First, I can't believe it's already the 20th of September. As usual I have a million things I want to finish before the end of the month and I'm going to need to exhibit supreme discipline to accomplish anything. At least I have a deadline, right?
Second, Raymond, Geneveive, Jon and I spent a large portion of the weekend at Lil' Biz, a series of free seminars directed towards self-employed artists, designers and the like. The conference was organized by Puces Pop, the arts and crafts portion of Pop Montreal and included talks on publicity, taxes & accounting, design & brand identity and growth on a DIY scale. Being a wannabe numbers nerd, I loved the discussion led by Dan Lacroix on small-business accounting, that practical sort of information that one always seems to learn on a need-to-know basis and often does only when it's already too late. I've never really been an individual who fears business numbers, but it's a good reminder to simply take things seriously, organize & review methodically and, for god's sake, attempt to look at the big picture and make smart business decisions.
Peggy Burns' talk on DIY publicity reminded me again how important it is to know not only your audience, but your industry press. Also? Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up! - something I definitely need to work on. Janice Wong spoke on using design to develop a small business and to create an entire experience rather than just focusing on the aesthetics of a product. Always good advice and something that I've been working towards for years.
Angie Johnson, designer behind the label Norwegian Wood and co-owner of Headquarters Galerie and Boutique here in Montreal, spoke on growing your brand while keeping a DIY ethic. Though I'd previously had indirect contact with Angie through Nokomis, this was the first time I've had the pleasure to meet her in person and boy was it ever nice to to hear someone relate the exact same trials & tribulations, frustrations & distractions that I encounter in my everyday work life. Seriously. The exact same. It reminds me that, yes, we're all in this together and can (and should) offer one another our invaluable advice, support, criticism, tools, contacts etc etc while we're all here to share them. There's still a lot of room for individual productivity and success within a larger creative community. Which is basically the whole reason I wanted to move to Montreal in the first place.
So it was a good weekend, and everyday I feel a little more connected to both the private and business worlds of my newly adopted home. And simply being able to attend free seminars such as these on sunny Saturday and Sunday afternoons tells me that I am living in a very special place and time indeed.
Make sure you stop by Puces Pop at the Eglise St-Michel on October 2 & 3 to check out beautiful new pieces designed by Genevieve and a multitude of talented others.