I don’t get back to this blog as often as I should, I know. But I find running my own business, all the online work, keeping things photographed and updated on etsy, making sure I post on instagram and facebook and twitter and (let’s face it, only every now and then) tumblr, and looking after the online shop, is quite enough web stuff to look after thank you very much. The blogging is something I love the idea of, but never get back to regularly. I guess this is why I’m not an author, huh?
The label has grown and changed quite a lot in the past year. I have lots more designs and lots more prints and lots more work to do! My last collection was nautically-themed, which was fun to create. I thought it would be interesting to have people vote (anyone could vote, not just existing customers) via facebook & instagram for their favourite prints from a series of options. I would select the top favourites to make up my collection, plus a couple extra designs that I really wanted to include. But I discovered, again, that what people say they want, and what people actually physically buy, are two very different things. It is interesting indeed.
In the same vein, I had learnt from someone who used to work for big loyalty card program (those programs exist purely for data mining, btw, not to reward your loyal custom) that people say what they think you “want” to hear, or what they think the “right” answer is, but then many go on to purchase completely differently to their stated intentions – and I certainly have learnt that to be the case. This dynamic apparently is very true in respect to eco-friendly, green, locally-sourced, ethically- or locally-made products. Lots of people say they want these options, but almost no one actually buys them. Sad, huh?
With Joolz, I’ve been trying to have a locally-sourced, locally-made label, which can be very challenging and frustrating in practice. Having everything done locally has proved to be very difficult. And it turns out that apparently zero of my customers care about my garments being made locally. The only place that it really matters is at one of the markets I currently do, and yes, I will have to give that market up if I take my label, or even part of the manufacturing of it, offshore, but that is looking more and more likely if I want to stop having so many headaches.
Running your own business is a huge job, and having a micro-indie-label, like I have, means it is also not a high-paying job. Major headaches around local manufacturing quality control, months-long lead times for tiny orders, high minimums with even higher prices if you want to be treated decently, is just getting to be too much for me. I love my job, but all this stuff is causing me angst. I think it’s time to make the leap and go offshore. It’s a shame, as I would have loved to keep it all done in Australia, but the local businesses that I have dealt with recently have done nothing to make me feel like that’s an enjoyable prospect. It will end up costing me more to manufacture overseas. I know everyone has this idea that taking your business offshore saves money, but when you have to pay for all that shipping back and forth, which just keeps going up and up and up, plus things like import and export taxes that foreign manufacturing leaves you open to, and with the prices of materials not being any better than locally sourced fabrics, it actually means this will not be as good for me economically. But it will save me some headaches around production, I hope. We shall see.