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what got you to start your own business?

BellaGabriella | Posted in General Discussion on

What made you decide to just do it? I’ve been thinking about this for so long. I’ve done all the research, created a business plan, identified my strengths and weaknesses, and except for marketing and having a complete line ready, I seem to keep procrastinating. Why? I have no excuses – I’m healthy at 50, the kids are older, I’m single, pretty much a loner, own my home, have a dedicated sewing room, and work full time.

Have I become so complacent with my current life that it scares me to change it? Am I haunted by negative-commenting ghosts? Do I fear failure? Success? I so want to be a business owner, to earn my own income. I don’t expect to earn millions, or luck out like Cabbage Patch or Beanie Babies, I just want to supplement and if it turns out that I can go into production – great. I’ve worked in manufacturing since 1980 and have a pretty good idea about planning, production, and quality control. I feel like I’ve been working towards this but something is harnessing me. Am I lazy? Or do I just not want to blame myself?

What self-talk will get me going? What creative kick in the fanny will jolt me out of this? Fortune-cookie advice, anything?

Replies

  1. cycler1729 | | #1

    What self-talk will get me going?

    The greatest gains are gotten by taking risks.  You don't need to launch an entire business - begin small.  Create one thing and sell that.  If that works, add something else. 

    As you said, you've got the room and probably the equipment that you need so it won't be a big investment.  All you need is the time.

    Begin selling on someplace like Etsy, Ecrater or Ebay (I've been selling on Ebay for 8 years and although it isn't what it used to be there are still buyers out there).  I know people who've done really well and then opened their own sites.

    I wish you great success! 

     

    1. BellaGabriella | | #2

      That's a very good idea...start with one thing on etsy then go for the site. Thank you!

  2. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #3

    I do not remember who said "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" or something like that...You have all you ducks lined up sweetie, but you still have to take the leap. The only thing keeping you from taking that step is fear of the unknown. You won't know what you are capable of until you try it. And you do not know if you like cheesecake until you taste it! So taste it! There is no harm in trying. Go ahead and start something small. Do it for yourself. Cathy

    1. frygga | | #5

      "fear itself"...that would be FDR, franklin roosevelt, speaking to the nation during WWII.I have another question related to the poster's original one, actually. Etsy sellers seem to be having a pretty hard time in this down economy-----are any readers here Etsy sellers, and can they comment on this question and on the general topic of succeeding on Etsy in this economy?

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #6

        Thank you kindly for refreshing my swiss cheese memory! Cathy

  3. Josefly | | #4

    You didn't address your question to me, a non-business person, and others here can give you some good tips. But gosh, you really seem to have what it takes - your planning, your experience, reasonable goals and expectations - so I was moved to put my cent's-worth in to try to encourage you. Go for it, and we'll all root for you. Good luck, and btw, please let us know what you decide and how it goes.

    Edited 3/2/2009 11:57 am ET by Josefly

  4. MaryinColorado | | #7

    I am not a businessowner, but you seem to have what it takes to make the leap! 

    Have you considered putting some of your work on consignment or having a booth at one of the craft/quilting/art/ shows in major cities?  That might exorcise those ghosts from the past or just give you the encouragement and affirmation that you need to move forward. 

    Best wishes in your future endeavors!  Go for it!  Reach for the stars! 

    In Denver, we have a "Merchandise Mart" where people are able to work with a marketing specialist to display and sell their items.  Perhaps there is something like this in your area?  Mary

    Edited 3/3/2009 2:13 am by MaryinColorado

    1. BellaGabriella | | #17

      Thanks Mary. Around here - southern New Hampshire - craft shops and craft consignment shops have been closing their doors. Three years ago I almost signed a 6 month agreement with a brand new, wonderfully decorated, craft consignment shop but I had a feeling, and less than a year later they were closed. The renters had very well crafted sewn items too and priced to match. Maybe people still have the metality that if it isn't mass-produced it shouldn't cost as much.

