So to illustrate my way of “planning” my business by following where it leads and growing along with it, I start with sewing. I had never used a serger before, but saw that it would work better for part of what I needed to do than my old faithful machine. I love research, but sometimes I get frustrated with it. If you search online to read about a particular model of machine, you find out how wonderful the manufacturer thinks it is, then you read very subjective reports from Aunt Faye who loved it or cousin Jean who hated it. Who knows how “expert” they are on sergers?
So I went to my local machine sales/service shop that has been there for years and was highly recommended to me and asked the repair man which serger he would recommend. Not fancy or complicated. I wanted a workhorse. He recommended this one.
So I bought one. And have been pleased so far. Even bought another one for a backup after my first one started skipping stitches in the middle of the Christmas rush and needed an adjustment.
My original “plan” was to find other stay-at-home moms or work-at-home people to sew for me. I was idealistic, plus I had no experience with manufacturing so that route seemed very scary to me. But the more I sewed, the more I saw the logistical flaws in my plan. I would have to ship the fabric to the work-at-homes, then they would have to ship the sleeves to the customer, otherwise pick up and delivery and shipping back and forth would be prohibitive. So that cuts out any quality control, so I would have to trust them. Which means know them and their abilities. Not easy to find. And would mean a lot of time spent by me, coordination shipments of colors and amounts to the right sewing person and channeling orders to the sew-er that had that color. That plan evaporated the more I thought about it.
I thought about having an industry at a local Christian boarding high school where a few of the sew-minded girls could earn money for tuition. Sounds good, right? Again, quality control. Even once I found girls that could do it and wanted to, and trained them, I (or someone I hired) would have to be there all the time to make sure the bases were covered. I didn’t want to do it, and hiring someone to do it was out of my budget for the foreseeable future. Plus, they graduate about the time they are really good at it!
I sewed all the Christmas orders, but saw very quickly that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life marketing by day and sewing by night. And that I couldn’t really market properly if I was worried about getting an order bigger than I could handle. So in an instant the “business plan” changed course and I began googling “clothing manufacturers in the United States”.
More on that journey next time…