Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I'm Back!

I've decided to start blogging again. And I don't mean the blog updates where I just post photos of the new stuff on my website, I mean blogging about running a business and life and everything else I happen to be interested in. Every once in a while I still get emails from people who have enjoyed the words that I wrote years ago on this blog, and writing is somewhat therapeutic and a good way to record the past, so it's time to start again! (Sorry if my writing skills suck!)

Last month was the 10th anniversary of Deranged Designs. Isn't that fucking weird? I do not feel like I've been doing this for ten years. Here's a timeline of how I got to this point, followed by a description of what I hope is next:

2005 to 2007
I started selling one of a kind handmade clothing on eBay, back in the days when people actually bid on auctions. Most of it was band t-shirts that I reconstructed into new outfits. I was still in high school so I only had about 10 hours to work every week after I finished school, homework, and drinking and getting myself into trouble on the weekends. (Just FYI I have always referred to my business as "work" even though people didn't used to recognize it as a real job.)

Flyers from 2005-2007  
Did you know that Deranged Designs used to by called DIY Revolution? I changed the name in 2006. The top left flyer was copied and passed out to my friends when I was in high school. The other ones were left at local record stores.

This is what my sewing room looked like when I was a teenager living at my parent's house. My bed took up half the room so I had very little space! I still use all of this furniture because apparently I never throw anything away. 

2008 to 2011
Moving out of my parent's house! Fashion school! I went to the local community college full time from 2007 to 2011 to study fashion, sewing, patternmaking, business, and photography. Highlights from my time at American River College were visiting the New York Fashion District, interning at a couture bridal gown shop, and creating a collection for the college fashion show.

I also moved into a punk house and continued to act like a complete drunken idiot every weekend. Around this time I managed to work 10 to 20 hours a week and I started transitioning into making my own patterns and making my designs available in multiple sizes instead of making only one-of-a-kind clothing. 


In my first year at the punk house I had a tiny room with high ceilings. I bought a cheap loft bed because it was the only way I could fit my sewing machines, cutting table, and bed into the room. Luckily after the first year an awesome roommate let me trade rooms with him so I ended up with more than twice as much space. Photos of my new old sewing room are here. Goodbye loft bed, I will never miss you!

2012 to 2014
After finishing my AA degrees I decided to take a risk and see how far I could go with my business instead of continuing my education. (Actually I have continued my education by reading as many business and management books as possible, but nobody is giving me a degree for that!)

Sales took off in 2013 and since then I have been struggling to figure out how to run a business and have a life outside of that business. I've made some decent progress by raising prices and figuring out how to sew more efficiently, but there's still so much more to do. It's a constant balancing act of keeping customers happy and not falling behind on all the other work that needs to be done just to keep the business going. It's getting extremely complicated. It's stressful and sometimes I wonder whether it's all worth it! At this point, it is still definitely worth it.

At the beginning of this year I finally moved out of the cramped, smelly punk house into Warehouse Artist Lofts, a new mixed income building for artists. I now have twice as much space so it is easier to finish orders quickly and run my business smoothly. Ironically, my new apartment has turned out to be even noisier than the punk house (long story) so my situation is not ideal. I will post photos of my new workspace very soon!

Moving all of my fabric and sewing equipment was NOT FUN.

The Future
I like titling a paragraph THE FUTURE because it means I can pretend I have control over my future. HA! Anyways, I am still hoping to eventually move my business into a commercial space and hire somebody else to sew for me. In my spare time between sewing orders and keeping things running, I am trying to improve the way I run my business and educate myself as much as possible about manufacturing, marketing, and management (so exciting, right?). There is still SO MUCH that I need to learn!