The Last Theatre Show

The last theatre show I have on my docket closed tonight.  I went in for strike for Noises Off, and the finality of it has hit home.
This is an unusual point in my life.  Several chapters have come to a close in rapid succession, much like a series of epilogues at the end of a book.  As I move on from a relatively secure job at my former university, I am also finishing up my current employment in theatre, which is what I have my Master’s Degree in.  At this point, I am not doing anything in the field that I had spent my life preparing for.
And that’s a scary situation to find one’s self in.
It’s odd…  At this point in time, many a man has started to go through a sort of “mid-life crisis” for themselves…  And on the surface it seems to me like there are a lot of similarities…  Not only have I chosen to cut ties with one aspect of my career, another aspect has finished up naturally.  Working in theatre has been the driving force of my life thus far, and it’s terribly disconcerting not to be either teaching it or working in it.
I’ve also had several personal things in my life come to an end–organizations I used to belong to, even friendships that I had thought were more solid than they were…  I’m left with the feeling of being sort of adrift…
On the other hand, I am in an enviable position.  I am starting out with a new beginning.  I have opened a new book, and starting a new chapter.  I am investing my time and energy into a different direction.  A sequel, if you will.
And that is a good thing.  The trick is to stay diligent.  It is easy to flounder…  I’ve been feeling confident one day and despair the next…  To choose a path through the forest (and yet be open to watching for clearer pathways) is not always the easiest thing to do.  And sometimes it seems like a dark forest that I’m entering right now…
But I have to remember that there are wonders of nature that are waiting for me to see them.  Vistas of sunlight cascading through the forest, streams that turn into tiny waterfalls, and birds with songs that echo through the woods.  I’ve felt that feeling before, literally…  As a second grader, my family lived in a housing development called Oak Run, outside of Dahinda, Illinois.  There were forests and animal trails, and beautiful hidden valleys with creeks that dazzled the eyes and stirred the imagination.  That dark forest is only dark until you find your way and make your mental map of where you are.
Wow, I forced that analogy through the wringer, didn’t I? Haha!
Well.  I have to keep progressing forward, working diligently at what I enjoy.  This business is going to succeed, I feel it.  And relishing every single moment–even the unsure ones– is what this is all about.
Live life with Relish.  Because otherwise, what’s the point?

The last theatre show I have on my docket closed tonight.  I went in for strike for Noises Off, and the finality of it has hit home.

This is an unusual point in my life.  Several chapters have come to a close in rapid succession, much like a series of epilogues at the end of a book.  As I move on from a relatively secure job at my former university, I am also finishing up my current employment in theatre, which is what I have my Master’s Degree in.  At this point, I am not doing anything in the field that I had spent my life preparing for.

And that’s a scary situation to find one’s self in.

s_sunset23

It’s odd…  At this point in time, many a man has started to go through a sort of “mid-life crisis” for themselves…  And on the surface it seems to me like there are a lot of similarities…  Not only have I chosen to cut ties with one aspect of my career, another aspect has finished up naturally.  Working in theatre has been the driving force of my life thus far, and it’s terribly disconcerting not to be either teaching it or working in it.

I’ve also had several personal things in my life come to an end–organizations I used to belong to, even friendships that I had thought were more solid than they were…  I’m left with the feeling of being sort of adrift…

On the other hand, I am in an enviable position.  I am starting out with a new beginning.  I have opened a new book, and starting a new chapter.  I am investing my time and energy into a different direction.  A sequel, if you will.

And that is a good thing.  The trick is to stay diligent.  It is easy to flounder…  I’ve been feeling confident one day and despair the next…  To choose a path through the forest (and yet be open to watching for clearer pathways) is not always the easiest thing to do.  And sometimes it seems like a dark forest that I’m entering right now…

forest

But I have to remember that there are wonders of nature that are waiting for me to see them.  Vistas of sunlight cascading through the forest, streams that turn into tiny waterfalls, and birds with songs that echo through the woods.  I’ve felt that feeling before, literally…  As a second grader, my family lived in a housing development called Oak Run, outside of Dahinda, Illinois.  There were forests and animal trails, and beautiful hidden valleys with creeks that dazzled the eyes and stirred the imagination.  That dark forest is only dark until you find your way and make your mental map of where you are.

Wow, I forced that analogy through the wringer, didn’t I? Haha!

Well.  I have to keep progressing forward, working diligently at what I enjoy.  This business is going to succeed, I feel it.  And relishing every single moment–even the unsure ones– is what this is all about.

Live life with Relish.  Because otherwise, what’s the point?

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To Tweet or not to Tweet. That is the question.

I have set up a Twitter account, and wonder if it’s worth it…  I’m worried that it’s the CB radio of the 21st century…
I have some real misgivings about Twitter.  I have heard all about it and really like it’s ability to speak to so many globally–that’s a wonderfully useful asset for so many reasons.  It’s unbelievable how handy it can be for certain situations–take the Iranian incidences that happened during their recent election, for example.
But I am unsure it’s really worthwhile anymore for promoting handcrafted items…  From what I can glean, it’s usefulness has slipped in an incredibly short amount of time…  I’ve read articles that have suggested getting into Twitter at this point is a useless endeavor; that the time has passed on it’s effectiveness, and it’s fallen into mass junk tweets.  Much like email, now people are trying desperately to avoid junk tweets as much as they avoid junk emails, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do so even though you can accept/decline following.  Determining who is worth listening to is problematic, and therefore it’s starting to become convoluted and complicated.
I’ve not heard that much that’s actually good about Twitter from the handmade community.  Sure there is the ability to let all your followers know when new items are available, but I am not at all sure that’s actually useful in the long run.  Sister Diane, on CraftyPod, did a podcast that discussed this briefly a while ago.  (FYI, I highly recommend her podcast–good good stuff!)  Her concern was that we are sending the wrong message when all we use our online community for is to flood it with messages regarding our new products.  It somehow cheapens the whole and makes a bad impression.  I agree with that…
So I’m a tad hesitant to jump into the “Twitter Pond”.  I’m not at all sure it’s going to be something that I can actually use beyond simply informing others when my stuff becomes available.  I guess I feel I have other means of doing that…  Because, frankly, if people are in a shopping mood, and they’re looking for something I am making, I’m not that hard to find.  I’m just not sure artistically handcrafted items are the “impulse buy” sort of thing.  Art doesn’t seem like an impulse buy to me.  And I somehow feel that advertising using Twitter is about encouraging impulse buying.  It would seem to me there is a much more discerning consumer that purposely purchases handcrafted items, and no amount of twittering is gonna speed up that discernment…
I think in the end, I respect my customers too much to do that…  But am I making a mountain out of a molehill?  I’m not sure I want my items to seem so easily “pushed” on others… I’m just not that easy, I guess (haha)!  Ease of access is one thing, but there’s a fine line between informing interested followers and simple mass advertising…
I guess I respect my potential customers too much to inflict what I feel is a certain “cheesiness” on them…  I mean, I might as well text everyone’s cell phones…  Would that prompt anyone to run to their computer to buy a new vest??
I feel like Twitter is some kind of carrot on a stick, and it’s dangling in front of me, and I’m not sure if I really want it…  Hmmm…
Thoughts?  Lemme know.
Until next time, live life with Relish!

