Why I’m Letting Day Designer® Go

by Whitney on February 22, 2014

First of all, announcement! Day Designer® is officially a registered trademark! Trademarking something is a lengthy process, and it’s never guaranteed that you’ll actually get a trademark when you start the process, so I’m delighted that it’s done! Wahoo!

When I started designing the Day Designer®, I knew one thing: that there wasn’t a planner out there that worked for me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted in a planner, but I knew it didn’t exist. I did know what didn’t work: tiny lines, huge typography, colored pages. The biggest sign that nothing was working: a pile of half-used planners in the corner of my still disastrously-disorganized office.

I started doing layouts in November of 2010. It was Thanksgiving, and we were staying with my in-laws. With my kids distracted, I started a weekly layout page. The analytical-creative in me started having a hey-day. The main question I was asking myself was: where am I disorganized? Where do I need to plan MORE? Where do I need structure, and how can I introduce that structure into my life via a paper planner?

The firsts draft layout was a weekly format, in two-spread, eight-column layout. In the original spread, I brainstormed including spots for marketing, ideas, and financial organization. With my business of that moment in financial distress, and with two small kids, there was no way for me to finish the planner and launch it that year. I also knew that my research wasn’t done. The planner, in the weekly format, wasn’t my last stop on analyzing how brilliant people could work better.

In 2012, I dove head-first into researching how productive people designed their days.

And just like that, the Day Designer® was born.

I say the rest of this with 0% ego and 100% gratitude: it was brilliant. Very quickly, it caught on. We launched on Etsy in July 2012, and a few people bought it, and then received it, and then did the rest for us. The blog reviews started to roll in. People were using the Day Designer whole-heartedly, bringing it to every meeting, taking home every night. The tweets got conversations started, and endorsement came naturally, simply because it was helping people. Buzz was growing. Big bloggers heard about it from little bloggers, and the word organically spread.

It has been the coolest grassroots thing I’ve ever been a part of. Thank you for that. It’s always fun to start things, but it’s even more fun when the things you make start to resonate with people. It’s incredibly gratifying to see those good ideas start to take on a life of their own.

When ideas are great, and original, and authentic, they spread.

The Day Designer® concept has spread. It’s officially bigger than I am, and it’s about to be bigger than the awesome, but small, team I have that helps me manage it. It’s got a growth trajectory right now that’s blowing my mind. We’ve selected a handful of exclusive retailers to carry the Day Designer next fall. I’m using this opportunity to learn from my mistakes, and do things differently a second time around.

Which might mean that what I say next will blow your mind.

Day Designer® is for sale.

Or publish, or license. Not because I “don’t want it”. Not because I want to sail off into the sunset with a big fat check. Not because I can’t manage it. Not because I don’t understand production, or because I’m not good at production.

I want to let Day Designer go because it’s bigger than me, and needs a team of people who can give it the best opportunity for the path that it’s on.

In my research, I’ve started to recognize that the life of any creation has three stages:

  1. Process – This is where the ideas are formed and connected to create new ideas. Process is the “design thinking stage”, where lightbulbs go off and brilliance happens. This is my favorite part of bringing new creations to life.
  2. Production – This is where ideas are put into action. Designs hit paper, details are ironed out, numbers start to get crunched. I don’t mind this stage.
  3. Presentation – The idea goes to market. The public decides whether or not it’s a good idea, and then the product or creation will either go back to Production stage, or the idea will flop.

If you’re selling a service, you’re most likely going through this process with each new cycle of service. If you’re an event planner, you concept the event (stage 1), prep for the event (stage 2) and have the event (stage 3). Event planning is great for creatives, who typically love the process stage, because it allows them to creative process multiple times a year.

If you’re selling a product, it’s different. Once you have created a product, if it is accepted by the public in the Presentation phase, the product then lives for perpetuity in the Production phase. And the problem, for me, is that while I’m pretty good at the production phase, it’s not where I’m GREAT.

I’m GREAT at design process and marketing.

In recent weeks, as I’ve told people that Day Designer is on the market, the question I get repeatedly is WHY? If it’s making money, WHY would you want to sell it? It’s your baby, WHY do you want to sell it?

The easiest answer I have is: if you love something, let it go, right? When we hold on to things too tightly, we lose them, ideas and products alike. If we let ideas go, they can go on to become bigger ideas, better ideas, ideas that are influenced by the world around them, and then can grow to influence the world around them!

So, in conjunction with the official announcement of the registered Day Designer® trademark, I’m also announcing to interested parties that we are looking for someone to help us take Day Designer® to the next level, and that probably means out of my hands.

If you, or anyone you know, might be interested in taking on Day Designer® as a publishing project, I’d love to speak with any editors or agents. If anyone is interested in licensing the Day Designer® trademark and contents for a planner project for their own production capabilities, let’s talk. Or, on an even bigger scale, if anyone is interested in an outright purchase of the Day Designer® content and trademark, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line. At this point, I don’t have any official interested parties; I’m just incredibly open to conversation about possible collaborations, whether they actually include my name going forward or not. If you have any experience in any of those fields, and just care to offer some advice, I’ll take it. I’ve never walked this road before.

One final thought: is it scary to post this? Yes. Is it scary to let go? Yes. But letting go is where amazing happens.

Cheers! Here’s to amazing happening!

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