Friday, February 20, 2015

Business is never usual

WOAH what a trip the past few months have been! Our first holiday season at the store and it was great! but then quickly came the checks and balances between paying off orders, new orders and still being mid season for fibers.

We found we have had lurch just the same as everyone else in February. Somedays no one comes in and other days during a snow storm a stream of people come in. Who knows what will happen in retail. Even as long as I have worked in retail clothing (over 10 years)  it's hard to judge what will happen day to day.

I have good vibes and strong faith in our little growing business.
I feel more and more encouraged by hearing great feedback from my vendors and new vendors. Lately there has been a good amount of compliments saying that we are their biggest and best stockist, or they came across our website and liked what we were doing and how selective we are and would like to be a part of that selection. I also appreciated that when we talked on the phone they said we were their first choice in the area of shops to be a part of and wanted to know if it was ok for them to contact the other stores or if we wanted to be their primary stockist for central Ohio.


This week also had a short email conversation with someone in England about us carrying their crewel wools to start embroidery classes and they complimented us heavily on our lovely looking website and being so modern with our design and selection of companies that we carry.

Even though sales are in the slums with everyone recovering from overspending on the holidays and guarding their pockets for tax season, these compliments and conversations are just what we needed to know we are doing good and it's in a much larger sense than just our local community.

I just had to post this little love rant diddy out there someplace and not clog up the social media spheres.

Cheers and Onwards friends!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Oh, Hallo blog!

It's been a while since I have blogged.  I'm not going to say this is a new year's resolution to start blogging because that would be a lie. I am going to say that I have a lot of things on my mind lately and stuff I want to share with the world for whomever still watches and follows my life adventures.

I would not suggest for you to not live vicariously through me and the events in my life. However I would strongly suggest you go out and make your own waves, jump into the deep end of the pool and make yourself a little or a lot happier in your daily going ons.

My life is swiftly making some bold changes and it is very scary but all for the best. Finances are heavy on my mind as I get older and see the bills from student loans or silly things that I could of not bought but did through store credit cards. I am trying to catch up and be as debt free as possible. It is also hard to budget when some of the new things in your life have a higher premium but you know their value. To help out on top of opening a new store and continuing my arts administration job, I clean part time to pay for my Muay Thai classes.  Did you not know I do Muay Thai? maybe you did and maybe you didn't.  I don't think that is something I normally have ever discussed on the blog but that will be changing. This is going to be more about my life as a whole and not focused on fashion or fiber. My one promise to you is I won't blog very much about food because I sort of detest food blogs, it's just a tease they make me hungry and I will never actually make those gorgeous desserts people post.

So in the upcoming year/s these are some of the things you'll expect to hear from me:
- Little life philosophies as I reach my mid 30's
- Things that have inspired me
- Muay thai and other physical attributes that have heavily affected my life
- Knitting, Crochet, tatting, Spinning
- Sewing
- My personal artwork
- Video games and general nerdiness
- I also maybe have less pictures and more writing because, writing is what I dig and pictures are fillers.

As always I invite you chime in and start a conversation through the comments. Without discussion how can anyones opinion change or point be made? I like facts, I like having things brought to my attention that maybe I'm not the most educated in.


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

At 33

Hello world!

Tomorrow I turn 33. It is sort of a milestone for me at such a random number.  Firstly it took me some time to realize how old I really am since I pretty much stopped counting after 30. It's not even the number that makes it a milestone but more just the amount of things have have happened in the past few years, let alone months.

 I was humbled and honored to test for my level 2 shorts at Muay Thai.  It was a hard decision and big challenge for me. I wanted to do it and train for it but I don't think I started to train for the right reasons.

I was coming off of a pretty big high from seeing friends fight and all the fight training our gym had been doing. In the end I did it for all the right reasons, my friends around the gym and fellow testers training kept me level headed and helped me to remember what was really important and the spirit of our gym. There was even a point when I thought I might of pulled out just because I didn't feel my mind and heart were in the right place for this honor.

In the end I went through it and it was AMAZING. This time was somehow more impactful in my life then the first test. It was rough no doubt as I had only started into sparring maybe two months beforehand and even with all the extra gym time I put in there just wasn't anything to prepare for the endurance needed just for sparring. 

Overall this helped me to let go of my senseless competitiveness and goal driven accomplishments. It let me just relax, enjoy and appreciate the moments in life more. I also learned to let go some of my silly cultural habits of seniority which has always been this hanging stress in my life. 

Super proud of all my fellow testers and big shouts out to Doug, Malik and Lavaughn for being there with me through Level 2! It wasn't that long ago but I feel that in my short time of about a year and half I have learned so much and looking at the new beginner's classes I get excited for them and to be a part of their journey.

Then two weeks later........