I have set up a Twitter account, and wonder if it’s worth it…  I’m worried that it’s the CB radio of the 21st century…

I have some real misgivings about Twitter.  I have heard all about it and really like it’s ability to speak to so many globally–that’s a wonderfully useful asset for so many reasons.  It’s unbelievable how handy it can be for certain situations–take the Iranian incidences that happened during their recent election, for example.

logoBut I am unsure it’s really worthwhile anymore for promoting handcrafted items…  From what I can glean, it’s usefulness has slipped in an incredibly short amount of time…  I’ve read articles that have suggested getting into Twitter at this point is a useless endeavor; that the time has passed on it’s effectiveness, and it’s fallen into mass junk tweets.  Much like email, now people are trying desperately to avoid junk tweets as much as they avoid junk emails, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do so even though you can accept/decline following.  Determining who is worth listening to is problematic, and therefore it’s starting to become convoluted and complicated.

I’ve not heard that much that’s actually good about Twitter from the handmade community.  Sure there is the ability to let all your followers know when new items are available, but I am not at all sure that’s actually useful in the long run.  Sister Diane, on CraftyPod, did a podcast that discussed this briefly a while ago.  (FYI, I highly recommend her podcast–good good stuff!)  Her concern was that we are sending the wrong message when all we use our online community for is to flood it with messages regarding our new products.  It somehow cheapens the whole and makes a bad impression.  I agree with that…

So I’m a tad hesitant to jump into the “Twitter Pond”.  I’m not at all sure it’s going to be something that I can actually use beyond simply informing others when my stuff becomes available.  I guess I feel I have other means of doing that…  Because, frankly, if people are in a shopping mood, and they’re looking for something I am making, I’m not that hard to find.  I’m just not sure artistically handcrafted items are the “impulse buy” sort of thing.  Art doesn’t seem like an impulse buy to me.  And I somehow feel that advertising using Twitter is about encouraging impulse buying.  It would seem to me there is a much more discerning consumer that purposely purchases handcrafted items, and no amount of twittering is gonna speed up that discernment…

I think in the end, I respect my customers too much to do that…  But am I making a mountain out of a molehill?  I’m not sure I want my items to seem so easily “pushed” on others… I’m just not that easy, I guess (haha)!  Ease of access is one thing, but there’s a fine line between informing interested followers and simple mass advertising…

I guess I respect my potential customers too much to inflict what I feel is a certain “cheesiness” on them…  I mean, I might as well text everyone’s cell phones…  Would that prompt anyone to run to their computer to buy a new vest??

I feel like Twitter is some kind of carrot on a stick, and it’s dangling in front of me, and I’m not sure if I really want it…  Hmmm…

Thoughts?  Lemme know.

Until next time, live life with Relish!

The Strength of Heat

The strength of heat
Lately, it’s been really hot here in San Diego.  Abnormally hot.  And the humidity has been pretty high, so it’s felt a bit warmer than it actually is.  Yesterday, we set a heat record for 88º.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  “88º!?!?! What a wimp! That’s nothin’ compared to how hot it gets where I live!”
And you’re probably right.  The difference is not in the varying degrees of temperature, but in the varying degree of people.
I moved to California a little over 15 years ago, and it was a startling culture shock.  I had never seen palm trees that I could remember, or juniper trees, or bougainvillia.  I certainly had never experienced such a subtle change in the seasons–I was from the midwest and had just finished graduate school in Minnesota!  When it was winter, you knew it!  When it was summer, you carried shotguns to ward off the mosquitos!
But living in southern California all these years has somehow changed me.  I am not the same person that I used to be when it comes to my body’s reaction to climate change.  Cold seems colder.  Hot seems hotter.  And that’s because I simply don’t experience the radical changes in temperature that most of the other country experiences.  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.
And that’s the point.  Let me say it again:  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.
Right now, in my development of Relished Artistry, I am experiencing the equivalency to a lot of “heat”.  I’m not in my comfort zone, and I’m certainly not living a life that compares to anything that I have lived before.  Being an entrepreneur in the world today is not what being an entrepreneur was like many years ago (make that even 5 years ago when it comes to the internet)…  I realized that a lot of the books that I was reading were inapplicable to the economy as it exists today.  That was clear.  The references that worked in the past weren’t going to work for today.  But doing something about that is what’s really the challenge:  what exactly does one do?
One gets used to the heat, I guess.  One starts to become comfortable with inconsistency.  One doesn’t let is stand in one’s way.
So.  Screw the heat.  I’ve got work to do.  : )
Live life with Relish!

Lately, it’s been really hot here in San Diego.  Abnormally hot.  And the humidity has been pretty high, so it’s felt a bit warmer than it actually is.  Yesterday, we set a heat record for 88º.  And there I was, pluggin’ away at a new vest in my non-air conditioned garage studio, sewing under halogen lighting…

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  “88º!?!?! What a wimp! That’s nothin’ compared to how hot it gets where I live!”

And you’re probably right.  The difference is not in the varying degrees of temperature, but in the varying degree of people.

Heat Exhaustion 2I moved to California a little over 15 years ago, and it was a startling culture shock.  I had never seen palm trees that I could remember, or juniper trees, or bougainvillia.  I certainly had never experienced such a subtle change in the seasons–I was from the midwest and had just finished graduate school in Minnesota!  When it was winter, you knew it!  When it was summer, you carried shotguns to ward off the mosquitos!

But living in southern California all these years has somehow changed me.  I am not the same person that I used to be when it comes to my body’s reaction to climate change.  Cold seems colder.  Hot seems hotter.  And that’s because I simply don’t experience the radical changes in temperature that most of the other country experiences.  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

And that’s the point.  Let me say it again:  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

Right now, in my development of Relished Artistry, I am experiencing the equivalency to a lot of “heat”.  I’m not in my comfort zone, and I’m certainly not living a life that compares to anything that I have lived before.  Being an entrepreneur in the world today is not what being an entrepreneur was like many years ago (make that even 5 years ago when it comes to the internet)…  I realized that a lot of the books that I was reading were inapplicable to the economy as it exists today.  That was clear.  The references that worked in the past weren’t going to work for today.  But doing something about that is what’s really the challenge:  what exactly does one do?

One gets used to the heat, I guess.  One starts to become comfortable with inconsistency.  One doesn’t let is stand in one’s way.

