December 19, 2009
Back to top
Sorry I didn’t blog yesterday. I meant to, but I wrote a draft and didn’t post it. Oops.
I received word from my manufacturer that I’ll be getting my revised pre-production sample on Monday. Somehow it was able to be shipped from the east coast without being delayed by the snowstorm slamming the eastern seaboard today. If there aren’t any changes to the construction, Ill be going into production for the briefcase end of December. FINALLY.
As for the totebag, it looks like it’s going to be delayed even further, even though my manufacturer keeps swearing “he’s working on it.” I’ve decided to not get angry because it’s the holiday season and I should be full of yuletide cheer. If there is still a delay once January rolls around I might make a trip out to his factory to see what the hell is going on. I hope he is being truthful and my bags will be high-priority once the Xmas rush is over.
And finally, some more good news. I am finally getting some fabric samples of some new patterns I had asked for in August. When I do my next round of production I’m going to have to remember the long lead times for the fabric procurement and manufacturing,and adjust my inventory and sales projections accordingly.
Well, if I don’t see you next week, happy holidays to you. I have a good feeling that 2010 is going to be an exciting year!
December 16, 2009
Back to top
More good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad: I received the laptop sleeve prototype and was not happy with it. The whole thing was too poufy, like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. I think using thinner foam might help but I am worried that the design is inherently flawed. I’m going to speak with the sample maker tomorrow to see if he has any ideas to help fix this problem.
And more bad news: the final briefcase revision hasn’t been sent to me yet, and it was due earlier this week. In addition, the totebags are delayed again. Grrr. I’m waiting for a call from the manufacturer tomorrow to tell me what’s going on. I’m now 100% sure these bags won’t be ready to sell until mid-January.
Now on to the good news: the sewing contractor in Tukwila agreed to manufacture my purse organizers in January! This sewing place came highly recommended by another designer, and he’s also the guy who recommended the samplemaker who did such an amazing job with the purse organizer sample. Our meeting went smoothly and we got along really well. I think this will be a good partnership. Now I have to order some binding tape and weird plastic tubing for my purse organizer handles and I will be ready to get this production started early January. Yippee!
Thanks for stopping by!
December 14, 2009
Back to top
Looks like the briefcases are almost ready for production. I’ve shown the samples to a few people and the feedback has been favorable. Sure, these are my friends, and they know that I am pregnant and probably wouldn’t say anything mean to me…but their immediate reaction has been genuinely positive. I’m really happy that the bags turned out the way I wanted! I am so amazed that my vision could get translated into a tangible product.
I am meeting with a local sewing contractor tomorrow to see if they can work on my purse organizer. I have ordered most of the materials and if I can get the manufacturer to work on this project, I could get these turned around in a few short weeks. Business should be slow for most local contractors in January, so I am hoping this contractor will jump on this opportunity.
I have some more exciting news….we signed a new lease today. We’ll be living in Kirkland in January! So now I get to go through the pain of notifying bill collectors and vendors that I’ll be moving, which is a bummer. But the good news is I will have more room, I won’t have to pay any City of Seattle taxes, and I won’t have to pay the $100 annoying yearly International District business improvement tax that was supposed to beautify my neighborhood. All they did was add some flower pots and better street signs. I walked by the Business Improvement headquarters in October and the office workers were sitting around a table, carving pumpkins. WTF.
Thanks for reading. See you manana!
December 11, 2009
Back to top
This afternoon I received a surprise shipment of pre-production sample briefcases from my manufacturer. I wasn’t expecting these so soon because my manufacturer had been wishy-washy about the delivery date all week, and he had returned part of my down payment. I thought for sure these were bad signs. But now that I have the samples I am really happy with how these briefcases turned out. There are still a few minor issues to fix, mainly on the inside of the bags, but I think we’ll be able to iron out the construction problems next week and go into full-blown production the following week. My totebags are a lagging behind a few more days, but I think I’ll get that production started end of December. I’m 99% sure I’ll be launching my bags in January.
I’ve finalized my web copy and my press release now, thanks to the help of the very talented copywriter Mary LaCoste, who is the wife of my web designer. I’m really happy with the results. If you need a copywriter reference, Mary is terrific!
Well, it’s been an exciting week. I “came out” as pregnant in cyberspace and also found out that my manufacturer is indeed a bag expert and not a scam artist. There’s still a lot to do in the next few weeks, but now that I have seen the nearly-final production sample and know I wasn’t hustled by my bag manufacturer, I am re-energized and ready to pull off this launch. I am happy as a clam.
December 9, 2009
Back to top
It’s time to spill the beans: I’m pregnant! The baby is due in June I am posting this news on my blog before I even announce this on Facebook. That’s how much I value my blog family!
