Some of you might already know (thanks to Facebook or Instagram)… we got the grant for our new clothing line!
A few weeks ago I let all of you in on the cool business plan competition that I’d entered here in our small town in the Shenandoah Valley.
And then last week Jeff and I gathered with some of the awesome folks we’ve met here in Staunton for awards night. I won’t lie, by the time we got to Mary Baldwin college for the ceremony, I was ready for it to go either way, and had mentally prepared myself to go home just happy to have been through the experience. There were so many cool ideas in the competition!
So we were thrilled – and a bit in shock – when my name was the third one called! One $10,000 grant to launch the line, plus and additional $1,667 for web design and computer/POS equipment.
August will be for procurement and finishing the designs, then September will be for production.
Here’s a great picture from the front page our our local newspaper – that’s me with the red hair, and Jeff sitting next to me with the smarty pants glasses and silver fox hair. I’m hugging my friend Anna, who also was a grant winner for her fair trade shop – she’ll be just a few store fronts down from us.
You can read the whole article here…
It’s been fun since the announcement – folks are stopping by the shop to congratulate us and are really excited. The focus of the line from the start will be on 18+ sizing for the handmade items. Accessories and upcycled pieces will be a bit wider in the sizing (although I will be SCOURING the world for a great source for knit tights and knee socks that fit 18+ well!) Right now, the only place to find anything larger than size 12/14 in our town is Walmart… so it’s exciting!
The next few months will be crazy busy. This month our focus is on outfitting the studio and showroom, which will be on the 2nd floor of our shop. This includes pulling together the studio and investing in some better machines. Right now I’m looking at a Bernina for button holes and cool details – probably a 3 series. I’m also looking at getting at least a straight stitch industrial machine – not sure if it will be secondhand or new yet. Today was our first meeting with the grant folks, and I spent a lot of this afternoon outlining what I need – tables, mirrors, dress forms, oaktag, the machines, an iPad and a laptop… just to get started.
As a fun ending, I recorded the audio track this week for the presentation that I shared at the public pitch night. This presentation was SUPER fun to work on. For one thing, it’s in Prezi, so if any of ya’ll know what that it, it’s just FUN! Also, I struggled through our eight week business plan class that was mostly men to really convey my vision. It wasn’t until the days before the pitch I finally hit on the idea – comparing a small-batch, hand-made clothing line to craft beer.
Plus, there’s stick people. Which make everything better!
Before the clip (it’s five minutes long) if you want to keep up with my new doings on Facebook, come and follow me here. I love Facebook! For now, I’ll be using Instagram for ALL the businesses, and you can follow along there.