building a business: document

I talked to a friend last week who comes from a long line of sewers and embarrassingly enough – I HAD NO IDEA! Apparently she has sewn curtains and pillows for many of my friends. I really could have used her before she moved a few states away.

We had a conversation on the phone and I insisted that she start a blog to which she said, “No.” And the I insisted she at least have a Facebook Page for her business to which she said “Maybe.” Then I told her, “Fine, but can you at least email me some pictures of your work?” And she said “Yes.”


When I see talented people I like to pressure them to document their work if they are not doing it already. There are many reasons for this. The first, of course, is that if you take images of your work then you can use these to market yourself and your product. I cannot buy what you are selling without seeing an image!

Secondly, you can learn from your photos. How does your product REALLY look? What could you do differently? Does it look like other products out there that you want to emulate?

Feedback. Feedback is so helpful. You want to know what people think about your work and how it is perceived. What do your friends think? Family? Clients? Yes, you will know if someone purchases it, but what if no one can use a refinished desk at the moment, but they do APPRECIATE your work. They can tell you that if they see it.

Lastly, and maybe more importantly, you will be able to appreciate your own work. You can look at your images and think, wow, I did that. I look back through my photos of even last year of the really cool pieces that have passed through my studio and I am encouraged to do more. I feel proud of myself. I feel creative and inspired. In fact, the more I do, the more I want to do more of. Does that make sense?


Can’t buy a good camera? No problem, use your iPhone. I did that for at least the first 2 years. They have so many cool filters you can use to make your products look interesting.

Can buy a good camera? Great. Do it. Learn to use it by practicing in different light. Natural vs. interior light. Morning light vs. late afternoon. What hightlights your work and makes it look it’s best. You may not get it right for a while, but keep working at it until your products looks like something YOU would want to buy.

If you have a skill don’t hide it under a bush! I want to see it!



  1. Thank you, Christen, we are reading, we are absorbing, and we are appreciating ALL you sow into your readers. I, for one, treasure each word, each picture, and each wise word of advice. People pay a lot of money for such great coaching and encouragement so I say thank you from ALL of us!!! ~Danielle

  2. Christen,
    Thanks for the motivation.
    The craftsmanship of hand made is tangible. So much different than factory made. Even if you only do projects for yourself take pictures. You can document your own work, showing your skill, and may encourage you to do more.
    I photograph before, during and after some of my home projects. I can see the differance I have made. Sometimes it keeps me on task too.


  3. Thank you for your encouragement. I have been wanting to start a blog on my thrift store finds and what they can become. Then I realized that if I didn’t start documenting what I was doing now I couldn’t go back and recreate it. Also by going over my steps and reviewing the photos I could also see where I needed to make changes if it was in a blog. While I am not quite ready I am so glad I didn’t wait to photograph things I do.
    Thanks for the great tips as always. And “come on mom you can do it”
    Barbara Ann / shop / barbaraannscreations

  4. Lisa Green says:

    Great encouragement Christen!


  5. Thanks for the motivational posts! 🙂 I have been thinking I would like to blog for a couple years now. I am totally intimidated by the idea and haven’t a clue where to start…

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