I’ve been on this path for a while.
Deep down, I know the kids and I can make a living from doing what I love to do. Make and sell fashion. If you work hard and smart enough and create beautifully made and unique garments – surely this is worthy of an income to support a wee family of three.
For me, there isn’t any other option. Being a soul ( yes “soul” instead of “sole”) parent, life is way too unpredictable with sick kids and curriculum days, dental appointments, etc to be working full time for someone else. After selling my last business, I went and worked for a friend of mine. My son was really sick all of the time and I felt incredibly guilty for not giving my all to my job or to my son. It was then that I realized how privileged and incredibly glorious it was to work for myself and be accountable for every element of what goes on in your life. You get to drop the guilt of letting people down and you get to own your wins and forgive your self for any losses due to being a present parent.
When I did work for my friend, festering feelings of guilt ( for not doing my job to my full potential and/or being 100% present for my sick son) and frustration for being held back from achieving all of the creations that were compiling in my brain. Whilst I was incredibly grateful for the job that was offered to me at the perfect time for my headspace and financially, I was constantly wishing that I was building my empire instead of putting time and energy into someone else’s.
I think that is just the way it is when your brain is wired this way. Always thinking about designs, details, trims, colour combinations, patterns, yardages, stitches and of course the myriad of finishes that can be applied to a garment, so when someone picks it up and tries it on it simply sings for them.
It’s the time invested in a garment that makes it what it is. You spend one minute on a garment ( think fast fashion – a sketch and colour chosen) – that’s what you invest in when you buy it. The fiber version of junk food, supporting a pyramid of the poorest people who get paid a pittance and the fat cats that get lavished in the cream created by selling 1000’s of this cheap and nasty garment of society rotting thoughtlessness. Harsh – but true.
Time investment is always a tricky part of running this kind of business. When is “enough” enough?
When you love what you do and you are the master of your game, how do you afford to create to the level of “finish” that you want/need (because that’s intrinsic) to create to? There are hours and hours of unpaid work that goes into sourcing trims, fabric’s prints, designing, developing patterns, sampling, and resampling for style and fit. Ideally you need to figure out the “cost” of a garment – account ign for all of the above – but realistically, when there is only one person doing everything – the time it takes will take several production runs and variations of a pattern to recoup it’s true cost – unless your target market is prepared to pay the true cost.
It’s a conundrum … a dilemma. Can I afford to pay the true cost for a garment I make? Definitely not. My salary wouldn’t permit it. So even though the design aesthetic is what I love and would want to buy – it’s something that would be unreachable for me to purchase, or perhaps it is an item that I would need to save for. If that’s the case – I’m part of the demographic I am catering for. Okki is for the people who love the quality and would prefer to save up and spend well once on a pair of jeans, a jacket – rather than spend frivolously on “junk food” clothing. Conscious consumption.
to be continued….