Almost four years ago, I worked as an In-house Shoe Designer. It was always fun to have great perks like travel to Europe or Asia at the company’s expense, company parties where people would behave inappropriately, drama at the office, long lunches, etc. I will have to admit it was the life. After my last in house job which consisted of traveling 70% and pumping out shoe designs every milli-second, I got burnt out and took a break. During my break, which lasted a week, I had a former colleague ask me to freelance and it sounded like a great opportunity because of the brand and project, so I said yes. I made it clear it was temporary because I was on shoe design hiatus . I was planning on moving to Spain. That freelance project was the beginning of my career as an International Freelance Shoe Designer. I moved to Barcelona and started shop there.
Being self employed is an amazing experience. I think companies may think freelancers are lazy, we’re at Starbucks working half of the time we said were, we are free spirited and unruly creatives, or we can’t keep a job, but in fact, that is not the truth for some of us. Yes, I do get up early morning to work and dress in work clothes not my pj’s (although u may catch me doing that when I pull work all niters trying to meet a deadline). In reality, it’s an actual business I run. That is what makes working for myself so fun. Not only do I get to design shoes and work with some amazing people, but I get to be part of building a brand and actually care about my clients’ business. I take inspiration trips based on my own personal research of countries that have fashions and trends that are a must see. I get to be selective of who I work with. I am on top of research because my clients expect me to know things that perhaps their overtired in- house person may not know (no insult there as I used to be that person). I have now become a designer, a manager, a marketer, public relations manager, brand manager, and most importantly an entrepreneur. I make an effort because it’s my business. My goal is for the companies I work with to succeed and for me to have designs in the market place. It’s very gratifying.
Also, being a self employed designer, you get to work on side projects such as design other products, a book your writing or painting, whatever it is, the inspiration is above and beyond just shoes. Working with a freelance designer can be beneficial to a company because we can bring an outside perspective.We are not designing to the grind of that company everyday. We are seeing it from the outside. I also think it’s a skill a designer must possess. Being able to get the customer is key. Some designers can do that and other’s cant. It’s finding the right designer for your company whether it be freelance or in-house.
It’s been almost four years since I started working for myself. I am proud of my client list. Have learned quite a bit, both good and bad, and am constantly evolving and growing as a creative and business person. I have to say that being self employed has given me more than freedom but a passion to create and succeed.