So.  Screw the heat.  I’ve got work to do.  : )

Live life with Relish!

Artfire and Etsy and Facebook! OH MY!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.
Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 day, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)
My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, 2010 will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.
Having a store in both places can’t be bad.
But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.
But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share what you’ve worked diligently on with your friends, quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.
I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let them know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?
So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  And constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not what’s in my future.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…
Live life with Relish!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 days, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)

My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, in 2010 they will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.

Having a store in both places can’t be bad.

But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.

But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me somehow.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share with your friends what you’ve worked on diligently, and quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal and honest” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.

I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let everyone know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself on them over and over.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?

So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  Constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not  in my future, I know that.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…

Live life with Relish!

Lunch with Chickenscratch!

ON Tuesday, I had coffee with another Etsyian, Beth Merriman.  Beth has her own Etsy store, http://www.chickscratch.etsy.com, where she sells vegan candles, bath, and body products that she makes from scratch.
I had gone on Etsy a while ago, investigating the different San Diego participants who had storefronts there.  There were a LOT!  And there still are…  There is an East County “team” (i.e. a loose group of sellers banding together through philosophy or geography) that has a huge number of members…  Beth is a member of that one as well as the Vegan team.
So I met her to pick her brain regarding her experiences in Etsy.  I asked her just how she does it!!  The items that she sells look wonderful–the quality of the photos is great, the variety of items is incredible, and she’s actually selling enough to keep her really busy!  Of course, she works as a dresser at the Globe as well, but between the two, she’s making it!
We chatted about her different experiences, and she shared with me some websites that I didn’t know about that helpful resources, and some features of Etsy that I wasn’t aware of.  I have a lot more to explore now–my brain was a tad overwhelmed…
After that, I headed out to Joann’s and bought a women’s vest pattern (oy, I’m being lazy lazy lazy…) and cut out two size 18s from the remaining black velveteen I had left over from the 50’s coat.  I actually have enough to make a couple handbags as well!  I sewed up the fashion fabric side of one and started to paint it–a project that I will continue in earnest on Wednesday.
I’m also gonna do several other things: 1) I experiment with different photography setups…  I’m going to take some kraft paper and mount it to the fence in my back yard, and see if it’s a background that works in the natural sunlight.  2) I finish one of the vests and post it.  3) I investigate more on Etsy and other sites that have information regarding it, 4) I research places to purchase checks, 5) I explore more of what my resale license does, business-wise.
Alrighty, more later!  Live life with Relish!

On Tuesday, I had coffee with another Etsyian, Beth Merriman.  Beth has her own Etsy store, www.chickscratch.etsy.com, where she sells vegan candles, bath, and body products that she makes from scratch.

I had gone on Etsy a while ago, investigating the different San Diego participants who had storefronts there.  There were a LOT!  And there still are…  There is an East County “team” (i.e. a loose group of sellers banding together through philosophy or geography) that has a huge number of members…  Beth is a member of that one as well as the Vegan team.

So I met her to pick her brain regarding her experiences in Etsy.  I asked her just how she does it!!  The items that she sells look wonderful–the quality of the photos is great, the variety of items is incredible, and she’s actually selling enough to keep her really busy!  Of course, she works as a dresser at the Globe as well, but between the two, she’s making it!

We chatted about her different experiences, and she shared with me some websites that I didn’t know about that helpful resources, and some features of Etsy that I wasn’t aware of.  I have a lot more to explore now–my brain was a tad overwhelmed…

After that, I headed out to Joann’s and bought a women’s vest pattern (oy, I’m being lazy lazy lazy…) and cut out two size 18s from the remaining black velveteen I had left over from the 50’s coat.  I actually have enough to make a couple handbags as well!  I sewed up the fashion fabric side of one and started to paint it–a project that I will continue in earnest on Wednesday.

I’m also gonna do several other things: 1) I experiment with different photography setups…  I’m going to take some kraft paper and mount it to the fence in my back yard, and see if it’s a background that works in the natural sunlight.  2) I finish one of the vests and post it.  3) I investigate more on Etsy and other sites that have information regarding it, 4) I research places to purchase checks, 5) I explore more of what my resale license does, business-wise.

Alrighty, more later!  Live life with Relish!

A Day of Etsy-fying

Today was a full day.  All about Etsy.
I dove into setting up my Etsy shop today, and was reminded how little I know about working retail…
First, I have to say that Etsy is a lot bigger than I thought.  It seems like an intimate little place, but there are thousands and thousands of vendors on there.  A little bit of searching using their engine, and you realize that Etsy ain’t so small…  There are people on there that use it for their main source of income, just like Ebay.  (I suppose I’ll need to investigate that as well, but one storefront at a time…ugh…)
It’s one thing to go on quickly and establish an account, and post something to sell.  It’s quite another to think it all through and try to do it right…  I realized right away that my photos aren’t going to work.  That’s okay–I figured they wouldn’t.  I have some plans for that.  Getting live models and a photographer is high on my priority list, but in lieu of doing that today I decided to take care of the rest of my profile.
Good grief there’s a lot to say!  Not only did I need a profile, but I also had to think about shipping, returns, payment… I had to establish a Paypal account right off the bat so I could even begin to list anything.  That was part of the process.  In the process, I learned that Paypal allows users to use their credit cards and such even if they don’t have an account with them, which was fantastically convenient!  I don’t have to track down a shopping cart mechanism until I start on my own sight.  Right now, that’s not a wise idea unless I have the money to promote it, and that’s not going to happen right away.  Best to ride “piggy back” on venues that are set up to do it for me just yet.
After getting the monetary issues squared away, I had to figure out shipping.  This was a real conundrum–I had to research box sizes, figure out how much my garments weigh, and then research shipping services.  The bulk of the shops that I saw on Etsy used the US Postal Service, and their flat rate boxes.  Well, I couldn’t–the majority of my coats are not going to fit into those boxes, so it’s not going to work…  So I had to come up with different options.  Rather than figure out what the shipping was going to be for every zone, for every garment, I decided to simply include shipping in the price of the garment.  That simplifies things a great deal.  Of course, it’ll probably be a headache later on, but for right now it’ll work.
So I spent part of my day on the road purchasing a mailing scale and visiting a box supplier, and then wrapped it up with a quick trip to Michael’s Crafts…  I have heard that part of the charm of buying handmade is the anti-corporation feeling, so packing the garments in a manner that is unique, fun, and ultimately charming can make a big difference with customer loyalty.  So I bought some hemp and twine at Michael’s and experimented part of the day with wrapping the pieces with old fashioned craft paper and string, then inserting that into the final shipping box.  It looks authentically endearing and simple, I think, but it needs some more antiquing and personalization.  So I’m gonna consider some stamps, some personal hand-written notes, and some heartfelt creativity to wrap it all together.  I’m as excited about the potential fun in shipping stuff off as I am about actually making the garments!
So that’s what I did today.  That, and more research on the community that is Etsy.  We’ll see if I fit in…
Live life with Relish!

