Thursday, September 10, 2015
This post is a doozy.
You guys, this week has been crazy. I know I signed up for this months ago, but I didn't expect it to come at the same week as my Wisconsin Health and Life Insurance Licensing class and testing. I also didn't expect to be downsizing my business, or in the most intense week of my MBA that I've had so far.
Let me back up. There are so many things I want to tell you.
Hi! I'm Cindy. I run a fabric and quilting business called Sewing Moxie (www.sewingmoxie.com). I started this business in my tiny office a little over a year ago. I was working in Property and Casualty Insurance Claims (think buildings, auto, etc.), and I was pretty miserable. I had been searching for something else when, you know, quilting hit me... again.
I was making a baby blanket for my Godson, Abel. I normally crocheted all of my baby blankets, but after having some wrist pain, I decided to make a quilt instead. It was basic, like the stuff as I made as a kid. Nothing intense.
Then, you know, naturally, I made another.
Simple patchwork. Simple border. As you can see, still pretty novice looking.
Simple, domestic, low-shank machine quilting. I had a small Brother sewing machine (seriously, look at that, I did QUILTING on that!) that I used to piece, quilt, and bind. But it had me hooked. It was January/February of 2014. I liked it. No, I LOVED it. Why did I ever stop doing this? Right... college. You don't really quilt in college when you live in a dorm. Or, you know, when you party.
But I loved it. Enough that I made another.
See my tiny machine in action?
And then a mini one!
And then one with 625 - 2 1/2" squares!
(What was I thinking?)
And then another baby blanket.
I started making so many baby quilts that I *almost* considered having my own baby. Almost. I was made fun of by my friends and some of my family for reverting back to being an old person. I'm only 28, and at the time (about a year ago, 27,) I was spending most of my time locked in my little office feverishly plugging away at my tiny machine, ever increasing my skill base.
I wanted more. I couldn't be the only one doing this? The only "young" person? Seriously? Why weren't there more people like me? Then, something amazing happened. Something so amazing, it changed my life.
Instagram happened!! I FOUND MY PEOPLE! My community! My quilters! Crafters! Bloggers! Sewers! Pretty fabric enthusiasts! Pin-obsessors! Fabric fiends! Stash hoarders! Like-minded wonderful souls who knew how I felt and brought me into their community with open arms and so much LOVE! I wanted this! I needed this! I FOUND MY PEOPLE! MY PEOPLE! I was instantly so filled with joy and love and tears and wanted to make cupcakes for all of my new friends! Even thinking about the community now, I am welled with tears. Seriously. Thank you, thank you to all of my friends, for all the likes, the comments, the support, for everything. Wow. I needed you. I still need you. And thank you. Did I say thank you yet? Well, thank you again.
Speed forward a few more months. I had a long conversation with my mom about how my mental pain I had been in with my job, how I found this amazing set of people I was absolutely in love with, and how I wanted to be in this industry seriously. As a serious, serious person. I decided to become a business owner. Me. Cindy. An entrepreneur. An Owner. Founder. Me. So I looked it up. I looked up all of the requirements I needed to buy things wholesale and sell them retail. I had a website built. I had my amazing and super talented friend Ari (hi Ari! How's Cali? Can't wait to come visit in December!) make me this gorgeous logo. I obtained all of my licenses. Filed for an EIN. Converted to an LLC. Bugged every fabric company I could to let me get my first wholesale account (thanks Birch Fabrics for taking me in!). I DID TAXES. Set up all the business accounts: checking, savings, taxes, credit card, etc. Fast forward another two months and I was set.
The website went live with my first stack of inventory (Charley Harper Poplins from Birch Fabrics and a selection of Soak Wash products) in mid-August, 2014. I had everything done, I posted on social media, told all my friends and family, and waited. And waited. And went to bed, hoping to get a sale by morning. And then I waited some more. It was over a month before I got an order, and that order was from my mom (Hi Mom! Thank you again!!!!).
I didn't realize it then but I should have taken a hint. Fabric retail was going to be a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. This was not an overnight thing. This was not an over-the-month-or-two thing. In fact, I didn't get a decent payday until I went to Quiltcon in February and put my entire site up 40% off (honestly, most of it is still very, steeply discounted).
Throughout that time I purchased a longarm (Juki 2200 QVP - my pride and joy!).
At first I was terrible.
Then I got a little better.
And now I make pretty things.
Even with the long arm services though, very little sales.
That's when the disappointment started to set in. I started to get involved in the blog hops, and then I applied for 52 Quilters. It was the beginning of the year and I wanted in. BAD. This could definitely turn things around. I was offered a spot in September and nearly cried with excitement! Showcase! Me! My skills! For all to see! I had been following and was super impressed with what I had seen. I was set. I was ready.
Around that time my previous job took a turn downhill and it became apparent I couldn't stay anymore. I thought I was doing okay enough to pursue Sewing Moxie full time (spoiler alert, I wasn't). I quit my job in March and proceeded to blow through our savings. Five months later it became apparent I needed a job.
I was lucky enough to get a position at a highly-regarded Life/Health/Investment carrier, doing the other side of insurance. After going through a series of four intense interviews and additional assessments, I was in. I got the job. And they immediately started scheduling me for licensing classes and securities trainings. So here I am, in my 52 Quilters week I have been waiting all year for, spending most of my time studying life and health insurance and hardly sewing a thing.
I feel like I have failed you, my audience. I'm trying to keep up, showcasing the stuff I have made and am currently working on, but I feel like I am doing you a disservice but not posting enough. I'm trying. Maybe things will come down when I have my life and health license, my MBA is done (yep, still a full-time MBA student), I quit my part time job, get my Series 6 and 63, and can finally breathe again.
As for Sewing Moxie, it will still be around but in a different capacity. I'm working on phasing out the selling of the products and trying to focus on quilting (both long arm quilting and making and selling custom quilts). The site has a ton of stuff on it for cheap, so if you're interested, feel free to take a look. No - I did not sign up for this to sell. I'm just saying.
I'll write to you, my audience, again on Sunday. Until then, think good thoughts of absorbing life and health insurance knowledge. My tests are Tuesday.