My thoughts for today…

I can’t exactly say I have had the best week this week. I’ve had tough decisions to make, had to deal with fussy clients, creative doubt, the list goes on! But then I got a WhatsApp message from a friend of mine bringing my attention to what is happening in Chechnya. Now, I am not highly political and very rarely write anything political on my blog, but today I just couldn’t help but think about the situation out there and how little it is being reported about on mainstream news. 

I have been so frustrated this week – beating myself up about work, stressing out about clients… the works!  This got me thinking. Is it worth it? Are all the little daily stresses and upsets really worth getting so worked up about? I realise now how lucky I am to be able to live in a place where I am able to be who I want to be, eat food on a daily basis and have a loving family who care for and support me, to be allowed to thrive as a woman!  

I think sometimes I take it for granted that I live in a place of relative freedom compared to many others and actually there are so many people out there that do not have these luxuries. So today on the way home from yoga, I managed to put everything back into perspective a little. Deep down, I really felt very grateful for the people around me – the people who help on a daily basis, my family who are forever behind me,  picking me up when I feel low or upset. My business team who are always there driving us on with their positive and upbeat outlook. SO I guess what I am trying to say is that when things get too much and the little things are driving me down, maybe  I just need to remember how lucky I am and keep that in my heart! 
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Introducing… our new stockists!

We have been really busy here at the Natasha Jade Studio with lots of interesting new projects following a knock out show at Top Drawer SS17. We have some exciting new stockists that we would like to introduce you to. Of course we are thrilled that they now stock Natasha Jade products, but they also house so many other great products making them great destinations to visit! 

 

 

 

Mi Vida

Natasha met Catherine who runs Mi Vida at Top Drawer 2017 and they got on very well! Mi Vida (who are based in Liverpool and also have an online shop), have always been passionate about the latest trends, homewares and fashion. Over the years they have become expert shoppers for special gifts they’ve discovered from their world travels. We are thrilled to have our cards, prints and mugs for sale within this great mix of products from around the world. 

 

Amanda Hanley

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city like we all do from time to time then why not head over to the Cotswolds where our brilliant social media savvy lady Jess grew up. You can pop by and see the friendly and knowledgeable Amanda Hanley – an interior designer with a classical style. You can visit the welcoming studio space stocked with beautiful home furnishings fabrics, wallpaper, and pillowcases in Burford, Oxfordshire. Perfect for new décor ideas.

 

Moyses Stevens

If you don’t have time to run off to the country and bathe in a pool of flowers, then go for the next best thing and treat yourself to a gorgeous bouquet from Moyses Stevens. They use British flowers in their world famous flower arrangements wherever they can from the stunning countryside of Dartmoor. Their bouquets are bursting with colour and dreamy scents. Go and ponder the day away in their store in Hampstead Garden Suburb and then head over for a walk in Hampstead heath for a wholesome day out in London. 

Rebel Rebel

Rebel Rebel in Hackney, East London is another floral gem which we are thrilled to have as our stockist! The independent and experimental florist is a feast for the eyes with their beautiful display which features a floral arch. Located on Brooksby’s Walk, drop in, pick up some beautiful flowers and enjoy a great day out at  Chatsworth Road market!

 

 

 

Palm 2 and Organic and Natural

As our local deli, Palm 2/Organic and Natural is close to our hearts – they source the best fair trade and organic products. Situated in Clapton Pond it’s the perfect place to stop by and grab delicious fresh produce made daily by chefs. You can sit in or take a yummy box of goodness away to eat al fresco while enjoying the sunshine in Hackney Downs.

 

Smoke on the Water 

If you’re feeling creative then why not head to Kent and visit Smoke on the Water in Deal where you can partake in a workshop and learn how to transform old furniture using chalk paints – for a shabby chic new look. They also supply French-inspired hand painted vintage furniture and a unique range of decorative items household accessories, soft furnishings, gifts and greeting cards.

 

 

 

 


Violet Hill 

Violet Hill Studios is very close to our hearts. This beautiful centre for natural healing is a little piece of joy in the heart of London.  With an extensive selection of natural healing disciplines, ranging from yoga to family consultations, you can also find a selection of Natasha Jade cards. Natasha has a special personal connection to the beautiful studio so it’s with great pleasure that our cards are now stocked there. 

We hope you enjoyed reading about our fabulous new stockists! To find your nearest Natasha Jade stockist, visit our stockists page. 

Natasha Jade + Team  x

 

How I have learned to trust my Business and Creative instincts

I have had to remind myself recently to have faith in the way things are, with the knowledge that everything happens for a reason.

In business and creativity, I find myself asking questions like – why am I doing this? Should I have made that decision? Is this piece of work good enough? The list goes on! These questions come up time and time again for me in my business and creative life. But the real question is – how do I deal with them? I believe the answer is to trust in the way things are.

