Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dreams Are Complicated

[This is a blog post I wrote 6 months ago after successfully enacting my big fashion business idea, and found myself ... unhappy? But this is my dream? I basically wrote this for myself, attempting understand and cope with how I was feeling.]

WOW, ok, here I am.

Yes, I am here, on the other side of the dreams I've been dreaming for so long. So why am I not bathing in the sunshine of making it here?

I have always wanted to work for myself. I have always wanted to start my own business. Now that I finally have, and I see and feel what it is like to integrate it into my life, I'm doubting myself. I'm doubting if I'm capable of handling it all. I'm doubting if it's what I really want. 

What do you do when you finally start living your dreams and discover that maybe it's not what you want?

- have a panic attack
- cry to your mama
- cry to your boyfriend
- cry to your cat
- beg your cat to trade lives with you
- ask your part-time employer to give you more hours
- self-medicate with wine and rom-coms all night on the couch
- doubt your ideas
- doubt your aspirations
- doubt your entire life
- give up on yourself

Other other option is to go back an re-read your own advice to yourself.

Ok, at least you're breathing again.

Work is work.

No matter what kind of work you find or create for yourself, it will come with common pitfalls. Things such as stress, deadlines, doing jobs you don't want to do, and generally taking you away from other life activities you want to be doing (see: hot tub). When you find that your dream job contains some or all of these bummers, does that mean it's not your dream job?

[actual dream job]

[actual dream job]

Well, maybe it wouldn't be so great to not have opposable thumbs, and the prune-iness from being in water all day might be a bit much ..... but am I traitor when I say that sometimes the idea of giving up all my dreams and becoming a loaf seems really appealing??


6 months have passed and I want to share where I have gone mentally (and literally) since writing this.

I found myself unhappy, overwhelmed, and uninspired by my original clothing-line business model.

After 6 months of actively executing my plans, I discovered that wearing all the hats needed for a well-rounded business was too much. Every minute that I was sewing production, I wasn't promoting and marketing my garments. Every minute I was crunching numbers on spreadsheets, I wasn't in my studio developing new product. And I found that there were some hats that I'm just not that great at wearing. (SURPRISE! the artist isn't a great salesman.) Not to mention, many of those hats took me away from what it is that I'm actually good at doing, and WANTED to be doing.

Then there was also the undeniable fact that where I stood in that moment, with that business, wouldn't make me much money. And I decided that I had gotten to an age where I was over the "labor of love" system of business I'd been running (for years) and was ready to act smarter with my time and skills.

So I took a hard look at the bullet points in my original business plan, with the practical knowledge I had fallen into the first half of the year, and came to a few conclusions:

            -- if I want to make affordable clothing then I need to look
at mass-manufacturing and delegating the cutting-and-sewing.

                 -- if I want to provide custom, if I want to hand-craft clothing myself,
then I need to look into a speciality, higher-end, higher-priced clothing line.

                  -- if I don't want to wear all the hats, then I need to either pay others
for their expertise or collaborate.

In a bizarrely-remarkable series of events, I have turned on a dime and begun aggressively pursuing these new ideas. I chose to end my lil clothing line early in order to put all my efforts in these new directions, much to my own dismay. I hate not following-thru on something that I commit myself to but ... I think it's been a good choice.

So you wanna know what I'm up to now??

I collaborated with a good friend, who also happens to have a successful clothing line in Durham -- RUNAWAY -- and we designed our first full-fashion garment together, and then held each others' hands while we learned how to work with a (NC-based!) production house to have them made. LOTTA learning, but we just got the finished product in the door and it feels soooo gooood.

Best parts: I didn't have to sew them all and he's doing the selling!

Check out the > video < Runaway made in support of our collaboration, as well as the art show they're hosting of *my* knitted work. I've been busy!


I'm developing a new clothing line with my buddy Anne (of Red Canary) where we're using her digitally-printed fabrics with her surface designs and my pattern-making and construction skills to come up with a line of speciality garments unlike anything you've seen before. We are still in the throews of development so not many pictures, but expect to see some stuff beginning of next year. For now, it will all be sewn in-house (by me) and will offer ready-to-wear as well as custom aspects.

Best parts: Anne and I make a great team, we encourage each other to show up and get to work, and did I mention custom-printed fabric of anything we can dream up?!?

I guess that it wasn't that my dreams were bad, maybe I underestimated that there will be hard work and struggles, even with your dream job. I am proud that I chose to reassess my dreams and make them better. If I had stuck to my original plan, out of some kind of loyalty, I wouldn't be as far along with these new ideas as I am now. Working with partners has been GREAT. When you work with someone else, you get a different viewpoint, as well as, they can challenge you to grow in ways that you otherwise wouldn't have pushed yourself into.

BOTTOM LINE: Never give up on your dreams,
 but never be too closed-minded to see when they need to change.

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