Dream on (Feedback from someone hoping to be a legal eagle someday)

Dream!!This post is inspired by an e-mail I received from a lady who is thinking of pursuing a career in law and currently trying to get into law school in the Philippines.  Her e-mail has inspired a half dozen possible posts, but let’s begin where the pursuit starts:  a dream.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a doctor.  I liked the idea of wearing that thing-a-ma-jig (stethoscope) around my neck, and seeing my doctor come into this colorful examination room bedecked with cartoon character mobiles and murals.  (My pediatrician was the late and great Dra. Fe Del Mundo.)  I didn’t like all doctors, though, particularly this one who lived near us and who was always taking out those glass syringes and long menacing steel needles.  But I liked the sound of “Doctora”.

Then certain life experiences, innocent though they may be, convinced me that that wasn’t the path for me.  I have written about most of them.  (Gag alert)  One was my experience holding my mom’s tonsils floating in liquid in a plastic bag after her tonsilectomy — it literally made me feel my stomach turn but thankfully, the gag reflex was easier to control.  Second was my waterloo being Math.  And I think I haven’t mentioned how one time I ventured into the kitchen to try to slice through a slab of pork, just feeling the knife slicing through the meat sort of sent the wrong sensations up my spine.  End of the dream.

But one thing that made me shift my sights on the legal profession in my younger years was I realized I loved to write, I had the gift of gab, and I liked the looks of those lawyers parlaying their skills as defenders in court.  (Little did I know that they didn’t speak Tagalog at all in court.. everything was translated.  That was all for drama.)

We nurture all sorts of dreams in our hearts. I nurture dreams big and small, simple and profound, achievable and impossible.  Even now at 48.

I dream of one day being able to wake up without the burdens in my heart.  Being able to truly wake up with a smile not just on my face, but deep within.  Of one day being able to say I made it through.  It’s all behind me.

I also dream of maybe having the time and the energy to devote to my creative pursuits.  So many beads to make things out of.. so little time to sit and try.

And as much as I’ve written and do write, I have a particular project I’m hoping to one day accomplish.. I want to write profiles of people on a website dedicated solely for that purpose.  And I don’t mean those celebrities or bigwigs (although I do know one or two) or popular personalities.  I want to write about the very affable sandwich guy in the deli where I get lunch for my boss, or the young lady with very pretty eyes who rings it up when I’m done.  I want to write about the old lady who serves up food in one of the Filipino bakeshops we frequent and find out what brought her here.  I want to hear their story and have their stories heard.  I want to write about classmates who are now their own person — whether as single moms, successful executives, entrepreneurs, politicians.  But I don’t want to write about them as the person they are known for.  I want to write about something that they are that people don’t know.  For example, one celebrity friend who has battled cancer likes Matrushka dolls, Hello Kitty and Bath & Body Works Sanitizer keychains.  I want to write about why she likes those things and how she reacts when people tell her she’s inspired them in their fight against cancer.

I can go on and on and on, but that is a project for another day.  It’s a dream in my heart and in my mind.

Not all dreams are nurtured early on.  Some of them come at the spur of the moment.  It’s like a lightbulb that pops up at the weirdest of hours.  Like most things in life, dreams are fanciful enough for us to take seriously or dismiss with flip of the hand.  But if we choose not to ignore it, no dream is too late pursue wherever we may be in life.

Not even entering law school.

There are many lawyers or lawyers-in-waiting (those who cannot seem to pass the Bar exams despite multiple tries but who have not given up — kudos!) who pursued that dream very much later in life.  When I took the Bar myself, there were people in the same room who were old enough to be my mom.  Yet they were there feeling as nervous as we young ones (then) were.  When you take the bar exams, you are thrown into a new room for each of the four Sundays.  You don’t know who is going to sit next to you, and often, there’s a lot of small talk and nervous chatter between exams as we await the beginning of each one.  I have been lucky enough to have taken it only once, and during the first Bar Exams held in the premises of De La Salle University on Taft Avenue at that so we had airconditioned rooms and all.  But seeing that collective laboring through the travails of trying to make it through the four Sundays gave me added courage that I needed to believe in myself.  If they can make it, I can make it.  I felt one with them — we were all dreaming the same dream.

