Sunday, April 4, 2010

Learning Tees

On Saturday we were at the Playa Vista Farmers Market selling my organic line of tees called Learning Tees.  This is one of the hardest things for me to do. I hate selling.  I can only do it if its a product I believe in and love but it can't be something I've created myself.  Any word coming out of my mouth feels like I'm really saying "like me, like me".  Its so unnatural but I must do it. We have a great deal of inventory.  

I started LT over five years ago with a partner.  She dropped out roughly two years into it. When I went solo I decided I was going to do this right so I decided to invest big.  I....WE, my husband, my family and I invested big.  I was going to do this with no regrets. I decided to make the line organic. I flew to India to source manufacturers. I designed the tee shirts from scratch, making them longer and leaner for the time there wasn't anything like this out there. Things were going pretty well.  I launched online and in stores.  I had 5 reps who sold to boutique children's stores throughout the country.  It was the start of something big.

When I was pregnant with P I had a vision of running a business and raising a child.  Then I brought P home from the hospital and I knew, P would be my full time job.  She became my number one priority.  I've always felt I can launch another business when I'm 45-50 but I can't go back and raise my child from the start. Plus owning a business is like having another child.  It takes a great deal of forethought, concentration, time, money and help.

I went through a depressed phase. It was a loss to let my business go.  Never in a million years did I think I could work so hard to bring something to fruition and then just let it go.  Just like that! I critiqued women who  dropped out before me. Then, I joined their "quit" club. 

Along with the depression came guilt.  It was P who made me lose my business dreams in a sense.  It was my choice but why did it have to be a choice. It doesn't really.  Obviously there are women who do both but that wasn't the choice for me.  I'm all or nothing and with my kid it was going to be all in.  These years with P have been fruitful beyond words to explain the benefits.  Many of the "fruits" are intangible.  I can feel the benefits but I couldn't point them out to you.  When the time is right I'll find my career path again.  

The things I learned in the 7 years of designing, launching and executing Learning Tees feels like the equivalent of an MBA.  One thing I know for sure is that I want all my children to take business classes when they are in college.  Specially if they choose to become artist, it will be a family requirement.  

My perspective at the farmer's market this weekend was different then when I did my last event before P was born.  Everything use to be perfectly set up in advance.  I always thought of all the possible scenarios and was prepared.  Now, not so much. I have a limited amount of time to make things work. The booth wasn't quite right. The shirts hung so low I couldn't see my customers.  I had no business cards and my website is down right now.  I've learned to relax.  It is what it is. I sold some product, P had a great day and I did manage to write down my etsy website url down for people on other printouts I had handy.  Plus, I've learned from watching other entrepreneurial moms that perfect isn't so pretty and someone else is now watching closely and learning.