I completed another wonderful runway show with the Alternative Fashion Mob.  I couldn't be more happy with the results and most importantly all the people I worked with. I have amazing friends all around me and they really lift me up and assist when I need it. My Muay Thai testing definitely help me be very "whoo saaaa" through this fashion show where I let all the problems other people were having slide off of me and didn't stress with what was wrong but just how to get through it and have fun.

I was so fortunate to also have the amazing models that I did for this show. To me the right energy and personality is more important when doing such a big production but I was also fortunate enough to have beautiful models.  You can see photos of my full collection on my Torn Angel Facebook Page. 

Amidst all of this has also been the store!

 Everything is coming together and I just got back from TNNA this weekend and made some very interesting orders that I was not prepared for. It was so hard to go there not knowing what exactly my customer base will be and figuring out who my client really is before I am open. It's a struggle to think about what I want my store to be and how I also want to service the community at the same time. I don't want anyone to feel alienated at the same time I want to stick to my creative guns with my yarn selections.

The POS is all set up and I didn't think that would be such an ordeal but it was and now it's all good. We have a rhythm for it all and I understand how it all works. I would show pictures of the whole store but it's still a slight mess right tools and things needing to be made. I'm also a bit spread out to work on the display for the windows and just general it's a mess.

Lastly I got my second tattoo and I can't say it will be my last but she might be. I'll just show you a picture because it means too much to me to just clump my feelings together with everything else and I am still relishing in the glow of it and all the feelings surmounted with this tattoo.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I'll be spending the entire day traveling across time zones to be in Korea! now that so many things are over with I can finally start to get excited as I pack and get ready. I can say that I am nowhere near where I thought I would be today.  If I talked to younger self I would reassure myself and say:

"No, you won't be married with 3 kids as a housewife or working for a large fashion company, but it's ok. You will find a new fantastic path, be happier and be full of wonderful encounters, friendships and fulfillment in ways you didn't know exist. You will be an entire person on your own whole and without regret and you will love everything with all your heart and it will be ok even though it's not where you thought you would be. Enjoy the adventure because it is all yours alone"


Friday, March 07, 2014

Dreams to reality

Long time no post. It's ok life happens and it's just happening very rapidly for me again. This past month has been yet another flurry of activities at work. We were given unexpected notice to vacate out donated gallery space. I won't get into details but Columbus Underground did a good post about it here.  It was inconvenient timing considering it was also during the peak of my grant writing season and strategic planning for the board of trustees. Amongst some other karfluffel that had to do with grant writing.  Not the best situation but overall for the best. It was just very draining and exhausting of course and mentally not very good for my positive vibes.

In other news we found a store front! A glorious store front! My dream of having a yarn store has finally come to fruition! Through all this mess at work and stress I can turn around and smile because I see the progress on my store and can't help but smile at the work ahead of me for my own business.  It probably won't be ready for at least a month. I need to still get my vendors in order and even then it will be a soft opening. I can't do a grand opening till after the next TNNA (The National Needleworks Association Convention) and when I get back from my trip to Korea. Oh did I not mention that the Hubby and I will be going to Korea?! (we'll get back to that in a moment).

Here are some pictures of the interior space as we are working on it.
So this is the view from the back of the store. Big open spaces. We are keeping this counter type thing, especially since it has outlets built into it. That area will be perfect for classes and setting up sewing machines. We'll be painting it all white and adding oak counters for the knitting machines to mount and for the ball winder and swift to be located.

Here is another view of what will be the class area. You can kind of get a feel for the dimensions by the huge cabinetry sitting in place that is waiting to be taken out to the dump.

By the front window there were these built in benches. Lovely but messed with the height for the window displays. We moved them out about two feet from the window to give me some room to work with. I will need to paint those benches and make cushions for them. Brilliant front windows with lot's of light and will be a joy to make visual displays in.  I will be channeling my days working at the 5th ave Anthropologie visuals in NYC.

Finally here is a view from the front door looking in. Tons and tons of space which is both scary and exciting to fill. Lot's of work ahead for me and the hubby.

No for reals this is the last store related thing.  A mock up of what our outside will potentially look like if approved by the Landlord.

OK now that is out of my system let's talk Korea.
So hubby finally agreed that if we didn't go to Korea now when would we go? Certainly not when we have a little one or two. We also didn't know the store would happen so soon. We also booked the tickets before we knew all the work move/grant writing got crazy.  Anyways it's been another beacon of light in my life to look forward to.  I'm so nervous I haven't been back to Korea in 14 years and this is the hubby's first time ever! It will certainly be an adventure. We are staying in Seoul as I don't have very many relatives that we keep in contact with over there. We will mostly be on our own as my bestie over there will be busy with work. I've found a lot of friends that will be there at the same time which will be nice.  I could take a whole other post about just Korea. So I think I will.  OH and we are also going to Japan on the way back from Korea! This will be completely new for me as I have never been able to spend tourist time in Japan. All I have seen of Tokyo is the bullet train and the American Embassy to renew my passport between countries for my brother's wedding in 2000.

