Friday, January 5, 2007


I've hesitated with writing this post. Now that doesn't sound like a very positive start to a bright new year. On the contrary, I wanted to get it just right. 

I've read so many wonderful posts from my favourite blogs with lots of resolutions and goals. All very inspiring. I thought I would use this post to take stock of where I am, where I have been and where I am going. When I say "I", I mean "Violet & Rose" as a business.

2006 saw the "birth" of my baby. A baby I had dreamt about for a long time. "Violet & Rose" had been hanging around in my head for a few years. I started blogging to help me to realise this goal. I had no idea how inspired I would be by what everyone else out there does and have been really overwhelmed by the support shown to me from everyday strangers who have become my blogging friends.

I have learnt a lot. The steepest learning curve has been with the markets. How much stock to make, what would sell, what wouldn't? I have decided that the markets I did were a necessary evil in my progression forward. Hard slog for some return, but not as great as I would have hoped. Next time, pick my markets more carefully.

And then there are the choices about what you will make and the fabric you choose to make it in. I am discovering the fine line between what you like, and what the general public likes, and as a consequence, what will sell. Do I suffer for my art and make all items for girls in pink because that will sell? Or do I stay true to what I love and make things in fabrics that are a little quirkier than you would find in Target? I find it really difficult to sew with a fabric that I don't like. But what I like is sometimes brown, and not everyone likes brown. Anyway, it's a line I am learning to walk.

I have also learnt that in the evolution of creating a little "brand" there are items that fit and items that don't. Helpful people often suggest things I should make. Yes, but no. And then there are the things that I thought would be a sure fire winner. Like the purse size tissue holders for little Christmas gifts for teacher's, neighbour's and the like, but no. So sadly, I may have to say good bye to these.

On the positive side though, I had so much great feedback about some of my items, like the button bracelets, the pencil rolls and the notebook covers. I will perhaps make some subtle little changes, or improvements, to these this year.

Looking ahead, I see many things. I see new items that are swirling around in my head, waiting to be created. Ever tried to find a wash bag or toiletries bag for a child? Idea number one! What do they say about necessity being the mother of invention? I have just spent ages looking for a wash bag suitable for my three year old. No luck. A ha! A gap in the market, she says! 

I made some children's or babies coat hangers as baby gifts over Christmas and I was really happy with the look on these too. And then I read during the week where the pinafore/smock top is going to be "the" winter fashion item. Inspiration enough to look at creating a winter version of my little girls smock tops. All just the tip of the iceberg really.

The other direction that I am looking towards is wholesaling my goods, rather than direct selling to the "public". I feel that I would like to try and sell my goods in a marketplace that has already been created, rather than going the hard slog and trying to create my own. Does that make sense? And I feel that the boundaries will be more defined. As in (fingers crossed) I will receive an order and make 10 pencil rolls and ship them off. As opposed to making 10 pencil rolls and thinking, hmmm, I wonder if I have made enough or too many.

Some random thoughts, perhaps, but I feel like I have sat down and put pen to paper and now, bring it on!

On that note, I am taking a little break first. Was that contradictory? Everybody needs a good break before they tackle things head on. Surely? 

Back in a few weeks with more adventures ...

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