Cotton Office

It’s all about the details. 150 150 Cotton Stories

It’s all about the details.

Last week was so much fun. We had a super exciting meetings that resulted in a new location to hang our paintings, and we had a super creative workshop to get one step closer to our main goal – Cotton 3.0.

Ive gotten som email from you asking if we will change the design of the paintings and I can assure you we will not. They will look the same except that we will be changing a few things like Size options and prices. But mainly the whole change will be everything that goes on before the end results. Like the choose of our paper, colors, packaging shipping etc. There is a lot of details to go trough so for us it is a ton of work but for the audience I guess its not that much that will be seen. except for the website and visual things. We have an Art director that does a whole new graphical profile which feels so luxurious since she has an eye for details that I can assure you I don’t have. The things we’ve been discussing has made me realize that you do need some professional eyes on your brand if you want it to look flawless and professional. I’ve just been doing what I think is good for a really long time and thats fine, but I really like it when people that know more than you do, point you in the right direction.

One thing thats been really fun during this journey has been the search for the right materials to work with. As an artist you have you favorite things that you’ve worked with for ages. I am one of those to stick to the tings I know and rarely try new things since its scary to go into the unknown world of colors and pencils. At least thats how I felt before I started to try out new materials I realized I have been missing out on soooo much. Just the choice of the perfect pencil. What is a perfect pencil? Does it really matter? I was very skeptical when I was going to try out one of the “fancy brushes” as my dad would call it, but let me tell you It totally blew my mind. I have never felt so in control of the amount of water or color as I did with this magical brush. The same thing with paper. I don’t believe in cheap paper, we’ve all been there, when the paper just doesn’t work! So I’ve actually been quite picky when it comes to the chose of watercolor paper. But as always, I found something that worked and stuck to it, never really looking for something better.

The search for the perfect watercolor paper has probably been the hardest part. Where do you even begin? When we found a brand we liked, they didn’t have the sizes we wanted, and if another brand did, the quality wasn’t up to our needs. This resulted in a huge search for the perfect paper and now we are down to 3 options. I’ve found one that I really like since it is a Swedish brand and its handmade so the paper factory will make the papers as we wish. So now I just need to try them out to see how I like them and hopefully I do.

We also have a new addition to our paintings. We will launch our 3D paintings along with Cotton 3.0 and to be honest this was something I never thought I’d do since its a whole new level of artwork. But the requests have been getting so big that I thought I’d give it a try, and I am so glad I did cause this is something out of the ordinary. Its more artistic and artsy which will make a great addition to the family. Lets give you a little sneak peak of how they’ll look. Im still working out a few details but it’ll be something like this.

3D sonogram painting from last weeks workshop

What do you guys think?

xoxo
Caroline

The change 974 1001 Cotton Stories

The change

As I mentioned before Cotton has been going trough some changes during the last few months. It has all been very exciting but also exhausting. A few months back I took a harsh decision after many weeks of going trough solutions that just didn’t ad up. Sometimes things just doesn’t work out in the long run, and you have to choose between letting go or move on. I decided to move on. Im pretty sure a lot of you have realized that me and Josephine are no longer working together. We decided to go our separate ways after working together for nearly 2 years. When something isn’t working out the way you thought it would, it is very important to do something about it. Even if it means ending something.

I’ve learned a lot about myself during the last few years, but running a business really makes you get to know your self on a whole new level. You are responsible for every little thing regarding you company. I’ve always seen myself as kind of a shy not so tuff person, but I’ve realized that I do have some balls when it comes to it. If I want something, I tend to get it. It may take a while but when I look back I realize that I do get shit done. And if something isn’t working, I do something about it.

But let me tell you that it does not come for free. You have to sacrifice a few things on the way and I’ve probably been crying my eyes out for 10 years to come, but it has left me with one huge insight, I need to stop taking everything so personal. As Robert once told me, “You will get screwed over so many times, and people will always want to tare you down, you just have to learn not to break down every time shit hits the fan”. He litterly told me this after I’ve been crying over a situation a little longer than he thought was necessary. But that made me realize he was right. So I gently told him to let me cry this one out and then I would stop. And I did, and to be honest I felt at ease after. Like something really just dropped of my shoulders. May sound weird but since that day, I think I actually mentally changed my way of thinking.