Today was a full day.  All about Etsy.

I dove into setting up my Etsy shop today, and was reminded how little I know about working retail…

First, I have to say that Etsy is a lot bigger than I thought.  It seems like an intimate little place, but there are thousands and thousands of vendors on there.  A little bit of searching using their engine, and you realize that Etsy ain’t so small…  There are people on there that use it for their main source of income, just like Ebay.  (I suppose I’ll need to investigate that as well, but one storefront at a time…ugh…)

It’s one thing to go on quickly and establish an account, and post something to sell.  It’s quite another to think it all through and try to do it right…  I realized right away that my photos aren’t going to work.  That’s okay–I figured they wouldn’t.  I have some plans for that.  Getting live models and a photographer is high on my priority list, but in lieu of doing that today I decided to take care of the rest of my profile.

Good grief there’s a lot to say!  Not only did I need a profile, but I also had to think about shipping, returns, payment… I had to establish a Paypal account right off the bat so I could even begin to list anything.  That was part of the process.  In the process, I learned that Paypal allows users to use their credit cards and such even if they don’t have an account with them, which was fantastically convenient!  I don’t have to track down a shopping cart mechanism until I start on my own sight.  Right now, that’s not a wise idea unless I have the money to promote it, and that’s not going to happen right away.  Best to ride “piggy back” on venues that are set up to do it for me just yet.

After getting the monetary issues squared away, I had to figure out shipping.  This was a real conundrum–I had to research box sizes, figure out how much my garments weigh, and then research shipping services.  The bulk of the shops that I saw on Etsy used the US Postal Service, and their flat rate boxes.  Well, I couldn’t–the majority of my coats are not going to fit into those boxes, so it’s not going to work…  So I had to come up with different options.  Rather than figure out what the shipping was going to be for every zone, for every garment, I decided to simply include shipping in the price of the garment.  That simplifies things a great deal.  Of course, it’ll probably be a headache later on, but for right now it’ll work.

So I spent part of my day on the road purchasing a mailing scale and visiting a box supplier, and then wrapped it up with a quick trip to Michael’s Crafts…  I have heard that part of the charm of buying handmade is the anti-corporation feeling, so packing the garments in a manner that is unique, fun, and ultimately charming can make a big difference with customer loyalty.  So I bought some hemp and twine at Michael’s and experimented part of the day with wrapping the pieces with old fashioned craft paper and string, then inserting that into the final shipping box.  It looks authentically endearing and simple, I think, but it needs some more antiquing and personalization.  So I’m gonna consider some stamps, some personal hand-written notes, and some heartfelt creativity to wrap it all together.  I’m as excited about the potential fun in shipping stuff off as I am about actually making the garments!

So that’s what I did today.  That, and more research on the community that is Etsy.  We’ll see if I fit in…

Live life with Relish!

Good News & Bad News

Well, the twisty-turvy road to the development of Relished Artistry has thrown me another curve.  Some good things have happened, and some bad things have happened.
First, the Good News.  The application for my Seller’s Permit requested my Bank information. Well, I don’t have a bank account for Relished Artistry yet, so this was a big clue that I should probably get one.  After another series of phone calls I was told I would need to turn in my Operating Agreement for my LLC for any business account anywhere.  Ugh.  I didn’t have that yet.  So I sat down to write it…
Okay, long story short, I realized all the examples I was finding were for LLC’s that had more than one member.  My LLC only has one: me.  So when it came to making one confidently, I was clueless.  I decided to have it done professionally, and found a local attorney online that I felt confident with that could do it.  Several email exchanges later, I’m sure that it’s gonna be better than what I could have come up with myself.  At least I’ll know his work is legally sound, whereas my own would have been a shot in the dark.  And while it sounds stupid to hire an attorney based on what you’ve seen online, our emails were quite disarming and endearingly “normal”.  His lack of pretense and legalese was heartening.  The fee is commensurate with what I expected.  He’ll be done with it by the end of the week since it’s a relatively simple document.  Then I can go to the bank.
So the notification I received (finally) from the State that my Articles of Organization were filed actually prompted a lurch forward in the legitimization of the company.  And that’s very very good news indeed!  Woohoo!
Now for the Bad News.  Recently, my partner was driving to pick up lunch for his workplace, and his car was hit by a truck from a company in the same complex where his office is.  After a wait of several days with a rental car, it turns out that the very frame of our car is messed up, and the insurance company has declared it a total loss–surprising since there appeared to be so little damage.  In a nutshell, we now have to buy a new car.  Not an expense that we had anticipated…  Our car was totally paid off–there was no monthly payment.  And now, because we don’t have enough money to buy a decent car outright (who does now days?), we will have a monthly car expense again, after many years.  And guess where that’s gonna come from?
My studio space.  Yep, that’s right, no studio space for me–the money I was gonna spend on it is now going to go into a car.  And for the foreseeable future, I will be stuck in my garage.  Jonathan and I are discussing options for shifting things around in the garage to give me some more room so I can have an ironing table.  I simply don’t have a choice.
I called my friend whom I was going to share the space with, and thankfully she understands.  Turns out she’s willing to wait for a while and see what happens. Bless her heart.  I guess all the signs are pointing toward this being the wrong time, huh?
It’s quite depressing, actually.  But it means that I must work harder to develop a sense of self-discipline to ensure this company works.  I cannot rely upon a Studio space to provide the professional atmosphere I need to concentrate, and that’s gonna be hard.  Very hard…
Guess I’m gonna have to buckle down and live my life with relish, huh?

Well, the twisty-turvy road to the development of Relished Artistry has thrown me another curve.  Some good things have happened, and some bad things have happened.

First, the Good News.  The application for my Seller’s Permit requested my Bank information. Well, I don’t have a bank account for Relished Artistry yet, so this was a big clue that I should probably get one.  After another series of phone calls I was told I would need to turn in my Operating Agreement for my LLC for any business account anywhere.  Ugh.  I didn’t have that yet.  So I sat down to write it…

Okay, long story short, I realized all the examples I was finding were for LLC’s that had more than one member.  My LLC only has one: me.  So when it came to making one confidently, I was clueless.  I decided to have it done professionally, and found a local attorney online that I felt confident with that could do it.  Several email exchanges later, I’m sure that it’s gonna be better than what I could have come up with myself.  At least I’ll know his work is legally sound, whereas my own would have been a shot in the dark.  And while it sounds stupid to hire an attorney based on what you’ve seen online, our emails were quite disarming and endearingly “normal”.  His lack of pretense and legalese was heartening.  The fee is commensurate with what I expected.  He’ll be done with it by the end of the week since it’s a relatively simple document.  Then I can go to the bank.

