Sunday, January 22, 2012

22:365 Balance

2011 brought me the overwhelming task of running a fiscally healthy business and maintaining creativity and freshness at the dyepots. 

In order for my business to grow, we must have stable base. We need to have our numbers, both inventory and financials, in order to map where we've been and to plan where we're going. Though to be frank, creating the operations in order to capture such information, has been desultory at best.

When I tell you I own a dyeing studio and yarn / fabric shop,  you might think I get to knit and sew a lot. Yes, I do knit and sew for work because samples are needed to sell yarn and fabric. Though most of that work is done once the shop is closed.

A large part of my day, running my crafty textile business, consists of taking inventories, examining cost, and allocating taxes. And if I am not doing those tasks, I am thinking about how I am going to get them done. For the past couple years, in order to expand the business, I had to stay within a strict budget, constricting my colorways to the confines of reproducibility. Questions of price-point, if we use this dye in this quantity, on this base yarn, which will take this much water to rinse, can we stay within the designated price-point? Can we wholesale it at this price-point?

Thinking, thinking, analyzing. Blah. A big ol' case of the blahs. Ok, not that big, I love the dyeing process 80% of the time. You know what would help me love it even more? Creating without having to think of the business side of it. Or at least finding the balance between the two. But isn't that always the way. No matter what you job is.

At my last job, similar to Verb, we manufactured a product and sold it ourselves (v. wholesaling).  There were so many times when we had an idea for a new product, and just to map the production of it through bookkeeping, would kill the project. To make things more complicated the owners of the business were married (do you see a pattern here?), the husband was in charge of product development and sales, and the wife was in charge of the books. Slowly, we would watch the books chomp on the product and the husband would exclaim "This is a sales driven organization!" Meaning that, if you allow the books to rule your business, they can create a bureaucratic nightmare. At some point, as in our case, you have to acknowledge that while we could chase every gram of dye to make sure we are priced correctly, it doesn't mean we should because by doing so we are going to suck all life out of the business.

This year, 2012, I hope the business will continue to grow roots in our new location. And as it does so, I plan to continue creating and perfecting operations around inventory and bookkeeping, of which can be delegated to the Verb staff. This means more time for me with the dyepots, and hopefully a bit more time with myself. I want to be more frivolous, I mean creative, in making new colors which reproducibility is not of question, the quest for color, and a further understanding of natural dyeing process is the focus.  The scales will balance, 50/50 business and creativity. Having an intention is a start, right?

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