Beyond my innocent visions of being in the courtroom as I watched those movies showing Atty. so-and-so when I was younger, I’ve come to see that being a lawyer is not confined to being in the courtroom.

So my reader Evelyn tells me that she doesn’t even know why she wants to be a lawyer when deep in her heart she is a businesswoman with a flourishing printing press.  (Wow.)  To which I say, what’s stopping you?  Being in law school, finishing it, taking the Bar Exams and passing it may not be needed in your printing press business, but believe me, it won’t hurt to have that added knowledge.  You’d be drafting your own contracts instead of going to someone else (and paying them for it) and maybe even notarizing those documents yourself.  You will know your rights and the nuances of contracts, taxation and corporation law in relation to your business.  But that’s not even the crux of why I think you should go ahead and give it a shot.

Going after your dream is living your life as you want it.  It’s like a lifestyle choice — you can be whatever and whoever you want to be.  If you have the means like you do thanks to the business you’ve been successfully running, what’s stopping you from pursuing a legal education that so many others pine for but can only dream of for lack of the financial means to do so?  So what if the law school you choose doesn’t choose you!  As you have probably read in previous related posts, I wanted to go to UP but they didn’t want me.  Because the Ateneo School of Law opened their doors to me, when I passed the Bar, that point went to their passing statistics.  We choose the school we go to based not just on their reputation and their standards, but sometimes we have to go to the school that will accommodate our work schedule, too.  And even if that school that we chose or that accepted us later on decides it wasn’t working out (translated: if you get booted out or dropped), there are other schools.

From the beginning to the end of that journey, it’s you and your dream that will steer you this way or that.

Future posts will deal with the other points you wrote but let’s start at the most important deciding factor of whether you eventually carry “Atty.” before your name some day — dream on, Evelyn.  I say go for it!

Next up, writing, you ask…

Related posts can be found in the blog section LAWYER WANNABE which can be found in the navigation bar.

I hate goodbyes

We had a send-off for a retiring officer who just happens to be my boss.  (No cause for panic — I already have a new boss..)  I had served under this retiring principal for but a year and a half, but I can truly say she was one of the people I learned from the most.  Perhaps it helped that she has been with the company for as long as I’ve been alive — 45 years!  Through it all, she managed to rise from being a clerk out of high school who rose through the ranks, acquired an education, leaving the company as an Executive Vice President, occupying one of the highest positions in a company 40,000+ strong worldwide.

She likened her retirement to a wake and I can’t help but agree.  Everyone says nice things — things that should’ve and could’ve been said a long time ago.  Not that she’s griping, and neither am I.  I guess it’s part of the difficulty with dealing with goodbyes.

I made the gift tags for the candy bags we prepared for her and everyone raved.  They are scalloped tags which I printed on two sides.  I wrote half of her practically 500 strong department and solicited entries for a scrapbook.  It was a labor of love.  (And I am not exaggerating.)

I was going to provide my template for the scallopped tag then I realized that I cannot upload a PDF of the template as that would make it hard to actually type or write your own text or embed your own graphic.  Doing a word document would be difficult as well because of the intricacies of inserting text or an object which needs manipulating to allow the added item to overlap with the template.  So I said — forget it.

So much for generosity and wanting to share.

I really feel all tired and worn and just exhausted.  It’s as if all the effort I poured into the scrapbook and the business of preparing for this party suddenly caught up with me.  Not that I was alone — I wasn’t even the primary mover.  We have a lady who is the party expert in our department and who happens to be the closest friend of my boss in the company, so the logistics were a breeze.  I think it’s more of the emotional drain of realizing we’re nearing goodbye.

I have been very lucky as far as the people I have worked for are concerned.  Not only have I had the opportunity to advance financially, but more importantly, they were people of substance who contributed to broadening my horizons and my way of thinking.  I have been fortunate enough to have been entrusted with their confidence — something that I know they didn’t need to do but which they did freely.

