Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Brainstorming Creative Ideas

The last few times I've been to my daughter's house, I've noticed she was knitting. This was pretty exciting to me because as creative and interested in arts and crafts as I am, none of my kids ever had much interest in it.

My oldest son did take art lessons when he was 10 or 11, and he was good, but by the time he was in his mid teens, he put down his art supplies and hasn't touched them since.

My daughter, Amber, is laid off from work for the next two weeks so I stopped by today to see her and her two daughters. An idea has been formulating in my brain for her for awhile now, but anytime I mention it to her, she doesn't seem too interested. I've been trying to influence her to step out of her comfort zone and take a class or learn a new hobby especially since she has been laid off periodically in the last three months. She and her husband both work at the same company so that makes me even more concerned about the future.

Today I asked her how the knitting was coming along and she showed me another scarf she was making. She just gave one away to a friend who was admiring it, so that had to be good for Amber's self confidence. When I asked her what else she could knit, as winter will soon be ending, she replied that she didn't really know what else to make. She said she needed to learn some new stitches.

I told Amber that I was willing to help her get started with her own little business on Etsy if she were interested, but her response wasn't very enthusiastic. "What would I sell?" she asked.

We discussed some of the things she liked to do and I offered some suggestions. I reminded her that several years ago she helped me personalize a variety of items for children. I had purchased a lot of sippy cups, baby bottles, containers, boxes, etc. I also purchased permanent paint markers and the two of us personalized the items with names, flowers, smiley faces and hearts. I suggested that maybe she could start a little business on Etsy personalizing things.
She didn't quite jump on that idea, so we went back to the knitting.

Amber felt that she needed more lessons and ideas before she could begin. I thought that was a great start and that we needed to find out what things could be knitted that she could sell all year long and especially in the summer. I went on line and found some head bands and sarongs.

It took a little prodding to get her to glance at the computer screen, but when she saw the sarong, she loved it.

Then I remembered that I had a nice knitted purse at home, so I searched knitted purses. I found so many cute purses that I got excited as Amber. We started brainstorming immediately. I found a video tutorial that taught several stitches and she pulled out her knitting needle and yarn and tried out a lesson.

At one point in the mounting excitement, my granddaughter Madeline, went into her room, and, after a few moments, came out with a little scalloped heart she had cut out and colored blue. "Maybe we can sell this, " she said, hope written all over her 6 year old face. Even she was caught up in all the brainstorming.

We checked out information about knitting classes in the area and I asked Amber if she knew anyone who knitted. One of her best friend's mother was a avid knitter. "Maybe she can give you lessons." I said, and offered to pay for one lesson for her.

My granddaughters modeled two scarfs and we took pictures. After Amber thinks of a clever name, I will make a banner for her Etsy shop and show her how to promote it.

I think Amber needed a little push to start her off. She seemed excited and wanted to go shopping for yarn. I believe that once she starts on this little adventure, she will do great.

Sometimes we all need a little push, a little inspiration. I can't give Amber the drive she will need to become successful, but I can offer her some of the knowledge and experience I've gathered over the years. I have an abundance of ideas and brainstorming with her today was a great way for me to recharge and find some inspiration for myself.

If you are ever stuck for an idea, call up a friend. With a good search engine, a pad of paper and maybe even a six year old, you'll be surprised at the ideas you will find.

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