So the notification I received (finally) from the State that my Articles of Organization were filed actually prompted a lurch forward in the legitimization of the company.  And that’s very very good news indeed!  Woohoo!

Now for the Bad News.  Recently, my partner was driving to pick up lunch for his workplace, and his car was hit by a truck from a company in the same complex where his office is.  After a wait of several days with a rental car, it turns out that the very frame of our car is messed up, and the insurance company has declared it a total loss–surprising since there appeared to be so little damage.  In a nutshell, we now have to buy a new car.  Not an expense that we had anticipated…  Our car was totally paid off–there was no monthly payment.  And now, because we don’t have enough money to buy a decent car outright (who does now days?), we will have a monthly car expense again, after many years.  And guess where that’s gonna come from?

My studio space.  Yep, that’s right, no studio space for me–the money I was gonna spend on it is now going to go into a car.  And for the foreseeable future, I will be stuck in my garage.  Jonathan and I are discussing options for shifting things around in the garage to give me some more room so I can have an ironing table.  I simply don’t have a choice.

I called my friend whom I was going to share the space with, and thankfully she understands.  Turns out she’s willing to wait for a while and see what happens. Bless her heart.  I guess all the signs are pointing toward this being the wrong time, huh?

It’s quite depressing, actually.  But it means that I must work harder to develop a sense of self-discipline to ensure this company works.  I cannot rely upon a Studio space to provide the professional atmosphere I need to concentrate, and that’s gonna be hard.  Very hard…

Guess I’m gonna have to buckle down and live my life with relish, huh?

Finally, News from the State!

Well, it came today–my reply from the State of California.  I checked the mail early this morning, and opened it up excitedly!  Inside was another form to fill out…  Figures.  Apparently, once you file your Articles of Organization, you have to fill out a Statement of Information.  Essentially, it asks for the filing number of the Articles, and asks you to fill out who the contact people are, the members of your LLC, and the address.

It didn’t give me a business number, though, which is what I thought I was really waiting for…  I’m also trying to fill out an application for a Seller’s Permit, and it’s been a bit of a challenge!  I’m working my way through the form, and discover that it asks for a series of things I don’t have yet… First, I discovered I needed my “Business Number” from the state… Well, after a few phone calls, I learned that LLCs don’t actually have business numbers.  So I’m supposed to leave that part blank, according to the technicians at the Secretary of State’s office…  <sigh–so why does it ASK for one???>

Second, it’s asking for a bank account or a merchants account, of which I have neither.  So that’s something I need to get.  Upon consultation with a friend of mine, the bank account is all I’ll need unless I want to pursue Point-of-Purchase sales…  And that may come later, but not right yet…

I also got my very very first “tax” form…  FTB3522, which is the LLC Tax Voucher form that goes out to everyone who forms an LLC.    The tax form says I have to pay $800 for my annual LLC tax.  I expected that.  That’s actually what keeps a lot of people from forming LLC’s and instead create Sole Proprietorships.  Everything I read, however, suggested that when it comes to attire, it’s smarter to create an LLC.  Sadly, 99% of most clothing endeavors fail miserably the first time out, so creating one with your own name (if you actually want to be successful in the industry) probably isn’t a good idea…  So I created an LLC, and since I’m trying to do this on my own, I’m stumbling along figuring out what I’m supposed to do…  I know I have to pay taxes, so it’s pretty safe that paying the $800 is a given!  Haha!

So, in a nutshell, I’m moving up!!  It’s happening!  I have a lot to do, but I’m confident it’ll happen.

More later.  Until then, live life with relish!

Of Sleep and Change

sleep-stages

“Blessed is he that is too busy to worry in the daytime, and too sleepy to worry at night.”  –Unknown

I’m not at all sure I want to post this particular entry, but from a certain perspective one could say this is part of the process of developing a business.  So I guess it’s pertinent in that respect.  Regardless, it’s a big part of my life these days.

Sleep.  My particular sleeping habits are a bit mixed up right now.  I sometimes don’t have regular nine-to-five position during the summers in the past (working in Education for years allowed me to sometimes choose if I could handle employment during the summer months or not), so I have never had a reason to be too disciplined during my down-time.  My sleep habits were erratic for a variety of reasons. Childish, yes.  I freely admit it.

My sleep this summer, however, when I do finally pull myself away from the stupid computer or the TV, hasn’t been of the most consistent quality…  Some nights it’s great, and  I sleep way, way too much.  Other nights, like tonight, I awake with stressful dreams…

I can only suppose this is part of the transition of shifting from a regular job to a more freelance type of employment.  I’ve never been self-employed before, and because I’m learning what it actually entails as I go along, it’s no wonder my mind works through new life-revelations in my dreams.  They’ve not necessarily been “pleasant”… hehe…

Interestingly, I am coming to the conclusion that I used the education system to sort of avoid the necessity of acknowledging a freelance-based design life.  The reliability of teaching ensured a life free of the stresses of living an itinerant life in the arts, which is what I saw all my actor and designer friends living.  Even working at a theatrical institution for an extended period of time allayed the “fears” inherent to the life of a theatre artist.

Well, that regular employment is over.  And now I find myself adjusting to a new way of living.  And honestly, shifting my life around is (of course) messing up my stress levels and thus the quality of my sleep.  Rationally, I know it’s just me getting used to change.  And it’s natural. I knew this would happen–it’s just common sense.  It’s obvious.  Happens to everyone in this situation.  Still, that doesn’t make it easier in the moment.

All these podcasts that I listen to have been telling me the same thing: the life of an artist is filled with structure, habit, and consistency.  On the surface, it would seem that it is not, and from a certain perspective there is some freedom and flexibility in being self-employed.  However, that freedom and flexibility is tempered by self-discipline, self-imposed scheduling, and the development of routine.

Charles Dryer said, “You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release my need for this in my life.'”

It is time to move beyond the tendencies of my past that I now think are habits I’m using as defense mechanisms.  I am in that odd middle-ground of shifting my lifestyle in a new direction, and I’m realizing that creating these new life-parameters is akin to staying on an exercise routine.  But there’s a lot more at stake here than just my ego, however.

Change is never easy.  I guess I can relish it or not.  <Bada boom.  Ching!>

Don’t think. Do.  Self-affirmation is a good thing.  I choose to live life with relish instead of letting it use me.

Lunch with Friends

Today I had lunch at the Big Kitchen with my friends, Ingrid Helton and Shirley Pierson.  Ingrid was my supervisor at the Old Globe Theatre for many years where I worked on her construction team.  She taught me everything I know about mens tailoring, and has since gone on to start her own line of children’s clothing and had a toy store for a while.  Shirley just graduated with her MFA in Costume Design from SDSU, and is now working as a professional costume designer.   I met her at the university I used to work at, where she was a non-traditional student as her husband taught there.