I will try my best to be more diligent about blogging.  I miss it dearly and really should make more time to do this and read up on the blogs I used to follow.  For now good night and CHEERS!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Moving along

Super exciting news in the world of small business action.

I think I finally have my logo. It still needs a bit of tweaking but here it is. My header logo followed by my more square type logo. It is amazing how long it took me to come to this point using photoshop. I think I still want my ampersand to be more bold so I need to work on thickening that to match my type. Otherwise I am pretty happy with what I have started.

Other exciting news is applying for another spot. Learning from our hesitation on space last time we made the move on a letter of intent pretty quickly. They aren't lying when they say that life is coming at you fast! I have my fingers crossed this will work out. It is a space that is entirely too large for where we wanted to start and over our original intended budget. On the plus side this is a space that we expect to grow into fully and the location is near perfect and accommodates everything I was looking for in a space:

  • Bus line access
  • Walking distance from home
  • Street and dedicated parking
  • Part of a neighborhood
  • Other successful businesses in close proximity
  • Handicap access
  • Potential for a small kitchen/dye area
  • Open floor plan
We have only just started the process so I don't want to jump the gun but it's a good start.

I did apply for my first vendor and was granted an account which is also exciting. They are one of my first picks for needle and crochet hook vendors. One down and more than a dozen more to go. But I am going to take it in stride till the brick and mortar is secure. I have been dabbling with the idea of just launching an e-commerce site to get the ball rolling and make some social media marketing and income to assist. I also need to order business cards that at least have the logo, email and website.

Going through this process has also forced me to work on putting my business plan all together and in writing in one place. I can talk it big but to have something physical to send in replacement of me being a spokesperson is entirely different. I actually get a bit of sick pleasure working on it the same way I do for my work at the Ohio Art League writing grants. It is very interesting how closely both grant writing and business plan writing are similar. You are basically trying to win someone over to your side with clear, precise writing, stating facts, projections and puffing your feathers a bit. 

Lord, I never thought I would want to own a business. All this administrative work is just not fun, or so I thought. There is also a sick pleasure with the idea of being incredibly successful because of your own endeavors. Even working on the projected expenses, income, and startup budget I find exciting. I know what I am good at and this store will use my personal potential to the fullest. 

I am an enabler so I make a fantastic sales rep.
I am a helper so I love to educate people and see that "A HA" moment hit them
I am a hard worker, so I will put all my energy and love into this business
I am a talented seamstress, so I know the addition of alterations will be a good profitable decision.

This past weekend was Ohayocon and I had the pleasure of my friend Vinh taking some professional photos of me in my Lolita regalia!

I am completely in love with these pictures and wish I had more places and excuses to use them in things.  I am very tempted to change my Linkedin profile picture to the one below. 

Outfit Details:
Blouse - Fanplus Friend
Skirt - Enchantlic Enchantilly 
Socks - Enchantlic Enchantilly
Shoes- Uggs
Locket - Toronto Craft Vendor
Makeup foundation - Too faced Glitter Glue, Benefit Plush foundation, Shiseido powder
Blush - MAC Dainty mineralize and Lazy Sunday creme blush
Eyes - MAC white frost/parrot/shroomed/holographic glitter pigment, Limecrime Elf
Eyeliner - Urban Decay 24/7 black liquid liner
Lashes - some cheap fancy ones from a Korean cosmetic store
Brows - Faceshop
Lips - MAC pervette, MAC baby sparks lip glass

It is a very strange thing to look at your own face and be like WOW that is stunning! Not to be a total narcissist but the curls were just right, my hair color is spot on with my makeup and the blush was done well for once! Everything in this picture just worked right and I still can't believe that this is me. I think this is also one of the few pictures where I see the huge difference that my Muay Thai has made in my life and body.

Anyways that is all for now..... people really shouldn't be blogging at 3am in the morning anyways..

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays! and oh shit... Branding.....

Happy Holidays everyone!

As I get a few days of respite I work I have taken some of this time to work on myself and my own personal ventures. I have very little work to do when everyone else is on vacation for the holidays so I might as well make the most of the time.

I am in no way, shape, or form a graphic designer but I dabble a little bit for my own sake. I know I need business cards and I need to get a branding strategy together for my wee little yarn store in the works. I didn't want to deal with bubbly or fancy lettering. I've always been a fan of a straightforward easy to read font with a little class and vintage feel. My go to font is a Courier or Typewriter style.
Since I didn't want to use the font as cute or catchy thing in my store name I decided I wanted to do a fancy ampersand. I LOVE the ampersand.