I am an artist, and I tend to put my heart down in everything a create. Thats probably why I react so strong to bumps in the road and especially since I am walking on very unknown grounds. I know my way with the brushes, but I have no clue about marketing/sales or how to build a brand, So my main mission was to find someone to invest in Cotton Stories with their expertise. Someone who could do the things I cant. Thats when I found Madeleine. She’s married to one of my boyfriends clients and I asked her during a dinner if she would be interesting in taking a look at Cotton Stories just to point me in the right direction and let me in on some tricks. We had a lunch a few weeks later and after that she was in. Sometimes it just feels right and she now takes care of everything that goes on behind the scenes, all the details you see, from website to advertising is the mastermind of her skills. She is kind of my other brain, my coordinator and digital guru.

She also makes me do things I normally wouldn’t do. Or maybe I would but it would take me a while to build up the currage to do it. Now she contacts people and set up meetings for us to go to. She’s a doer for sure. And everybody needs one of those in their life. Especially if you want to build something from the ground. And thats what we’re doing right now. We are creating Cotton Stories 3.0 and our plan is to have everything set before the baby gets here ( only 66 days left ) and you know what. We are redesigning everything. the shop, webpage, our graphical profile and all the details behind every aspect of Cotton Stories. Last week we came along way and we actually made some huge progress which we celebrated in the best way. A very long and well earned luxury breakfast!

xoxo
Caroline

Hello from Santas dungen 1024 683 Cotton Stories

Hello from Santas dungen

So the last few weeks has been crazy. I mean CRAZY. I was a little prepared since last years order rush was extrem but this year I totalt lost track of time. The days flew by and all of a sudden I realized I had just 2 more days to finish ALL orders before Christmas, and I had to fix all the paintings that was going to MamaMia last week. I am not the queen of planning or getting things done, well I do get things done, but I am more the kind of person who gets everything done the very last minute! Thankfully my colleague is much more organized and keeps everything in place so I don’t fuck up completely. She is my brain these days and I really don’t know how I could manage Cotton Stories without her. We are expanding, and we are expanding fast so its nice to have a killer lady by my side since I am more of the “chaotic artist ” kinda gal.


If someone would have told me 4 years ago when I was pregnant with Filippa that I would one day be hanging my art work at MamaMia, which is Scandinavias largest women and child health care center, I probably would have laughed. But now, it’s so weird knowing that my art is seen in not only one waiting room, but 4 and we are going to put up more paintings around Sthlm next year. That is just…wow.

We do have some very exciting meetings waiting for us when we get back from the holidays. I have a feeling next year will be the most exciting year so far, and probably the hardest to since Im having a baby in the middle of all this! I do however hope that 2019 will be less dramatic. This past fall has been the hardest one since I had to make some very harsh decisions regarding Cotton Stories that left a lot of hurt feelings and broken friendships behind. I came to a point where I had to listen to my gut and just to what felt right. It was not easy, and it took a lot of courage to be able to do it. Life is not easy, but everything happens for a reason and sometimes you have to just let go to be able to go further, even if it means doing something you never thought you had to do.

xoxo
Caroline

prepping for take off 1024 683 Cotton Stories

prepping for take off

The last few weeks as been soooo insane , we’ve been having an extrem order pressure and scheduled all of our company collabs to be ready this week. Which means I’ve been painting babies high and low! This week Im shipping of a few paintings to a ultrasound clinic in America, and next week we will be hanging 9 paintings at another company here in Stockholm. It feel so weird yet very exciting to have my work exhibit in the right envoriment.

As the weeks go by I don’t really think as much about the growing baby inside my belly. But now its getting a bit hard not to be reminded every once in a while that he is actually there. He is very active and likes what feels like rolling around in my womb, it kind of tickles and makes you a bit see sick at the same time, haha! And the belly is getting bigger so its getting hard being able to sit down and paint for very long these days….

I never really thought about the fact that the belly would get so huge that it might be difficult for me to paint the way I am used to, but I realize now that I have to start standing up just in a few weeks. good thing I have a table that you can switch positions with.

Cant wait to show you where our paintings will be seen next week! We are super excited!

 

xoxo
Caroline

How it all started… 1024 768 Cotton Stories

How it all started…

Every now and then I get the question how it all started? How did I come up with the Idea of painting sonograms, and when did I decide to make business out of it?

It all started when I was pregnant with my daughter 3 years ago. I had a scan at 17 weeks to check on the baby to see that all was well and thankfully it was! I didn’t get a picture since it was just a quick check up but I was so amazed by the little human in my belly that held up her hand almost like she was waving. I knew I just had to create a mental picture from it. So as soon as I got home I brought out my paint and brush and did a very quick sketch of what I’ve just saw. My baby, bouncing around under my heart, Such an amazing and weird feeling when its the first time you experience it. I can still remember how I just sat in the kitchen staring at that sketch thinking “wow, thats a part of me and Robert right there”.

