The Lost Art of Giving A Shit.

Recently, I was involved in a real estate deal in my personal life that went south because one offer bumped an offer that we had made. Our offer could have been made days sooner, but the particular bank we were using, apparently, gave no shits. After taking what already seemed like too long for a particular service, (during which time, every time I called, our banker was 'at lunch' at all hours of the day) they had us waiting several extra days for something that had cleared underwriting but needed to be approved by the Head Underwriter, who was on vacation. 

Now maybe I'm old fashioned.. but I'm sorry, as a damn packaging designer I always needed to list a proxy when I went on vacation. You're telling me that some huge bank has a Head Underwriter somewhere in some office that has no proxy? All banking stops while this asshole takes his kids skiing? Doubt it. The message I got was, nobody cares. And the deal fell through. Not their problem.

Which of course caused me to go on an out-loud rant about business these days and how NOBODY GIVES A SHIT. Unless you are dealing with some lovely soul at a Farmer's Market selling her life's passion, anytime you deal with a large company, you don't matter. You don't matter because it is no one's problem. Corporations are set up such that no one has accountability anymore, so no one needs to give a shit. It is very, very rare to find someone in a large organization who actually burns calories thinking about you, your problem, and how they can best do their job. It has made me crazy for the last decade.

The reason I share this anecdote is because I am one of these crazy people who cares, and it's why I work for myself. When I deal with clients, their problem becomes my problem, whether I like it or not. It's a bit like a disease, actually- I can't go for a morning run and zone out to Audible, because my brain automatically starts thinking about potential solutions for clients. I fully believe it's also the reason I have the clients I do- many of them are people whom I have either worked with or encountered in the past, who saw in me something that set me apart. I do not advertise, I do not use staffing agencies, I do not chase down new businesses. I don't need to, because people who had meetings with me 10 years ago remember me as someone authentic who will be honest and direct to a fault, burn serious calories on a solution for them, and have full accountability for what happens. It's why I was a threat to middle management who only wanted to keep things status quo, and it's why I'm capable of now living the way I want to live. 

If I advertised, I think I would make a long-copy print ad that basically stated, looking for creative work for your business? Great! You are in a city bursting at the seams with creatives! Many of them are more talented than I am! And if you don't mind being ignored, being shamed for your own ideas, being charged overhead for a team of people ignoring you, and then being blamed when the end product doesn't move the dial, I welcome you to waltz into any number of trendy establishments! But when you tire of that, and you just want honesty and someone who gives a shit, we out here too.

My honest recommendation: Listen to people. Take notes. Internalize. Be proactive if you have ideas. If you hate your job, find a new one. And seriously, try giving a shit. It will come back in spades. 

Love, Kels



So it's been a real long time since I blogged or for that matter posted on facebook or did anything other than post snaps on IG because WTAF 2017. But I do like to talk so here we go, fresh thoughts for a fresh year y'all.

I have always been a really loud individual, I mean just the volume of my voice is literally too much and I always have an opinion and am rarely shy to blast it from my talk pipes. But ever since Fall '16 I've kind of been speechless, which I know is bad, but I have to be 2 things- honest and authentic and here's me being honest: If I started yelling every time I got mad about the state of affairs, I would have started yelling and never stopped. I would be mainlining blood pressure meds for sure. I sort of shut down instead, turned inside myself and to my immediate family, blocked out the negativity and decided that the best thing I could honestly do was focus on my kids and the fact that they gotta be good people you know? It's like eradicating diseases.. vaccinate them as babies and eventually there's no more polio right. So I have been trying to focus on raising kind small people. ((And also quietly stuffing money in mattresses and teaching my kids basic survival skills because straight up there are days when I'm not sure we are gonna be here in 20 based on politics / environmental disasters / mass shootings. I mean..)). 

I have still been doing a lot of design work, and have once again discovered that the best clients and largest percentage of my client base is people who have known me in past roles and search me out to do work for them in their new ventures. It validates my authenticity over any kind of bullshit I ever was fed about how I wasn't "well behaved enough" around clients. Guess what, ten years later those people have new roles and are seeking me out to work with because of my authenticity. Ha! Aside from my design and art direction work, I have opened a shop with my sister in Kingston, WA which is also an office for Vocal, and is pretty much a delightful clubhouse to hang out in and play jams and draw pictures whilst selling paper goods and girl power t-shirts to the greater Kitsap peninsula. You're welcome. I have noticed 2 types of customers absolutely love our foul-mouthed greeting cards and GRL PWR ephemera: Teenagers and old ladies. Which, if you think about it, are the 2 times in life where women especially have ZERO fucks to give. I def remember the angsty days of not caring as a teenager and can't wait to be an old lady with even less patience. Honestly, it's just us middle aged moms and lady bosses who are so worried about what everyone thinks. Looking forward to being over that hump.

Anyway all of my rambling aside, 2018 is gonna be more honesty, authenticity and building a strong compassionate family and if we keep up our current path success will follow. I think this is a subconscious survival tactic, somewhere between fight and flight that I didn't know I had. Vocal's business goals are strong and have been on track starting this 5th year (so crazy) but I'm way less about world domination and way more about pro bono work, art docent projects in kids classrooms, traveling with my family, watercolor painting... basically I'm super zenned out right now, working on everything from the inside out, trying to help where I can, and I hope everyone has a healthy and chill 2018.. We need a chill year. Go find a pot shop. (Vocal probably designed some of the packaging in there). ha.