      I'll have to check out that Merchandise Mart. I haven't heard of that. Thanks!

  5. gowngirl | | #8

    I do understand your fear. I have gone into business, and it's really tough in several ways. People tell you that your designs are great, but then they don't buy. People say "go for it!" but then you can't find anyone for the support, resources, capital, skilled labor, etc. No one is willing to live for your business like you will, even if they are paid, and it's tough to be a one man band. I take your hesitation to mean that your gut is telling you that the time isn't right, and you should stay the course. It's not because you are lazy or uninterested. Keep saving money, keep searching for good ideas for your product line. Use this time to read books that will expand your knowledge of the business, look for the resources that will make your product an immediate success, even on a small scale, once you do launch. You'll know when the time is right, and then you'll be ready because you'll feel you are ready for any challenge. Imagine wanting to jump off the roof top onto a trampoline. It looks like fun, but you know there is a possibility you can get hurt. Everyone below says "go for it" cause they know you want to...but it isn't their risk to take. It's yours. Hang on to your dreams, but also listen carefully to your intuition. You'll know when it's time to go for it!Laura

    1. Josefly | | #10

      You make excellent sense, and I'm so glad you posted those thoughts. I will think thrice before I say "Go for it" again. It's easy to say those words without having had the experience, and without knowing if it will spur someone to ignore other factors.

      1. gowngirl | | #11

        I love this forum because everyone IS so supportive and helpful, no matter the topic. I debated about being the naysayer in the group, but since BellaGabriella had already done her research, her post suggests something deeper, like she knows something that is holding her back or she wouldn't be asking the question. Anyway, I felt a sudden urge to be...therapeutic? Sheesh. Laura
        P.S. Beware of MY advice, because there is no DR. in front of MY name! Hee Hee :)

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #13

          Advice was asked for and given! Got to look at both sides of the coin and at the edges also. Cathy

        2. Josefly | | #14

          LOL. No DR. in front of my name either. I think your remarks were sensitive and thoughtful, and all the more valuable because the question really was addressed to those who are in business. I'm not really regretting my post, either, just saying that your thoughts made me think a little.

          1. gowngirl | | #16

            Thank you for the kind words.

      2. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #12

        Josefly, there are so many naysayers out there. Please do not beat yourself up for being the type of person who encourages others to try things. I am one of those people who say Go For It! also. There are those who open businesses and do well, and those who do not. Some do not even try. I would rather try and fail than do nothing. I will have at least learned something from the experience. In these economic times, everything is tough, and jobs are becoming harder and harder to come by. Employing oneself is becoming the way to go, and if you are able to progress to the point where you are able to employ someone else, all the better. I always keep an open eye for an opportunity, and I am willing to open the door when it knocks. Like all new things, keep an open mind, a level head, and plan for all you can! Cathy

        1. Josefly | | #15

          No, no, I'm not beating myself up at all... just thinking a little bit more carefully. I was so impressed with the preliminary work that BellaGabriella has done, I wanted to express that somehow, so I jumped in. But, I think there's a lot to be said for respecting one's own fears, and examining whether they're appropriate or not. I love that we on this forum can accept different points of view and I hope that BellaG. will take from it all what is useful.Thank you for your kind words. I also admire people who try, rather than simply dream, and who learn from taking the risk, successful or not. It's an indication of real courage and maturity.

          1. BellaGabriella | | #20

            I didn't take anything anyone said the wrong way. I like to hear things straight on; I don't like when people pussyfoot around to make you feel like you can do something when you are questioning it yourself. It's like what was said about it not being their risk, OK, then maybe I should ask someone else? That's why I asked all of you - you know - and I don't like surprises.

            It's like before you become pregnant everyone talks about how wonderful it feels and how glorious you look and how everyone is there to help you. But they don't mention the water gain, morning sickness, inablility to hold your bladder for longer than 20 minutes, and not being able to see, let alone paint, you toenails for the last 3 months. THOSE are the things I need to hear, lol.

