Have I got fun news for you! Especially for all ya’ll that have been following me around since the Minnesota days!
Yup… as the headline says, I’ve decided to jump in with both feet to a what seems to be the next, natural step for me – launching a clothing line!
That sounds grand, doesn’t it?
Here’s the story:
I’ve mentioned here a few times my new-found love of vintage-prairie-steampunk style clothing. While I haven’t been posting finished goods here much, I have been experimenting with upcycled remakes and completely handmade dresses and skirts. And I’ve been loving what I’ve come up with! The look is very girly-feminine with great movement and fun details.
Like all of us makers, I love plotting about how to do what I love to support my lifestyle. The shop is super fun, and business is picking up nicely after the winter slump, but Jeff and I never intended for the shop to support both of us – we’d always planned on my focusing on other pursuits once we got up and running.
And then the universe jumped in with opportunity. A business plan competition.
Think shark tank. But super small-town, community building, cool. (Full disclosure, I’ve never seen shark tank, but have gathered the general gist of it…)
So lets back up.
The competition is pretty exciting for our small town! It’s meant to support new businesses that open in our local downtown area by the end of this September. Step one was submitting a business idea. Those ideas were judged and the accepted plans moved on to step two – an eight-week business planning class. Then, on May 21st, all the participants will get up in front of an audience of judges and local residents (it’s open to the public!) and pitch their business idea. Winners will get up to $10,000 to start the business.
So….. it’s pretty scary, actually 🙂 Even after so many years of blogging and posting pictures of myself all over the internet, this seems more vulnerable. I haven’t really considered doing a full clothing line before, although I have made and sold things on Etsy and on consignment.
Two things came in to play in deciding the throw my name into the hat.
First, since opening up the shop I’ve been getting a bit more confidant with… a bigger vision. And I’ve realized that I (like a lot of folks) am totally willing to hide out rather than put myself out there. And I’ve also realized that it’s more fun, more fulfilling and more real when I don’t play it safe.
So, with that mindset dancing around in my head, here’s thing two. I’ve been working on some great new (to me) styles. And people really, really react positively to them. On the street, in the shop – the feedback’s been great. Women coming in to the shop started to ask if I planned to sell some of my creations.
At first I said no, but then as the deadline of the competition neared, I thought… “why not?” I’d been part of a group of local business owners that advised on how to market the program, so I was pretty familiar with it. The deadline was extended by a week and I submitted my idea on almost the last day.
Clicking ‘submit’ was one of those “omigoodness what am I doing!!!” moments 🙂
My idea – a handmade/upcycled small-batch line of clothing and accessories – was selected to move on to the next round – the business planning class. We’re a few weeks in and I’m already planning out my five minute ‘pitch’ for the public night.
So! That’s my big news! As part of moving forward, I’ll be blogging away about the experience right here at The Snugbug Blog. I’ve set up a one-page website with some of the details, and I’m getting ready to start working on the marketing section of my business plan when I’m done with this post… but I thought it was high time to let all of you in on my project.
Be back soon! In the meantime, hop on over here to check things out!