The Truth About the Creative Process

One of the hardest parts about running a business is putting something totally new out there. You may think you have an awesome idea that your dream customers are going to LOVE, but until you put it out there and get feedback, you're biting your nails in anticipation and making yourself sick with all kinds of self-doubt "what if nobody buys this", "what if they hate it", "what if it doesn't meet their expectations"?

As an entrepreneur, one of the most rewarding and most difficult things you will do is CREATE. Actually take your ideas and turn them into a product or service to help people. And when people buy it, you'll be over the moon, and when they love it, well there's no greater feeling!

Creating new products can feel like throwing a bunch of thumb tacks at a wall and hoping that some of them will stick.

If you decide to start a business, just know that you will have hits and misses, but the thing that will set you apart from those who fail is that you will listen to feedback and keep on creating based on what your customers are telling you.

Sometimes, I create a design that I think is going to sell like hotcakes. And then it just sits there forever, no one buys it. So I tweak and make changes, sometimes updating colors, sometimes just scrapping the whole design and starting fresh. Other times, I create a design on the fly, inspired by a comment from a customer or a trend I've seen lately and it sells like crazy!

The key is to keep on designing and learning from the process.  Keep putting things out there and asking for your customers to provide feedback. They are, after all, your most important marketing tool. Listen to them and give them what they want. Listen to them and make changes if you need to. Treat them well and they will continue to buy from you and tell their friends about you. That is the key to running a successful business.

The creative process can sometimes be a lonely one, and it can feel like it's just you sitting behind a  computer screen pouring your time and energy into something, hoping that others will like it. Asking for, and receiving feedback can help you to feel connected to your customers and can reassure that you're on the right track.

At the end of the day, running a business is not just about what you like, it's about giving your customers what they want.  Now, that doesn't mean sacrificing your own sense of style or creating products that are not an authentic reflection of your brand - but it does mean listening really well to what your customers are asking for - and then giving it to them in the best possible way you can.

When you're first starting out, the idea of getting feedback and criticism (even constructively presented) can be super intimidating. But it's such an important part of developing your creativity. That's why in my Start A Party Printables Business Course I've given students the opportunity to share their designs with me and receive my honest feedback on their work. I always try to let them know what I like about their designs, and also what tweaks they can implement to make their designs even stronger. 

What is your creative process like? Do you tap into a community or your customers for feedback? Let me know in the comments below! 

Little Pumpkin Party Ideas

It may still officially be summer, but Fall parties are in full swing over at Haute Chocolate! One of our most popular invites this Fall is the Little Pumpkin Birthday Party design - no surprise, it's pure cuteness!

Today I have a little pumpkin party inspiration to share with you. I love how this theme can be taken up a notch and become totally glam by adding pink & gold accents to the traditionally orange color palette.


Start A Party Printables Business Course

Back in April, I ran the inaugural session of the Start A Party Printables Business Course. It was amazing! We had students enrolled from Canada, Italy, Australia and even Egypt. I loved teaching students, seeing their design work and providing feedback. Honestly, it was one of the hardest, but most fulfilling things I've ever done!

Over the past few months I've been asked over and over again when I'm going to be running the next session, and although I hadn't planned on running the course again so soon, I've decided to run a summer session for those of you who are itching to get your new creative business started by September!

This is the only online course that will teach you the design & business skills your need to start a party printables business. The first half of the course is dedicated to learning Photoshop & design skills, and the second half of the course is all about business branding, and how to package & position your products for successful sales on Etsy.

Throughout the 8 week course, I am always available to give feedback, answer questions, and to encourage students to create their best work. Even if you have never used Photoshop before, as long as you have a desire to learn, you will be creating your own invitations & party decorations by the end of the course!

Sound interesting? Check out the Start A Party Printables Business Course website.   And get on the VIP list to find out when the next session starts! 

Burning questions you want answered? Leave them in the comments below and I'll be in touch

Uniquely You Campaign for ModCloth

Last week I was contacted my ModCloth to see if I would be interested in participating in their Uniquely You campaign. Why yes, of course I would! I love ModCloth's unique, affordable styles, but most of all, I love their fun & interactive website.

It's so cool that they allow users to post reviews and even pictures of themselves wearing the outfits. Honestly, how refreshing is it to see how clothes actually fit real women? It totally helps when trying to decide if a certain style will fit your body type and takes a bit of the guesswork out of buying clothes online. I'll admit, I spent way too long on their website perusing all their adorable dresses.

Above is my style board featuring the lovely Twirl Next Door dress and sweet coral accessories.
I love the bold stripe pattern mixed with a soft & feminine cutout neckline. I was inspired to make the look more summery by adding a pop of color with the coral accessories.  You know how much I love coral :)  This dress is so versatile, it literally can be worn day or night, casual or dressed up. It's the perfect canvas to add your own sense of style and have fun with!

Spa Dessert Feature

Sandal weather means it's time to get a pedi, right girls? Check out these darling photos submitted by my client & party stylist, Vania the Canadian Hostess. Vania contacted me to custom design the invitation & paper decorations, and then she styled the most gorgeous party around the theme and colors.  Check out the fondant cupcake toppers in the pics below, they're almost too cute to eat!

More about the party from Vania: Manicures, facials, sweets, and laughs were all on the menu for this ultimate spa-themed party. For the party colours, we decided on turquoise, honeydew green and orange. I wanted a vibrant colour combo that evokes tropical summer and joy.
Upon arrival, each girl received her own cozy bathrobe and was invited to the “Relaxation Lounge”, which featured a Tropical Smoothie Bar. The tranquil and relaxing atmosphere featured three spa treatment areas: facials, manicure and pedicure. After our special guests were treated to facial masks and had their nails done in the design they chose, they were invited to create their own lip balm by choosing their favourite flavour and colour.

The party table displayed a custom beauty setting for each girl, including a hand towel, mirror, a cosmetic pedicure set and a water bottle. The sweet bar featured a triple chocolate cake and spa- themed red velvet cupcakes. I also incorporated a few beauty items into the table design like bedazzled soaps and shower gels, which the girls took home after the party. As a memento from the event, each girl received her own spa basket that included a variety of beauty items: sleeping mask, her own handmade lip balm and shower gel.

Party Styling: Vania @ Canadian Hostess
Party Printables: Haute Chocolate
Photography: Raffaella Lorro
Desserts: Bluebird Cakes

Cake Trend: Floral & Stripes

{Photo Sources }
Cake One | Erica OBrien / Cake Two | Hey There, Cupcake! 

This season stripes & florals have been a big hit from fashion to party decor to cakes. I love the contrast between the black and white lines and pretty florals. It's a bold, yet feminine look thats so perfect for a chic summer wedding!

Unique Easter Egg Decorating Ideas

If you're itching to try something new for Easter this year and the good ol' drug store egg dye kits aren't doing it for you, then check out this collection of creative and unique Easter egg decorating ideas.

I've been blown away by the cool egg decorating ideas I've seen floating around Pinterest lately. I'm all about simplicity, so I think I'll picking up a couple metallic gold pens and having some fun dress up my eggs, maybe I'll add a bit of glitter too!


Which one of these Easter Egg Decorating techniques are you going to try? Let us know in the comments below!