          2. Josefly | | #23

            I chuckle at your pregnancy-advice metaphor. This subject made me think of a skiing trip I took with my husband. I was a beginner, and after my brief beginner's lesson on the bunny slope, we went to the easiest course available. My husband kindly stayed by my side and kept urging me to "Just go ahead," and "Joan, GO" while I stood staring at that incredibly vertical downhill slope, with people, right and left, flying down on their skis. After a half-hour or more of this, with him entirely frustrated and me getting more paralyzed, I finally insisted that he go do his thing and leave me to go at my own pace. And that day I learned to ski! And had a wonderful time.So, yes, we have to manage our own fears as we see best. Along with the preparation you've done and the skills you have, you had the wisdom to ask for input from the experienced. I'm glad you're getting some realistic, practical advice. As well as the encouragement, which is generously given on this forum.

          3. sewornate | | #30

            I ran a sewing business from my home for several years until I retired.  I actually had two businesses-- 1. custom drapries (There was  a need and local businesses gave me the opportunity to learn and earn. They wanted me to be self-employed so they wouldn't have to pay benefits etc.  It gave me an opportunity to learn along the way.) 2. The other, I did clothing alterations.  If you can stand to do alterations, this is a very good business to go into.  By working for a store with the draperies, I could take it slow and see what I could handle before I went on my own, which I ultimately did do.  With the alterations, I started doing this for friends and word of mouth advertising was all I ever had.  I had an extensive clientele that I worked for regularly, but it built slowly.  I was raising two children at the same time and this worked well for me.  There are stores that also hire independent people to do alterations for them.  Some require you to work in their establishment; others do not.  Drycleaning establishments also hire alterations to be done.  Most drycleaners in this area want their alterations to be done at their establishment.  I did get some work from them though when their regular people didn't know how to do a particular alteration, or their work load was greater than they could handle and they farmed some out to me.

            I would not recommend doing two different businesses probably.  Whatever you do, with sewing, you can start slow and see where it goes.  You need to pay attention to local laws and zoning, and of course keep records and pay taxes.  This was the part I didn't particularly like to do, but it is a necessary evil of the business.

            One thing to remember is that there are very few people today that know how to sew and you could be very popular no matter what you decide to sew.  Find a market and try it out.  I tried dress making earlier on and found dealing with people on that close a basis was not my cup of tea.  I did not do that for long.  Someone else might really like that. 

            I would say start slow.  Try it out--maybe doing craft shows.  I have done craft shows, and enjoyed taking my wears there, but craft items come and go in style and demand.  With the current economy, making something that is to set around, or otherwise not be useful, may not work now, but may at another time.  Just more for you to think about!  Not much help am I?

             

             

          4. BellaGabriella | | #32

            Sewornate, on the contrary. You are right when you say not many people sew anymore. That is something to keep in mind.

            I did alterations briefly years ago and didn't like it at all. I prefer to start from the beginning. My town isn't concerned about home business as long as traffic to and from isn't disturbing to the neighbors, or creates parking issues. Not a problem since they won't be coming here. I called my insurance agent out of curiosity and there are liability issues also. They could fall on the property, get stuck with a pin; she said you wouldn't believe the stories they hear. That was enough for me!

            There aren't many craft consignment shops around anymore. I'll have to be more creative when I'm ready to market.

            Thanks for the input!

    2. BellaGabriella | | #18

      Laura, good advice. Thank you. I just want something else, you know? Now that the kids are older I don't want to end up on the couch eating chocolate and talking to the cats I'll buy...I want to do something...help someone.

