004 - SURVIVING OUR FIRST HOLIDAY COLLECTION PT 1
I am finally recovered after our first Holiday Season (but here comes Valentine’s Day!). We did great for sales and connected with a lot of new customers. We also participated in 2 Giveaways ( We Rise Experience and Coco + Cowe), were featured in a BuzzFeed Article and our Holiday Bestseller Giselle was worn by Catriona Smart in a Global TV segment about supporting BIPOC businesses over the holidays. Our followers on our social media channels went way up and we experienced more site traffic than ever before. I would call that a big win!
Though there were many highs, there was also a lot to learn and a little drama. As a business owner it is important for me to share my wins, failures and areas for improvement. It holds me accountable and also helps me track my progress. Over the next few posts I am going to break down a few of my eventful moments planning and executing my first Holiday Collection, what I have learned and a few tools and apps I have used to help me along the way.
I found a seamstress to assist with the influx of orders. Unfortunately, even after vetting her and getting her to sew me a sample (which came out perfectly), the work she turned out for the orders I had her sew came back with several mistakes. There were holes, rips, tape in the seams and so many other questionable things. I panicked! ( I screamed out loud LOL). Luckily we had a written agreement that she was responsible for any damages and I ended up getting a refund for what I had paid her without any hesitation but with out much explanation as to what went wrong.
So back to the panic...
Even with the money returned, there was a matter of the time and the materials that were wasted. I had to redo ALL the work I sent to her (about 7 Robes) and some pieces had to be completely recut. I was hesitant to get help for a long time and my first venture into it was a complete fail despite doing everything I was supposed to. Her error set me back days of work, as I was working on orders as well and I was already running on a very short time frame. Due to COVID, I had to be sure to get things in the mail extra early so that it would make it for Christmas. Again, I SCREAMED. It would not make sense looking for someone else to help and I was again, turned off getting help and trying to vet someone in such a short time.
But all was not lost. I got help. I asked my aunt and cousin to come over and help me ASAP. They came right away! Though they were not able to help me with the sewing, they were still very helpful. They took out all the stitching ( anyone who has had to remove double sided tape and serged stitches from satin material knows this is a very delicate and tedious job) and provided me with some much needed comic relief in a really stressful situation.
It was a big reminder even someone to help with the little tasks is a BIG help in the long run as a solo entrepreneur. During the times we live in it is hard, but even having one person ( my very very amazing Aunty again) to help prepare packaging, iron or bring you dinner when you've been working all night is helpful and can give you that little piece of peace to make it to the next step. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Next Up...I will talk about finding a work/life balance for yourself during busy seasons. *Spoiler Alert* I managed this terribly.