Sometimes it's hard to pin down the exact date you started something, especially when it comes to starting a business. I started selling vintage on eBay in 2007, and added handmade and reconstructed items soon after. I started my Etsy store in 2008, selling handmade clothes from vintage fabrics. I had my first bridal customer in 2009. In 2010 I finished my degree and entered a business competition with my pretzel bags, which I started producing and selling in 2011. In 2012 I moved to Manila and started working for myself full time, producing daywear from handmade fabrics. I had big ideas for the label but hardly had any time to get anything done because I was always working on custom orders - mostly bridesmaid dresses.
On July 23rd, 2013, I bought a new pink notebook and wrote on the first page:
If you can't read my 'I just had an idea!' scrawl, it says "I'm going to stop producing daywear collections for Bell Street and focus entirely on BRIDAL".
It felt so good to write that! I immediately felt relieved and spent the next few months filling that notebook with plans and ideas. I thought I'd spent the first year madly producing bridal samples, but luckily I've had quite alot of 'real' customers already so my time has been dedicated to their projects.
So, if I think of myself as having been in business for several years, it can get a bit depressing thinking about how many times I've changed direction and how little money I've made.
But if I think of the bridal label as a new, separate business, it's encouraging to think of how many customers I've had this year and that I managed to not only break even, but double my (very small) investment! What's most encouraging is the solid feeling I've had from the start that THIS is what I want to do. It feels right.
I still sometimes feel like I don't have a lot to show for it (notice the lack of pictures in this post?), but it's taken time for me to get used to the fact that custom bridal is a much slower process than whipping up a few skirts and listing them on Etsy in an afternoon. It can take months to finish a project, then more time waiting for the wedding to actually happen and for the photos to come back. That's ok. The fact that I've had steady work for a whole year and I'm still enjoying it is reason to celebrate.
This is an artistic representation of my celebratory dancing made using the Party Party app, which I am now addicted to.