      1. gowngirl | | #21

        I know exactly what you are saying. I started my business cause I needed to be needed. All I know how to do is sew because I've given so much of my life to the skill, but then what do with it once you have it? It's not worth so much until you give it away. I'm curious, what kind of business did you want to start??Laura

        1. BellaGabriella | | #24

          Laura, it started out as wanting to sew special occasion for babies and toddlers. I like to sew small things because I can put in more detail, give each piece more attention, and it won't take months to finish the piece. I posted this about a year ago. Then I started thinking... I love babies and toddlers but I would have to deal with their parents, and decided I wouldn't be comfortable dealing with strangers on a regular basis. So, I decided to go back to making cloth dolls, with needle-sculpted or embroidered faces, 6-14" tall, and sell them with 2 outfits, and some type of carry case or tote bag.

          Instead of marketing them for children, I want to target the elderly. I thought if they had a 'friend' to care for, to dress and change and have around, they wouldn't feel so lonely. Six years ago a very dear friend of our family ended up in a nursing home after developing Alzheimers. I made her a cloth doll with an embroidered face dressed in a Christmas outfit. She was so happy with that doll it made me cry. The lady in the bed next to her was excited as well. Laura, I felt so odd that a little doll that I made had such a powerful effect on one person. I knew right then that was what I should do. Well, a few weeks went by and the doll was from a copyrighted 1992 McCalls pattern - the sweetest pattern - and we all know we can't sell from copyrighted patterns. So I tried to adapt my own after looking at other doll patterns (funny thing, they all seem to match up - are they really that different?) but had little success; I'm a pattern girl. So time went by and I put the idea aside and learned how to make quilts and quilted things and that was great but they had no faces, lol, and that brought me to sewing for babies and toddlers and now I am back to dolls. Probably more than you wanted to read but maybe I wrote it for myself, to remember. Anyway, it sounds good in my mind...

          1. gowngirl | | #27

            The elderly do love dolls. My grandmother (still alive, living in her own home at 85) still collects them, but most consumers will think "child". However, that hardly matters if people buy them, it makes no difference what it's used for. I think you do have an option of starting with craft fairs and bazaars. You could pay someone to make a doll pattern for you, just for this purpose. Try Connie Spurlock, the owner of Sew Wonderful Dreams. She does craft patterns for a living. In fact, McCalls swiped one of her patterns, and printed it off as their own, complete with her photograph (that came with her patterns)! Perhaps the pattern that you love is really hers...Anyway, with only a small investment, you could give it a try and see whether it takes off or not. Since you love to do quilts and other things, I think a craft fair would be perfect for you. Choose a deadline, such as a certain Christmas fair, make your stuff, and make your debut. If it doesn't work out, then you are no worse off. I recommend you make chenille (she used the old type bed spreads she found at the second hand stores) bunnies too. My sis-in-law did those a few years ago and couldn't make them fast enough. I don't think she charged enough, personally. If you don't care about the money so much, you could also make your dolls to donate to good causes...no copyright worries there.

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #28

            Bella, You may be on the right track...
            When my grandmother had to go into care, it was just after the death of her favorite dog. She was miserable. By chance I found a plush dog very similar to her beagle, at an atrocious price in a Hallmark store, and bought it on impulse. She was so happy to get that thing! It settled her into that home, and 10 years later, thread bare and well loved, we ended up burying it with her when she passed away. Several other people in the home ended up getting "bed buddies" after she received hers, and these stuffed pets received special care and attention from the staff, so they would not get lost.
            The point is, they offered comfort for lonely people, who were often in pain or discomfort. Be it a doll, teddy bear, or stuffed animal, these little comforts mean a lot to these elderly people, or to the handicapped person who spends hours alone in care. And you are right, they are not Childrens's Toys, but need to be something more.... Cathy
            PS I would have spent any amount to make Grandma happy