When creating a painting I am slowly learning to trust the decisions I make. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to use a certain colour, or to use a certain technique in a painting. But within my creative process, I realize it’s important to trust my instincts and do what feels right, not what my mind is telling me I should do. This is when I create my best work.

This also applies to times when I have to make a decision. I know that when I make a decision I endeavor to make the best move that I can in that moment. Things may change but in that moment I make the best possible decision I can. Again this is where I need to hold onto everything I have learned in the last few years and come to trust in myself and believe in my decisions.

Sometimes in my business and creative life, undesirable situations inevitably arise. These situations can be tricky, unplanned or just massively inconvenient! I realise now that we never really know why we are presented with certain situations in life, but we can look positively at the situation at hand and trust that everything happens for a reason. And in hindsight, what seems like a big problem at the time can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. This serves as a reminder to trust that everything will turn out to be OK in the end.

How I remain calm when problems arise

Last week, I had one of those weeks where everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong.  I left my keys on the other side of London, the window in my flat smashed… the list goes on. 

When I started stressing and getting all uptight – a thought came to me. Problems like these are not going to stop happening in life. I can’t prevent things from going wrong, but I can stop myself from getting so affected each time something swings me off balance slightly. 

I realise that by changing my reaction to situations that arise, I am less fearful about what is happening and actually in a way – that allows my life to unfold more smoothly. 

On the day I left my keys on the other side of London, and I was driving from East to West London for the third time that day, I realised the power of what I practice in yoga and meditation. And how actually everything I practice on the mat or in my meditation is just a rehearsal for what I encounter in my daily life. 

What is the point of going all this yoga and meditation if I am going to freak out every time something happens which I am not expecting? Surely in all of these practices, I can find some calm within myself to hold onto when things go wrong! 

For me at this point in my life, this is what I am trying to master; The ability to stay calm and unreactive when life throws you off course. The knowledge deep down that everything happens for a reason and there is a bigger force at work that sometimes I am not even aware of. 

My mum has a saying that she heard from one of her meditation teachers, which is ‘ there are no such things as problems.’ This little phrase is actually gold! When I say it my whole energy changes and actually something that I could have made into a disaster becomes something small and insignificant. 

When things happen that I can’t control I say to myself over and over – there are no such things as problems and immediately my outlook has changed.

See for me, the problems we come up against in our daily lives are where the real tests lie – and that’s where the real yoga practice is for me. By remaining unreactive to situations that test me, I am able to keep my centre as life unfolds around me. It can be tough and challenging but I realise now it’s the little things that count and our ability to stay equanimous and calm throughout. 

5 Tips for dealing with Rejection in Business

Something that I have been thinking about a lot recently is rejection.  Especially relating to the product side of what we do here at Natasha Jade.  Here a few things I have come to realise which have helped me turn rejection into something positive. Just a heads up – this blog is more focused on the products side of what we do! 

It’s inevitable, to begin with. 
I realise now that rejection is inevitable at the beginning. After talking to a lot of people around me, the general consensus is that – quite often when one starts a creative business,  the first few years are really about sussing out which retailers are a good match for your brand. I realise now that there is a type of shop/person that likes my products more than others. And I realise now that it is quite common in the first three years to get a lot of rejection. This is just because you are trying to figure out what works. Once you start to get to know your own brand better and the type of stock that works,  you can be more targeted in your search and therefore get rejected less. 

Rejection makes you learn.
I am really starting to believe that all the great things in life come with a little bit of hard work.  When things come too easily we don’t learn and don’t always reach the full potential of what we are capable of.  Now when I am rejected from a stockist I can actually look at the experience with a little bit of gratitude as I can see how I could maybe improve on my approach for next time. I always strive to do better and improve my business so every bit of feedback I receive, I view as positive now. I must admit sometimes this is easier said than done sometimes!

Rejection makes me want to improve.
If a shop doesn’t want to stock our products, in a strange way this fuels my ambition and drive to do even better, so that one day the people that have not wanted to stock the products may think they have missed out!! Instead of deflating me, it now makes me work harder and double up on my efforts!

Look at JK Rowling – she was rejected so many of times before getting Harry Potter published. I’m sure each rejection gave her the drive and ambition to improve and improve her story. And look where she is now!!

Rejection can be a blessing.
I am learning now that not everyone is easy to work with. Quite a lot of the time I look back at the people we have approached and I think – thank god we don’t work together. Sometimes a job that I want so much might seem like the be all and end all but actually in hindsight I realise it might be more trouble than it’s worth.  So maybe sometimes there is a hidden reason as to why we don’t get something. But I keep reminding myself to trust the situation. There is a blessing in disguise here somewhere! After all – everything happens for a reason. 

You are not alone! 
I think every successful person has had a dose of rejection. I think it’s what makes us who we are and what helps us to learn and strive to be better. As creatives, it is extremely hard to put ourselves in a position where someone has the chance to be critical of our creative work. But if maybe we change the way we look at it slightly then we might be able to take a positive from the experience. 

