Here’s to men and women
That do it all.
Do it well
-art in doing.
I am an inventive person, I write, I create and actualise things. I was not raised to think that I cannot do things, to my success and detriment at times, I see things and always try to figure out how it’s done. I have literally become that annoying person in the audience that nudges the person next to me (who is trying to concentrate) loudly whispering “I can do that you know”.
I can visualise something in my mind and do everything I within my means to make it work. I believe in doing everything- properly, effectively and to the point. An idea brought to life for me has to be one of two things self-explanatory or interesting enough for people to want to understand more. I had a launch party for my cosmetics line last week and it was probably one of the most vulnerable yet fulfilling moments of my life so far. Vulnerable in the sense that I don’t like being out in the open almost naked with my ideas like that; thoughts of “what if people don’t buy tickets”, or “what if people don’t show up” constantly ran through my mind. Some days before the launch, I would wake up in the dead of the night stressed, thinking: “why am I even doing this? I could actually be more ‘up’ in terms of my finances and have nothing to worry about had I just launched it online like everyone else”…”Why am I always trying to be different?” And in the morning, I’d be back to normal again, driving myself to potential sickness filled with excitement and my attempts to make everything perfect.
That’s the one thing about dreams and ideas, you will love them most times, hate them at times, feel a weird sense of sole responsibility in ensuring that you bring them to life properly, think about them every day and most nights, drive your mates up the wall because you keep talking about it, and then consequently avoiding people because you want to be able to speak about it and live in the glory of yours ideas in solitary peace.
The launch happened and it was such a huge success that I couldn’t take all the credit, it was impossible for me to pull that off on my own, It was God. The scripture that kept on replaying in my head in the lead up to the event was “It is not by my power nor by my own strength but by you Spirit Lord”. Everything came to life just as I had planned and visualised it to. This is why I always tell people that it is important to guard your dreams. To be quite frank I didn’t want to tell anybody about this business, or the launch. I was too nervous that someone would throw me off; tell me it was too soon, or I don’t have enough followers on my social media accounts (as that seems to be the currency of most things nowadays), or even bring up the fact that at the time of the idea’s conception I was in final year so I ‘wouldn’t be able to handle it’ or that now I am a postgrad student so I equally ‘won’t be able to handle it’. I didn’t want anyone to deter me from my idea before I had a chance to implement it.
As strong headed as we think we are it is easy for people to plant seeds of doubt into our minds at the early stages of our ideas, some people will not even do it purposefully- they just cannot imagine themselves doing such a thing and handling well. So they impose their fears and worry onto you in the form of ‘advice’. And others do it on purpose because you have something going for you and they don’t. All in all, regardless of their motives, you may find that if you talk prematurely and people express their doubts towards your vision, you’ll spend a lot of time either mentally convincing yourself that YOUR idea that you once thought was great is actually great or convincing the nay-sayers that your idea is great. The latter is the worst for me because in actual reality a lot of the visons that we have been given are not for anybody else other than ourselves. Therefore not many minds will be able to comprehend it on the offset, no matter how many times you draw it on paper, break it down, read statistics that prove that you are entering ‘a gap in the market’ people around you just won’t see it. And that is fine because: IT IS NOT THEIR VISION. It is not compatible. it is not meant for their minds. And you are wasting your time trying to force them to agree or give their blessings. It’s almost like trying to open up a Jpg image file on a DAB sound system- incompatible, it cannot translate the image nor can it understand or transmit the image because a DAB sound system works on sound- not images. The same way some people cannot comprehend your vision because they process things differently.
I learnt a while ago, (thankfully in my early teens) that the best way to show someone your idea is to bring it to life. All the energy you use trying to convince people that what you are trying to do is in actual-fact relevant and necessary could alternatively just be used to actually create it and let it do the talking for itself. In other words: let it be so amazing that those that didn’t understand when you were trying to explain, will understand once they see it in real life. I nicknamed this the process of actualisation.