            Edited 3/7/2009 10:26 am ET by ThreadKoe

  6. alotofstitches | | #9

    As I raised my young children in the 70's as a "stay-at-home" mom, I always thought if something happened to my husband that I would sew at home to support our family.  Thankfully I didn't have to face that, but many years later my husband was injured and was laid up for many weeks.  Since we were self-employed the income dropped dramatically 'cause the boss was away.  I said all that to say I guess I was forced into action.  I actually had a lady call to see if I would make a jacket for her rodeo daughter.  I had teenagers by then and the future was uncertain regarding my husband's foot and I thought I better take the job.  I was scared to death even though I'd sewn for my family and myself for years.  I had business cards printed with a dress on it and my information.  I did not include my address because I did not want "drop-in" customers especially men since I worked from my home.  I left the business cards at local fabric shops and dry cleaners.  I offered to sew "sample garments" at local fabric stores.  My business spread by word of mouth and I was cheap--minimum wage.  I'd read a book by Kathleen Spike that really helped my confidence level in dealing with the public and setting my standards.  When asked to sew a garment without a lining, etc. I always suggest the client find another seamstress.  Remember when a b.maid walks the aisle in a dress that should have been lined  no one will say the bride didn't want the expense of a lining but will say "who made those awful dresses?"  My experience with our small business also helped regarding sales tax, record keeping, etc.  I started out sewing/altering  any thing and raised my prices gradually as demand increased. Almost 20 yrs. later all my work is custom--it is ordered by a client.  My work is seasonal e.g. ladies begin to call in Dec. for spring work.  By the end of Jan. I had work booked thru June but very little work in Jan. (I sew for me).  It will be steady thru the end of July.  Aug. is slow then school starts and you can sew little girl cheerleader outfits   I do not sew and then try to sell because you can't make it cheap enough to sell.  I always give a business card to my client with her finished garment and ask that she spread the word if she's happy with my work.  I have her garment pressed, hanging on a hanger and covered in a plastic bag along with an itemized bill.  I buy 2-part carbonless sales order books and use a stamp on her copy that has "Dressmaker, my name & phone" on it.  Now I include my cell number on my business cards.  Good luck with your new business! 

    1. BellaGabriella | | #19

      Thanks for that, and I think I have that same book! Also by Mary Roehr, Claire Schaeffer, and Karen Maselowski (?) on pricing. My daughter is 22 and I've been researching this since she was 3. I guess it's time.

      1. NeedleOn | | #22

        HI,

        I am like you and treading very slowly with my own business. I have a Children's Classic/Heirloom Business that is beginning to show some signs of interest. My website is almost there, pictures needed. I am working on word of mouth at the moment. I also make bridal and prom dresses. I do get a lot of requests for home dec items but everyone seems to want it for less than the stores. I used to do entirely home dec but with a full time job and fibromyalgia lifting the heavy fabrics is not as much fun. I keep waiting for the push to get going and realize that it will come. I wish you the best of luck and please price your sewing to cover all of your costs. I have had someone tell me that "you can't count your time". Excuse me but my time counts. I always require 50% down unless you have been my customer for a while. I have sewn for people who seem to disappear after the garment is made and feel the deposit is necessary. Best wishes.

        1. BellaGabriella | | #25

          NeedleOn, oh I love those dresses. For years I subscribed to 'Sew Beautiful' and 'Creative Needle' magazines because I wanted to live in that world. I picked up the last 3 issues of SB, they have some really great techniques and lots of inspiration! I want to try some smocking on a doll scale, I think, lol.

          I agree that time counts and you should be paid for it. I was reading a book on selling crafts at crafts fairs and it says at the end of the day if things aren't selling, don't lower your prices, raise them! You shouldn't devalue your work because someone else won't pay the full price. The right person/market will. I believe that. Good luck to you also!

          1. NeedleOn | | #26

            Hi BelleGabriella,

            Thanks for the reply. What type of sewing are you doing for your business? Are you going to offer alterations? What are you doing to advertise?

