I really should be sitting in my room sewing custom hoodies right now, but it's a beautiful 70 degree day outside and I'd much rather hang out on my porch and pretend that I'm working.
Even my cat agrees. She's sitting on the couch next to me licking her butt.
Actually that's a lie, she follows me around all day no matter what I'm doing. This is what happens when you are a cat lady and you work from home.
Anyways, I have a couple random things to talk about so this is just going to be a general February update.
First: I finally restocked some of the small punk rock patches and added a new section of embroidered/woven patches. The selection isn't great but it's a lot harder for me to buy wholesale patches these days. Three out of four of the companies that I used to buy from are pretty much ignoring my orders, which is understandable when I'm only trying to buy one hundred patches and not t-shirts or other merch items. I try to sell only licensed patches so I'm not going to get into the business of printing them myself. So I will try to get a better selection, but for now what's on my website is all I have.
If any Sacramento locals are looking for a better selection, I sold my entire patches stock to Phono Select records on K Street last December. I'm not sure if they are sold out yet but the owner of the shop was talking about getting more patches from a friend of mine who prints them.
I don't have any new clothes to add to my website this week, but next week I plan on making a couple new one-of-a-kind items to put up for sale. Within the next week or two I plan to do another photo shoot with my friend/model Laura. She recently moved from Oakland to Santa Cruz so now it's a three hour drive to hang out with her instead of a one hour drive. But at least now I have an excuse to crash at her place for the night and have some fun doing whatever it is people in Santa Cruz do. (All I can think of is hang out on the BEACH! With BEER!)
So that's it for current updates. Now on to the BIG, SCARY FUTURE...
Last May I posted a long rant about graduating from school and wondering what the fuck was going to happen next. At the time I was freaking out about my decision to stop going to school full-time. I was wondering whether it was a bad decision to leave school after getting only an AA degree. I was afraid that if I tried to work at Deranged Designs full time, I would slowly go broke and never really get this thing off the ground.
I'm not freaking out so much about it anymore. My income has definitely gone up since last May and I'm finally at the point where I can pretty much support myself. I still don't make very much money and I have the advantage of super cheap rent, but being self-sufficient has been a goal of mine since I was seventeen. I hope this trend can continue and I can gradually start living better and running my business in a more professional way.
I also realized how much more relaxed and content I am when I'm not in school full-time while trying to work part-time. I feel like I was running at 110% energy for five years straight and I wasn't really able to slow myself down until a couple months ago. I like having a million things to do every day but I'm also very prone to anxiety and stress. Right now I'm taking only one class in school (accounting! fun!) and I only work about 30 hours a week. It feels GREAT. I know that small business owners typically work a LOT more hours than that, but I feel like it really wouldn't hurt to take a breather for a while and continue this relaxed pace for...let's say, the rest of the year! Fuck yeah!
Noticing how much more relaxed I am also made me think about my general priorities in life. Time is more important to me than money. It would be great to have lots of money so that I could support other small businesses but I'm pretty OK with the type of bare-bones lifestyle that I'm living right now. I probably won't want to live like this forever, but I don't expect that I will have to. I'm simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic about the future. It seems like the economic situation in this country will never get back to how it was in the past, but it's comforting to know that I can be happy with just the bare minimum.
At the same time, I don't want to get lazy and let my business fall behind. I know that slow growth can kill a business. When other companies are trying so aggressively to grow and kick you out of the market, slow growth just isn't enough to survive. I'm going to stay on top of things and try to be smart and cautious with my decisions. I figure that once my slow sales season hits (April to June) I can work on trying to figure out more efficient ways of running my business, so that it can stand to grow a lot more before I need to hire anybody or move the business out of my house. I plan to get as much mileage as possible out of this cheap rent! Right now I'm trying to educate myself more about accounting and financial analysis. Over the summer I'll probably buy some accounting software so I can streamline everything and have a better idea of the financial standing of my business.
I guess I'll shut the hell up now, this is getting pretty long. Right now things are better than I even dared to hope last May when I was so worried about the future. I'm not so worried anymore. I know there is still a good chance that my business will fail, but I don't obsessively dwell on this fact. I apologize for the cheesy cliché, but life is more about the journey than the destination, isn't it? And right now I'm having one hell of a journey.