Starting a Small Business... Is Hard
My first blog post! I have been working on this brand for about a year, so the fact that I am in the final stages and getting close to the launch date is super exciting- but feels like it has taken forever. Here is a little backstory of how this all started and what goes into starting your own business...
I had wanted to start this business for years, and to be quite honest, I haven’t been the most organized and motivated person. I’m full of ideas, too many ideas, but not so great with the follow through. Somehow when I got pregnant with Bijou, suddenly my motivation showed up. It’s funny how these little creatures change you in so many ways. I felt more determined than ever. So the first step was, research! I spent my entire pregnancy just researching the baby market, gathering references, and after Bijou was born I started to design my own textiles and create clothing patterns (all in between naps). I used to make my own clothes and know my way around the sewing machine, but I knew ZERO about the actual process of manufacturing clothing or starting a business. Was I a bit naive about what goes into it? Yes. Compeletely. But I researched each step as I went along and slowly figured it out.
Once I had all my designs ready, the hardest part was finding reliable vendors to work with. Not very many people in the apparel industry want to work with small businesses making small production runs, so it’s hard to find people who are even willing to work with you, let alone finding a decent price to produce your goods. It was super important to me to be a “Made in America” business. It’s important for me to know that everyone who has laid hands on one of our garments was treated well, paid a living wage, and worked in a safe and comfortable environment. Luckily I live near downtown Los Angeles, so I would just strap Bijou to me and make daily visits to the factories. Not sure how I would have done it if I lived somewhere else.
There are so many hands that touch just one item- a patternmaker, sample maker, grader, marker, cutter, and finally the sewer. That’s a lot of people to pay, rely on, and in each step of the process there could potentially be major mistakes.
After a lot of trial and error (major learning curve), I finally found my people, and I’m actually glad I made the mistakes I made. Better to figure it out in the beginning and work out the kinks. I’m sure I still have plenty of mistakes to make, but I’ll figure it out when I get there! For now I’m just happy to get this thing off the ground!
Thanks for following along... If any of you have started your own small business, please feel free to share some advice!