Friday, August 7, 2015

How Peanut Shorts Led Me To A New Business Venture

Something that I'm recently discovering is vitally important for creative types/business entrepreneurs/designers/makers/discoverers/ME : making time to play

In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, I tend to "should" all over my life. "I should be responding to that client's email", "I should be regularly posting updates on Facebook", and the biggest one "I should be making more money". I am certain now that all that "should"-ing has held me back from growing my career and discovering what I really want to do.

If a scientist doesn't make time to experiment, how will she be able to discovering anything new?

If a chef doesn't make time to try out unfamiliar ingredients, when will she ever develop new recipes?

I allowed my fear of needing to make money keep me from playing in my studio. I took other people's stressful jobs, things I didn't even want to do, just for the money and prevented myself from discovering ways to take my own creativity and turn it into a career, on my own terms. 

It's ok, it only took me like 3 years to figure this out but, hey, better late than never. 

So let me tell you about my new business idea...

 .... I'll give you a hint, it's not modeling!

A couple weeks ago I made myself a pair of cotton shorts on a whim. It was hot, and I couldn't find my other pair. I'm sure there were other things I could've been doing that day but I chose to prioritize this project. Then I wore them every day for the next week. I was obsessed with these shorts!

My #1 man encouraged me to post a pic on Instagram and see if anyone else wanted a pair, and people were interested! The next day I went back into my studio and assessed that I had enough peanut wax print fabric to make 6 more pairs. So I threw the offer out there via Insta:

6 pairs available
$36 flat + free shipping
first 6 people to respond get em'
who wants em'?

I learned with my pair that it's nice to have a tag to easily identify front from back -- personalizing the tags makes it all the more fun, and a nice surprise for my clients.

I was sold out within the hour! 

That night I sent out invoices via Square (--> unbelieveably easy! Highly recommend it. BUT Venmo is the best to be able to avoid any processing fees, seriously, no fees! Only catch is you and your client both need to be signed up to use it. With Square, your client only has to enter payment info and that's it.) I also sent out emails with instructions on measuring your body.

Then all I had to do was wait for these 6 guinea pigs to fulfill their end (payment + measurements) and I happily sewed up their orders as they came in. It was enjoyable work that I created in my own studio, I was able to use up all this beautiful fabric that had been sitting around collecting dust. It overall was a great experience. I actually ended up selling more than 6 because I had a couple friends that saw more fabrics sitting around my studio and requested shorts in those alt. fabrics.

Peanut shorts seen in the wild!

My co-worker Gillian snapped this shot in her new shorts, made with another wax print fabric I had lying around.

Doing this little experiment got me really excited about the idea of creating more limited edition garments. It absolutely fits so many things that I love, those things being...

1) creating unique garments,
2) flexing my pattern-making skills and seeing them thru to full development,
3) small business, small production, small enough work that I can do by myself, 
4) providing others with a chance to purchase clothing outside of the "big box", 

...not to mention providing a custom fit! If only I could stand on a soapbox and preach the glories of clothes that are made specifically for one's body. I shutter at the thought that most of us wander this earth wearing garments that only kinda fit right. Or gosh! people that don't even realize what well-fitted garments look and feel like! Their ignorance pains me! I know the Truth! Follow me and I can make you look like you lost 20 pounds just with the magic of my sewing machine!

My favorite is to create a garment and fine-tune it till I can say this is a quality product. That means wearing it and judging its fit, washing it and seeing how the fabric wears. I'm a true sample-maker at heart, the engineering of it all is what I live for.

This is me creating a non-committal clothing line, as inspiration strikes and time permits. I love the freedom of this idea and I've got so many more garments I'm getting excited about offering. For this first go-round, I only advertised on Instagram but there's possibilities of expanding to other social media outlets and email marketing (join my mailing list here).

What do you think? Would you buy clothing in this manner? What platform do you think is best for this sort of business venture?