Our First Client Meeting
It was a few months after Grace and I had sat down over wine and found ourselves writing a business plan for a dream we were beginning to call “Paper and Practice”. We met my friend Michelle, owner of her new business Meesh Quilts, at our local brewery, and it was all so funny for us. We didn’t know when the fun talk should stop and when the business talk should begin, so it was kind of a mix of both the whole time. I don’t think we’re capable of all business and no fun- not in this line of work anyways.
We asked our questions, listened to her answers, spelled out the process and told her how we would help. She was overwhelmed, as all of us at the start of something we’re excited about: overwhelmed with big ideas, but also feelings of obligation to do what she saw others doing around her. She didn’t know where to start, what she should do. The word should came up a lot in the beginning of our conversation. I’ve found that it’s easy to fear you’re not doing enough, and we look at others alongside us and feel this word: should, “They do that, should I be doing that too?”. But we moved away from that icky feeling of catching up to the competition, and we changed the question: “What do you want to do? What are the things that excite you like nothing else? What value do you love contributing to other’s lives?”.
While factoring in the competition around you is an important piece of business strategy, outrunning the others will never be life-giving enough to fuel your passion- purpose fuels passion. So we talked big picture, we talked where she wanted Meesh Quilts to be in 5 months, and also in 5 years. We talked a lot about why she was making quilts, why they mattered to her. We learned a lot. We learned about how her mother quilted and so did her grandmother. We learned that there is a whole online community of people who are keeping this old tradition alive in new artistic ways.
I find that listening is one of the most fundamental pieces of the value we can bring to someone’s business- hearing the hopes, the struggles, the big roadblocks that seem too confusing to move past, and also hearing the why that fueled the start and the why that keeps it going. We take all that in & we translate it to a personalized plan and a visual identity. This process is all about hearing and telling stories. If we don’t listen to the problem, we’ll never have the right solution. It sounds obvious, but I feel like I’ve seen so many companies like ours that offer a one size fits all solution, one trendy aesthetic, one method- but that’s just not how we see it. Our goal is to see people, to hear them- their hearts behind their business and write a plan just for them.
To learn more about Meesh Quilts & the awesome creative human behind the quilts:
(she’s really a lot of fun to follow along with)