Ingrid and Shirley and I had a wonderful conversation about a lot of different things, and we’re working out a lot of different kinds of plans and ideas for the future.  But at one point in the conversation, I shared with them my fears regarding the development of this business and my first tenuous steps into this new industry.

I think I am one that likes to plan…  It is part of my theatrical training to know where I should be ending up, and working toward that goal/reality step by step by step.  Theatre is very much a process, and I spent a lot of money getting taught that process over several years, and earned two degrees as I learned it.  As a theatre person, it’s my instinct to need to plan things out–without a plan, one gets hurt.  The old adage goes, “Cheap.  On time.  Looks good.  Pick two.”  Well, the art of theatrical planning is to make sure that adage doesn’t apply, or at least work well within their parameters.

But this Relished Artistry endeavor is a bit different…  I realized I know where I want to go, but I’m taking this baby step by baby step because I am unsure of how to get there.  I feel very much like a toddler.  I know I want to go from point A to point B, but actually getting the muscles to obey my commands is another story… And knowing that my brain is just learning to send the right signals to the right pathways to get what I want is going to take practice…

It was an incredibly reassuring lunch being with these two ladies.  They both have experience in different ends of what I am doing.  And it’s heartening to hear their words of encouragement and validation that I am indeed on the right path.  I can’t do anything until I get a “line” or a “collection” established.  Worrying about the next steps that I don’t know is pointless.  It will come.  One thing at a time.  The end goal is clear, but like that toddler I need to concentrate on one leg moving at a time.  It is also good to know that they are there for whatever advice I may need.  First things first:  establish a body of work.

So.  To that end, I am sharing with you a “sneak preview” of one of my next projects.  Club wear.  I’m calling it the “Hot Relish” series.  : )    Here’s a pic!  Until next time, live life with relish!

HotRelishPreview1web

Dress Forms Arrive!

Well, the dress forms are here!  I ordered, according to the shipping invoice, a size 8 cover for a medium form, and a size 12 cover for a medium-large form.

What I got was two of the (apparently) same size forms, and two covers labeled size 8 and 12.  The 8 was way too small for one of the forms, and the 12 was way too big.  So I took in the 12 and let out the 8.

Now I have two dress forms of exactly the same size.  <groan>  Both have identical measurements of 45 bust, 36 waist, and 45 hips.  Now how on EARTH are either of those even approaching a size 8 or a size 12??  They’re both size 20.

<sigh>

This isn’t bad.  Frankly, I’m gonna hold on to them because I want them, and making clothes for women who didn’t have model figures was something I want to do, so it’s not a bad investment.  I’m just a tad… Frustrated.  Either those foam forms are supposed to squeeze down to within an inch of their lives, or they actually have no idea what it is they’ve sent.   Or they do know.  They just don’t care.  Regardless, I will be ordering some smaller forms in the future, just not right now.  I have to worry about an iron first…  I can crush down the forms with wide elastic and sports bandages, so I’m not worried too much.  I need to get an iron first, but after that I’ll invest in a new dress form that’s a tad smaller.

On a side note, the average women’s size in America is 14.  I’m sorry, but I guess I don’t know many women that fit into a size 14.  I look at that dress form and think it looks normal.  But seeing as how I’m used to fitting women at the university for the last 10 years that were size 2 and 4, I guess my eye is a bit askew.  Regardless, they’re here!

And the upside is that now I can take some pictures on forms, which I have provided.  Whew!  More where they came from coming soon!

Life life with relish!

Midnighttrellisfront

RoseyWarmthFront

RoseyWarmthBack

RoseogoldBack

RoseoGold3Q

YellowRoseFront

YellowRoseBack

YellowRoseButtondetail

A Trip to Liberty Station

I’m not at all sure if many of you know what’s been happening with Liberty Station over in Point Loma… This si what happened to me on Sunday.
My friend Robin Sanford Roberts (a professional theatrical set designer whom I worked with for 6 years as a colleague at the university I used to be at) is now teaching with a brand new arts endeavor–the Bravo School of Art. She’s going to be four different classes for them in a variety of different subject all the way from Scene Design to nature creatures made from shells and rocks. Some of them are oriented toward kids and others toward adults. The entire project is really quite fascinating–the school is just getting started and will be offering a variety of different classes in techniques and styles.
Their open house was this Sunday, and Robin invited me to attend. I had never been to Liberty Station before. It’s an area that’s just getting redeveloped from being a former Naval Training Center to being a real hub of community in the Point Loma area. One of the former barracks has been renovated to be a series of really beautiful art studios and retail spaces, and that’s where the Bravo School of Art is.
So my partner, Jonathan, and I drove there, and I must say I am very very impressed. Wow. What an instant community with still more growth and expansion left to do!! First off, there’s a lot of retail stores and chains already moving in–the building opposite of “Barracks 19” (where the art studios are now) had an Ace Hardware in it already, with an Art Quilt Gallery diagonal from that… Quite an eclectic area, it’s being promoted as the new arts hub of San Diego, being a new sort of “Balboa Park” experience. It’s well manicured lawns and open spaces are certainly sunny, and it has a wonderful campus/collegiate feel to it that makes all the businesses there seem like wonderful amenities.
We got into the barracks, walked upstairs, and went into the studio. It’s charming. You really can’t tell this used to be a barracks at all–each studio has light pouring in from multiple windows, and even the hallways between the studios that line the outer walls have windows and big glass doors. It feels like quite an airy space, and you can look into the studios and watch the artists at work. The lower floor is for studio/retail space, and they have to be open to the public during the day as well as have a retail component. It’s an incredibly intriguing location!!
I got to meet Alan Ziter, the Executive Director of the NTC Foundation, who gave me and Robin and her husband and my partner a quick rundown of the facilities and showed us the last available studio on the second floor. 324 square feet, with wonderful windows on the east side, and a big glass door on the west. Flooring had been put in so the it wasn’t concrete, and all the walls were painted a clean white. Electricity wasn’t included (which he said would run about $250 a month), and it didn’t appear to have water which could be a real problem when you’re dealing with fabrics and dye and such… But we’ll see.
It was intriguing as a studio space, and I will be talking to my friends about it as we have lunch on Tuesday. Yeah, my “long story that I wasn’t gonna go into” that I mentioned in a previous blog post involves two of my friends and I going in on a studio space together. So we’re looking.
But regardless, the Bravo School of Art is on it’s way, and their course offering are quite eclectic. Robin had hoped I might figure out a class that I could teach, but my first instinct was to teach sewing, and the classroom/studio isn’t equipped to accommodate that… So there are other things I could teach that are outside of the box (for example, one of Robin’s classes is called “Poetry Box”, which has nothing to do with scene design but uses the skills she incorporates in her scenic design process and applies them to other ends), but I think I need to ponder that a bit more. I think I’ve got my hands full making a stock of clothing just yet, but sometime in the future, Watch Out!!! : )
Okay, this is a book!
Live life with relish!

