Meet Mattr Maker, Rose Choules.
WHILST PURSUING A SUCCESSFUL SHOE DESIGN CAREER WHICH SAW ROSE CO-CREATING THE TRENDY POINTER FOOTWEAR BRAND AS WELL AS DESIGNING FOR MANY OTHER BIG NAME BRANDS, ROSE FELT THE PULL TO MOVE BACK TO CREATING WITH HER OWN HANDS. THIS LED HER ON A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY THAT RESULTED IN THE CREATION OF A HUGELY SUCCESSFUL HAND CRAFTED MOCCASIN BUSINESS.
In our conversation we explore Rose’s journey from designer to maker and we discuss what it really means to live a creative life. Listen to our full conversation below.
And be sure to read on to find out what I learnt from my conversation with Rose.
These shoes were made for walking
Shoes are an enabler; they allow you to walk further, run faster, reach higher. Rose Choules has spent the best part of her life dedicated the pursuit of designing and hand crafting shoes so I guess it should come as no surprise that the central theme of our conversation was one of exploration. In talking with Rose I learnt that exploration and curiosity are essential if you want to live a creative life.
Build more of what you love doing into your life
Think about how you spend your time. Are you fully expressing who you are in the thing that you spend most of your time doing?
It may be that it does tick a lot of boxes, just not quite all of them. This was Rose’s experience. After many years as a successful shoe designer Rose started to feel a disconnect between the shoes she designed and their mass scale production in a faceless factory in Asia. As someone who has always loved the craft of making things with her own hands this disconnect left her to feeling creatively unfulfilled.
Rose negotiated a four-day week with her employer freeing up time to dedicate to exploring how she could build more of what she loved into her life, the hand crafting of shoes. Rose says that making this time to explore is essential if you want to build more of what you love doing into your life.
Whilst I believe that more flexible working should become the norm, a four-day week may not be a viable option for us all. In that case Rose says to carve out a regular time once a week and dedicate it to exploration. If you find it hard to hold yourself accountable then signing up to a class is a great way to explore something new within a group environment that can keep you motivated.
Be open to new experiences and opportunities will find you
Today Rose spends most of her time on her hand crafted Moccasin business. She still does some design work for brands she feels a close alignment with, because designing is still an important part of who she is, but she has managed to flip the emphasis of where she spends most of her time (and derives most of her income) from the thing she likes to the thing she loves.
So how did she do that?
Rose entered a shoe design competition. She was shortlisted and was asked to bring to the final her designs and her portfolio. It just so happens that within that portfolio were photos of a collection of Moccasins she had hand crafted for friends. It also just so happened that the head shoe buyer at Selfridges was on the panel of judges, and he just so happened to spot the photos. A week later he phoned Rose with a commission for a pop up shop in Selfridges for her Moccasins, and the rest as they say, is history.
But if Rose hadn’t entered herself into that competition, if she hadn’t made the choice to put in the hard work that entering the competition required, if she hadn’t spent her own time hand crafting Moccasins for her friends, then that opportunity wouldn’t have found her.
The more work you do, the more you explore, the more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities will come your way.
It’s not what you do, it's how you view it
Having developed a business doing something she loves you would expect that this is where the story ends. But for Rose this is just part of her ongoing journey.
A trap many of us fall into is defining ourselves by ‘what we do’ and viewing our career as a linear progression from junior up to the senior ranks of our chosen role. When I talked with Rose we discussed how she has gone through a gradual shift from viewing her work and career in this pre-defined linear fashion towards viewing each piece of work she does as a project. Each new project builds on her past learning and skills but can also be viewed as a discrete piece of work.
Viewing your work as a project makes you focus on the now. What are you creating right now? Why are you creating it? What do you hope to get out of the experience? If you look at your work in this way you don’t have to have play by a pre-determined set of rules. There is no fixed vision of the future. You just create in the now and explore where each project takes you…
So don’t forget
- Carve out a regular time once a week and dedicate it to exploration and building more of what you love into your life
- Get out in the world and start creating and opportunities will find you
- Stop thinking linearly, start viewing your work as projects, and be open to where each one takes you
Mattr Maker Rose Choules (@rosechoules) handcrafts Moccasins at www.rosechoulesatelier.com. Rose will be hosting a one off Moccasin making workshop at the Ace Hotel London on Sat 1st Nov 2014 click here for more information.
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