Goals for 2012

2011 was a really interesting year. Even though I took a little hiatus from designing and producing the line in the beginning of the year, there was a lot of growth and learning that happened during the final months of 2011.

Let's recap: At the beginning of the year, I was super busy with music teaching. I just got a job teaching piano at a studio (love!), and it was my first year taking on a high volume of accompaniment jobs for our districts Solo and Ensemble season. So I decided to put Always the Forest on the back burner for a little while so I could focus on music and do a really good job.

Then, over the summer, I began working on the line again. My goals for 2011 were:

1. Pricing - Done! The time had come to develop a pricing formula and stick to it. I had to put my own feelings aside about how much I would actually pay for something, and price clothing items according to a standard formula. It also meant realizing that I myself might not necessarily be my target customer, and that's okay.

2. Get my line in more stores - This one took a different turn- I got my own pop-up shop! I had my very own mini-store at 71 Pop in Midtown. It was awesome because I had a physical place to direct customers to when they wanted to try something on to see if it fits.  It was a really neat experience.  I also decided that consignment might not be such a good deal, and I should look into doing wholesale instead.

3. Focus on online sales - My poor little online shop was dead, dead, dead. I updated the front page, and events, but that was about it. That will be priority this year.

 4. Balance all of the above with my teaching job - Well I didn't really balance it, the scales definitely tipped in favor of piano teaching, and I'm totally fine with that. And this year I'm starting competitions with my students, so fitting in enough time for Always the Forest might be a little perilous, but I'll make it happen. I have some friendly competition in the hard work department, Billy is working 40+ hours a week, going to school full time, and doing maintenance/administrative work for his auto wash. So I'm in good company!

Goals for this year:

1. Maintain the online shop - Post new items regularly, and get rid of items that are no longer in stock. I set up a dedicated product photography space in the sewing studio, so this should be a little easier. But I'm making this one top priority this year. People are getting more used to buying things online, even clothing, so it's important that I keep up with this.

2. Work more with other local designers - There are quite a few designers in the Detroit area that I really admire, and watch their progress to get an ideas of how to grow my business. I'd like to participate more in the growing number of group events, to support the local industry and learn from others. I already have one event on the calendar: I'm participating in the Workroom 1.0 Pop-Up, and I'll post more info on that soon, but I'm super excited about it!

3. Look into doing wholesale - This has been on my radar for a while now, but my main obstacle is how to make a proper line sheet for a store to make orders from when my fabric selections are always changing? This whole recycled fabrics deal is the foundation of my line, and I need to figure out how to make it work properly.

So that's what I have planned for 2012, but we'll see where it actually takes me!

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