I have one major goal for Pretty Jane in 2009:
It comes with a bit of a story behind it. In 2008, I hired some sewing ladies to work for me, in order to increase supply to meet demand, and hopefully grow my business. They were amazing, and one especially taught me a lot about what I want and don't want in the products that I create and put out for sale. They weren't cheap, though. Yes, I increased my supply. Yes, I was able to meet greater demand. I was also more anxious about meeting deadlines and spending a great deal to have these women stitch items that I still had to design, cut out, ship, market, and sell. I was saving time sewing, for sure, but that's part of the fun of doing what I do! My profit margin was shrinking alarmingly and the hours I was investing were actually GROWING.
I started my company because I love my family, and I want to make them my very top priority. I want to have time to be with my husband, in our home and on vacations; I want to be the one caring for all our children, day-to-day; I want to cook our meals and clean and clothe; I want Family Movie Night every Friday and Lazy Day on Sundays; I want all of ussitting down to supper cooked from scratch each night and able to have real conversations with one another. I liked the idea of growing my business, having success and making a little more money for us, but the cost was higher than I anticipated, and the anxiety it was producing was taking away from what I most want: my home and family as #1.
Fortunately, I have no business debt, and paid these women cash. Through Beehive's Warehouse Sale I was able to clear out my unsold inventory and am able to look at 2009 as a new year to determine how I want to structure my business operations. And the decision was easy: in 2009, I won't be using any sewers. I'm going back to my original business model, in which I stitch every individual garment by hand myself. Yes, there will be fewer items. Yes, it means more sewing for me. But the results will be exactly what I expect, there will be substantially less anxiety since I'll be only my boss again (and not anyone else's), and I can stay focused on what matters most. Besides, with things going well at my fabric shop, and teaching two or three classes a week at Beehive while the kids are asleep, scaling back a little will allow me to continue to design while balancing all the other things I have in my life--personal AND professional.
So, the Three. My major goal for Pretty Jane this year is to maintain my production rate at three garments per day, on average. Some days will necessarily be devoted to design, others to R & D, others to cutting, and only some exclusively to stitching. But on the whole, I hope to average 3 garments per day over the course of each week. I'm aiming for now through April as the major test of the system, since the Inman Park Festival is in late April and I'm hoping to display solo there for the first year.
I'm keeping it right above my workspace to keep me focused--so I won't spend all my time checking email and drafting blog posts!
Happy New Year, everyone!
**The sign is made from an Ikea cork board, a fat quarter of Robert Kaufman's Iota's Garden vegetable print, two scraps of quilting fabric, and some WonderUnder. Took maybe 25 minutes total to put together, and will be repurposed at M's #3 birthday next summer. Not bad for a spur-of-the-moment creation!