Months went by and I kept thinking that I was going to do something with my 20 weeks sonogram image as well but time went by and she was born and then it just wasn’t on my mind until my friend was pregnant. I thought it would be nice to give her, her sonogram image as a painting. And after that I noticed that its was a pretty cool thing to do so I started small, just painting for friends and family. But as the words spread I realized I could actually make a business out of the whole thing and I decided to go all the way. And now I paint sonograms of twins, triplets, and even tiny embryos for people all over the world. I remembered the excitement I got when we shipped the first order beyond Sweden, that was a great feeling. Now we ship to every continent on this Earth. That is just….wow.

This journey I’ve been on so far has been the most amazing one in my life. It has not only been happy clappy and challenging in ways I didn’t know existed. It has also been extremely tuff, it is not easy running your own business and some of the decisions you have to take is not easy, and I’ve been taking some pretty rough ones the past few months. But you learn from it and hopefully it all makes sense in the long run.

I love doing what I do today, and I hope that this is only the beginning of the greatest adventure there ever will be.

xoxo
Caroline

To get out of your comfort zone 1024 683 Cotton Stories

To get out of your comfort zone

We work with collaborations as most brands do today, using influencers as a way to get you out there. Its a very fun and creative, but also risky way to do business. You never really know if it will go the way you think. And the thing is that its not at all about how many followers, or how expensive  the collaboration might be that always pays out in the end. We’ve noticed that even the smaller accounts can bring you much more than the bigger ones. Its all about timing, audience and branding. We love finding influencers, big or small doesn’t really matter, if we see potential or a creative personality we go with it!

Collaborations with influencers are fun but we’ve been wanting to trying something new and work more with other companies and see how that works. Let me tell you that its not easy coming from knowing pretty much nothing about marketing, branding and all the other stuffs behind building your brand. And then just hit the action button and get out there! Thats why you should team up with someone that knows maybe not all, but more than you do so you can run the extra mile together. And to be honest, to have someones hand to hold when you don’t really know what you’ve gotten yourself into, makes you run a little further… I have that feeling a lot these days, you get a kick from trying something new and unknown not really knowing if it will be for the better or worse. But hey, you snooze, you loose right?

During the past few weeks we’ve been contacting companies we would like to work with in some way and now it really starting to pay off which is such a great feeling. I can honestly say that If it wasn’t for Madeleine I wouldn’t have had the courage to do half the things she makes me do these days. She has the guts that I sometimes lack, and thats why its such a great thing working with her on this. And she knows her way around how to communicate with other companies. I am an artist. I can talk about a lot of stuff, ask me anything about the paintings or how to blend colors. But when it comes to “deal or no deal” Im not that tuff…yet.

We’ll tell you all about our very first collaboration with another company next week. Until then you get a little sneak peak of how it looks 😉

xoxo
Caroline

21 weeks pregnant! 1024 576 Cotton Stories

21 weeks pregnant!

So far I am enjoying this pregnancy week (entered it today haha) but everything feels so much better than last week. As I mention in the previous post, last week was an emotional mess on my end, but now everything is back to normal and my hormones seems to have gone back to normal crazy.

Since we where out running between meetings this weeks belly had to be on the go! A bit hard to see the size with all the clothing but its growing for sure and Im afraid to say this out loud but, its actually been easier walking the past few days and Im sooooo hoping that it will continue like this now. I feel so isolated when I cant move around the way I am used to and I don’t deal with pregnancy pains very well! I am a moaner on that area for sure.

Here it is, 21 weeks. only 19 (hopefully) weeks to go and I feel his kicks more for each day!

 

The past few weeks we been working really hard finding new ways to be seen and since this is totally new for both of us, its really fun and scary putting yourself out there. We always meet up 1 pur before a business meeting to go trough all the details. What do we want to say, how are we going to say it, and most importantly, HOW do you sell yourself the right way? SO many questions, so few answers.

The meeting we hade was scheduled way before Madde had her now 7 weeks old baby. She wanted to wait a few weeks to get a routine before we started to bring the baby to all kinds of meetings. I must say that baby Thea has been so smooth during all of our meetings and I really hope my future baby will behave the same…..have a strong feeling he won’t though.

A little sneak-peak on what we were doing after the meeting. We are so excited about this collaboration and we will tell you guys more about it in the future when we’ve worked out all the details. Its funny how life turnes out the way it does. I could never have imagine that I would do the things I do today just 3 years back, and the things we have planner for next year makes me wanna pinch my arm. Its really true what they say -If you can dream it. You can do it. Make it work!

xoxo
Caroline