Since became the owner of my own company called Merely Susan, I have been doing many things to find my path. Today, I am at a point where I can say that I know where I’m going.
I have defined what I want to do, as well as the values and principles I want to follow. In this article, I want to tell you about it. You’ll learn more about how I have developed my business – its short history, as well as how I see its future.
How I developed my own business – the beginnings of Merely Susan
I can say that starting my business was a result of my passion for watercolor painting and pattern design. My main goal was to share my work with others.
For the first few years of running my own business, in my store I offered, among others: prints of my watercolors and stationery. I gained additional income by collaborating with clients in the field of pattern design and assistance in the production of printed fabrics.
Over time, I began offering educational resources for people who wanted to learn from me. In 2019, I created my first online course on watercolor painting, as well as an e-book where I showed how to create a pattern design.
In the following years, I ran several editions of my online course, „How to create a pattern design – from scratch” which attracted over 100 participants in total. I also started sharing knowledge on how to grow a creative business.
It was a time when, on the one hand, I was creating my own products and various educational resources, and on the other hand, I was constantly collaborating with clients, providing design services.
I also focused on building a community around the Merely Susan brand. By the end of 2019, I had thousands of subscribers on my mailing list and many engaged followers on social media.
In search of my own path – simplicity in your own business
I started my own company at the age of 17, when I was still in high school. When I was developing it, I was also studying at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology.
It’s no wonder that at some point I felt like there was too much going on in my life and I needed to simplify it all. I made the decision to focus on creating my own collections of products that were consistent with my aesthetics and values.
I wanted to create timeless pattern designs and more thoughtful and sustainable products that would be sold in my shop for longer than just one season.
For a while, I stepped back from creating new educational resources. Thanks to this, over the next twelve months I created three collections of patterns for my own brand.
In the meantime, I searched for fabric manufacturers to collaborate with. I ordered samples to assess the quality of the materials they offered, and I tested the printing of my pattern designs on selected ones.
In 2021, I focused on growing my online fabric shop on Etsy, where I offered digitally printed cotton and linen fabrics featuring my hand-painted pattern designs.
I also created three additional pattern collections and began working on textile. I gradually reduced the number of pattern design commissions for other companies to prioritize the realization of my own ideas.
I wanted to change Merely Susan’s business model, which until now was focused on contact with companies, to build a personal and, in my opinion, more valuable and meaningful relationship with private clients.
By doing so, I wanted to offer products backed by someone who loves what they do and puts the necessary time and commitment into to create something truly special and unique.
In search of meaning – defining values and setting principles
In mid-2022, I once again felt the need to make decisions that truly mattered to me and to become more consistent and aligned in creating value for my customers.
I knew that I wanted to focus on bringing my own ideas and projects to life, which meant offering items such as art prints, digitally printed fabrics and textiles.
I was sure that instead of following trends that I felt would pass quickly, I wanted to create timeless products with high artistic and craft value, that would be available in my store for more than just one season.
I realized that an important part of my job is taking the time to tell the stories behind the products at Merely Susan, i.e. telling stories about my inspirations and process.
Apart from publishing content on social media, I write a journal to provide my customers with the information they need about my products to make choices that will keep them happy for longer.
I thought for a long time whether I wanted to increase product sales and start building a team, analyzing both the pros and cons of various solutions, as well as my needs.
Ultimately, I realized that what I value most in my work is personal contact with clients. I consciously gave up development towards wholesale sales for companies.
I decided that I wanted to produce on a small scale – as much as Merely Susan’s customers need, and as much as I can sell myself without intrusive and aggressive advertising or hiring employees.
I am glad that over the course of several years of developing my own business, I had the opportunity to explore many paths, because thanks to this I know which of them is definitely not for me and which of them gives me the most calm, joy, and fulfillment on a daily basis.
Click here to visit my online shop on Etsy. Choose something special for yourself from the products I have created and by doing so, support me and my brand.