Over the past week, I have had a lot happen in the way of startup ‘go’s and woes’. I was invited to participate in a local fashion show, to showcase my collection of tall fashion… or at least what I have. That was a huge go! However, the first massive hurdle that I had to overcome was that the show was in two weeks, and I did not have any pieces to showcase! Cue PANIC MODE. More like, MUST GET THINGS DONE MODE. I started making phone calls and phone bombing whoever I could think of.
The first phone call I made was to the Art Institute’s fashion division. I spoke with a lovely lady there, who put my information out to the students. It was another go! So far, I have had one response from a student, and she is going to be making patterns and samples for me over a longer period of time. This didn’t quite solve my immediate need for the fashion show, so it was a little bit of a woe, but I’m OK with that. Still a go!
Money has always been one of the biggest hurdles for me when it comes to startup life. Most startups can probably relate. I was a college student trying to start a business, and everyone knows how much money most college students have… ZERO MONIES. So I applied for a credit card. They gave me the standard answers of limited credit, not a long enough history, blah. Was this going to be another startup woe? I went to the bank and ended up with the same answers. *Sigh* Not one to be defeated, I decided to use what I could out of my paycheck. Now all I had to do was find someone to create the samples for me.
I had given myself a deadline of about 48 hours (from when I got the invite to participate in the fashion show) to find someone to make the samples for me. Not a lot of time, but if I could not get it done in two days, I most likely would not find someone who would be able to meet the show’s deadline.
I don’t remember why I had to go to Sephora, but I did, and I ended up meeting serendipity there, at least I thought so at the time. There’s a lady who I always go to for makeup advice, and to have my makeup done for special occasions. She was there that day, and we started talking. I told her my news and what I was trying to do, and she said that she had a friend who has recently graduated from the art institute with a degree in fashion. And this friend of hers knew how to make samples. It was a go! She gave me her information, and I contacted her.
By the time she got back to me 48 hours later, I was about ready to call it because I was at my deadline. I was so excited. Another go! We chatted about what I needed done, and what she needed from me. She gave me a list of the kinds of fabrics she would need and I went straight out and got them. We met up in person and chatted for a bit, then I found out she lived on the other side of the city, so I gave her a ride home.
During the drive to her place, I found out that I was her first major job, and her highest paid one. We had agreed on $350 for a total of two different kinds of t-shirts, and two pairs of jeans. I had already paid her $200 dollars at the point I found out that I was her first major job and it made me a little nervous, but I decided to go with her anyway. I should have listened to my gut.
We stayed in contact over the next week. She’d ask me questions about what I wanted, I would answer. She sent me pictures, they looked alright, and everything seemed genuine. I felt hopeful that I would be able to showcase pieces in the upcoming fashion show.
When I contacted her about picking up the pieces, she said she would be spending all day Saturday sewing them. From the pictures she had sent me, I thought she had already been doing that. Apparently not. Another woe. My hope for having pieces to showcase was slipping away like sand through my fingers. My feelings of unease were growing stronger.
When I went to pick them up that Sunday, she showed me what she had put together. The sand had completely slipped through my fingers. She pointed out strings that had not been trimmed. Fabric that had not been properly sewed, and had ripped. Places to take a blue sharpie to where the fabric had been caught. All of this was about the jeans. We hadn’t even talked t-shirts yet. Another woe.
She showed me the t-shirts. She’d made an off the shoulder one, and a regular one like I had requested, but they were made for someone who was 5’3”, and 120lbs. I said thank you to her, and took the samples. I am still undecided on whether or not I am going to finish paying her.
After the mishaps with the samples, I contacted the fashion show host and let him know that I would not be able to participate and showcase my collection because the samples were of poor quality, and I would not have them representing my line. I was devastated. He came back to me and said that the show had been postponed for six weeks because he had to go into surgery, and would not be recovered in time for the show in less than a week. A go! Not that he had to have surgery, but that I would have the time to have proper samples made, and have something to showcase that I would be proud of! A tremendous go! *Let the happy dance commence*
So here is to all the ups and downs of a fashion startup, and to opportunities not lost! Keep tuning in to read my adventures. I’m going to need all the support I can get on this journey – you can connect with me via my author page or let me know what you think over in the #teamtall facebook group