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The Highs and the Ls
I’ve only just realised that I didn’t write a launch day post. No doubt I was busy praying that everything linked together and that there were no errors in the order and payment process. It was a major high for me that four years from incorporating a business, I was finally selling products. I was thinking the other day, why did I even incorporate Mummy’s Muse so early? I reckon it was to do with having a business account and tracking money spent and made (mostly spent) separate from my personal money right from the start. I would say the next two years were heavily research based before properly hitting design and starting to manufacture. WHEW. I think at some point I’ll map out what I’ve done up to this point and if I’m feeling brave – how much I’be spent.
A Series of Highs
Launching the Uhuru and Red Dot toddler bibs in early December was a major high. I would have loved for them to be ready earlier because I felt like I was too late to really capitalise on the Christmas gift market, but I told myself I wasn’t going to wait. As you may know I had become a professional ‘waiter’ so wasn’t trying to wait some more.
A few weeks later on the 18th December – so right up on Christmas – I launched baby bibs. I was ecstatic. It’s so funny that a product I thought of producing fairly late became one of the quickest ones to market. The production and printing challenges continue to rage with apparel. I will get there one day.
In late Jan / early Feb, I started the process of looking for real Muses to model the goods. Knowing what clothes will look like on real people is a major part of e-commerce. I could have gone down the ‘friends with cute kids route,’ – and shout out to my friends with cute kids that have helped – but I didn’t feel comfortable with this as a long term strategy. I’ll write about this another time. I found a service online that allows you to send instructions to parents with babies and toddlers that want to model, they send you the pics, you pay. This is how I got our first set of model pics.
A Major L
I had been steadily selling my products, I had photos of Muses in the aprons and bibs, I’d even re-stocked on the aprons – I was ready for a big push. And then I made a discovery. One day I pulled out another bib to sell and realised that I could see some sort of ink transfer from the bib to the white piping. I thought, ‘Huh? I’ve never seen this before. Maybe it’s a one off.’ I looked at the next and the next and the one after and to my bewilderment, they all had this ink transfer. Why was the ink bleeding? I had conducted wash tests and the ink wasn’t running in the wash. A few moments of thinking and I worked it out. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a combination of two factors: when asked whether the bibs should be individually poly-wrapped when my manufacturer was shipping, I declined. I don’t send the products out in plastic so didn’t see the need to have them sent over to me individually wrapped. The second reason is I’m quite sure the box where I kept the bibs was in a part of the house that’s too warm.
So I stood there looking at this box of this stock and thought, ‘wow, I don’t think I can sell these.’ It’s not like they’re awful, it’s just not as they were designed to be. I’ve decided for now that I’m going to go into production again (maybe even using this as an opportunity to trial a new printer) and I’ll keep the stock I haven’t sold for sample sales in the future.
It was such a L given I was ready to push on bibs. I’m continuing the push on aprons until I get new bibs then I’ll add those back into the mix.
Well the first thing to note is that a big part of me felt vindicated. As much common sense as I could have employed, I don’t think I would ever have seen this coming. It’s one of those – and I hate these cliches – you live and learn lessons. However, I’m so happy I hadn’t fallen into the Inventory Trap. I continue to battle against the temptation (often cost driven) to order huge quantities of stock at this early stage. The temptation is REAL. I’ve got to be sure the product is right and that I have the demand before I press go on on larger quantities. Despite this happening, I felt good I hadn’t fallen into that trap.
It definitely made me feel a little low when it first happened, however, I think I’m growing. I didn’t stay down for too long. This is the real cost of this journey I’m on and I’m learning to accept that I can’t predict everything that’s going to happen.
Hooray. I have samples. It’s been quite the process to get these made. I was initially in talks with a manufacturer I was interested in working with. We’d actually got quite far down the line talking, but we couldn’t go any further as I felt the MOQs (minimum order quantities) were just too high. I’m …
Meeting Our Maker
Last month I travelled to meet a company that I’ve been thinking about working with to manufacture our clothing. It was a very quick decision to fly out. I got the sample, liked it and figured that there’s only so many emails or WhatsApp messages we could exchange. I’m still on maternity leave and had …
Tsunami of Doubt
There is this feeling I get every now and again. It tends to come when I’m approaching – or actively hitting my head against – a brick wall. Obviously not an actual brick wall. The only way to describe it is as a giant wave of doubt. A Tsunami of Doubt. I’m going to get …