Barracks19Ext

I’m not at all sure if many of you know what’s been happening with Liberty Station over in Point Loma… This is what happened to me on Sunday.

My friend Robin Sanford Roberts (a professional theatrical set designer whom I worked with for 6 years as a colleague at the university I used to be at) is now teaching with a brand new arts endeavor–the Bravo School of Art. She’s going to be teaching four different classes for them in a variety of different subject all the way from Scene Design to nature creatures made from shells and rocks. Some of them are oriented toward kids and others toward adults. The entire project is really quite fascinating–the school is just getting started and will be offering a variety of different classes in techniques and styles.

Their open house was this Sunday, and Robin invited me to attend. I had never been to Liberty Station before. It’s an area that’s just getting redeveloped from being a former Naval Training Center to being a real hub of community in the Point Loma area. One of the former barracks has been renovated to be a series of really beautiful art studios and retail spaces, and that’s where the Bravo School of Art is.

So my partner, Jonathan, and I drove there, and I must say I am very very impressed. Wow. What an instant community with still more growth and expansion left to do!! First off, there’s a lot of retail stores and chains already moving in–the building opposite of “Barracks 19” (where the art studios are now) had an Ace Hardware in it already, with an Art Quilt Gallery diagonal from that… Quite an eclectic area, it’s being promoted as the new arts hub of San Diego, being a new sort of “Balboa Park” experience. It’s well manicured lawns and open spaces are certainly sunny, and it has a wonderful campus/collegiate feel to it that makes all the businesses there seem like wonderful amenities.

We got into the barracks, walked upstairs, and went into the studio. It’s charming. You really can’t tell this used to be a barracks at all–each studio has light pouring in from multiple windows, and even the hallways between the studios that line the outer walls have windows and big glass doors. It feels like quite an airy space, and you can look into the studios and watch the artists at work. The lower floor is for studio/retail space, and they have to be open to the public during the day as well as have a retail component. It’s an incredibly intriguing location!!

I got to meet Alan Ziter, the Executive Director of the NTC Foundation, who gave me and Robin and her husband and my partner a quick rundown of the facilities and showed us the last available studio on the second floor. 324 square feet, with wonderful windows on the east side, and a big glass door on the west. Flooring had been put in so the it wasn’t concrete, and all the walls were painted a clean white. Electricity wasn’t included (which he said would run about $250 a month), and it didn’t appear to have water which could be a real problem when you’re dealing with fabrics and dye and such… But we’ll see.  [Edit: Alan Ziter emailed me and mentioned that the utilities and common area fees are actually 25¢ per square foot… Quite a difference from $250 a month! Much much more affordable…)

It was intriguing as a studio space, and I will be talking to my friends about it as we have lunch on Tuesday. Yeah, my “long story that I wasn’t gonna go into” that I mentioned in a previous blog post involves two of my friends and I going in on a studio space together. So we’re looking.

But regardless, the Bravo School of Art is on it’s way, and their course offering are quite eclectic. Robin had hoped I might figure out a class that I could teach, but my first instinct was to teach sewing, and the classroom/studio isn’t equipped to accommodate that… So there are other things I could teach that are outside of the box (for example, one of Robin’s classes is called “Poetry Box”, which has nothing to do with scene design but uses the skills she incorporates in her scenic design process and applies them to other ends), but I think I need to ponder that a bit more. I think I’ve got my hands full making a stock of clothing just yet, but sometime in the future, Watch Out!!! : )

Okay, this is a book!

Live life with relish!

Some Confusing Errors

Oh good grief!  This is why one goes through a professional to get one’s business formed: paperwork errors.

I finally got word back from the state of California regarding my LLC application filing, and they sent it back…

Apparently, I followed the “do it yourself” Nolo guide a little too closely.  See, Nolo has you write out everything in one’s Articles of Organization in a format that is then submitted to the state, making a big deal about some of the pieces including the “Purpose of LLC” section.  So not knowing what I was doing, I followed their instructions and pondered a statement regarding the “purpose” of Relished Artistry, and included that in my Articles of Organization.

Like a good little boy, I also followed the links that Nolo suggested, and went to the online website for filing the paperwork to see what was there.  Lo and behold, there’s an actual form one fills out (LLC-1) that has spaces for all the information the Nolo book just took 3 chapters to describe.  So I fill it out and send BOTH to the Secretary of State in California.

Well, apparently, the purpose section of my non-formatted document, and the purpose section of the pre-made form didn’t match up.  Nolo suggested heartily that I put in wording in my purpose section that described my LLC in particular–Relished Artistry’s actual purpose.  But the form that the State provides has boilerplate language that is the minimum required by the state.  Essentially it says the purpose of the LLC is to be able to do whatever LLC’s are legally able to do.  That’s it.  I included that in my own document (because legally I had to) but I had also followed Nolo’s advice and added language that referred specifically to Relished Artistry’s purpose as producing wearable art.

So when I submitted them both together, they conflicted.  And they sent it back, saying that I either need to make both the form and the document match (since they felt the document was an “attachment” to my application) or just not file my own document.

So I sent it back today, simply dropping the Nolo document and resubmitting it.  AARGH.  Guess that shows me what’s up.  : (

<sigh>

Live life with Relish!

A Tad Bit of Frustration

I’ve been working in my garage/studio, and the heat is starting to get to me.  I’ve found that my sleeping habits have totally changed–I’m up much much later than I used to be, so by the time I wake up, it’s sweltering out.  The heat has been a bit of a problem lately, and the halogen lights aren’t helping the matter.  However, I find that working in the studio is easier than working in the house–at least there’s a breeze with the garage door open!

I still haven’t received anything in the mail back from the state about the registering of my business.  I think it will take a while, that’s for sure.  Who knows how the budget crisis in California is affecting the normal course of business…

I’m feeling wary about posting things on Etsy before I get all the paperwork finished.  I don’t know for sure  if I can go back in and change things around regarding payment options, contact info, how accounts get credited, etc.  I need to investigate that a bit more.

Overall, it’s been a tad bit frustrating… I am in that stage where I have just started to climb the mountain after all the excitement of “Whee! I’m gonna climb a mountain!”  And it’s a daunting slope indeed.  Staying motivated is not the problem.  Staying focused is, since there is so very very much to do.  I have so much research to explore, so much networking to do, and under all of that the basic essential need for a “collection” of some sort (if that’s what it’s called).  It simply has to get done.

