One Year of Courageous Creativity: Measuring Business Growth by Our Biggest Risks
My apparel business and blog are officially one year old today.
It still doesn’t seem real to me. I remember when I first played around with the idea of starting a business back in January 2015.
It seems like just yesterday that I created my first legging designs in my sketchbook or even published my first blog post. Yet here we are, celebrating Courageous Creativity’s first anniversary of many, I’m sure.
Why I founded Courageous Creativity
I wanted to create a brand that spoke to the introverts and homebodies who, like me, wanted to embrace everyday adventures. Its brand voice would be like two close (yet often snarky) friends talking over coffee. Its visuals would be bright and bold, just like the people I design for.
As an introvert myself, growing my business has helped me take small steps (and sometimes bold leaps) outside of my comfort zone, much like what I empower others to do through Courageous Creativity.
Sometimes it surprises me that I’m even a business owner.
I didn’t come from a long line of entrepreneurs. Before launching my business, I didn’t personally know many people developing a side hustle, or who even knew what that meant.
Hell, I was lucky enough to just go to college where I learned some great life skills, studied abroad for a year, and met great people (including my future husband).
It’s funny to look back and connect the dots, seeing how every decision I made even before launching my business has let me to this.
Even though it may not have been my first dream job as a kid or something I thought I could realistically do in college, I’m beyond happy with the growth of my business and my own personal growth in process.
Here are some milestone moments of my first year in business that were well worth the risk:
Became more confident in my creative process and found my “sweet spot”
While I was creating apparel designs and regular content for my blog and email list, I quickly found my natural rhythm. I loved planning launches around my new designs and giving my dedicated tribe a sneak peek at new additions to the shop.
I also learned that while I like catering my designs and content to a specific audience (hello, homebody friends!), I didn’t want to limit myself with the kinds of physical and digital products I created. I have dreams to create journal products, online courses, different apparel lines… the list goes on and on.
That’s why this lifestyle brand suits me so well. It gives me the freedom and flexibility to make what I feel pulled to create and what my audience truly can benefit from. Because of this, my business always feels fun!
Worked with a branding coach in the beginning
When my business was just a glimmer of an idea in my notebook, it was going in a few different directions. I think any first-time business owner will tell you the same thing.
My blog at the time was a combination of personal blog posts and book reviews (which I still adore!), but I knew I wanted to build a lifestyle brand for my beloved audience of introverts to empower them to embrace life’s opportunities.
While I was putting the pieces of my new brand together, I decided to work with a brand and business coach who helped me create a game plan for my launch, develop my brand’s design and voice, and gave me encouragement during the pre-launch stage.
Everything moved at light speed which was great for me as it built momentum going into my brand’s launch. If you have the time, energy, and financial ability to invest in a brand coach, I highly recommend it. It’s great to have a sounding board when you’re at the starting line.
Had my leggings carried by local boutique gyms
Courageous Creativity gave me the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone and lead by example, so when I saw a local news segment on aerial fitness, I knew I had to sign up and try it out.
Now I’m completely hooked. I’m so glad I didn’t let feeling out of shape or my mild vertigo keep me from trying this out.
After wearing my mermaid legging to aerial classes, other students and even our instructor asked where I got them. There’s not much variety at the time in athletic leggings since most are solid black, hardly inspiring for the “circus” feel of aerial classes, so my bold designs were hard to miss.
When I told them I designed the leggings, their eyes lit up as they told me they wanted one in every color. Who knew that the aerial classes would become the catalyst of my business? Definitely not me, but I love it.
After seeing the interest the students had in my leggings, the owner gave me the opportunity to sell them at her local gym. It’s always fun to come into aerial classes each week and hear about how my leggings are selling.
This success locally has motivated me to become an exhibitor at art shows and street fairs this summer in Minneapolis. You’ll be the first to know when and where here!
Met new creatives in my local community
As a homebody who loves my alone time, being able to fit in quiet hobbies I love (like reading, journaling, and art) with local events and classes has been nothing short of perfection.
I constantly feel like I’m meeting new, inspiring business owners in the Twin Cities, something that can’t be replaced by online connections (even though those are awesome too!).
For me, quality time at home with my husband and dog mixed with time in my local community feels like heaven.
The Aviary aerial gym connects me with a tribe of badass women from all walks of life. #createlounge connects me with creatives building side hustles and passion projects. Twin Cities Collective connects me with bloggers and entrepreneurs at unique events.
And, of course, my most beloved community is all of YOU.
My business wouldn’t be where it is today without my community, both online and locally in Minnesota. I’m so thankful for you.
Cheers to our first year and more years to come!