Thursday, January 2, 2014

Looking back on 2013

I have to say that 2013 was an amazing yet challenging year for me. Looking back, I would probably do some things differently in respects to my business. I learned that starting a new business with a newborn is really really stupid. There, I said it.

On one hand, I learned that life changes with a baby and I can no longer do everything on my own. I learned my limitations. On the other hand, I learned how to be a mother and how to balance both business and family.

Even though I say I would do things differently, I don't think I would be where I am had I not done things as they played out.

The Good of 2013

1. I got to know the little girl who will one day be a great woman (my daughter, of course).
2. I made some amazing friends in both my community and through my business.
3. I created new business partnerships - finding amazing teachers and volunteers to work with.
4. I learned about my small town communities, both in Redlands and Forest Falls.
5. I made some great financial investments in inventory and fixtures.

The Bad of 2013

Along with starting a new business comes the sacrifices.
1. I sacrificed spending time with my family.
2. I sacrificed working on the books I planned to write.
3. I sacrificed financial freedom.
4. I sacrificed completing our home renovation.

The Plan for 2014

I have been making preparations for several months in order to take some time away from my business to spend with my parents. I moved out at 18 and haven't spent much time around them in 20 years. Now that my daughter is becoming aware, I want her to get to know her grandparents and I want to get to know my parents again.

I've been weighing the pros and cons of my business. Luckily, the pros outweigh the cons, so I've stepped past the point where I was considering closing up shop. I have way too much time and money invested in the business to just walk away. I feel like the business is on the verge of doing something great and I can't give up on it yet.

I signed a new lease for a new location and we will be moving at the end of February. It scares the crap out of me to sign a 2 year lease, but it is reassuring that my rent will be the same as what we are paying now.

Over the next year, I plan to bring on a few business partners so I can spend more time with my family and write those darn books!

Other than that, I plan to have more adventures with my family.

I hope you all have a wonder 2014. I have confidence that this year will be a prosperous year for those of us who work hard.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Grading a 3 piece cup - Part 2

I really thought this would be an easy process for grading a single bust diameter into different bands. Boy was I mistaken. Because its 3 pieces and not 2, I couldn't even really refer to my book, except for how much the circumference of the cup changes.

I have now officially spend 7 hours on this today! And I found a little mistake from yesterday's grading, but it was only in the notch placement on the top cup. The walking and walking and measuring and measuring is about to drive me mad.

My only fear at this point is sewing one of each size. I am planning to create a full range of sizes from 28A through 50something. I figure I'll make up to what I have underwires for. If I have a need for larger sizes, I'll have to have some new underwires made.

I am seriously exhausted, but in the mean time I spent 5 minute breaks throughout the day setting up my new computer. Oh yeah, I got a new computer.

Its a touch screen one, but I am still having trouble figuring it out. I'm just opting right now to use the touchpad. And don't get me started on Windows 8. All I can say "What the hell were they thinking?"

Luckily I was able to get my student/teacher version of CS4 running on the new computer even though I had installed one of the programs previously on my other laptop. Maybe it reported to Adobe that I uninstalled it from the other laptop. Lets hope. I loaded the program and it accepted my key code, so I'm crossing my fingers for no issues.

Anyway, here are images of what I did today with my illustrator grade rules.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Grading the 3 piece cup

I have spent the better part of 2 full days figuring out the grading for my 3 piece bra cup. I graded one band size for 4 cup sizes by hand last week. I spend most of yesterday determining that my measurements were not exact enough. I finished yesterday thinking I had corrected everything.

I had walked the interior seams of the cup and they all matched after many many changes. I realized when I left work that I had neglected the walk the outer seams with the band. Duh! Well, that took another 8 hours today. I am finally satisfied with my grade "rules" that I will begin grading other band sizes this week.

This is what my final graded 36 band looks like. If you can figure it out, go right ahead and be my guest to use my grade rules. I graded everything in Illustrator so I can make pdf patterns to print for classes.

I had started to write grading directions for this cup, but after the last 16 hours spent on this, someone would have to pay me lots of money to do that, or I would have to have a ridiculous amount of free time.

