Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the Recesionista Brand

Yesterday I asked you all to think about your “introduction” speeches--the ones you make when you introduce yourself to strangers for the first time. Like, “hi, I’m Sally and I twirl batons in my spare time, and work in plumbing during the day." Or, "I'm Patty and I take care of my three small children all day while secretly dreaming about a career in the circus."

The Labels Don't Fit
Introduction speeches became very relevant to me last year as I transitioned into my new life of “domestic entrepreneurialism.” Because for a long time I didn’t really know what to say about myself when I met new people. There weren’t any good labels for what I was doing. I was too entrepreneurial to be called a housewife. But my entrepreneurialism was too informal for me to be a “small business owner.” And since I wasn’t a mom, I couldn’t apply the stay-at-home-mom sticker. And obviously the 9-5 label no longer fit.

This was perhaps when I decided that what I needed was a label-less brand. Like the look of couture without the designer’s initials stitched into the seam. I wanted people to be able to identify the qualities of my “brand” without subjecting myself to the oversimplification of a label.

Unsurprisingly, over a year later, many of the qualities I settled on have trickled their way into my writing. Certainly they've been running like threads throughout this Recessionista series: entrepreneurialism, creativity, being leaders from our homes.... And though I haven’t exactly figured out how to package that neatly into an introduction speech, I’m working on it.

Three Things...
Because what I want for myself and for you readers--whether you work full time or stay home or balance some combination of both--is a brand that communicates three essential things: creativity, resourcefulness and leadership. When people meet me, I want them to know that I practice thinking outside of the box, that I am smart about the resources I have (whether they are tangible, like my money or my supplies, or intangible, like my skills and talents), and that I am a leader. And I wouldn’t mind shattering their preconceived notions about the vital nature of work done from and for the home while I’m at it.

New Speeches
Certainly I don’t expect all of us to start adding “hello, I’m a Recessionista,” to our introductory speeches. Because frankly that would be weird. And also because “Recessionista” is more like a label than a brand. But I would love to have some introductions that stretch beyond convention by sparking hints of creativity, resourcefulness and leadership. Like, "hi, I'm Sandy and I spend my time raising my two young children and growing my scrapbook network. I'm always looking for new members to join me in scrapbook therapy, to swap supplies, and share ideas. Would you be interested?" Or, "I'm Kathy and I work as an accountant by day, helping people navigate their finances. And since I love dogs, I also volunteer weekly at the pet shelter where I connect animals with new families. It's my way of helping our community."

As for me, "I'm Stephanie and I'm a blogger who passionately writes about domestic life all day. And yes--I did make this red dress. What did you say your name was again? James, was it?"

Previous Recessionista Posts:
Brand It!
Thinking Outside the Box
Homegrown Resilience
Servin' Up Solutions

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