            Sally

  7. gailete | | #29

    Sometimes you really do fall into things. Although I don't sew for profit, I sell sewing patterns and books. It started when I got very sick about 7 years ago and thought I was going to die so started selling off the stuff in my sewing room so my hubby wouldn't have to deal with it! Anyhow, it gave me a reason to get up every morning to see if something sold and as I didn't die, I started looking for more things to sell and I kept seeing letters to the editor about magazines featuring a garment but the pattern is out of print and they can't find it, so I started selling every uncut pattern I could find (I don't want to bother with someone else's cuttings so I figure others don't want to either so only less than 1% of what we sell is a cut pattern). Before I knew it we had a small viable business going and it continues to grow that also gives me something to do for a few hours each day that makes me feel like I'm contributing to the world. We even took a huge leap this year and left ebay as I couldn't handle the stress of what ebay was doing to sellers. This has been a form of occupational therapy for me and I enjoy what I do.

    Any business can start small and grow. You have to think about what you can offer that others will want and can you provide what they want at a profit. If you can't provide it at a decent profit, there is no point doing it and much better to sew for charities instead. If you don't like working one on one with people, making things and selling them on line is a way to go and there are places where you have no fees to pay (ecrater is one). If you love working with people and can look them straight in the eye and name a price then you can probably work well with individual clients.

    Find a need and fill it and it would be especially good if you enjoy what you are doing. Lots of crafty things out there, but how many people sew for people with special needs like handicapped children, making busy aprons for Alzheimer patients, clothes for truly plus sized women who want to look lovely but can't find things in their sizes, clothes for very petite women who also have trouble finding things. How about just a business helping other women who sew with getting their measurements correct and altering their patterns correctly so they can sew their own garments? Those are just some ideas that are flashing through my head, but can all be done on a small part time basis while keeping your other job.

    Best wishes in your endeavor!

    1. BellaGabriella | | #31

      Gailete, I'm happy to hear things worked out for you, health and business-wise. I wish I had known about your pattern business, I just donated 2 boxes of mostly uncut patterns to our local nursing home, along with other sewing and craft supplies. I had to narrow my focus, but am happy I donated.

      I can appreciate your 'look them straight in the eye' comment. Some people can be intimidating and I would rather not deal with them directly, regularly. I don't want to end up stressed, I want this to business to empower me not hibernate me.

      Can you elaborate on 'what ebay is doing to the sellers'? I wasn't thinking of ebay, more etsy, and haven't heard of ecrater, so thanks for that.

      You do have lots of ideas to consider. I'm curious thought, what are 'busy aprons'? Any ideas how I could find out what would be profitable following that line?

      Thanks so much for your input.

      1. gailete | | #33

        First off before I forget--not only seniorView Imager brain, but one on daily morphine for pain--a busy apron is a fascinating concept I saw in a magazine article. It is an apron with a zipper to pull, large beads on a secure cord, funky funny feeling things. Alzheimer people tend to be much calmer if they have something for their hands to do. When I worked as an RN in a nursing home we used to set some of them to folding washcloths. When they got done we messed them up (when they weren't looking) and set them at it again. The 'busy apron' is basically a half apron (or I would think better yet a butcher apron) that gives them something for their hands to do and places to find things and happily find them again. Use your imagination.

        As to ebay. we had a very good store there and didn't sell at auction. Ebay has kept increasing fees, increasing regulations about all sorts of things, and at the same time burying stores in the search. They keep talking about the new search, but what I was seeing was our sales dropping like a stone for the last year, even though when we quit there we had over 4000 100% positive feedbacks. I was spending all my available energy tweaking listings to conform to ebays new rules, barely get done with them and they would roll out new ones. I wasn't able to spend time listing new inventory, as all my time was going to tweaking and tweaking and tweaking. Well if we were going to have a business, we wanted to do things our way and started selling on ecrater about a year ago and finally in January closed the ebay store and only sell the patterns out of ecrater. It is slow going but growing steadily each month, but I can visualize a future there, while I see ebay not caring two hoots about its customers (the sellers) just stuffing money in the pockets of the CEOs and stock holders.

        Ecrater, is a nice site that is really perking up, no listing or selling fees. You can have as many stores as you like, you can take any payment form you would like (ebay was down to only accepting Paypal when I left), etc. If you want to sell on line, it is a site to check out. Very easy to use. I don't know much about Etsy, but when I checked into it a few years ago, it didn't fit my needs then. I would much rather deal with people via email than in person.

