I launched my shop "officially" on Aug. 1, 2020 with a handful of designs and sort of a vague idea of what alaala.ko could become. But, if I'm honest, I didn't really have many expectations other than it maybe becoming a platform where I get to exercise my drawing skills, grow into my own style, and possibly sell a few stickers here and there.
What I didn't expect was to spend the next 8 weeks running to catch up with how quickly things took off.
Now, here I am with a full website, a growing queue of custom orders, a pretty respectable instagram following, and having broken even on my original investment in all of this.
And I'm still working full time in the middle of a global pandemic?
My mind can't fully comprehend.
But even in this sort of dazed stupor, I do know that I am incredibly blessed and humbled by the response. I have spent my entire life living in two separate worlds: my work and my imagination, which has never really been an issue, it's just always been very segregated. But now, for the first time ever, I'm in a place where my imagination and my work overlap and it's been beautiful because it's given me a chance to give back a little in a different way.
That must sound so strange to people; the idea that stickers could be a means of giving back. But the way I see it, this whole thing started because I wanted to use my creativity as a way to hold on to beautiful memories. Moreover, I loved the idea of getting to do that for other people as well. Whether that's through an anime still, a sticker of a hero, or a family portrait, I love getting a sneak peek into person's story and encapsulating that memory for them.
I think of that scene in Harry Potter where Dumbledore shows The Pensieve to Harry and is able to give him a glimpse into some memories. That's kind of what happens for me when someone puts in an order. I get a glimpse into a special moment that means a lot to them.
It's been an incredible ride so far.
I've learned a lot over the last few weeks about what it means to be vulnerable on the internet and what it means to be professional in business. I've also learned a lot about art and what it takes to really make something that resonates with people. But I think the best thing about all of this is that there is so much more to learn and I get excited every day to learn something new.
Maybe that's the key to really any adventure. You've got to set out with an open mind, an open heart, and open hands. You take the good, the bad, the best, and the worst and you make it work.
It's been a crazy 2 months, but I'm excited to see what's gonna come next.
-alaala.ko a.k.a. Aarika