How did joining Factory45 help you?
Although I had a lot of technical sewing, patternmaking, and branding experience, I was completely clueless as to how to start and run my own business. With Factory45, I was thrilled that someone was essentially taking me by the hand and showing me what to do, and in what order to do things. The list of fabric suppliers was a godsend, as it is really hard to find those on your own. For the first time, I started to take action on my ideas and not just dream about them. With every email I sent to suppliers asking for swatches, each showroom I visited, and each fellow Factory45’er I got help and support from, I finally started to feel confident enough to take each next step. Before I knew it the momentum and flow was carrying me towards making my dream come true.
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
It is REALLY hard to say which aspect of the program has been the most helpful. The detailed lessons, worksheets, databases and spreadsheets were invaluable. But if pressed I would have to say that the community (including Shannon) has been the most important aspect that I don’t think I could have done this without. I now have lifelong friends from this program and I cherish their guidance and support and I know they cherish mine. One thing that always held me back from starting my line was that I felt I couldn’t do this alone. Well, I was right, but I didn’t need a business partner. I just needed a community of like-minded people going through the same challenges I’m going through, to lift me up and make me sure that I can succeed at this crazy thing called entrepreneurship.
What were some big or small milestones you hit after going through Factory45?
After much debate I decided to do a preorders launch instead of a Kickstarter. I’m happy to say that it was a success: I offered a special discount of 30% off during a period of 2 weeks, and I’m thrilled that I pre-sold 29 pieces and raised $3,800 in that short time, which covered all of my production and most of my fabric. These were all sales (as opposed to donations), so it was a great way for me to gauge the response and get an idea of the most popular pieces and fabrics.