The idea came in my mind last October while I was listening to the rain and wind beat on the window of my 8th floor apartment in Sicily. Great things happen when you’re sipping on espresso, the baby is sleeping, and you’ve got two options: I either go back to work as a teacher and continue to feel guilty about not using my degree, or do what I do best. I merit the push to the deep flavors in espresso that scream little is MUCH. I decided to go with my gut and run for it, hoping my husband could afford me not going back to work and just living off my dreams. I got out a notepad and started filling up the page with all the types of products I would sell, the mission statement of my business, how many lines I would have, and what my long term goals were. That was the funnest part, the dreaming. Then came the put your dreams into reality part. That’s when I learned the big difference between most people! There are the dreamers (hell, everyone is a dreamer), and then there are those who actively pursue their dreams. Well I had no idea how long THAT process was. Making samples of everything I wrote on paper, in reality, was a year’s worth of work of calling suppliers, ordering stuff that didn’t work out and wasting money, trying to make a basket that was sturdy over 20 times, ripping it out over and over again…that’s one thing my great-grandmother taught me. If you don’t like it, just rip it out and start over! I can thank her for my OCDness of counting every stitch and checking every bump.
I felt little with my dreams. Apart from a vision and keen eye on what looks good in a home how could I turn that into a physical product and REALLY sell it? I mean I love my stuff, but that doesn’t mean anything (and Thank God I learned that early on in college to not let your personal feelings ruin your business. You can have a good product and never sell it if no one knows you’re out there. I don’t want to be that little cabin in the woods that people don’t know exist and then have a random customer stumble by on accident and buy a rug…
While all that was going through my head-how do I create an online boutique, how do I eventually put products in stores, how do I keep returning customers…etc. I just had to begin.
Here are some pictures of my trials
This is the beginning. I ordered giant yarn to make a chunky basket. It was 100% merino wool…I didn’t really know what that meant, but I found out it was SO not what I needed.
The basket was not sturdy, I tried dipping it in glue, crocheting around cord, wire…none of that gave me the effect that I was looking for. So off to the next trial material.
For the same basket pattern I used T-shirt yarn. What I was going for was a sturdy, evenly-round basket that I could use in my bathroom furniture piece to put medicine in, or towels. First round came out super floppy.So then I went to buy some cord that you use to hang clothes on. This started caving in and gave me a weird cone shape… I then tried crocheting around wire and around a trash can to keep an evenly-round shape.
It held it’s shape at first until it wilted on itself.
At this point I was thinking “geez this is like a freaking high-school science project! Trial and error”
Next step: go bury yourself in inspirational quotes on Pinterest from Edison to keep you motivated.
I also dipped it in glue, and it turned the basket YELLOW. After all the attempts with the basket I finally decided I’m not ready to sell baskets, so I cut that out of my product line. That was a hard end to come to- to throw out a product you know would sell because it doesn’t fit your vision…and has quality problems. All of a sudden I felt like someone handed me the grown-up club card!
So then I moved on to making rugs, placemats, and other secrets I can’t tell you yet. Here’s a glimpse of the process of some rugs I’ve been working on.
Here’s one of the placemats that I made. I’m still deciding if I should glue it stiff, or keep it soft.
It’s September, almost a year from when I decided to follow my dreams. My goal was to start-up one year from the “lightbulb” moment. I’m still making samples, I had setbacks, I’ve got a million things going on like everyone else, but the difference is between those who dream and those who actively pursue their dreams. I can rest assured that I pursue this dream every day either by physically working on my products, researching, marketing myself, or by calling my dad begging him to give me those family friendly interest-free loans 😀 Thank God for family, espresso, and sleeping babies! Who would’ve imagined the array of things that contribute to a start-up.
My next set-back is travel. How will I manage to start-up and travel at the same time? Well, that’s the journey of an Entrepreneur I suppose, learning as you go.