Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The truth about my apron business...

My husband occasionally asks me why I don't do more to promote my apron business. He often makes suggestions about cutting multiple aprons at once...sort of developing an assembly line...kinda, sorta. He has bigger ideas than I do. He sees things through the eyes of a manufacturing manager. Friends make suggestions, too. We have the kind of small town here that is mostly made up of little independent shops. There are several where my aprons would fit in perfectly. "Why don't you take a couple into some stores and see if you can put them on consignment? I'll bet you'd get a lot of orders for more!" I hear that a lot. I'm not complaining or criticizing. I'm flattered that folks close to me think I can do all those things. But, truth be told, I work in a small corner of our dining room and another small corner of one of our even smaller guest rooms. In the summer time, it's impossible to keep the ironing board up all day long lest our summer guest think I've got work in store for them rather than dinner. The little guest room,(the oldest room in this old house) serves as an open invitation in the summer for friends and family to come and stay and play in the Cape Cod sunshine. There are also toddlers around in the summer. My sewing center contains a lot of sharp objects....needles, scissors, seam rippers, you name it and it's there. All that stuff gets packed away during the warm sun bathing months. (We have a wonderful hospital here in Falmouth, but none of us likes visiting its emergency room.) Point of story? I can only sew when and where it's convenient. To be a bigger producer, I would need a dedicated space...a studio of sorts. catch my drift.
When I was young, I had a little shop...a boutique and tea room where I sold the dresses I made and the pies I baked. With four kids and a husband to care for, I didn't have much spare time to sew. Hubby would often look at me in bewilderment as I'd start cutting out a dress at ten o'clock at night. On his way upstairs to retire, he'd look back and say, "Are you coming to bed tonight?" I had a lot of energy then, and I needed the late night space and the quiet time to create the things I'd think up in my head during the day at the shop. Often, I'd finish a dress at two or three AM, jump in the car and drive downtown to my shop and put it on the mannequin in the window, confident that more often than not, someone would see it the next morning while driving through town, park their car and come into the shop and buy it. Our local police on the night shift, would often stop by and chide me for making them nervous. A woman visibly alone in a big store window at that hour of the morning is a sitting duck for trouble. But, I never worried. Our little Connecticut town was pretty safe and I knew the men in blue watched out for me.
But this is almost thirty years later. I can't start sewing at ten o'clock at night anymore. I can hardly keep my eyes open till ten. And, I seem to get going slowly in the morning as well...which doesn't leave me that many hours in between to sew. Then there's the grocery shopping, meal prep, cleaning, laundry, phone calls, computer time, and all the other stuff that takes up time during the day. I feel lucky if I get a couple of aprons a week made! There's not much hope of developing an assembly line.
The final insult to the proposal of doing "more, more, more" is the mess. Since I sew in spaces that have a dual purpose, I absolutely must clean up my mess each and every day. No one wants to eat a nice dinner with the ironing board sitting alongside the table. Sewing gets messy. Threads, pieces of fabric, lint, needles and pins all wind up in places where they don't belong.
Although I love the fanfare and the horns blowing and all from my family and friends, the bottom line is that I'm not the energizer bunny. I can't sew any faster and I can't produce any more and continue to live life as a retiree. I design and sew at a pace that I can manage. Encouragement is always welcome and appreciated, but truth be told, reality wins out in the end.
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  1. Just do what makes you happy...and what you have time for now!


  2. Your aprons are fab and I'm sure if you pushed and promoted more you would be swamped beyond your imagination. Why create a monster if you are doing what you love and are happy. It's a beautiful balance for you why mess it up?

    Wishing you peace and contentment with enough time to enjoy your blessings!!!

  3. Joann ~~ I agree do what you love, when you want, and enjoy all the Beautiful people, and things in your life. That is having your Cake & Eating it Too !! Hugs ~ Connie xox

  4. Hi Joanne,
    I feel exactly the same way. I'm a single mom, no help from anyone, I have to take care of my kids, do breakfast, get them off to school... I have have maybe 4 or 5 hours working time during the day, if I'm lucky and have no interruptions, then I go get my kids, dinner, baths, etc. So, I can't produce items fast. And I don't want to hire help. I don't think I would love my work so much, I'm afraid it would then become a chore. So I'm with you girlfriend. Do what you can and enjoy life!

  5. It's a beautiful balance for you why mess it up?

    Work from home India


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