I don't think either are happening anytime soon so here you go.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Things are taking off

Starting a new business is always a roller coaster. Ups and downs and upside downs. I keep thinking I know all I need to know, but things change like the seasons and every business is different than the one before.

I have lost count of how many variations I've had of my businesses. Clothing design, lingerie design, selling online, owning a store, running a showroom, writing books and starting a publishing business... to name a few.

This most recent incarnation of my business has gotten extremely exciting. The fashion design classes have been booked for 4 weeks. Not a full enrollment, but a steady stream of students. We actually have 3 classes booked for this week.

The store is still on the slow side, but the online sales have been steady and we launched our Amazon store last month. Both which are keeping the store running.

I am just really excited that my classes are being received well. That is all.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Organizing a disorganized state of being

That title doesn't mean a whole lot, except that I am finally trying to get the store really organized. I could be organizing for the rest of my life and it would never be to my liking. There will always be something out of place and without a place to go.

Right now I'm focusing on my office and getting that organized. Unfortunately when I "clean" an area, half the stuff migrates to another space. Then I need to clean that space, that random box of stuff either goes back to the original space or into another box hidden from view.

It becomes a circle, never finding an end to the cycle.

Today the circle gets a detour. I plan to get a filing cabinet to store all those random papers just sitting in piles around the store on tables, behind boxes and in binders.

Maybe I'll even tackle that box of random trims that just keeps growing.

But this is all leading up to my major goal of getting back to work on the pattern drafting book, completely unrelated to organizing.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bra book update now available

I have been pretty sick the last few days so I have taken advantage of all the couch time to make the changes to the book. I haven't updated the ebook or physical book completely, but you can download this file. This incorporates all the major changes I have found that needed to be addressed.

If, in your own work, you have discovered other changes that you would recommend, please email me and let me know so I can review them and get those changes taken care of.

I am still working on the patterns. They take forever to do and I think I found another issue with the one I was grading, but thats because I didn't use the correct file. Ahh!

Anyway, I really hope this sore throat goes away soon. It is driving me mad!

BTW- Emily started something really cute today. Well, maybe not cute, but I found it interesting. She spends most of her day crawling around playing with things on the floor. On 4 separate occasions, she has crawled up to me, cried, and when I picked her up, realized she was telling me her diaper needed changing. Too bad she doesn't do that do David who is sitting across the room from me. And if she is, he must be ignoring her.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Life moves on whether we are ready or not

Despite my rough week physically, I had a relatively great week business wise. I keep trying to look at things in a positive light. One thing wasn't meant to be, so something better could come to fruition. I am going to concentrate on healing and building up my business. The rest will come as it comes.

Over the summer I looked into offering a Groupon to help people find out about my business. I was a little nervous about offering my services for "practically free," but I knew I had to make some sacrifices in order to spread the word. I have been a little disappointed by how Groupon works. They don't promote as they used to and I keep discovering new "fees" that they are tacking on. For a $45 class, they are selling it for $20 and I get $9.50. That buys me 2 gallons, almost 3 gallons of gas to get to work for 2-3 days.

I have sold 15 in a little over a month. Its not fabulous, but I'm scheduling classes now and only half of the registered students are coming from Groupon. What's even better is that every person who has taken a class wants to take more. I was only hoping for a 25% return rate, but a 100% return rate is phenomenal. It proves that my vision has merit.

I am actually really excited that I'm receiving such a positive response to what I'm trying to achieve. I will look back on this time in 5 years and say to my husband "Remember when I had that idea about starting a school? Well look at it now!"

Update on revised patterns/instructions for the bra book: I have regraded size 34 and 36 already and have done all the revised illustrations for the book. Because it takes forever for me to do everything, I hope to get the revisions for the book done by the first and hopefully have the patterns done around that time as well. Providing there aren't any other obstacles I would like to do a set of patterns for size 28, 42, 44 and 46. I tried doing them previously, but the shapes did not look right, so I never completed them.

I am still doing all 2 piece cups for the download, but I'll be experimenting on a 3 or 4 piece cup draft over the next few months as I have time. Time.....I often wonder how I can get more of it......Maybe get a babysitter.....