I’ll finally be finishing up my current project tomorrow–a black velour coat with blue roses on it.  I got the lining today, so it should be a simple matter to finish it all up.

The dress forms are on their way as well, so I’ll be waiting for them to take pictures of the garments.  I want to start them off on as good a note as I can for Etsy. I’m pretty sure I can’t afford models yet (unless I pay them in pizza or something–haha), let alone know any photographers with the kind of “fashion shoot” quality that I feel is necessary.  But I still have to get more of a stock worked up, so there’s no use worrying about that yet.  It’s rather the “cart before the horse”, as it were.  We’ll see how it goes.

My sister, Nicole, who lives in Columbia, Missouri, has asked me to help her make some blanks for some of her own design work.  She’s also interested in doing stuff with the patterns that I’ve made over the years…  Of course, developing patterns for non-theatrical sewers is not something I have much experience with.  Anyone who knows theatrical patterns knows that they’re simply not like the kind you can get commercially like Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s etc. I think it may take a bit of “translating” and technical writing for an average sewer to follow…  I once taught a theatrical pattern making class at our local fashion design school, and believe me it’s a totally different approach to pattern making.  Line-to-line stitching, seam allowance, mockups… they were alien to the young students at this school, so I know how confusing a theatrical patterns can be.  There is a sort of short-hand for theatrical patterns that assumes knowledge on the part of the person assembling the garment… There are no newsprint instructions.  You either know enough about construction and sewing to put it together or you don’t.  Usually, the person drafting the pattern is also in charge of the team that’s constructing the garment, so there’s no need for written instructions.  So I’d have to make them up.  And good instructions for anything can be hard to find… Haha!

But we’ll see.  It’s intriguing to see what may happen!

Nicole is also prompting me to make handbags.  So I went out to purchase some handbag “equipment” to make matching accessories for the coats.  That could be intriguing, too!  I think they’re gonna be my next project.

In my blog search I found some interesting little ditties!  Here are some links to some blogs and websites that I found interesting, and that I plan on exploring a bit more.  Perhaps, in your copious spare time, you can let me know what you think?  : )

Prosperous Artists Academy

Fast Company

Style.com

The Sartorialist

Until next time, live life with relish!

Books, Books, and More Books…

So this blog entry is about the books that I read getting ready for this leap into the wearable art business.  Now before you start saying that all the current information is actually on the internet, I have to say that I tried to find this stuff and couldn’t.  Maybe I’m a little “search-engine-disabled”, but wading through all the irrelevant crap to find what I really wanted was tiresome.  I’d rather pop out to Borders or jump over to Amazon and find exactly what I need right away.  And my guilty pleasure–the magazine racks–simply kept calling my name anyway…  Now I know you can spend just as much on periodicals as you do on books… hehe…  ouch.  My partner, Jonathan, was a bit worried by how much I was spending on these resources… But they were worth it.  And considering I don’t own a laptop and I like to read when and where I like, the expenditure was well spent.

Anyway, below is a list of the books that I dived into because I found them incredibly interesting.  I have a slew of books that I want to read in the future, but now I’m not at all sure when/if I’ll ever be able to actually get back to cracking a good book…

Art and Fear–Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland really was the best book to start with.  It was a fantastic ego boost and dunk in cold water at the same time.  Highly recommended for artists that are loosing faith in what they’re doing.  This book helped me start to accept the idea that I could indeed call myself an artist and actually believe it.

Start Your Own Arts and Crafts Business by Entrepreneur Press and J.S. McDougall was the next book I grabbed.  I had quite a selection of books to choose from on the Borders Books shelves, but this seemed to be the most practical and the most up to date.  Of course, finding books written after the advent of this horrible economic recession/depression/whatever has been hard.  Many of the books were written in the “great oblivious bubble” of soaring expectations and unfeasible profit margins.  Regardless, this book worked for me.

Design and Launch an Online Boutique in a Week by Entrepreneur Press and Melissa Campanelli was a bit outdated…  A lot of the information was, as previously mentioned, written in a time when things were a bit different…  Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that simply having an online presence and setting up a store isn’t enough to be a success, but most of the examples they use were about entrepreneurs that got in at the right time and grew with the internet’s growth.  So I’m not sure if they were actually “successful” on their own terms or not.  Still an interesting read, and I am indeed still “internet business inept”, so it was very useful information.

Fashion for Profit by Frances Harder is still way over my head.  Sorry, I guess I’m too “artistic” to figure out all the business mumbo jumbo that’s in this book (and the other materials that are available with it on Amazon), but I’m not going into this to mass produce a line of clothing…  I have no interest in the legitimate methodology of contemporary fashion business…  Not for me.  I want to create things that are a little more individual, a lot more artistically hands-on, and definitely not uber-mass produced.  That takes the sparkle out of it for me.  And I’m not in the position to do it the “right way” anyway.  So.  I’ve put this one on my shelf to peruse in the future.

The Fashion Designer Survival Guide by Mary Gehlhar was much more useful, but still oriented toward those interested in mainstream clothing production in the traditional scope set out by the fashion industry.  And their first piece of advice is to work for someone else in the industry for 10 years…  Eminently down-to-earth and real, this book simply solidified for me why I don’t wanna do “fashion apparel”.  Money, experience, and a strong business plan is what they suggest—none of which I had when I read this book.  But it was very useful, still.  This book convinced me to create an LLC insted of a sole proprietorship, which is the norm in the art field.  Not that I’m gonna need to worry about it.

Art/Work: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber was a GREAT book.  Not really applicable to me (yet again), but still useful.  Primarily focused on graphic designers, there was still info that I found helpful philosophically.  I’m glad I read it.  And it read quick.

The Creative Entrepreneur–A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam seemed to speak my language.  It made a big big deal of helping artists develop a “business mentality” to help us understand why business does what it does and some of the language it uses.  It was a relief to find this book.  I only made it through the first couple of chapters, because shortly after getting into it it seemed to change into an art project book and an excuse for the author to show off neat art journaling ideas.  Still, even though I’m not done with it, I can tell it will be invaluable for me.  Highly recommended.

Creating a Successful Craft Business by Rogene A. Robbins and Robert O. Robbins is another very very useful book.  A bit older (2003), it speaks to a world of potential crafters that were part of a different economic era.  So I’ve been taking everything it says with a grain of salt, as one can’t count on their examples to be relevant anymore.  Call me biased, I think the economics of 2009 are much different than they used to be, and people are much different as well.

And finally, Form Your Own Limited Liability Company from Nolo helped me immeasurably in setting up my business.  I simply followed their step by step plans.  And hopefully, they worked.  We’ll find out soon when/if I find out if my Articles of Organization are accepted by the Secretary of State of California…

Okay, this posting is a book in itself…  Next time I’m gonna talk about some of the periodicals that I’ve collected that made a big difference to me.

Until then–live life with relish!