Owning your own business is an ever changing landscape. I find myself constantly evolving, questioning and developing to new demands. In this, my 2nd year of Laura After Midnight, I have really run into some stumbling blocks. I know why, and I am scrambling to rectify the situation however; it has taught me some very valuable lessons. The first of which is: have and maintain targets.
Last year I had a clearly defined goal in place: to make £50 a month from Etsy sales, to blog at least once a week and to do one Vintage Market.
These simple targets propelled me through the year magnificently. They were simple. They were clear and concise. They were achievable (although I didn’t think so at the time!).
This year I have only just put my targets in place. I think I have struggled because I am slowly ‘turning a corner’. I am making money from what was formerly essentially a hobby, all be it a paying hobby, but something I did in my spare time none the less. People are starting to talk about me and my products, I am getting requests and lovely feedback from customers and my ‘brand’ is developing. I am about to get (fingers and toes crossed) my first pieces of press in place. I have stockists. All of this has I think, slightly scared me!, and I have spent almost half of the year in free fall just trying to catch up with it all.
So, on to targets and what I have just discovered today.
1. To make £100 a month from Etsy sales. Not much I know however; my sales have been flagging this year so I would like to keep this target achievable.
2. To have a stall at at least 8 Christmas Vintage and Craft Markets throughout November and December. I have a sub category target for this: I want to make £1500 from these markets in that time frame.
3. To release more Kits, including my first Sewing Kit with Pattern as well as more smaller ‘gift’ Kits.
There, wasn’t so hard after all!! It was in writing these out that I started to wonder how people like Colette, By Hand of London, Sewaholic and Grainline Studio et al manage to design, create and afford to print their own patterns. So, to Google!
It would appear there are several options out there, and that it is not that expensive. The Sewing Directory helped with a post about smaller batches of independent Sewing and Craft Patterns, which lead me to SewPrint.uk where the minimum order can be as low as 50, at £1.20 per piece which is well within affordability for me. This has galvanised me in to action, and I have decided that the Laura After Midnight Pattern and Kit range should be almost exclusively ‘alternative’. This is in response to the many questions I get teaching classes, on my Facebook page and here about making things such as historical Men’s waistcoats, Top Hats, Corsets, and historical/Vintage dresses.
I am already designing a Spats Kit, which will be available as a full Kit with fabric and buttons, as well as a Pattern with instruction booklet which can be bought as a hard copy or as a downloadable PDF (I’ll get Fellas help with that lol!). I am also developing a Corset Kit based around my lovely Victorian pattern, which I have developed over the years to fit and mould the modern form beautifully. This too will be available in the three different versions above. Other ideas include Tap Pants and Fitted Victorian Waistcoats amongst others.
I think this is an excellent place to start, as I can design, develop and print these initial patterns myself. It will allow me to get a feel for the market, and see if there is a customer base for alternative patterns like these. I know that there are already companies offering Patterns like these however; they very rarely come with full instructions, and if they do they are never illustrated. the patterns themselves are often a straight copy of the historical garment, with little or no concession to the modern form and on the whole not many of them are accessible to the beginner… and that is predominantly my customer base. I’d also like to utilize my Pattern Cutting skills and make then available in many sizes, for every figure!
So, this is what I have found this Friday… my target, and some wonderful pattern and pattern printing companies (for a bigger list click here or here). Do have a look at some of them, they’re really excellent, and designing Patterns which are unique and often very simple to make up. I am slightly obsessed with the quirky way in which they package their Patterns and instruction!
What have you found this Friday?