December 2022 News Update
It has been quite a long time since I have sent a newsletter. I think the last one I sent was about 4 years ago. A lot has changed in 4 years. We just relaunched our website and have made a lot of changes. But the first major one is that we are verifying email addresses. This has a lot to do with keeping scammers off our website and its also in place to prevent people from trying stolen credit cards on our website. Yes, that happens. It happened a few times in the past few years, but luckily we spotting it and refunded the transactions as soon as we noticed them.
We have a new website
My wonderful hubby got so tired of updating our old website built with Zencart, that he decided it was better to build me a website from scratch. This process started as a pet project about a year ago, but then became his full time job for me earlier this year.
His pet project became my “honey do” Wishlist. I wanted the site to be easier to navigate and something we could build upon over time. As you will be able to see, its more mobile friendly and product listings are combined so its easier to scroll through what I have. I have about 4000 SKUs and counting, so it can be difficult to find things.
I combined rings, slides and hooks so they are in one listing based on size. No more searching for all the hardware that is 1/2” anymore. Its in one listing. I did the same for the elastics and several other items on the website. I have plans to tackle a few more sections, but the important ones are done. We also took all new photos. That was a huge task, but worth it. I think it looks so much nicer.
With the new website we also combined our wholesale site with our retail site. We made it so if you have a wholesale account, you can purchased some wholesale and some retail in the same order. It is also much easier to apply for a wholesale account. In your account, you can apply and include the required info for wholesale purchases. This is available for resellers, small businesses and teachers. If you think you qualify, apply and we will review your application.
You can also apply to receive affiliate commissions for links you share of our products. That’s a pretty easy application process as well. Once you are approved, you can click the share link from any product and the coded is automatically added to the link. You can request store credit for your commissions or request payments with PayPal.
You can also apply to be a tester for my patterns. I currently organize my testers with a Facebook group, but a lot of the process is now in my website and hopefully soon, the whole process. After the Facebook fiasco, I lost access to a lot of my organized groups, so we are quickly working on a solution.
I am also now offering a discount for all my patrons from Patreon, so if you shop often, you might want to check it out and offer monthly support for my work, plus get a discount on some of your purchase. Check out Patreon for more details
We have Grown
In the past few years, we have grown in more ways than one. Some of you may have seen updates in my social media, but here is the story. While the pandemic devastated so many businesses, we were some of the luck ones. The lack of masks in the beginning meant a huge demand for elastic. I quickly blew through my large back stock of elastics. My connection with factories was greatly beneficial in that I was able to keep the elastic flowing when a lot of big businesses couldn’t.
This provided us with a little extra cushioning for our business and made another opportunity available to us. About 5 months into the pandemic, I was connected with an individual who had acquired the entire contents of a factory storage unit. The contents included all the materials from a Fredericks of Hollywood production run that didn’t happen probably somewhere in the mid to late 90s when they sent all their manufacturing overseas. Luckily this unit was climate controlled, so everything remained intact over the 25 years living in storage.
Then came the opportunity. I purchased a large trailer’s worth of the fabrics and supplies and on our way home, I decided to offer her a lump sum for the remainder of it. After a little negotiation, I secured the remainder of it. I arranged for 3 U-Haul Uboxes to be dropped off to my new friend and she proceeded to pack it all up and send it on its way to me. The boxes arrived in Florida a few weeks later, but I had no space to put it. While they sat in storage, I searched for a light industrial warehouse that I could move it into. Mind you, that I was shipping everything for my business from a 10×5 foot closet at this point.
I found a 1200 square foot warehouse and the move in proceeded. I hired a team of 5 out of work ladies in my community and they helped me tackle all of it. It took us 2 months to sort through and inventory. Plus another 3 months to photograph and get everything listed online. That was exhausting. Once that task was completed, I worked out of that warehouse every day. I had an employee here and there to help out for the following year then I found Bhakta. Bhakta is amazing and joined my staff back in March of this year. He has become a fixture at Porcelynne and I really could not do any of this without him.
He started as part time, but has pretty much been full time ever since. I brought on a few other helpers as well, a graphic designer, an editor, a stock room employee and another pattern maker. It has been a busy couple years but it doesn’t seem to be letting up yet.
I have been actively working on growing my pattern business. A year ago I released the Jackie Sports Bra and added a flat cup option as well as a youth version. I then worked on reworking my Emily Tank and Brief to refine the fit and added a 3rd pattern to the collection in the way of the Emily Pant. These are great basics and also helped me refine my grading for these types of garments. Shortly after the release I began reworking my Rachel Tank and Panty set. I just re-released these patterns last week and I’m really happy with how they turned out. All these patterns go up to a 63” hip and 61” bust. Both tanks have 6 cup options including a flat cup, A/B, C/D, E/F, G/H and I/J cup. I updated all the youth patterns as well as my daughter loves to have everything I have. Although she won’t be wearing youth patterns for too much longer.
I have so many new products it’s a little hard to keep track of, but some of the biggies are my kits. Bra kits, panty kits, tank kits and sports bra kits. Not to mention all the new fabrics and laces. Its been a busy year. I’m most proud of the bra making kits. Our website makes the compilation of a bra making kit really custom. I have separate component kits for bra making, including strap kits, elastic/casing kits and fabric kits. Purchasing a kit has 4 components to it, including the fabric kit, strap kit, elastic kit and hook and eye, all which you can pick the width and size of each to really customize your own kit.
Take a look around our website to see all the new stuff including all the new markdowns in Clearance.
If you haven’t noticed yet, we are growing on all sides. The supply side and the pattern side are truly becoming their own beings. My warehouse employees keep the supply side in check as I have been working on growing the pattern side. I am presently working on a few bras and bralettes as I have declared 2023 to be the “Year of the Bra.” I am really excited to share these projects with you as I’m sure you will love them as much as me.
I have also been working on a new book on garment sloper creation and a course to go with it. I unfortunately don’t have enough hours to do all the things I want to do, so those will likely not be completed for another year, but who knows, my new helpers on the pattern side might help me get there faster.
We are also going to work on organizing some in-person classes for next year, but more on that later. My goal will be to send out a monthly newsletter instead of one every 4 years! We will see how that goes for me.
If you stuck through this with me, congrats, give yourself a cookie. You deserve it. I appreciate all of you and hope that you have a wonder remainder of 2022 and a fabulous new year. With that said, expect to get another newsletter at the end of the year or early next year on all we have in store for you.