I don’t have the energy to write more about the emotional component of work — the fatigue will take me over.  I’ve been exploring Etsy and looking at new ideas and getting ready to focus again on populating the store.  That ought to help preoccupy me and help me focus my efforts elsewhere.  I got an invitation to join another craft fair but I think next weekend is a tad bit too soon.  Perhaps sometime in July.

I have more cards to write and am actually thinking of creating cards over the weekend.  And there is my long overdue post in my Art Journal Every Day project. =(  My watercolor pencils go with me everywhere I go so I just might make an effort to sketch something today.  Need to think happy thoughts. =)

Craft Fair Exploits: Lessons Learned

It was on April 16th that I had participated at this craft fair at a private school upon the invitation of a co-worker of mine which was a very good learning experience for me as a small business owner.  I consider it a fair success considering I did earn the fee back, and there were a couple of  sales which made the effort worth it.  But after all was said and done, I chalked it up to experience  and am now seriously thinking about participating in another craft fair.

Here goes my list of lessons learned from my first ever craft fair:

1.  Items for sale should be packaged and more importantly, PRICED, way ahead of the event date. I had 4 trays of earrings already strung up and ready to hang.  My first dilemma was although I had spent hours putting them on the display tray, I failed to price them.  Also, I failed to plan the placement of my display trays, so I ended up displaying only 2 trays at a time.  I know… that was a loss… but the alternative was to display everything, and price them uniformly on the low end.

2.  You need to plan the placement of your display before the event date. While a 3 feet by 6 feet space can seem big, it actually wasn’t and I needed to crowd things together to make them fit.  I didn’t purchase any special sales paraphernalia except for one bust which I hope to “duplicate” using paper mache before the next event.

3.  Packaging and other sales paraphernalia should be organized in one box to make it easy and faster once a sale is made. Although I had managed to create my own paper bags, there were times when successive sales made it difficult and I ended up panicking.  Buyers were in a hurry, too, so it didn’t help when I was scrounging around for the correct-sized envelope or sticker.

4.  Calling cards must be designed and cut ahead of time. I had designed the calling cards, but cutting them proved to be quite a struggle so I ended up not using them. (I know, not good.)  I am hoping, though, that I will be able to do them in time for the next event.

5.  What you think will sell will not always be the hot items on your rack. So I thought (mistakenly,) that my domino pendants would sell like hotcakes.  Not.  Alan made a point of ribbing me about this no end, so I think I will concentrate more on the bracelets which sold better, as well as creating displays for my necklaces.  (Only the ones that were actually displayed hanging instead of laying flat on the table really sold.)

6.  You should hand-make what you can instead of spending for the display trays. I actually created around 3 of them using heavy-duty shoe box tops and unused large picture frames.  (I will post how-to’s) next.  This saved me a lot of money and allowed me to concentrate my expenditures on materials for more wares to sell.

7.  Do not ignore browsers, but do not be overly solicitous either. In this instance, I try to place myself as a shopper and try to accord the browser the same kind of attention I can tolerate without being intimidated.  It is good to say hello but not good to be too pushy.  I know I hate being ignored when I walk into a stall, so I try to be welcoming without being too cheesy.

All in all, it was a fun experience.  I did not exactly get anywhere close to selling out, but I think the sales for the day made it worth it.  They certainly exceeded any one-day sales I’ve had online, and seeing people actually purchasing what I made really made it worthwhile.

Although I did not feel confident enough even closer to the date of the actual fair that I had what it took to actually put up a store, having been able to do just that now gives me confidence about doing it again and trying to do it better this time around.

Craft fair

I love going to craft fairs because it just brings out the child in me. It’s like going to the carnival — you can’t wait to sample the goodies and the treats.

This time around, I’ve been invited to participate in a craft fair by one of the ladies at work who believes that I can actually sell something there. I was rather ambivalent about the decision to jump in on the whole thing, but I decided it was as good a time as any to try and showcase my wares while at the same time trying to do some good.

So it’s mid-April and I have time. I’ve been trying to find ways and means not to incur more expenses except for those occasioned by creating more items to sell. I don’t want to spend on incidentals, so I’ve been trying to plan how I can come up with (1) a signage, (2) packaging, (3) display, (4) how much change I should bring.