        I've had people ask me to sew for them and then look a little startled when I told them for what they wanted it would be cheaper for them to buy what they want. I have sewn for family members who act like they are giving you a whole bunch of money when they are really giving you $1-2/hour if that. I can't handle that. I'd rather set my price and let it go at that. I do get the occasional 'customer' telling me my prices are too high, yet I have to pay to acquire inventory, store it, list it, ship it, etc. and I'm not going to do it for yard sale prices. I then also get the customers who write me and want a discount or a freebie because they are disabled and I have to tell them I am too and this is a way for me to pay for my meds and keep food on the table. In general I love it and I love having those obscure patterns that someone has been looking for. The great feedback I get is also wonderful for my self-esteem.

        I would have liked to have known about those patterns also :) we currently have a backlog of patterns to list, but I'm always looking for more as you never know what someone is looking for.

  8. User avater
    Villagedressmaker | | #34

    Reading your post about your inertia in transitioning into a sewing business reminded me of a quote that I taped to my sewing machine when I was thinking about changing the focus of my sewing business. It read
    "I fear regret more than I fear failure". It worked! I took a leap, and have no regrets.

    1. gowngirl | | #35

      Good for you! I believe there is enough success in the world for all of us, we just have to find our niche.

  9. pc3 | | #36

    My business came out of adversity. I have always loved sewing and got into embroidery about 10 years ago. Taught myself how to digitize and even held classes teaching others which I loved doing. But about 5 years ago my Mom (who taught me to sew) had a massive stroke and ended up in the hospital. There she stayed for 7 months until she finally passed away in Jan. 2005. But in those months of going in to the hospital every day to care for her I needed an escape. So at night my sister and I would play with the embroidery machine. I love flowers, and decided to try creating a 3D flower. My sister and I had so much fun with this that we did a bunch of them. These became very special to both of us because it helped us to deal with some very difficult times.  This showed in the designs and the resulting flowers  were beautiful. I showed them around to a few people and the more people who saw them the more that wanted me to market them.  I am a house wife, and mother, but had NO business experience or any idea how to go about marketing my designs.

    I tried to figure out how to get my name out in the market place, wrote lots of letters and mailed out tons of samples to every fabric store I could get an address for. I even sent one in to Viking Sewing Machine Company, as well as to Nancy's Notions. They loved my flowers and Viking decided to show them at there next trade show.

    The week my first order came through for 1500 CD's to be shipped I went into the hospital for an emergency Hystorectomy. (not sure of spelling) That is when they found Ovarian Cancer. So for the next 9 months working on my designs again helped me through a really tough time in my life. Kimo is the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, besides my mom's death.

    Any way there I was in the hospital in ICU (complications) on the phone trying to explain to my husband and sister (neither one knows computers) how and where to find the designs so they could have the first order shipped cause it had to go out in 10 days.  We made the first deadline and I have had a blast with it ever since.

    I now have about 15 collections of embroidery designs, both 3D and traditional. I run a web site, and although the partnership with Viking didn't last more than the first year, because of the economy, I am still going strong selling through my own website, and places like Nancy's Notions.  It has been a roller coster ride, but I am very proud of what I have accomplished. And I have been given a lot of help by some great people in the industery.

    I guess what I am trying to say is don't be afraid to try anything. Take the leap and let it lead you to where you need to go. And don't be afraid to ask for help. The sewing community is the greatest group of people and just when you need the help the most it usually shows up.

    Good luck in your venture and if I can ever help please let me know.

    Pam Caldwell

    http://www.pams3ddesigns.com

    1. BellaGabriella | | #37

      Pam, I'm sorry to hear about your mother, and happy to hear that you are now well, and your business is thriving. Thank you for your offer of help, I'm sure somewhere down the line I'll need it!

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