2010, Off to a Good Start

3 01 2010

Is it something in the air? Or is it simply that people just couldn’t maintain that on-edge waiting-for-the-next-horror-to-happen feeling any longer? Or maybe all those positive economic signs that didn’t seem to be having any effect on normal folks finally trickled down? Or what?

All I know is that I’ve been turning up every day at the incubator, working on my various projects, talking to everyone who came in, passing out a few flyers each day, and so on and so on and so on.

There hadn’t been a whole lot of results. Enough to keep me motivated to continue for another month, but that’s about all.

Still, any day the buses have been running (except for one when the sidewalks were very icy and slippery), I came into the incubator and manned the place.

Then this week, instead of positive things that did nothing to pay the rent, positive things that WILL pay the rent began to happen on a regular basis, like one or two per day. Alteration jobs, commissions, opportunities to teach. Pocktorian Textiles is getting a bit of attention, getting noticed.

I’m still waiting for my other designers, but now I have much better prospects of providing them with a way to develop their skills and make a living.

I’m still waiting to sell the things of our own design, but even prospects of that are better. A commission turns out to be an “invitation” to develop an item for my line that had been in my mind for some time.

I may not be doing exactly what I had in mind….yet…but the way I think of it is this: I’ll do whatever comes in the door that will help me keep the incubator going. I’ll learn what I can from every one of them.

From alterations, I’ll learn more about how commercial garments are constructed, what parts of them tend to fail, how much time particular alterations take, what the going price for them is, and if I’m really willing to keep on doing them for that amount or whether my time would be better spent another way.

From commissions, I’ll learn about gaps that are not being filled by the high street, particularly fit problems that are not being addressed, populations that are not being well served, along with how much those populations are willing to pay to get something different and something that fits really well.

From the opportunities to teach, I will improve my teaching abilities and build other opportunities to teach, I’ll learn what stock I should buy in to fill the needs of students after they take my classses.

Now to find those other designers, bring in the stock I want to offer, and get this operation off the launch pad. I’m feeling confident, strong, creative, inspired, full of ideas for further projects, more likely to try something I’ve never dared before.



My Business Model is Evolving

19 08 2009

Oh I still have every intention of reviving Norwich’s textile industry in a hi-tech cottage textile industry kind of way. My vision of what I’m building up to never changes, but my ideas of how I might get there, and my ideas of what I’m going to be doing with my time to bring in a living seem to be evolving in front of my eyes.

I’m not really surprised. One problem I’ve always had was with market research. Basically, the only way to know which of the things you want to offer people will actually spend money on is to put your offers out there and see what happens.

So far, I’ve found out that there’s apparently not much demand for bespoke interior textiles locally. At least I haven’t been able to locate it. Nor was there much demand for my handmade goods from the people who came into the Textile Centre, though at least one other person in the Centre seemed to be doing pretty well.

But I’m getting weaving students. And weaving and teaching weaving are probably the things I like doing the best of all the things I know how to do. Sometimes, the world decides to cooperate with you.

Considering the state of the UK’s textile industry, it would seem that setting myself the task of reviving it would be an unlikely career plan. But slow but surely, it just might be working.

So I’m not saying I’d turn down a commission of some sort. I’m just saying it begins to look like I’ll be doing a good deal of teaching (which pleases me mightily since I highly value all these handskills I have and it would be a pity not to pass them on) and some making of the really fine things I want to make (I’ve got a shadow-weave chenille scarf on the loom just now.) and about ten other ideas for how I might be able to bring in a little cash from one way or another.

And, recently, I’m really enjoying my life.

(All the sunshine we’ve had this summer has something to do with it. I make sure I get my hour in the sun every day there’s enough sun and heat for that. But the other things I’m doing have a lot to do with it too.)