So many famous musicians, authors, and brand owners have had to deal with so much rejection in order to get to where they are now. What makes a person successful is the fact that they have persevered. So perseverance is key! 

To take a look at my products including greeting cards, gift wrap and mugs, please visit my shop and for a sneak peak behind the scenes visit my Instagram

8 Instagram Tips for Creatives

Written by Jess Molteno Murray – Social Media Manager for Natasha Jade

Within the past 2 years, our Instagram has grown from 0 followers to over 10K!  We’ve made some mistakes along the way but we’ve also developed some strategies that seem to be effective : ). Here are some tips that you may be able to incorporate into your brand’s strategy…  or you could use them to take your personal Instagram up a level ⬆️

1. Mix it up. Initially, we posted groups of similar images which we quickly realised can be a little bit boring and monotonous. So now, we strive to vary our posts, alternating between product shots, lifestyle, inspiration and ‘studio life’ images. This keeps the feed fresh and varied.

2. Engage and comment back. If someone has made the effort to comment on your post, it’s nice to comment back with thanks or an answer to their question. This encourages more people to comment and also shows appreciation and gratitude. 

3. Think in threes. As you know, Instagram is organised in rows of three posts, so it’s good to be aware of how each row of three appears on your feed. Perhaps you may choose similar colours or shapes (if using frames) to create a uniform and branded feel. For example, Harrods seem to move through different colour phases and Zachary Pulman Design Studio posts three similar photos for each row. The downside to this is –  once you start you might find it hard to break free from the ‘rule of three’. So, you may want to be more randomised, after all – rules are made to be broken!

4. Edit your pics in flight mode. If you like to use frames or scheduling software such as Hootsuite, then it’s useful to pre-edit your photos. If you put your phone in flight mode, then you can use Instagram’s editing features (crop, filter, brighten etc) without actually posting the photo to your feed. In flight mode, edit your pic and post it – the picture will fail to post but a copy will appear in your photos. Your filtered/edited pic is now ready to be framed and/or scheduled!

5. Master your product shots. It’s worth spending a bit more time on your product shots. After all, this is your chance to present your work/products/artwork at it’s best. Be aware that white can sometimes appear grey, especially when there are shadows within your pics. We noticed a big difference when we started using photoshop to make white backgrounds whiter.

Before and after editing: 

6. Use emojis. Because they just make your posts more fun and help to break up big chunks of text. 💕

7. Use hashtags to your advantage. A good exercise – is to think about which hashtags your target market/potential fans use. You can then use those hashtags to find and interact with new potential fans. You can also use some of those hashtags within your posts to help people find you… 

8. Shoutout other brands. Each trade show we exhibit at, we create a diary (read our latest diary here) showcasing new brands that we discover during each show. We then post about them on our blog and social media. This has led to new collaborations with brands and features in newsletters. It also gives our followers an insight into fresh new brands that they may not have discovered otherwise. So tell the world about brands you admire!

Visit our Instagram here

My Response to Robert Rauschenberg’s Exhibition at the Tate Modern

Last week I finally managed to go and see the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition at the Tate Modern.  Being one of my favourite artists and having studied his work whilst I was at school, I was desperate to go and see the retrospective exhibition. But you know what life is like in a big city like London, work gets on top of you and it’s extremely hard to fit in things for one’s self!
 
Having seen an exhibition of Rauschenberg when I was very young in Paris, he has always been an artist that has been at the back of my mind. While I was at this exhibition at the Tate modern I found it really interesting to see the similarities in our work. When I make a painting I tend to use whatever materials I can find around me, such as my boyfriend’s old CDs, bits of fabric from my studio mate, nails on the studio floor or anything else I can find. I like being inspired by objects around me that might otherwise be thrown away and reusing them by incorporating them into my paintings in an organic and natural way.
 
With Rauschenberg – one of the key themes, especially throughout his earlier work, was his use of found materials. The curators of the exhibition described his work as connecting worlds –  as he works somewhere in the boundary between humans and human’s stuff. He would find old t-shirts, umbrellas, old lights, radios and incorporate them all into big pieces of work. He would then drop paint onto the canvas and dramatically change the aesthetic of the piece. 
 
Another side of Rauschenberg that really excited me was his collaborations with musicians John Cage and the choreographer Merce Cunningham. Rauschenberg would make these wonderful colourful set pieces, and Merce Cunningham would choreograph the dances and John Cage would write the music. 
This interaction between music, dance and art is something that I find extremely interesting and inspiring. It’s really really exciting when the boundaries between the different art forms become blurred. 
 
On a personal note, in my studio – I am an artist, my social media manager Jess is a musician, and my Sales Manager Leanna is a dancer.  Because we have different creative backgrounds, we bring different ideas to the table. We work together harmoniously in a way where our skills are balanced and in tune with one another. 
 
So, basically what I am trying to say is you should really go and see this exhibition before it finishes on 2nd April 2017. It’s fantastic and I would definitely advise getting the headset –  it was super informative!