I Share My Wisdom Unto You

The last 12 months have been a whirlwind but I’m finally finding my groove again. 12 months ago we were packing up our house, our store and preparing for the biggest change since our daughter was born.

I learned many things about moving cross-country with a family. I will now share my wisdom with you.

1. Downsize before you move, not after. 

We seriously could have saved about $20,000 had we done so. Starting a new life in a new city would have been a lot easier had we not dragged all our crap with us only to get rid of nearly everything once we settled in.

2. Don’t try to make unrealistic business goals in the first 8-9 months of transition. 

First of all, we hadn’t even secured our own living arrangements for the first 3 months. The second 3 months we spent getting rid of everything. So, I suppose I could have saved about 3 months had I learned #1 previously. The last 2-3 months of transition was seriously just playing catch-up.

3. Find a new routine as soon as possible. 

The routine will make all family members happier. I kept making excuses not to do this or that because this or that wasn’t finished (see #2). I finally got a routine down for Emily and myself for after school. Gym, swim and quality time. Unfortunately I didn’t get that routine until about 2 months ago.

David still needs to find his personal routine, but we are working hard to have total family time. David and I have even worked in a weekly Friday lunch and a bi-weekly Thursday afternoon movie date.

4. Keep reasonable household goals.

I actually learned this after buying our first house in California. We had so many wants for our house, that we started a million projects all at one and didn’t even complete them until we were a month from selling.

Our new house we have a very reasonable set of goals. We only buy the materials to complete one project at a time. This has proven to be successful so far. We do have 2 unfinished projects currently, but we aren’t starting anything new until those are finished.

Reflection and Moving Forward

We have officially been in Florida for 10 months. This has been a great year of reflection and now resolution. When I  closed my lingerie design business in 2009, I felt a bit lost. I truly loved designing, but after having my clothing shop I was just burned out.

I focused my career on education for several years. I wrote books, mentored students, even went as far as starting my own design school. I had focused on others because I didn’t know what I wanted to do for myself, you know, besides having a family.

I had a lightbulb moment about a week ago. I finally know where I want to be as a designer! I love designing, but I don’t love manufacturing and the hussle of having my own clothing business. I have officially decided to design patterns instead. I still get to have my creative freedom and if someone wants to have a piece of my creativity, they can download the pattern and make it for themselves.

I will be making a handful of kits to work with my designs, with everything you need to make it from the fabric to the trim. I know this is just a teaser, but I wanted to share this as soon as I came up with my plan. I am actively working on designs right now. I am starting with lingerie and athletic wear for adults and active wear for girls, but plan to expand to cover all my passions.

Subscribe to the blog to find out when my patterns and kits begin their release. I really am excited. My daughter is excited too. She even got in on the action. I started to teach her on her own machine.

My fancy China Packaging Machine

I posted this video up on YouTube a week ago, but I never got a chance to post my corresponding blog commentary about it.

For the past 5 years, I have been purchasing my hardware in bulk, sometimes up to 10,000 items per style. I know that is a lot, but I found my calling. When I first started, I would sit there and count out each item package individually. Lets just say that was not very efficient with my time. Do you know how many road trips I spent counting out inventory in the passenger seat of the car?

You’d think that my husband would have told me he had a better way for me to deal with counting my inventory earlier, but after about 2 years, he shared his method with me. “You know you can buy a counting scale to do that for you?”

Mind blown! There was such a thing as a counting scale? Yes, my husband had used them years ago. I guess sharing this with me late was better than never sharing it with me at all. This soon sped up my process, helping me grow the business incrementally.

For the last few years, each bulk purchase became larger and larger, but the time to package them took longer and longer. I had one shipment take me 3 months to package, only to get to the point I had to reorder again, placing me in this constant loop of packaging every day and night.

For the past year, I have dreamed of an even more efficient way to package my stash. I didn’t want to spend all my time packaging anymore. I wanted to get back to doing fun creative stuff again. I started to research packaging machines. I search Alibaba, Aliexpress, Google and Ebay. I got quotes from American factories and quotes from Chinese factories.

I found the perfect machine from an American factory that not only counted and bagged, but also printed directly on the bags. That was about $50,000. Ideal yes, but WAY out of budget. I decided I had to get a Chinese machine instead. I found one for about $1700. It could package up to 200 grams in a package. I was excited. The lower model was only $1400, but after a lot of back and forth with the factory, they assured me that the $1700 model would do the trick.

After moving into our new house in Florida, we decided it was time to welcome this new machine into our family. Three weeks later it arrives. The machine actually was two machines that tie into each other. The top part did the counting/measuring and the bottom did the bagging.

It took a few hours to get it all set up and about an hour to determine that this machine would never count and measure my products correctly. Upon further research, I could have purchased just the bottom half for about $900. The top portion is now a dust collector, although I do have hopes to one day use it. I complained to the factory and they were gracious enough to refund me $150. It didn’t make up for what I could have saved purchasing the correct machine and I feel I was completely deceived by the machine’s capabilities.

Anyway, here is the official review of my new toy. And for the record, the bottom half is awesome, so it almost makes up the fact that I have a very large paper weight of a machine I’m storing for one day’s use.