Monday, August 8, 2011

Stepping Back and Building Momentum

Where have I been?! everywhere, nowhere and back again :)
Since I last posted, it feels like so much has happened, and yet it also feels like so little has happened. I planned to be further along than I am, but sometimes, you have to go backwards to go forwards.

My friend Kim Salter, of Design Thoughts, has been an amazing cheerleader, how-to guru, aesthetic sounding board, and a well-spring of inspiration. In a mood, I was sharing that I didn't feel accomplished recently. You know how you can have only 4 things on your list, but when you get into it each one actually has 3 or 4 sub-steps? At the end of the week you've taken 15 steps, but you don't have gratifying "check-mark" to put next to it. How I love the check mark...sigh. So, ever wise, Kim shared this with me:

"my dad told me that any successful decision, business or personal, should be looked at like a huge would never try to jump across standing right at the edge...usually, you have to take 2 or 3 steps back first ;) it's what builds momentum (knowledge)."


Here's what I've been up to
the last few weeks while
stepping back and building momentum...

I've been consulting with an amazing creative designer and mentor, Kaia Canales, In true ask and you shall receive fashion, I thought to myself, I need to discuss my designs, plans, ideas, etc. with someone in the industry who is free to share information and isn't competition. Hello, Kaia! This is EXACTLY what she does, and loves to do. She helps start-ups with big ideas make their dreams come true. We've met a handful of times to discuss the line, where I am, and what I need. At our last meeting, she really challenged me to focus. Nothing like the mirror put up in front of your face. She, rightly, pointed out that I have a clear vision for the line but I have way too many ideas for how to execute it. I'm a designer. I love A LOT of things. We put together a list of emotional words that describe the line. All things should filter through these words: colors, prints, stripes, blogs, logo, garment details...everything. It's all a part of and goes back to The voice. The message. The story. The experience. 

Stepping, two three...Literally back to the mood board, baby! I'm (re)constructing my mood board with focus and intention. She (again) rightly pointed out that this first garment is only the beginning, true, but it also sets the tone and it needs to be the right tone. 

I'll be honest, I felt deflated at first.

I thought I'd be through the edits to the garment designs now, posting them on my blog and passing them back off to the factories. But, I thought about it again, and what this step-back turned momentum means for me. How awesome is it that the line will send a clear message to my customers right from the start?! Being a graphic designer in the industry, I'd have to say that is the #1 struggle I see at creative meetings. How great is it, that I can go into my new business with that confidence of clarity?? That is really, really, really good stuff. 

I attended the Playtime and ENK shows in NYC last weekend. Very inspirational, a bit overwhelming, and super glad I cleared out the weekend to go. I also found 2 direct competitors. Two years ago, when I dreamed this up, it totally didn't exist. NOBODY was doing it. I always thought I'd get knocked off. I didn't think someone would beat me to market

More Deflation...

But, but, but, wait a minute... I now have very clear real-time information on how the world is receiving this kind of concept, where it's selling, how it's selling, etc. Before it was me, my idea and I, alone, out on a limb taking a chance. Plus, how many white tees, jeans and black pants do you own? Right. There is plenty of room in the industry! My core values, focus, approach and aesthetic are also totally different from either competitor.

More than just the concept, my IDEA is still unique. 

We've been pricing factories...again. Logistics, spreadsheets and numbers, OH MY!! Pros and cons, cons and pros, numbers, numbers, more numbers. I have 3 options, which is amazing: NYC, domestic and overseas. I've spent more than a million hours plugging information in and running different scenarios. After we make these final garment changes, there will be more numbers to run too. I think I'm learning there will always be numbers to run. I had hoped that one would be the clear winner and we'd just do that. But, there are many ways to get from A to B. Momentumly-minded (yup, you heard it here first. I coined the phrase), all these bits, pieces and prices will be so helpful as I add more pieces to the line. Front loading all this knowledge is  a huge help as I grow.

So, here I am three steps back and, yes, the wheels are spinning, and YES! the momentum is building, the knowledge is growing, and the ideas are clarifying. 


  1. We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
    C. S. Lewis

  2. Design Thoughts~KimAugust 8, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    WOW!! You have such an amazing way to make a girl feel special ;)Thanks for the kind words!

    Its so exciting when the wheels are spinning, especially when you start to see all the things you are flying past!! ( check marks) Heart you!

  3. You are SO welcome, Kim. Thank YOU for helping me to remember how important it is for my wheels to spin :)