(Note: this is a long one! Grab a coffee or a glass of wine and get comfortable!)
It's been a year now that I've been blogging (I use the term loosely - I realize this isn't something I do with any regularity yet), and I've been thinking about writing this particular post since I started last year!
When I first got this website up and running, it was specifically for my bag-making business. My goal was to have an online presence that was branded, had information, and could lead you to where you could buy my bags in person, or online. So much of my customer base/readership has been built on people who found me at markets selling my bags, or discovered me by word of mouth as a bag-maker. I love and appreciate you all, thank you for supporting me!
Here's an oldie but a goodie - my first year at the Moss Street Market in Victoria
(I was right across the aisle from Abeego....talk about a grassroots success story!)
But, there haven't been bags in ages, so what am I doing now? Am I making bags, do I take orders, am I making clothes to sell now, will I ever sell bags again, do I make kids clothes? What AM I doing?! All (good and relevant) questions I've been fielding over the last few years so I figured I should just take a moment and update y'all at the same time in the same place!
Am I making bags?
Short answer is no. As in, I am not producing an inventory of bags to sell.
But will I take orders for a bag?
Absolutely! I'm always open to talking about a custom order, or an order of a bag style I have sold in the past. Please contact me if you ever want to talk about having me make you a Sugar & Candy handbag :)
Leather fully lined handbag I recently made for a customer.
Am I making women's clothes to sell?
Kinda? Mostly I'm just making clothes for my own me-made wardrobe (I'll be posting on this near-and-dear to my heart subject soon!), in an effort to replace most of my 'ready-to-wear' clothing, and also just to continue learning new sewing skills. But I did sell some tunics last year for women, and am considering doing small runs like that from time to time in the future. Is there any clothing you'd be interested in seeing me make to sell? Tell me!
Will I ever go back to selling bags at markets, etc?
Nope. This was a very difficult realization to come to. In fact I would say it's taken me 2 years of contemplation to say for sure I don't and won't be selling bags on a small production scale again. I said that I would continue to do it as long as I loved it....and I realized after my second son was born that my heart wasn't in it anymore. My priorities had changed (it's damn hard to run a business with 2 kids, a husband, a house to run, life to live, and sleep to find), and I also realized that in order for me to turn a proper profit at the cost of producing what I wanted to produce, I would need to throw myself into finding more capital, and outsourcing production. Both of which made my stomach and heart ache anytime I thought about it.
Another challenge I faced (and I'm only now really realizing the true reasons behind this), is that I had built my little business on a certain style of product (fabric/textile bags) on a specific price point. When I launched into making leather handbags, my price point tripled, and the faithful customers I had until that point, weren't able to afford what I was making. Yet I continued to try and sell in the same avenues, hoping I'd reach my intended market. It didn't ever really happen because what I should have done was started over again at ground zero and sought out a different customer base. Ugh - tough, emotional and expensive lessons to learn.
So I took a break, and the break turned into a permanent end. This definitely felt a lot like failure at the time. I wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn't make this work, that I couldn't find the drive to continue - it's taken me what feels like a long time to make peace with the fact that I learned a lot, and it was ok to say I was done.
Do I make kids clothes?
If you follow me on instagram you've no doubt seen some of the kids clothes I've sewn for both my boys, as well as friends, family, and a couple clients here and there. I don't anticipate actually making kids clothes a business - but if you ever see something I've made and would like to talk about ordering one similar, I'm definitely open to orders and you're welcome to drop me a line!
But seriously, what AM I doing then?
Well, I'm doing a little bit of a bunch of things! And I've discovered that makes me pretty happy, less stressed, and very fulfilled.
✂️ I am first and foremost still an at-home parent to my boys. So I'm doing lunches, snacks, drop offs, pickups, birthday parties, school projects, bandaids, dinners, and everything in between.
Gratuitous photo of my hooligans (by the lovely Tamara of Hudson Wren)
When I'm NOT doing that....
✂️ I am keen to continue blogging about my sewing and crafting adventures, if you're keen to keep reading about them! I want to turn this website into more about me and my sewing, rather than about handbags, so there will be a few design and layout changes coming this year to better reflect where Sugar & Candy really is at (think more pretty sewing pictures, and information on what I'm doing!).
✂️ I am also doing a little bit of Social Media Assistant work! I have a couple clients who have hired me to take care of creating and scheduling their business posts on Facebook and Instagram, so they have time to focus on the parts of their business they love. I am truly enjoying working 'outside the home' (while still inside my home usually haha), at something that is not sewing or making! And I make my own hours - it's pretty awesome.
✂️ I am always, always, ALWAYS sewing. When I'm able to, I test sew for sewing pattern designers that reach out for testers; I'm always planning the next thing I'll make; and I'm working towards a mostly me-made wardrobe! My goal this year is to do more quality sewing in terms of learning skills and perfecting a few tried and true patterns - rather than just pumping out volume. I sometimes find it hard to focus extensively on a project/pattern, but I'm going to keep working at it (I'm looking at you, handmade jeans!).
Phew. That was a lot. If you made it this far, I really appreciate it, and I hope it answers some questions! I feel like I have a lot of friends and family, followers and customers who just always continue to support me through this journey, regardless where I'm at. I can't thank you all enough for that love and support!