I have quite a hefty inventory at the moment which means I just need to maximize the opportunity to sell by actually adding more stocks. That much is taken cared of, but I have to think about my “set up”. I felt bad that I couldn’t submit a photo of my set up because I have never participated in a craft fair or bazaar. A bright idea hit me sometime last week and I’ve decided to do something that combines my current doodling passion: zentangling, or what I try to pass of as just that.

It took me a while to make up my mind about how big or how small it will be, but I know that I will create the letters on separate sheets and then either string them together or mount them on a single signage. I’ve settled on doing the letters on individual sheets of unlined 5″ x 8″ index cards, and rendered in black on white. Simple enough. It will allow me to get my signage ready which continuing to indulge in one of my new favorite de-stressers which is freehand doodling.

Packaging is another thing I must decide on in the next day or two. My current packaging makes use of handmade boxes I craft along the way. While I do have a few on hand, I am thinking if it would work better for me to buy them either at the dollar store or at my crafts supplies wholesaler. As for the actual paper bag, I know I will definitely grab some of the older rolls of wrapping paper in my attic and create them.

Displaying my wares is a little trickier, given that this is my first attempt at attending a craft fair. It would have been great to be able to create my own standees but I can only succeed as far as the necklace standees are concerned. Displaying the earrings and bracelets in a professional way will need an actual showcase. Fortunately for me, I have access to my wholesaler who sells these items dirt cheap. I am not going overboard though and have decided to keep things rather simple. After all, it’s not like I’m carrying a truckload of items for sale. So other than one bust for the necklaces, I’m still making the rest by hand.

Change? I have no idea about how big this craft fair will be, but I’m thinking I’ll need a hefty bundle of singles and fives. Most of my items are priced under $20, so I should be good with a hundred or two in change. A bright idea hit me, though, to offer to accept Paypal, which can be a way to entice buyers to buy more if they are willing to log into their account and pay me electronically. I have Paypal on my blackberry and I can bring a laptop with my wireless card. That’s a thought.

I’m actually excited.. it’s not something I’m looking to doing regularly but it’s a good way to move my merchandise and also to be in a different market. I guess I’ve made up my mind. I even told Alan that as far as Spring break planning goes, we’d have to leave on Sunday (IF we are leaving at all) as I’m participating at this craft fair. I think he thinks I want to visit a craft fair — and not participate in one.

I’ll give more details closer to the date, but here’s to GothamChick in the craft fair! (Wish me luck!)

Projects in the works

So I’ve been putting together christmas gift tags,  cards and other paper goods to sell at another store I’ve put up.  The idea is to come up with tags that are economical and yet worth using to dress up your holiday gifts.  Why plaster a plain sticker onto the gifts you give away when you can actually put something creative that has character to add your personal touch?  (Okay, I’m trying to sell my stuff already..)

It’s a little tricky trying to come up with a two-fold card when you think you put a label on the backside on the right side of the paper, and when it comes to that time when you have to cut it up, you realize you misprinted something.  After using what I thought was the right template, I proceeded to create several pieces and just discovered that one such side was skewed, so I will have to discard one layout and luckily, the second of two can be salvaged.

I’m working on vintage images of Santa Claus that I converting into quaint gift tags.  (Why is Dinna going through all the trouble?  Because there are people who buy it on Etsy. )

Speaking of which, I’m in the process of creating another necklace using this enchanting antique brass curved leaf focal I’ve fallen in love with.  I just got two more from my supplier and am working on creating it using my chunky dark brown freshwater rice pearls which, as always, makes me want to keep it for myself.  (I like, I like!)   The Mocha Feather Sweetheart Freshwater Pearl Necklace is currently still on sale and will soon be joined by my Dark Copper Feather Sweetheart Freshwater Pearl Necklace.  It’s almost done save for the extender chain.  I’m still trying to make up my mind about what I will use for the third one.

But back to my paper projects for the moment, I’ll hopefully be able to upload a picture soon.  I’m handcutting around the images so it looks very vintage-y and yet the print is vibrant and stands out.

It’s me getting into the Christmas spirit and trying to get another business off the ground.  It never hurts to be ready for the holiday rush.