YouTube and Life Restored

I discovered a few things this last week. Number 1 – don’t trust that the Google representatives know what they are talking about. Number 2 – I nearly lost 3 years of work and I had no way to notify my customer base what was going on.

I nearly had a total breakdown. I tried to keep it together, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt completely helpless. I kept thinking, “Was it my fault? Should I have questioned the rep more intensely before hitting the ‘remove’ button?”

Here is what happened. I’m trying to get a handle on how I look out there on the great wide web of information. If you googled “Porcelynne,” what comes up is my store in Redlands that is marked as “Permanently Closed.” Thats what started it all. I didn’t want my customers googling my company and seeing that I’m closed.

So I attempted to fix it. For some reason, I was initially unable to change the address on the google listing to the location of my new headquarters, aka Florida. I added a new location and it showed up perfectly here in a search, but my customers in California and the west coast still saw that I was permanently closed. This prompted the merge of my locations.

What I had failed to realize was that when I set up my listing 5 years ago, I registered it as a “brand” account. Anyway, that feature is no longer offered with Google, which is probably why the Google rep was clueless, but I digress. The Brand account linked to my YouTube.

With the help of Google, I was instructed to delete the California location with a guarantee that the YouTube would be relinked to the new location. Well it wasn’t. The next day, I get an email from said helper “You are not eligible for a Google My Business listing.” WHAT???

Over the course of 5 days, I emailed them 40 times, commented on their twitter and facebook pages and sent additional messages to everyone I could get a hold of. The answer from everyone else, “He told you to do what? He shouldn’t have told you that.” I’m like, “Yeah, I know that know. Can you fix it?”

To make a long story short, YouTube is fixed. I will never ever trust a Google rep like I did. And, by the way, my business is still showing up as “permanently closed.” So much for trying to get anything done this last week. I have a new set of videos to release, but those will wait until next week. I am currently working on an “Update” video.

This whole ordeal made me realize I need a better social media presence. I had been fighting it for several years, but now that my time isn’t being sucked dry by a retail storefront, I think I can manage it. I finally set up my Facebook page, and linked Instagram to both Facebook and Twitter. So I can post to all three at once.

Stay tuned for tomorrow. I will be unleashing a contest to win a $50 gift certificate on my website.

Technical difficulties – YouTube Channel Down

I am completely aware that my YouTube channel is gone. I am trying to resolve it. It is a sore subject right now, but I am aware of it. My daughter represents my present mood:

Bra Making Starter Kits are here!

I have been busy putting together kits to make your life easier. I have created three bra making starter kits in fabrics and three starter kits in hardware. I tried to make them interesting, but to be honest, they are for the beginner, working on their first bras. These are relatively low priced for a kit, but they aren’t for the pretty bras. These are for practicality and learning.

Each starter kit has enough fabric for up to three bras (if you have a very large size, you might not be able to get three bras out of it, but conserve your fabric either way). I would suggest using black thread for both the red & black kit and the white & black kit. It will show interest on the cups with black top stitching. Make note that there are no underwires included with either kit.

The fabric kits contain a fusible tricot to stabilize our Shine Tricot for the frame and the cups. When finishing the seams, try cutting a strip of the fusible tricot and iron onto the back side of the seam prior to top stitching. It will make your life easier.

The hardware kit contains hooks & eyes, strap elastic and hardware, underwire casing, picot elastic for neckline and waistband elastic.

But first thing is first – a little update on us. We exhibited at our first event in years. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but we did surprisingly well. I have boxes and boxes of vintage fabrics, which was about 50% of the items I parted with. I might one day list them on the website, but I have too many other things going on right now.

I have been busy to say the least, I have added three new patterns to my website and removed a few old ones. Over the next month, I will post about each design, including an introduction to the kits that go with them as well as the accompanying video tutorials. From this point on, every pattern I release will have a video tutorial for construction.

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.

I’m on a roll – Here’s another edited video

If you start watching, you will notice two things. First, that I am working in my old office in California. I filmed this video almost a year ago. The second thing you may notice is my hair is super long. It is no longer. Two weeks ago my daughter and I donated all our long locks to the organization “Children with Hair Loss.”

Here is my daughter showing off her new do and her donation.

