Monday, April 23, 2012

April Deadlines...

Submitting the paperwork for my company, check! Setting up my website, check! Those were my goals for April and I've accomplished them...I feel so energized to see everything coming to fruition, it's surreal.

Since I have 1 week left until the end of the month I need to get a jump on May's goals, I'll share them as I go through them...more interesting that way, I think!

This weekend was busy....starting with Wednesday night, I got my hair done, by Sophia - by far the best hairstylist I have come across, and I've gone through MANY. A little trim and I went jet black (part of my image revamp). I'm loving it, I feel like a femme fatale (watch out world)!

Thursday I went to an NYU awards luncheon with Susan and Marcella, it was to honor Alan Greenspan (served as head of the federal reserve under Clinton and Bush, and partly responsible for the housing crisis we're in, but I'm still a fan), as well as a few others - this woman who had her family slain in the Rwanda Hutu and Tutsi genocide (her story was so touching, I want to contact her organization).

After the lunch, Marclla and I shared a bottle of wine at the Plaza hotel lobby bar, walked down 5th av, a little buzzed. She headed to Ct for her storeset and I headed to pilates at 4pm, very buzzed - but it felt amazing. Then I met with Chrissie to get my final sketches and we had more wine and some food at Eataly and talked about my next steps and what she's doing. Her new job is keeping her very busy and she's enjoying it...(The headhunter guy has the nerve to email me, "don't you return phone calls" and I write "I'm better on email, what's up?" no answer, I hope that's the end of that)

Friday - a quiet day, went to work then my meeting.

Saturday - was thinking of going for a run but wasn't feeling it. So I went to the 9am urban rebound class at the gym, it's doing moves on a mini trampouline (very fun and what a workout). Then home to decide what to do next....decided I'd take the 1:15pm train to Long Island, went to my parents', my mum was cooking - I love the smell of the house when she cooks. We go over to my sister's home, where my 3rd sister was staying, all the girls together again - we're an, opinionated and vocal lot...I love it!!

Then on the train back to NYC, I make it well before the rain starts. Sunday, no rain and I feel good so I go running....Pilates and my new sneakers enhanced my Sunday run - it fely like I'm running on air. The girl who I passed way back in mile 3 finally catches up with and passes me at mile 6, because I wasn't focusing...but it's on for next Sunday. I finish my run just as the rain starts and take the subway home. Then another meeting Sunday, after my run...Then home to setup my website (which you already know I did)

Monday at work, needless to say I'm wiped and have nothing left, mentally for work. But I get through it and look forward to conquering Tuesday...


Monday, April 16, 2012

Seminars....

I went to a "how to run your own retail or wholesale business" seminar on Saturday, those things are either hit or miss...Since I've been in retail for the past 10+ years, the first half bored me to tears. Inventory levels, markup, keystone, cost of goods sold...how about we start off with the different types of companies - i.e. LLC, Corp, Inc - and how to set those up, paperwork filings, the cost of these filings in New York.

The programs to look into which mentor and promote retail and wholesale businesses in New York, which Bloomberg has been vocal about, (if they're out there I've yet to come across them, they tend to be under the radar because they don't want to be overwhelmed with submissions) to keep NYC as the forefront of fashion - because the city's market dominance as the Mecca of fashion is steadily eroding.

With the economic downturn, funding eligibility requirements are much more strict,
most banks want to see that you've been up and running and made some money first before they invest (learned that at an investing seminar, which was free, phew!!). The days of a sound business plan and idea are nearly over (there's always an exception, me!!). Instead fashion has become monopolized by people/socialites with cash - think Tory Burch and her investment banker rich hubby, Vera Wang and her daddy's money, Tamara Mellon (who started Jimmy Choo) and her daddy's money and she married a Mellon (old fabled American family with banking and oil fortunes).
Long gone are the fabled stories of hard work, from the likes of Calvin Klein and
Ralph Lauren (who made the Forbes billionaire's list recently).

Normally the seminar's are free, but this one I had to pay for and while I'm always hesitant about doing that - the title of the course seemed so specific that I had to go as I am sure I would get something out of it, and I did...

MARKETING, ahhhhhhh! The saving grace came during the 2nd part of the seminar, after a boxed lunch (what am I in kindergarten). I have had some feedback from a close friend that I don't yet have a finished product and so I'm doing all of this everything prematurely. That stuck with me, and I thought - no, in this day and age the world moves very fast, I'll have the finished product soon enough but I need to get started on getting my idea out there by word of mouth....but I needed reassurance. And the speaker did that, she spoke of teaching a class and this one guy always seemed to be sleeping in class - it was late fall and she puled him aside and said am I boring you? He responded, no..its just that my business doesn't launch until April and I have nothing to do until then. She then said that she felt she failed as a teacher right there, because the time to start doing anything is not when you have a launch - but while you're going through the process.

