Monday, November 30, 2015

Autumn marches on

Something about the last week has made it apparent that we are now on the verge of winter. It's easy to stay rooted in fall, easy to fake it with stuff like butternut squash recipes or chrysanthamums. The weather in the north east has been exceptionally mild (here I am, talking about the weather - as if there were not other looming topics at hand) and it's caused me a sort of seasonal disorientation. What month are we in? I'm constantly checking the date.

Walking in Brooklyn hot wind blows leaves and dust particles in my face. It feels like a dystopian future which I sort of love you know. We've rented a new space for Saipua, 5 blocks from our old studio and we are in the process of trying to figure out how to make it look and also how we can accomodate the rent which is four times the amount we pay now. This big move will also require an expansion of our staff; we're imagining adding five more full time people to our staff in 2016. It's easily the biggest moment of risk we've had in the almost 10 years of Saipua.
We start by getting organized...

I've spent considerable time looking at numbers. This is a shift for me since I usually shrink away from numbers. I have a hard time paying my own bills. My credit card is regularly declined because I forget to pay the bill. Recognizing your weaknesses is the first step to addressing them.

We look at projections. Can we grow our event business to double our sales in 2016 which is what will be required for all this growth? Confident, sometime cocky - I'm all YES. DONE. But I question whether it is physically possible for our team to make double the weddings, double the events? Can it scale? Can we give the same level of service, the same attention to detail?

And then sometimes I don't want it to be bigger because I'm relatively comfortable with Saipua as it is. But the reality is that I've got a lot of big things in the works that are at a stand still (the FARM; my castles of the world RETREATS for creative women; my textile and ceramics STUDIO; my floriculture RADIO station, my astrophysics + floral PERIODICAL) because I don't have the captial to invest in them. And also, more importantly - we're not going to effect real change in the industry unless we control more of the dollars in that industry. It is our clearly defined mission at Saipua to make a positive environmental shift in the floral industry: to convince more people to compost, to have more people pay attention to where their flowers come from... so we push on.
We consider loans and investors...

All of which I veto in the first meeting. The loans we look at require collateral, we have none. When we talk to our business advisor about investors she tells me to start with my family and friends. I laugh. We opened Saipua with $2500. Theres a lot of spirit and hard working people in that circle, but no real juice if you know what I'm saying.

But before I get seriously discouraged or spend too much time spinning wool (literally) and thinking about how much I can charge for the resulting yarn I remember our most valuable asset at Saipua -- our community and network of creative, hardworking people. And I'm thinking -- what is it we can't do with these people? Build a barn? There is way to figure out how to build a barn if we have enough hands. Buy equipment for a ceramics studio or radio station? There's enough creativity and spirit at Saipua to organize a hundred plant sales. Print my occult floral astrology magazine? How many of you would pre-pay for a subscription, raise your hands...

So, we march on towards that vision one step at a time, thinking creatively and outside the box. Making the best flowers we can, reworking plans, rewriting the rules constantly. Because I am such a goal oriented person so it is frustrating sometimes to not move faster. When I was a little girl, I wanted to always be 30 years old. Then I could buy whatever breakfast cereal I wanted, among other tantalizing adult privileges. I remember once getting excited about a class picnic in the park. I was making a mixtape (!) and choreographing a dance routine. I intricately planned and acted out many of the anticipated social interactions...

Then at some point prior to the picnic I began to realize that said picnic was going to actually happen and be over. That the anticipation of it was in some ways most of it. This made me very frustrated. 

All this is to say that I am trying to enjoy the process of getting there. I get bored even writing that sentence. People who live in the moment don't get shit done, and I like to live in a constant state of shit-getting-done. But the other thing that is occurring to me is that if I continue to jump from one goal to the next without awareness and enjoyment in the journey then I'll be dead. Because life will speed by. 

Animals help with this because dogs and sheep are always just living right in the moment, and to watch them is to imagine that singularity. 

Chickens are living in the future, I can't tell you why I know this but I do.