Sotela

The Good, Bad, and Everything in Between: December 2016

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The past couple months have been exciting, scary, and at times frustrating. Every single day I learn something new which usually has some financial consequence. Fortunately, there hasn’t been an issue too big I couldn’t solve, but every little hiccup can seem pretty big when you are the sole owner/employee.

However, I’m quite proud with how I’ve rolled with the punches lately. When I first launched Sotela, every issue seemed catastrophic. I would go into panic mode and call my husband for advice. Nowadays, I take a deep breath and calmly call my husband for advice, haha!

Anyway, let’s talk about the good, the bad, and everything in between, shall we?

The good: I hosted my first sale for Shop Small Saturday and it was amazing! These are my first holidays as a small business owner and I couldn’t have been happier with the turnout. A lot of my sales were from returning customers, so it’s safe to say you guys kick ass. One of my favorite parts about running Sotela is connecting with all of you. I love receiving your emails and messages, so keep ‘em coming!

The okay: In October, I announced I’d be releasing two new styles by December. Well, that time frame has been pushed to February/March 2017. Fabric sourcing has been so difficult this time around!

I’ve purchased close to 10 different eco-friendly fabrics and made 5 samples. Still haven’t found what I’m looking for because the fabrics are too itchy, too rough, or not available in colors. Lesson # 1: all wovens aren’t created equal. There can be a huge difference between canvas, twills, and plain weave fabrics.

I’m taking my time with these designs because the last thing I’d want is to manufacture an item you don’t want to wear because it is too uncomfortable. The good news is that I’ve nailed down one style and about 50% of the second style. I have to make a few adjustments to complement the weather if it comes out in the spring (i.e. short sleeves).

The bad: I struggle with calling this “the bad” because it’s fixable and definitely not the end of the world. Last week while packaging my latest batch of Jersey Swing dresses, I noticed the fabric was different to the touch. It wasn’t as soft as the modal I typically use or as thick. I called my manufacturer and she confirmed it was different, but was under the impression I made the change.

In order to return a roll of fabric, it has to be untouched. This roll was completely cut and sewn into 30 dresses. You can only imagine how I felt because I paid for a roll of fabric and the labor to manufacture these dresses. Thankfully, my fabric supplier agreed to give me another roll of fabric because they labeled it wrong. Lesson #2: ALWAYS double check your fabric rolls!

Okay, now for the solution.. What do I do with these 30 dresses? I can’t return them, the fabric contents are unknown, and I don’t want to contribute to more fashion waste.

What do you guys think about a sample sale? I can sell these dresses at a discounted price because they are still well made, but a little different. The fabric is thinner and not as black, but still perfectly wearable.

As always, thank you so much for joining me on this ride. Your input and words of encouragement mean the world to me.

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