Today I broke out the good ol scrap papers with some heavy 7.0 mm roller ball pens and graphite pencils to get my rough sketches down as I work on this whole branding thang. Branding is very important to a business and I am not trying to down play it at all. It just isn't my specialty nor do I feel that I have the skill set to make it as good as it could be. But these are the breaks when you have very little, to no money allocated in the business for this kind of thing. My main focus is having the funds for stock in the store and rent for at least 5-6 months squirreled away for any emergencies.

I have taken inspiration from the Georgia BOLD style ampersand into these two iterations. I knew I wanted to use the knitting needle in some way and of course the yarn. The difficult thing is thinking how literal I wanted it to look like am ampersand. I wanted it to still have a little mystery and quirk. One of those things that you might assume and not get right away but the closer you look you can get a little chuckle from the nuance of this logo.

I think I much prefer the ball of yarn version even though it isn't as clear. It is just for branding and its like that game where you can put the letters to a simple word out there in the wrong order but the brain still knows what word was intended.

I've also started to hunker down and look at my vendor applications for whole sale ordering and realizing I need to get this business cap on and get active with the business account, email, and get card made. 

There is a lead on a possible location! but that's all I'll say. I'm not going to stress out until May about having a location but of course the sooner the better.

Cheers! and have a wonderful holiday with your family, loved ones and furbabies if you have them!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oh Hai, I've been MIA

Why hello there blog......
I've missed you have you missed me?

Life has, as it will, unexpectedly thrown me many a curve balls over this past year. It was been a little over one year that I have now held my position as the Gallery Manager and Organizational Administrator for the Ohio Art League.  It has had many trials and tribulations and I want to stick by my guns by not put anything negative on my blog. Hence not posting lately, not necessarily because of the job and work but everything in life has been a big ball of stress and angst but also light in unexpected areas.  It has been undoubtedly hard to focus.

My yarn store dreams are once again at a standstill. I have it all set up I just need my business account with the hubby and the space. I'm almost so prepared that I am scared to jump in. Also I am finding that I would like to be a bit more financially independent when I move onto this venture so I am content to sit another 6-8 months with a paying steady job to get majority of my debt paid off from silly things like store credit cards and low $200-1500 credit cards that I don't really need and should learn to live without.

All is well in the world of Torn Angel. I have been busy with custom orders, lot's of bridal work and working closely with the lovely new group that is Columbus Alternative Fashion Mob. Below are two of my favorite creations for that show.

Working on fashion things again has gotten my brain and fingers itching to also have the yarn store as a studio space. I have 1,001 ideas but no time or space to create them. I know I have the talent to make a living off of it, I just need to be kinder to myself and believe in myself more.

My biggest accomplishment since last I wrote was completing my level one shorts testing for my Muay Thai gym.  It was an amazing and humbling experience. I don't think I've ever worked that hard or trained so much for anything before in my life.  It was 11 full, non-stop minutes of physical intensity that felt like my lungs were on fire and I could barely stand. Clenches, boxing, kicks and just for fun I had jumping kicks to added as my extra special contribution to pain. A friend told me afterwards they felt like they were watching Mortal Kombat and repeatedly pressing for the jumping kick because I just kept going for a near 2 mins on jumping roundhouses. 


I can now consider myself a true student of Kru Hope Vitellas. Having this outlet has been the best thing I have done in a long time for myself. I have lost weight, been in amazing shape and the people at the gym are nothing but loving positive energy that helps me great through some of the tougher days I've had this year. My friend Laura also joined the gym with me and nicknamed me for Rainbow Dash from My Little Ponies.


Finally for this post I also hosted a Korean Indie Rock Band during their first US tour! It was great to hang out with some Koren natives and practice a bit of my broken Korean with them. We actually communicated very well considering how terrible my speaking is.
The band is called Love X Stereo and they are AMAZING. I got them a last minute hook up at Kobo Live with the help of my buddy Jacob Wooten and the fast thinking of Wolf Starr. Amazing fellows to work with for anything local and community. Anyways back to the band!

Love X Stereo is anything BUT the usual kpop. They are a indie rock electronica band and I love their sound and feel. My favorite two tracks are Soul City and Lose to Win.  It was so random but isn't that how the best things always happen? My friend Vinh had become friends with them and asked me to host them and find a spot for them to play. Now I have 5 new fantastic friends across the sea. It's always cool when you meet people that you see as "celebrity" and they are totally down to earth and cool and enjoy playing video games as much as you do. I can't wait till they visit again next year on their next tour!
Check out their new Album GLOW and help support another form of independent artists!

This is all I've got for now. Things are looking better and brighter.  Even with the yarn store on hold I am still checking out and doing as much research as I can by visiting other yarn stores and sampling new yarns and companies.