The Forest Mori
All works by Claudia Lam



      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!


      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. 


      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. (。◝‿◜。)


      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. 


      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