Reining them in, bringing them to fruition, turning them loose, letting them die a slow death . . . these are the types of problems we face.
In the course of making Beyond Her (and I say this laughingly) a business, I have had to consult with a few professionals. Without fail, every one of them has boiled my problem down to a few words: too much creativity.
"Isn't the idea to make money?" asked the person who reproduces my mugs. She posted the question after I brought yet another new design, triggering slew of start-up costs. "Why don't you just sell the ones you have?"
That, in any other world, is a perfectly fine question. But in Beyond Her world, the idea is to have a set of many mugs, one for every mood, every occasion, every outfit.
I've put my life into my mugs; there's a lot more to them than hot beverages. When one of my daughters was knee-deep in a crisis, there came a time when my wells of wisdom just ran dry. I sighed and simply said, "Go look at your mugs. What do they say?"
So that's really the answer to the mug vendor's question. Life is too complicated for me to just sell the mugs I have.
When he first started setting up Beyond Her's finances on accounting software, my bookeeper was shocked and appalled at how many products I had, each of which had to be coded, entered, accounted for, etc. etc. etc. At one point he put the papers down and blustered, "Paule, don't you understand that the real profitability here is for you to make the exact same product over and over again?"
Umm, I guess I missed that day in business school.
And so it continues. Beyond Her is the opposite of a mass production operation. Could it be that there is a future in that?
FROM HER "FINE LINES" COLLECTION OF QUOTES
"I pressed down on the mental accelerator. The old lemon throbbed fiercely. I got an idea."
--P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves Take Charge
Her Point of View
Designer Paule Hewlett takes on design, culture and modern life.
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"Life is too short for ugly dish towels. Really, ugly anything."