Let me start this off by stating that I love the World Wide Web. Love it. I can find anything I need in minutes, sometimes seconds. My iPhone is truly a magic box. But everyone who’s ever read a fairy tale knows magic comes with a price. I pay this price by dedicating hours a day meditating into this screen. I’ve seen at least one million cats doing something adorable and I know the most random personal information about famous people thanks to Wikipedia. The time I save finding out information I need is credited back two fold to the amount of time I waste cruising mindlessly for matter that doesn’t matter to me in the least. I’ve thought about this more and more recently and I’m determined I’m going to be more mindful with my time spent online. I want to focus more on the physical space I’m actually occupying, the people that are right in front of me. You know, give my undivided attention to what I’m doing instead of glancing down at my phone repeatedly while in the middle of a conversation. Maybe actually looking at the coastline and taking in its beauty instead of mentally cropping it into an image to post on social media. I’m becoming overwhelmed by the amount of information I take in and put out online every day. I will continue to use social media, it would be insane not to. I just want to rein it in a little.
The reason I post images of my life is because I enjoy having a connection to my customers. I’ve become friends with many people in other cities just through posting on Instagram, eventually even meeting some in person. I love recognizing a customer’s name and seeing their art or music or whatever it is they do. We inform each others lives and work and that is always a positive thing. But, there is always a little bit of stress involved with revealing behind the scenes information online. I have tried to take the stance that my business is so small no one is really paying attention to what I do. Over the years I’ve been proven wrong. People totally pay attention! It’s not always the kind of attention I want. I have no idea how many people I’ve inspired but a few instances come to mind. OLO has inspired a large corporation to have a “customer” seek me out to create a custom for her only to have her quit and reveal this to me before I sold her the final product. I’ve had someone introduce herself as a writer looking to do an article on me. I answered all of her questions openly and honestly only to have her, after thirty some odd emails, ask for formulas for two of my fragrances. She wanted to use them as a point of reference because she had been trying to make them herself but it was too difficult. She never ended up writing an article about me. Duh. I’ve had an individual open a store with the name Victory Wolf. Cool. Some of this attention is predatory, some is just naiveté. These experiences have led to days when I am left feeling vulnerable and almost hunted online. I vow to delete all my accounts and never post another photo, ever! Then I check myself and admit my own hypocrisy. I do seek inspiration online. Every day. I absolutely take ideas from other people and places and apply them to my work. Everyone interprets what they experience, virtual or in the flesh. That’s human nature. That’s how we all learn and grow our craft, whatever it may be.
But, there is a difference between being inspired and making something your own and straight up copying. It’s really disheartening to see someone’s work replicated very closely. My dear friend Hazel Cox has been making jewelry for a long time. Every single piece, every tiny detail is made by hand. She inspired one of my most popular fragrances, Dark Wave. Girl named it. She has been there to counsel me through the years because she’s done a lot and I respect the integrity of her work. Any time the stress gets to be too much she just tells me to put my head down and work, not to worry about what other people are doing just to do my thing and move forward. Recently, a piece of jewelry that looks remarkably like hers showed up on a major chain store website. The piece was not actually by Hazel Cox but at first glance it sure looked like it. The piece has since been removed but it was just a reminder to me to be mindful. Be mindful of where I take my inspiration and to be vigilant to make sure I give credit where credit is due. We are bombarded by information and images these days. It can be difficult at times to pinpoint where an idea came from. My goal is to slow down. Slow down what I absorb, maybe not post any idea that pops into my head. So, I’m going to slow the flow of information. I’m going to focus on what makes me fulfilled and stop trying to keep up. I’m not going to post every day but I hope that what I put out in the future will be more thought out. It may just have meaning in the moment but my goal is for it to have meaning to me.
Hazel Cox Not Hazel Cox