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Yardia's Core Values

Yardia's core values drive every decision that's made in the company, to better align my actions as an artist and businesswoman to the mission and values my company represents. When I was took my winter business planning retreat at the beginning of 2019, one of the primary tasks I worked on was to wordsmith out my company values to truly get to the heart of why I do what I do. Here's what I came up with:

Yardia believes that: 

  1. Nature is sacred, beautiful and filled with awe.

  2. Creativity is magic, made by heart and hand.

  3. There's empathy to be found through connection.

  4. Community is built locally, one person at a time.

  5. We live in harmony when we're in touch with both our inner wisdom and the world around us.

Here are some of the ways that Yardia currently works with its values and how I plan to incorporate them into the heart of Yardia's future growth:

Nature is sacred, beautiful and filled with awe.

Nature is the primary inspiration for the illustrations that are created as part of the Yardia line. From educational art prints to inspirational works, nature is at the core. I've focused on my home in the Pacific Northwest thus far, and my travels to national parks, botanical gardens and other outdoors locations are how I branch out my creative work from my home environment.

Because of the value that nature is sacred, environmental sustainability is an essential factor to the production and delivery of Yardia products. Cards are printed on recycled paper using Forest Stewardship Council certified printing processes. The company has also recently made the decision to transition from plastic cello sleeves used to protect cards and artworks to compostable plant-based sleeves. This transition will take some time to phase out the previous plastic sleeves, but it will be worth it for the long-term future.

In my shipping processes, I currently collect, recycle and reuse packaging materials (like bubble wrap and packaging pillows) that I collect from friends and colleagues. This helps to keep the plastic materials out of the landfill and give them a second life. My Etsy orders are shipped with carbon offsets, and I'm actively researching my options on how to best do this at a small-business scale in my main online shop.

Other long-term future plans include incorporating nature through outdoor workshops and retreats. I have a few ideas that I'm in the beginning stages of planning, so sign up for my mailing list if this sounds like something you'd be interested in participating in.

Creativity is magic, made by heart and hand.

A secondary inspiration to my creative work is magic. I believe that art and creativity truly are magical processes and that they can heal us. Magic and luck occur when creativity and ambition are paired with action and leaps of faith. Listening to my intuition when I'm making decisions about my business (or in any other area of my life) is something I'm working to be more intentional about. It's easy to overthink things to the point of stagnation, so I've found that getting quiet, looking inward and really paying attention to that sense of magical intuition has begun to serve me well. 

Creativity and magic also means to work with my personal creative cycle as it is, instead of trying to fit myself into what I feel I should be doing. Here’s what I mean by this. I tend have the idea that an artist should be creating artwork every day, but this idea is really based on what I see other artists doing in their creative process. I’ve come to realize that my process doesn’t really work best this way, and instead I prefer to allow my creative ideas to marinate in my head for a while and then go all in on a creative production intensive. 

I've been taking Tara Mohr's Playing Big Facilitators Training, and the course recently discussed how to turn "should goals" into "gift goals." When I realized that within the goal of “paint every day,” “paint” felt like a gift, but “every day” felt like a “should,” I decided to change the goal to “take a painting retreat for one week.” This changed my should-goal into a gift-goal and I began to set up the structures that would allow me to focus entirely on painting for a week by getting ahead on all of my other business and marketing tasks ahead of time. This means writing blogs, newsletters and social media posts for the beginning of April as well as getting ahead on the bookkeeping, outreach and daily tasks I regularly do in my business. It also means having to focus my time and effort more intensively, which works really well for my style, instead of jumping from one task to another.

I’m looking forward to seeing what I’d normally have on my plate business-wise during that week in April, hustling to finish everything up, and blocking out the time so that my only priority for that week is to paint a new collection. This is where the magic comes in—to work with what your soul is crying out for, instead of following what you’ve seen before. My creative process certainly wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste, but it feels so exciting and motivating and FUN to me that I’m excited to see if my weeklong creative intensive will be a fruitful experience.

There’s empathy to be found in connection.

At Yardia, part of my mission is to help my customers express the messages that can be hard to say out loud, through heartfelt products that speak for themselves with empathy. The inspiration and resonance that you feel in your heart when a work of art really connects with you is what I try to achieve with each one of my paintings and lettered messages. Art, gifts and handwriting can connect people to each other in ways that are so much more meaningful than a quick text or email, and I hope my products can help my customers to meaningfully connect to their loved ones.

Empathy is also one of the main values I turn to when creating messaging and marketing for Yardia. Whether I'm responding to direct messages on Instagram, following up with retailers or answering customer questions in my shop, I start by centering myself in empathy, gratitude and with the assumption of good intent. This isn’t to say I don’t sometimes have a twinge of annoyance when someone asks me a question about a product that’s clearly written in the product description, but reframing my mindset before I respond to an attitude of helpfulness and gratitude keeps me on the right path in accordance to my values.

Community is built locally, one person at a time.

The way that I grow my business, to put it into business-y terms, has always been more organic than not. Building a community of customers, clients, colleagues and friends has been one of the most valuable ways for me to grow as an artist and businesswoman. Even though I’m a pretty strong introvert, I love being able to meet customers and other artists, person to person, at craft markets and trade shows. There’s a comradery built amongst local vendors that grows each time we see each other at the shows we do in common. And even though I don’t always know my customers by name, I begin to recognize the folks who come out again and again to support their local makers by shopping at our events. I love hearing about how they used a card they bought from me, about the experiences customers had at the small shops that carry my work, and about what an artwork has meant to them.

This year, as I begin to work more and more from my studio (i.e. all alone), I’m seeking more ways to intentionally build Yardia’s community with both customers and fellow makers. I’m excited to attend the Camp Thundercraft business retreat next month to chat with other artists I respect, and learn from people who’ve been in the maker business life for years.

I’m also excited to grow my local community by participating in more markets than ever. I recently was accepted into my first outdoor craft market (Edmonds Spring Fest), so I’m looking forward to expanding the types of markets I can vend at by purchasing my first market tent. I’m a bit nervous about the prospect of setting it up for the first time, but I can’t wait for how many more opportunities it will open up beyond being limited to only doing indoor shows.

We live in harmony when we’re in touch with the world around us.

For me, harmony has a lot to do with the choices we make in service to personal growth and wisdom. A lot of times, this translates to priorities and boundaries.

Because I currently work as a teacher three days a week, harmony means that I prioritize the tasks I need to accomplish for Yardia in the amount of time I have allocated to working on my business. At this season, I work six days a week (three teaching, three with Yardia) and my day off is FULLY off. I don’t check social media, I don’t ship out orders, I don’t respond to emails or other work messages on my day off. Instead, I replenish myself in whatever way feels best. Sometimes this is going for a hike, sometimes it’s spending the day in the garden, sometimes it’s cleaning and taking care of household tasks, sometimes it’s spending the day with friends, and sometimes it’s lying on the couch and reading a book from start to finish. I don’t think work-life balance is always possible, but I do think that work-life harmony is. We just need to figure out what to prioritize and then set boundaries around whatever else doesn’t match up to those priorities.

With the value of harmony, some of Yardia’s goals for this year include to expand the day off from one to two days—and to keep that time sacred; to say yes to more craft markets and no to more custom paintings; and to determine what the small steps to accomplish my long-term goals are and to go all in on those with consistency, ambition and grace.

And these are Yardia's core values! As you can see, because Yardia is currently a one-woman business, they align to my own values expressed through my art and business goals. In time as Yardia grows, these values will continue to serve as a north star in guiding the company's path forward.

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