If you happened upon our IG stories a few weeks ago you may have seen me rambling about the rut I've been stuck in.
Owning a business is a rollercoaster. We experienced the exciting and tense uphill climb in our first 6 months. Now we've arrived at the drop, the lows. It's a very real part of entrepreneurship that few people share about in specifics because...well...no one likes to show failure or weakness. However since this blog is a "behind the scenes" look at our business I'm gonna keep it 💯and break it down for ya.
But first, some extra background info. This is gonna be about what's been happening in my life so if you're only interested in the business details, skip the next few paragraphs.
I'm a mom of two that's trying to grow a new small business in an industry that I have zero experience in.
I've also been searching for a new full-time job.
And even as I write this post it feels like all these things are in free fall.
THE FULL-TIME GIG: A few promising leads fell apart at the late stages and since then there haven't been any postings I've been drawn to.
MOMMIN': Charlie has been dramatically bawling her eyes out when we bring her home from grandma's each night. She hates coming home (it's boring, in her words) and begs to stay with her grandparents...which of course doesn't feel great as a parent.
So what's been going on?
To understand how I got to this point, you need an overview of the timeline
It takes approximately 8-12 weeks to create a new collection once I've decided on a direction for concepts. Given my long timelines, the time of year I was trying to create a new collection and the simple fact that I'm a new business, I needed to make some very expensive decisions with a lot of uncertainty.
1) Being such a new brand that's still learning about our customers, I have very few data points that help me predict what will or won't be well received. Just gut instinct.
2) Applications for Spring/Summer markets open around February. This didn't line up with my manufacturing timelines because it meant I had to commit to creating a set quantity of garments before I even knew what markets I'd be accepted to. Manufacturing a line is REALLY expensive (thousands upon thousands of dollars) and creating too much or too little has major ramifications.
We were #blessed and completely blown away by how much we sold through when the new collection dropped and at the first few markets following the drop. Sales were beyond what I expected and we saw great engagement growth in social media. All positive things!
About a week after the drop it was clear that we wouldn't have enough inventory to carry us through the season. And my super supportive husband kept reinforcing that this was a good problem to have! It meant we were growing.
The stars were aligning. I had enough fabric to do another run. Both my production house and printer had a few slow weeks and could fit me in for a quick stock run. We were off to the races...
...and then it stopped. As soon as I received the restock, business from the markets abruptly fell off a cliff. To be clear, I don't fault the organizers for this. The shows themselves were beautifully organized and promoted. But either the weather sucked, the attendance was lower than anyone anticipated or it just wasn't the right audience for our brand.
Simultaneously, something I did expect, online sales were slowing down. People who wanted items from our new collection had already copped. My time and energy was directed at prepping for the markets rather than growing my online audience...so no new people were buying online.
Where we're at
Seemingly overnight we plummeted from the height of our coaster ride to the lowest we've experienced. I realize the imagery is a bit dramatic but it feels that way when you're living it. So here's the scary, unfiltered, unadulterated truth of where we currently are:
1) The decision to restock during our high's has now left us with more inventory and expenses than we are comfortable carrying.
2) We haven't grown as many new customers and social media followers as we had hoped to by participating in markets.
3) Because we haven't sold through the restock inventory, I don't currently have enough capital to create Fall designs that I can drop when others normally drop Fall collections.
BUT THERE IS A PLAN!
And it's already in motion. I'll save that for another post cause this one's been a long one!
In the meantime, send positive thoughts this way 😊We're down but definitely not out. We love this brand we've built, we love the people that've shown us so much support and we believe we can pick ourselves up!
I know I can
Be what I wanna be
If I work hard at it
I'll be where I wanna be