This goes for entrepreneurs, start-up companys, visionaries, charities, fashion designers, poets and anybody who makes anything. You are allowed to be selfish and stubborn with your ideas, with your art and your services. If you want it done a certain way then you can do it a certain way. Don’t let anyone come in to your space dominating and trying to change things around. A simple example was the set up on the day of the launch party, from the moment I booked the venue I knew where I wanted the photo-booth, the glam bar and the backdrop but people were skeptical about the idea of a home-made photo-booth with a polaroid camera. Probably because they hadn’t seen it before, neither had I but I had seen it in my head and as always, whatever I see in my head is good enough for me. They were trying to convince me to hire a photo booth just in case. But I couldn’t see myself spending another minimum of 300 pounds. So, I kept the idea in mind absolutely sure that I was going to bring it to life, knowing people were doubting it – until I set it up on the day and it looked and worked amazingly. As expected. With my best friend Sadiq in charge (being extremely efficient and taking the job well seriously -bless shim) of the overall photo space: the photo-booth was amazing. As I always say, this is a small example but it shows when I stood my ground and made something out of an idea I was sure was going to work but other people doubted.
This brings us onto who we should listen to when we are creating, because surely we need some sort of guidance or direction in the beginning and launch stages? I would be wrong to advise you against listening to anybody because I did take some peoples advice, but the people I listened to were people who have done what I have done or even remotely similar before and a few people who’s opinions I trusted -who may not necessarily know the depths of what I am trying to do, but I can trust their opinion enough nonetheless. One of my friends who isn’t into makeup asked me “so what is it that makes your makeup so special Kemi?” and although this is a question I am prepared for, I can’t always let my work do the talking, ESPECIALLY at times like then when I had no samples to show her and all I had was my mouth and ideas, that question span me a bit. I answered it eloquently, you know the fact that we use custom sought after shades that everyone wants but a cannot get, the best quality cosmetic standard ingredients and create statement makeup pieces that you cannot do without once bought. But I was glad that she asked me that so early on because it gave me focus and direction. But most importantly something to work on. So who you let in your creative space is extremely important because they could either build and challenge you or tear you down before you get the chance to give birth.
However, working in hard in silence with your space protected. is not an excuse to continuously let people know that they should ‘watch out’ or you have so many ideas and nobody is ready. It reads funny but I kid you not, I’ve seen it being said. You don’t need that validation from anybody and you do not have to keep anybody on their toes. Try work in your own time and let your ideas do the talking, because as much as everybody needs to probably ‘watch out’ and not ‘doubt’ you, they most definitely do not need you saying it every other minute. If you believe in you, your ideas actualised will show it.
So many dreams and ideas are being sat on right now because people are too scared to start, don’t know if they will receive the right support if they try to start or they don’t know where to start. My main piece of advice is to research, use google, if I had a pound for every time I type in what seems like a ‘stupid question’ in the google search engine bar but end up finding out what I thought I would never find- I would be able to pay Lil Wayne what he’s owed and end this Young Money beef once and for all. Google is your best friend, it is the haven of ideas and Marketing strategies. Make phone calls, google those who have done what you want to do or can help you with some sort of impartation of knowledge and call them, explain what you’re trying to do and see what they say, if they don’t help, call someone else and the same goes for emails. In terms of support, I entered my makeup artistry business and my cosmetic line prepared for the worst, I knew that people wouldn’t book me because they know me and would rather book someone inaccessible (a weird thing that people do but hey) but I also know that people would book me for the same reason, I knew that I couldn’t please everyone with my style of artistry but I also knew I could please a whole load of other people who see my vision. I couldn’t afford to be scared, and it is scary don’t get me wrong, especially where money is involved because you literally have to give people a reason to spend their money with you instead of someone else. You need a niche and you need to be good enough to dominate that niche. But as we all know, Rome was not built in a day and we cannot compare our first week in business to someone else’s 4th year. If that were possible then that means that someone has wasted 4 years doing something the long way round. We are all different and it is our differences that makes our growth worthy and commendable.
Protect your vision and your ideas, with aggression. Don’t allow people to deter you. Stay away from people that want to bring you down or fill you with doubt at every chance they can get- you deserve better for yourself. The best way to do this is to research, control who can enter your space and actually make steps to implement these ideas. You can do it if I can.
Awaiting your come-up,