The Forest Mori
All works by Claudia Lam
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TIME - A FRAGMENT OF OUR IMAGINATION

      Running a small business TAKES A LOT OF TIME. While many think my life revolves around The Forest Mori, I am actually a full time student who also works a part time job. Trust me, my life drives me nuts sometimes but having done this for 4 years now, I know a thing or two about making things work out. So this is how I do it... (ง'̀-'́)ง!

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      Life gets crazy when you have many assignments due, orders to pack, custom orders to craft and a job to tend to. I like to live on a timetable where I assign days for each task. For instance, right now my craft schedule is that on Monday and Tuesday nights I craft, on Fridays I take product photos after work and on the weekend I update my shop so I have time to pack my orders before Monday comes. Having a fixed schedule helps me immensely because when it comes to running a small, self-funded business, I cannot afford to make mistakes. I've had times where I sent out wrong products to customers or sent parcels to the wrong address or burnt a whole batch of clay because I was doing everything in a rush and between other commitments. I am the only one to blame in these situations because I wasn't organized enough and I would end up spending more time and money on fixing my mistakes. If you are a clumsy bean like me who doesn't work well under stress, a timetable is what you need. 

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      My part time job has nothing to do with art. While it isn't my dream job and I do think about quitting when it's a bad day, it helps fund The Forest Mori. I have tried living off the income I get from my online store and even though I survived those few months, the money I earned wasn't enough to make my brand grow. I get a lot of messages and comments on how I should expand my product range and make T-shirts, jumpers, phone cases.etc. Well unfortunately, money doesn't grow in trees and manufacturing a jumper can cost me a month's worth of salary. That is why I work 1-2 days a week to relieve myself from the stress of not knowing whether I'd be able to pay the next bill. It also gives me more time to myself because I won't have to craft day and night to ensure a sustainable income. So don't feel bad if you aren't able to make art full time - my brand grows with the help of my part time job and I am not any less of an artist because I work outside the artistic industry. (。◝‿◜。)

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      I pretty much have things to do everyday of the week. When things don't go right or I am just too tired to function, I remind myself that I am in control of my time. I could craft 10 pins instead of 30, skip a day of uni and tell my customers I need an extra few days to complete their custom orders. I am a perfectionist when it comes to my art but I have learnt that I can't do everything. I used to push myself into achieving impractical goals, like same day shipping and hand painting every backing card / envelope - All because I was an emerging artist and I was afraid to fail my brand. While it is important to do the best you can, what I did back then was of excessive efforts. It is okay to take breaks and people would see that you've put your heart into your work same day delivery or not. 

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      What works for me may not necessarily work for you but know that I totally understand if you are an emerging artist and you are struggling to see how your artistic business / career is going to work out. My work space is my happy place so despite being so stressed and exhausted sometimes, I cannot imagine my life without The Forest Mori. I am still learning to be the boss of my own time but I have really grown in the past 4 years and am making things work one step at a time. If you are also a busy bee, I'd love to know how you manage your time too! 

Claudia Lam7 Comments