Helllllo out there world wide web. Been awhile but here I am, back on the blog, ready to rock this year like some sort of old lady, pretty uncool, rock star!
Huge (and very late) thanks to everyone who came out over the holidays last year to support my little venture. It was so nice to share my goodies and also, selfishly, get validation from friends, family, and complete strangers that what I'm trying to do with this brand and this gear is liked and I should keep going. It was hard last year to try to keep moving forward a lot of the time. As you've read in one of my rants before, I set about taking on this creative and business challenge at a time in my life that didn't make sense at all. With two little fellas at home and a full time job, I don't have a ton of time to devote to the meat and potatoes of trying to start a "brand" (full disclosure, I HATE saying that I'm starting a brand, but I don't really know what else to call this...help!). It's all fun and games to create these things, but then you've got to sell them...and believe it or not nobody has ever knocked on my front door looking to buy my shit! :)
After a great winter selling season I was determined to give Wopatula at least one more year, but I knew that I'd have to definitely rework some of my processes going into 2019. Wopatula year one found me a littttttle two enthusiastic about my products...I overbought and undersold...I spent a lot of money....it sucked! But I managed to keep my chin up and opt to jump into year two. That year was a little more fun, as I put myself smack in the middle of the creative process. I began printing the gear myself, incorporated some of my long time hat knitting into the inventory, and went back to the drawing board with some of my ideas for what I wanted the overall theme of our graphics to be. Initially when I came up with the idea for Wopatula, it was focused pretty much on Nantucket and trying to invoke an older Nantucket than a lot of people know now. I still love that idea, and this year's gear will absolutely embrace the island and its history, but I also wanted to move towards a place where the graphics I was creating always meant something to me, whether or not they were about my hometown.
I ended year two, again, with high hopes for the future of Wopatula, but I still have some hurdles to jump over for sure. My two biggest weaknesses *gulp* are definitely in the planning and sales execution departments. Planning until now has been about browsing wholesale websites, picking out items I liked, ordering too many (HA), and then figuring out what graphic to plop on once things arrived. Guess what...not the most efficient use of my time or my money. I've definitely learned a few things that are helpful, like what sizes and styles tend to sell quickly, but I probably could have figured that out a lot cheaper had I just took some time to actually make a plan for purchasing. This year, I spent quite a bit of time perusing for product that caught my eye, and instead of making a purchase all willy nilly, I actually put together an idea board with all the blanks I wanted to work with. I then went to my giant graphics stash and started mashing ideas up with the tees, crewnecks, etc. that I had my eye on. As I started to actually transpose my ideas onto the clothes - without purchasing one little itty bitty thing - I actually found it more helpful than had I had free range of everything already. I could play with various color combinations, move graphics around on tees and re-size to see what fit best. I realize as I write this I sound ridiculously stupid because anyone with a brain would say that this approach to designing clothes is far smarter than my old Buy and Try approach...but whatever...I'm a slow learner I guess :)
Anyhow, after realizing that this new virtual planning technique was the way to go, I had a good plan and decided to move forward with some buying. Next challenge - DON'T OVERBUY! Literally my kryptonite...it is SO hard not to just buy what I actually want to sell. Need me to back up because that sentence made no sense? No problem, happy to :) You see, my other biggest weakness as mentioned above, is that I have very few ideas when it comes to executing the sales of the things that I make. So when I do my buying with big shiny dollar signs in my eyeballs instead of logic, all I'm really doing is investing my own hard earned money into an exorbitant number of tee shirts that may or not sell by the end of the year. Sales plan is a MUST for 2019...and it's also still only in the works. Ugh. All ideas accepted. Please. FOR REAL! :)
If you follow me on Instagram, thanks. But also, sorry. Ha! I'm not very good at social media...I'm just not. I'm good at scrolling, not so good at engaging, scheduling, planning, etc. I've never been very happy with my content, especially content of my actual product, and I can't quite figure out how to move forward in that department. Sometimes I blame it on my inability to actually find time to invest in my photography etc. but other times I realize I'm just not made for the 'gram world and I have to move on and figure out how the hell else I'm gonna sell my shit. Ideas for pop-ups, farmers markets, and the like begin to swirl in my head, but then I look at my sweet kids faces (and the laundry piling up in my guest room and the dishes piling up in my sink and the toys piling up in the play room) and realize that I don't actually have the time to commit to something like that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am ALL about the idea of making the time...my whole life exists on the fact that I can somehow pull another 3 hours out of every day to knit hats or print t shirts...but the reality is that sometimes you need to know when you just can't make any more time and I'm pretty sure I've maxed out :) And quite honestly, and maybe this is really turdy of me because I do know how lucky I am when I say this, when it comes down to it, I'd rather spend a day at the beach with my family than sit in the hot sun trying to hawk my goods to people who probably don't even care. Again, - turd - I know. But if this venture became a painful burden and obligation for me and my family, then it wouldn't be fun and it wouldn't be worth it. This much I do know.
So, to finally end this incredibly long post, I'm trying to figure it all out and hoping to do it a little less hit or miss than I've done the past two years. Instead of buying all my inventory now, I bought just enough to print everything I need to launch the season...I'll have everything out to view by early March and available for pre-order for April delivery. Will it work? I dunno. Man I hope so! :) But at least if it doesn't, I'll only have enough awesome purple crewneck sweatshirts for myself and my sister and I won't feel so bad...cause we fuckin love awesome purple crewneck sweatshirts.
Stay warm my friends,