How I started my business: Part 1 (Intro and Idea)
I wanted to document my journey into creating Sew Dynamic. When I first started thinking about starting a fabric business this is pretty much what I found.
I didn't think telling me to "think" was super helpful, I needed to know what to "do". So I decided to let you know how I got started. This will be long and broken up into several posts. I'll give you the information in the order that I did it. I'm sure there's probably a better order of events. I've also made lots of mistakes, so I hope you can learn from me.
Please keep in mind that everyone is different and we will not do things the same way. This post is simply how I did it, and I am in no way saying you should do it this way or saying my way is better. To each his/her own. You do you.
First you should know more about me. I know I previously posted some fun things about me, but this goes a little bit deeper. Why is this important? It's important for you to know my strengths and weaknesses so you can understand my thought process. It's also important for you to know that I am starting at ground zero, I know absolutely nothing about how to start a business.
I am an introvert. And not the "I don't feed off social interactions" kind of introvert. But in the "I avoid human contact as much as possible" kind of way. I don't like calling people I don't know, I won't talk in large groups (even if I know the people) and I am terrible at making eye contact. I hate my voice and more specific I hate my phone and video voice. I hate how young I appear and I hate how much I wear my heart on my sleeve.
So why in the world did I think I could start a business. Well I'm spontaneous, pretty determined, a self motivator (most of the time..not always) and not a quitter. Once I decide to do something, I'll do it. Even if I'm not successful, I'll at least give it a go. I don't want to live my life thinking "What if...".
I took The Four Tendencies Quiz by Gretchen Rubin (after her interview on the Love to Sew Podcast). I learned that I was a Rebel. Which means I don't like being told what to do and I need to really what to achieve a goal to achieve it. Example, I know I should drink more water and everyone I know tells me I need to but I don't....until I really want to do it, I won't.
I first thought it would be fun to have a fabric store a few years ago. I was living in Switzerland and while you could buy fabric locally, I still preferred to order from the US or UK. Why? Because I wanted to wear the same fabric as the people I followed on Instagram. I grew partial to certain designers and stores that I followed, and they weren't located where I lived. So I did a lot of online shopping and I joined a lot of facebook groups that sell fabric. Several of the groups I followed are started by women and from their house. It looked cool and a lot of people were doing it successfully. I thought selling fabric seemed like a fun idea.
Of course I couldn't sell all the fabric, so I decided I would like to do athletic fabric. I love to run and sewing your own activewear is one of the few things you can make that is cheaper than ready to wear. At the time I bulk purchased (for a cheaper shipping cost) from fabric.com. And let's be real their athletic selection isn't great. (Now years later, there are many great online stores for athletic fabric...but this was a few years ago and I had not discovered them yet).
Fast forward to about a year ago, we found out we were moving back to the US. Which means I would no longer have a job. I could find a new job or try to start to my own business. The timing seemed right.
I discussed the idea with my husband and he fully supported me. Thankfully we had some savings and we agreed on an amount. It was enough money that would allow me to source a handful of items. (I'll talk more about the fabric sourcing later.)
Now if I didn't have the funds I would have looked at doing a kickstarter, that seems pretty popular nowadays. But I'm not good at asking for money and I don't have a big enough family/friends circle to feel confident that I would hit my goal. I once did a race where I had to raise money to participate and it was so stressful! There is also the preorder route. This is where customers prepay before you source the fabric. People give you their money knowing they won't get the product for a month or two. This takes a lot of trust and maybe down the road when my customers trust me I can do this. This would allow me to source even more fabrics at once. And of course you could do a bank loan or I'm sure a number of alternatives that I haven't thought of.
I also made the decision that once launched I would give myself one year to decide if this is something I want to continue. Giving myself a timeline helps to keep me motivated.
So now I had an idea, support and some spending money. But at this point I didn't have a clear idea of what kind of athletic fabric or any clue where I would source it.
Ok I'll end this here. Next time I'll talk about how I signed up for a random fabric convention after a couple glasses of wine.