So the last 3 months have been pretty agonizing thanks to the nausea and marathon sleeping spells. I’m pretty sure I was operating at about 50% for the first trimester, and I am just now feeling better. I decided last week that I would do my best to keep this late product delivery from affecting my stress levels. As such I am 99% sure I’ll launch my products in January.
I received proof that my manufacturer was working on my bags today: he sent photos of my bags parts being assembled this morning. Finally, we are making some progress!
It’s been an exciting day. See you tomorrow!
December 7, 2009
Back to top
It’s not my typical work style, but I’ve gotten to a point where I harangue my manufacturer every morning just to get a production update. I hate being a naggy micro-manager, but this is what happens when I give some leeway and weeks go by without sufficient progress. I tried to lay the smack down again: I told the manufacturer that if he delivers fewer products than what my down payment covers, then he will owe me the difference by the end of the year. He objected at first, but I explained to him that I had essentially given him a free 2-month loan, and that was unacceptable. After all, I’d rather my cash be tied up in MY business than with his business. He quickly conceded, so now it’s a race against the clock. Tick tock.
I’m a little worried about securing the photographer. Right now he’s temporarily booked up until the 19th, and he’ll squeeze me in if he gets a cancellation. There’s a chance he’ll be able to shoot on Sat the 12th because his other client hasn’t officially committed to that date. If I can get my products delivered but I’m unable to get the photoshoot lined up in before mid-December, I will definitely postpone my launch until January. Although I have to say that the idea of peddling my bags out of the trunk of my car before the holidays is very tempting.
On a random note, one bizarre thing about being a small business owner is that I am now getting holiday cards from various vendors. So far I’ve gotten generic Christmas cards from my insurance salesman and the guy who sold me closed-cell foam for my laptop sleeve samples. Do some customers actually like this?!
It’s late, time to sleep. See you tomorrow!
December 3, 2009
Back to top
Well, in addition to the production delay, I have encountered another problem that has adversely affected my holiday launch plans. The photographer I wanted to book is now busy with other jobs until the 16th. Thank you again, Mr. Loser Manufacturer, for foiling my plans: if I had gotten my products earlier I could have booked an earlier photoshoot date! *sigh*
I’ve spent a lot of time today trying to decide what to do about my launch plans. I talked it over with my husband and have decided that I will still try a “soft” launch by the 18th, but if I can’t make this date I’m not going to kill myself just to make the holiday season. I fly back home to Nashville on the 23rd, so I would only have a short timeframe in which I could process any Seattle-area orders and deliver the goods on time. I want to launch my product line the right way: with a fantastic web experience and with amazing photography. The worst thing I could do now would be to compromise my reputation by putting up a buggy website and risking delivery mayhem. And who knows, mother nature might throw in another snowstorm during this time period, just for added drama.
On another note, I put in my order for the die cut parts of the purse organizer, and they should be ready in 2 weeks. To not be charged any sales tax I needed to provide this vendor with a reseller certificate. This state certificate (unique to Washington State) isn’t an official license or anything, it’s strange 1-page document that says that the wholesaler and reseller agree to do tax-free business together, and it’s kept for your records only. From what I can tell I don’t need to pay sales tax because the raw materials and components for my purse organizer are sold to me wholesale, and the sales tax to the state is to be paid by the buyer of the end products. This means no double taxation.
I found out that the State of Washington will be changing their resale requirements so that beginning January 1, 2010, anyone involved with reselling will need an official resale permit issued by the state, which means that the bizarre resale certificate will be defunct at the end of this year, and businesses will need the authorized permit to do wholesale purchasing within the great State of Washington. I recently mailed in my application: let’s hope that it gets processed quickly.
Tomorrow I get an update from my manufacturer. Anyone care to wager on the delivery date?
December 2, 2009
Back to top
Hello! I am back in Seattle after a restful vacation. Unfortunately all of my renewed energy was drained today after I got off the phone with my manufacturer. As many of you know, I have a pretty easy-going temperament, and only on a very rare occasion have I reached my breaking point and yelled at someone. My manufacturer is now part of this exclusive club. Maybe I should send him a plaque.
He has had all of the materials for over 6 weeks, and has not delivered my bags as promised. At this point I am not confident about his delivery date of the 12th. I think I might be able to fill a few bag orders within the Seattle area, but I don’t think I can make deliveries outside of the state. I apologize to anyone who has followed my journey this far and have waited to buy my products for holiday gifts. To add to this chaos, my purse organizers are also delayed because one of the components needs to be custom die-cut, and that will take 2 or more weeks. I wish I had better news. I’ll be sure to let you know if the status changes.
I am secretly hoping my manufacturer has accidentally underpromised and will overdeliver. I can dream, right?