There are so many products, ideas out there - it's very hard to decide to buy into/buy one...we as consumers need to be engaged/feel involved/get emotionally involved with a product, that's how you gain a following. Never letting your audience down is how you maintain a following...seems so logical to me. One of the speakers said that it takes 3 seconds for something to make an impression on a consumer...within 3 seconds of seeing something (wonder if that's true for seeing someone) we decide if we like it or not - that's not a lot of time!!

Thank you marketing speaker - I've already signed on to a few of the websites she suggested and started some queries and feel I'm on the right path....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Days Gone By...

Yesterday was a bust...well 1 of the patternmakers I visited speciallizes in embroidery. From there I went into this old building, which had an old building smell where they're trying to mask it with some glad plug in or something...I rang the doorbell and a woman answers, and opens the door a very tiny crack and says yes. I tell her I'm looking for the company name and that I want to get patterns and samples made. It takes a few interchanges for her to comprehend that I'm there offering potential new business. She closes the door, checks with someone and then lets me in..there are bockes with csraps everywhere, piled around. I can't see anyone but I hear sowing machines and the faint hint of conversation...it sounded like a full on mini factory.

She tells me to come in and seats me in this room, looked like a makeshift conference room and someone was having lunch because there's a jar of almost finished kimchi, soda and a paper plate...
Yeah, I didn't get the vibe that this is where my brilliant designs are going to come to life. But I politely waited for my host. He had this semi arrogant air and sat down in his chair, I just wanted out of there and kept the conversation very brief, saying I didn't get the feeling that they make patterns there - he said he knows of someone who does, so I handed him my card and told him to have her get in touch with me. You know it's bad when you start getting the vibe that you may not make it out alive for fear that you're snooping where you shouldn't be..s

Needless to say, from now on I think I'll call ahead and schedule appointments. Even though I have been releshing getting out of the office and getting some air and clearing my head - I'll have to find another purpose for that, maybe visiting fabric vendors...After my pattern visits yesterday, I went to GNC and got their shot of NRG smoothie (I always pronounced each letter when I would get it, but recently discovered its short for energy, brilliant!) Because I knew I had Zumba at 6pm and my kick butt instructor would be back, little did I know.

I leave work and head to Zumba, I tell myself if she's not there - I'm leaving class (I always say this, but don't want to be rude so I always end up staying). I walkt to the room, looking for her or hearing her booming voice. She's nowhere to be found, instead there's a new lady instructor. Ugh! She's in good shape, her hair is wildly out, not pulled back in a ponytail (that should've been my first hint, bc we tend to get very very sweaty in Zumba). Usually I'm in the very front, smiling and sweating and giving my all to each routine...I tentatively go to the 3rd row and follow her warm up, ok. Now she'll crank up the volume. Oh no, she proceeds with this half stripper routine, with lots of shaking the head and whatever else..she leads me by the hand to the front of the class, I'm pretty good - been doing Zumba for a year and a half, always danced, but the other instructors never do that, they'll just signal someone's really good. So I'm completely mortified she pulls me up there - so I finish the routine with her at the front and she hi -5's me and I ruch back to 3rd row...

Thhe rest of her routine, good songs but they're for someone who has never danced or worked out before. I did sweat but mainly because the AC wasn't cranking and there were 25 girls in a room moving about...Since I just wasted the previous hour, I needed to burn some calories and spent 20 minutes on the elliptical, followed by the leg machines and dragged my tired butt home....

Oh, and "the advisor" called me, I saw his number and sent it to voicemail. I sent him an email saying I have last minute projects to finish up, so what's up! We'll see if he responds to that one.

I also saw my ex earlier today and it was hard - I gave him his keys back and we sat and talked at Starbucks for almost an hour. And I remember a movie or a book, saying that love is devastating and it really is. What we put ourselves through with the hope that it will end up in a fairytale. And it never really does, not for anyone - how do you make sense of that, why keep doing it? I just have no words - I'll bring it up in therapy Wednesday...

Busy weekend up ahead, a seminar on starting my business tomorrow almost all day!! I'll post about what happens...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Power week....

I thought the rest of my Monday would be uneventful, but no...

When I got back to my desk after visiting the potential patternmaker/samplemaker, I get a call from a head hunter. I suggested meeting the following day, but he misunderstood and thought I meant that night - I had some time before Zumba class so I went to meet him. We talked and talked, the job would be with a good company, managerial level, but the base salary is less than I currently make, which doesn't fly with me. During our conversation he said he worked in womenswear for 30 years but when the stores started asking for Margin money at the end of a season it was time for him to get out...

