Finally, a beautiful hint-of-spring Sunday (and it’s still February, though barely so). Instead of being outside, I’m sitting in our dining room staring at a simple leather tote bag that I ordered last week (after saving the appropriate bucks) and received yesterday. In general, I’m feeling good about the purchase–the leather is fine, soft and supple; the design is simple and elegant, and it should work very well for an upcoming trip. It’s made in the US and the company behind it shares a philosophy of giving back. Still, it’s not perfect and my imagination is working overtime to figure out a hack that will make it a bit more practical for travel.
While those ideas brewed, I turned to my laptop and found this article on the Crew blog. Their link led me to the Makers website and this article. The article is about the Canadian company m0851 and its founder Frederic Mamarbachi, “the father of the m0851 family.”
From Mamarbachi: “So when we design here I do it for me, really. It’s not for others. We are happy that people like it because most of the things we make are not necessary… so why would you buy this? You buy it for its charm. And charm is stronger than anything. It’s stronger than beauty. The beauty will come and go but charm will always stay.”
Why did this resonate with me and my dilemma about the new tote bag? Am I charmed by my the bag? It’s early yet. Let’s say that right now I’m charmed by its potential: Not only what’s possible with the hack I might come up with, but the possible good experiences my tote and I will share. Reaching in its depths for my iPad as I sit on a jet over the ocean; retrieving my little vintage plaid purse fat and jingly with Euro coins saved from a previous trip; finding a the cute little eco-friendly pouch containing my lip balm and scented hand lotion to freshen my moisture-starved skin. For me, these simple pleasures are an important part of air travel, of being in an unfamiliar country, and starting a new adventure.
I think it was this take-away, however, that impressed me the most: Design for
yourself. In my own projects, I share Mamarbachi’s philosophy of design–“…I do it for me, really. It’s not for others.” In the article he states that he could not design for someone else; he’s not a “professional” in that sense. However, he is very good at expressing his creativity, executing his personal vision and, if all goes well, others are impressed enough to buy his products.
I certainly don’t put myself on the same plane with this visionary, but it was refreshing for me to read about a successful person who did not intentionally create for the buyer or the market and followed his own instincts without a second thought. And was successful.
Creators: If you’ve been doing your thing long enough, you know how hard it is to find your unique means of expression and to then boldly follow that elusive and still-forming vision without looking back. You may remember a carefree time when you first started out–you were gifted with low expectations and a don’t-give-a-sh*t bravado that let you march fearlessly into the world of makers, creators and artists. In a weird way that’s when you were at your creative peak. Unfortunately, a little success and the siren song of dollar signs and fame can lead the strongest of us astray. This is when self-reflection, time alone and a sturdy pair of big girl/big boy pants can carry the day.
So, carry on creators! Push yourself to the edge with every project, believe in yourself and distance yourself from the haters, naysayers and negative types.
Thanks for listening. Now, back to the travel tote hack. Maybe some rivets…