This video is an instructional video on how to digitize a pattern into PolyPattern software. More videos coming soon. I’m on a roll.

Finally – Tour of my workshop

I have been slowly working on little things here and there. After moving into our new house, we purged big time and the things we didn’t get to, got shoved back in the closet and put on the back burner. Case in point, my daughter’s closet and our office closet. Both were packed to explosion status with baby stuff.

After much deliberation and reality checks, we have decided to stop trying for a second kid. Because of this decision there was no longer a need to keep the baby items anymore. I pulled out everything baby related and re-organized. With reorganization, I decided to get back to my long long long long to-do list that I have been procrastinating on.

I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but I find it impossible to start new projects until I have completed the projects I already started. Maybe I’m an exception. I am a stickler for follow through. I will follow through on everything I say I’m going to do, it just sometimes takes me longer than expected. Because of the need for completion, it may seem like I am not doing what I said.

I am now complete with my explanation as to why I have not been posting videos as I promised. But that time will come shortly. I have one more video I started that I have to finish, then I can start new videos again! Yay!

Drum roll please…… Introducing my workshop.

And my solution to bulk elastic storage.

The Holidays are Almost Over

I’m a little late to the game in regards to the holidays. Christmas is next week and I still don’t have our dinner menu planned. All I know is we are getting a ham.

I know I keep using the excuse that we are taking time for me to settle in in order to pick back up on my videos. I actually got everything set up to finish a handful of videos I had started, then I received a big shipment from my factory. That unfortunately took over my sewing studio for a month and I am just now getting everything put away.

I got a cool new machine that helped me package everything 10 times faster than normal, so that is a good thing. I’ll post about my adventures with that machine soon. And by soon, I mean after the holidays.

Altering a pattern for a different wire style

I did it! I did my first video in our new home. I only had to film it 3 times. The first time, I completely screwed up and altered the wrong pattern pieces and was adamant about it. The second time my daughter was helping me. I actually got some usable footage from it, but then went on a tangent and filmed bad directions. The third time was actually a composition of 3 filmings because I kept messing up! I cut the clips and put them together. I think only one place jumps a bit, but I really, seriously, had to cut the bit out in between.

I just started using Premier Pro and I really don’t know my way around it yet, so the editing will get better eventually. I have new camera mounts arriving today, so the camera angle will be changing too.

This video shows how to alter a pattern for the vertical flat wire. Well, technically the video shows changing the California Dreaming Bra pattern from a vertical wire to a vertical flat wire. What I have discovered is that my naming of the vertical flat wires was off by one size. I can’t change it after the fact, so if you fit a vertical wire and want to try a vertical flat wire, go up one number in the vertical flat.

Now that I have explained my madness, here is the tutorial. Enjoy Emily’s little cameo appearance.

Downsizing and Reorganizing

The last 4 months have been trying, stressful and exciting. We closed our Southern California chapter and started our new Florida chapter. In the process of this adventure, I have learned several things.

1. Moving with a family is complicated and exhausting
2. Trying to meal plan in a hotel room or a vacation rental is near impossible
3. Basic TV sucks, I truly missed my OnDemand and recorded programming. We had no idea what was going on in the world for 3 months.
4. Trying to keep your business goals intact while making a huge transition is not practical.
5. What you think you can do in a week, actually takes 8 weeks to complete.
6. Breaking your promises happen. Sorry- this is in regards to my video tutorials. I really, honest to goodness, wanted to press on, but I just couldn’t.
7. Moving with stuff sucks even more. I strongly suggest if you ever do what I did, just sell everything you own and get new (and used) when you land in your destination.

My expectations of myself have also changed. I am not able to work in chaos. A room full of stuff that doesn’t have a place will make me leave that room rather than find places for said stuff. I made so many promises in regards to my video goals, book goals and inventory goals, that I know I have let people down. It kills me, but I can’t even begin to pick back up on my goals until the boxes in my workshop are no longer in the room.

For a bit of prospective, I used to own a 2300 square foot store and workshop and had a 2300 square foot house. Our new house, which I am now working out of, is 1800 square feet. Ouch. I have no place for my stuff, mainly inventory items that take up space. Because of this, I have decided to discontinue carrying several items and am having a fire sale on it all.

More updates and videos coming soon. I promise.