So, after we get all the nitty gritty out about the position he wants to submit my resume for - I say "well you know I'm currently creating a line of women's clothing" he sits back and says, really - tell me about it. So I go into my concept, my niche, fabrication - how I've worked for over 10 fashion companies and for me, it was all cataloguing their strengths and weaknesses, supply chain, etc., planning, etc., customer feedback, negotiating, learning the jargon. Then I say, I'm under no illusions that its going to be glamorous fun and games all day everyday. I know that the market is volatile and fickle, clients/customers are the same - but it's what I love the industry, it's exactly where I've always seen myself...He starts telling me about which accounts he sold to: Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom - the higher end of the spectrum. I say what was the name of the line, I must have heard of it,. He tells me and sure enough, I remember the brand and bought a really cute cream dress and wore it to an assembly I went to...

So, he leans back in his chair, smiles and says you know what, it sounds like you have something there, I'd like to be one of your advisors...You're absolutely nuts and the landscape has changed so much, but I'll help you out where I can. And I say I know the landscape has changed, but I'm not from the time of the previous landscape - now is the time to try something which would seem revolutionary and the reward is limitless!! We walk out of the building together and he gets a cab and lets me know he'll send my resume to the other company and to email me the list of patternmakers I'm thinking of going with...

Tuesday, which is usually a busy day of meetings at my job!! He calls me in the afternoon and asks if I'm still sending over the list...I say yes but I'm heading into a meeting and he says also I wanted to know if you want to get drinks tonight? All sorts of bells and alarms start sounding off - but surely I must be overreacting!!  was planning on going for a run that evening - but my cycle was just starting and made me feel like hibernating in a cave, so I said sure we can do that. Go to the meeting, it wasn't as boring as usual, and ended within an hour which was great...

Cut to me arriving at the restaurant forr drinks and we talked about my idea in more depth for some time. Then, the conversation takes on a more personal tone, where from?  age? He says "Oh at least I'm not 2x your age" (yeah, you're only shy of being 2x my age by a few years). Me: you're  married and this is my year off from men and don't take that as a challenge, it isn't...it's just a fact. I end up having 3 glasses of wine, which is a lot for me. We were there for an hour tops, he calls a car service and says 2 stops - I say no I'm walking home, need the exercise and fresh air..him: oh I thought we could make out in the car. Me: The most doubtful, when pigs fly and when peace in the middle east occurrs, look on my face..."no, thank you"...

Cut to Wednesday when I relate this to my therapist and we're just surprised but not surprised as this is one of those folklore, legendary stories which I will retell and get a huge kick out of...

Ok, off to see more patternmakers....stay tuned...

Monday, April 9, 2012

No Illusions....

Working in the fashion industry for 13+ years I have no illusions how unglamorous parts of the industry can be. But initially when I vocalized and visualized my brand, all I could see were the end results and the most glamorous of times! If you ever want to give someone a reality check on the fashion industry, take them to 38th and 39th streets in Manhattan between 7th and 8th Avesin Manhattan. That's where I was on my lunch break today, meeting with potential patternmakers.

I first went to the wrong block and walked into a couple of fabric stores (which I will need to visit soon enough). The 1st store, not so bad, a gentleman told me he never heard of the building number I was looking for..turns up I overshot my target street by 1 block. I walk back up 1 block and find the building I'm looking for. Go in, press the floor number, the elevator opens up onto a makeshift mini factory...Gone is the woman who I had met at an FIT forum of patternmakers, manufacturers and designers was a pleasant, engaging, somewhat friendly female. She was replaced by a woman who was spitting out details that I'd need, more specificity, how many inches, length of sleeve, length of neck, waist, hips, thighs - the more specific the better, turnaround time of 1-2 weeks, more or less depending on how specific I am and how many times they have to stop, call and ask me a question and restart, on and on...

I get that it's Monday and most of us are sooo disappointed that the weekend, was a a fantasy life (one where instead of work we sleep in an extra hour, get errands done, leisurely catch up with friends and family if that is our desire, have time to read or go to the park and ponder the meaning of life) and that we do have to work at the same mundane job we've been doing for years (which could be the reason I've changed companies a few times over). But hey I had to drag myself to work also, but maybe she didn't get that...

I look at the address of another patternmaker and go visit him. There's a storefront downstairs which I walk into and a surly foreign woman who speaks/understands little to no english tells me no, that's not here...I walk into the building with the same address and he lets me know they moved across the street, I go up to the new offices and they're out so I made an appointment to come back the next day...

I get back to my desk and I'm a little hot and have a few minutes until my hour is up with which I use to write this entry. And with that back I go, to analyzing how someone else's business can be more profitable - for now!