First of all, I'm not going to turn this into a sewing blog or an entrepreneur blog. I'm not going to use this blog to sell things. So I started a new blog for my indie business at my website. I'm going to write and post pictures there about the life and inspiration behind HELLIN, post about new clothes, sales, events and things like that. So this blog will stay all about simple, slow and meaningful living, in all it's aspects. Sometimes the topics and pictures may cross over, as my life is one whole, and not clearly separated into sections!
You can make requests for topics, and if I feel like I can write about it, I will do so :) Simple food, simple clothes, simple home, simple child-raising, simple entrepreneurship - ah yes, that's a topic for my current post ;)
At first sight running a business sounds everything but simple. On the other hand, being "self-employed" has been on the wish list of many simple living/minimalism advocates for years.
How about making STUFF and SELLING it, how is that simple?
People running a business are efficient, energetic, well organized, driven, ambitious, focused, goal setter go-getters. Right?
Yet, I'm none of those things.
Ambition can be a good thing. Goal setting can be great for some people, the go-getters. For me, setting goals is trouble, as it will only make me discouraged. I get tired of just thinking about "what to accomplish in 5 years".
What works for me is concentrating on NOW - the moment and day at hand. Perhaps the week ahead.
There may be an event a few weeks or months ahead, that I have to prepare for.
Right now this means that today I will sew a tunic that was ordered yesterday, if I don't have that size ready (which I think I don't but will check first). I will probably do a little bit more of organizing in my studio, as I gave away the antique architect's cabinet. It was not used enough to deserve it's place here, and it was way too big for a decorative element, as gorgeous as it was.
That's my immediate to-do list. Then there's getting the new blog started. This is something that I will do when I have time and feel like it.
Yesterday I wrote the English version of my website hellinsinua.fi and published it.
On my long-term to-do list is making clothes and designing new ones, mainly for a huge Design Market event that is part of a Helsinki Design Week and draws about 25 000 visitors. That's in early September, so there is my summer job! In addition to being with Indi, that is.
Meanwhile I try to make something new for my shops now as well, and I ordered postcards from some of my photos, to sell and to put in orders as gifts.
But now, today, it's just One Tunic.
It has helped me to hear facts from more experienced people, who started a clothing company from scratch. They tell me it realistically takes 3-5 years to actually start making money. That much time and work, and no certainty! Before I would have just given up easily, given up because nobody could tell me what would happen. Will it take off or fall flat? Now, I don't think about it. I do what I can and should do today. There's always tons of work to do if you are an entrepreneur, the work is endless and I have to set the limits. MY limits, what I'm comfortable with. Nobody else can tell me how much time I should put into it, or how high I should aim.
Usually businesses aim to grow big. Bigger also means more responsibilities, more work, more organizational skills needed, more stress, more things needing urgent attention. More problems to solve.
Big is not my goal at all. If I had to say something, as obviously I am hoping to make more money with this than what I'm spending on it, I would say that approximately one sale per day would be fantastic. That would be 365 pieces of clothing sold in a year. Some of it may be wholesale orders, a lot of it may be sold in an event during a couple of days, and some months I may get an order once or twice a week. A 1000 pieces would probably be my upper limit, depending on what kind of items the number would consist of. If it was mostly scarves and beanies, I could do more than that, but if it was dresses, leggings and jackets, it might be too much.
I expect this first year to be a major learning process. I expect to make mistakes - and I doubt it will stop after the first year, but at least I will learn something new all the time.
So this is my super simple One Day At A Time -Business Model haha!!!
So, how does a simple living advocate decide to sell things, and actual real objects, not just e-books or other non-physical things?
This is something I have thought about a lot. Making things has always been part of who I am. I sewed my first soft toy, a pig I designed myself after I was inspired by a pig in a children's book, when I was four years old. With my mom. I enjoy making things with my hands, creating visible, tangible things. Things to see or touch or both.
Someone may object to making clothes because we have a lot of second hand clothes available. Isn't the world flooded with clothes already? Yet we don't have that many truly ecological and ethical brands. There are some, but they don't fit everyone's tastes and lifestyles.
I think a mix of second hand shopping and buying new things from ethical brands is a great combination. I tend to buy shoes and jeans and some outerwear secondhand. I have bought some underwear from an indie business (but plan to also make my own). I have some clothes from a Finnish company, most of it bought second hand, but I also already re-sold a lot of it, because I tend to grab my own designs to wear these days. And I should like them best, shouldn't I? There are some things I don't make myself, like most knitwear, so those are bought from others.
I figured the world can deal with more ethical indie brands, those are not the problem! People need to work. People still need things, like new clothes from time to time.
Hey, in the Bible Paul made and sold tents, and Lydia sold fancy purple dyed fabrics! If being a maker and seller of THINGS was not below them, it certainly is not below me!
As images of God, we are creative beings. Not all of us want to create physical things or visual things. But I do. So I do it, but I don't stress about it. It will succeed if I give it my best, what I can at the given moment considering my health and time limitations, if the Lord wills so. I don't have to worry about it.
Maybe some day I will write a book or start a counseling business for closet organizing or home and life de-cluttering, who knows :)
Maybe I will just keep that here in my blog as a hobby.
At the moment I have some health issues going on again. It could be a bad case of allergies or a Epstein-Barr reactivation. I went to the doctor once and they gave me antibiotics because my throat and glands are so swollen, but the strep test was negative (which I was almost certain it would be, because this looks and feels different from strep) so I will have to the doctor again.
Good practice for taking it easy and slowly, as my body will set the limits. If I have to sleep, I will sleep. That web page or new design can wait. Those leggings I'm making for Indi can wait. The T-shirts for my husband can wait (except I promised Indi that she can draw on them with fabric markers and she keeps asking about it). This and that, can wait.
One day, one order. That's all I ask of myself today, and all the other stuff I may get done is just a bonus.
The sun shines, and my windows are freshly washed.
God is Good.