Monday, October 27, 2014

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

I was looking for an inspirational picture and this is what I first saw...I am NOT sure how I feel about this, but I know I am not inspired. Hehe *looks over shoulder nervously*

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Let It Go- How to take a break and still be productive

Most of you might be wondering- where the heck has Vera been? (I am left wondering the same thing too sometimes) Ok, so here is the low down: I started a class at Brown, had the flu, and made a pretty decent costume. Ok the flu does not count.
The truth is I was swamped with worries, plagued with doubts, and just felt overwhelmed. So I decided to take a break from the business so to speak. I started taking classes from Brown, worked at a BigFoot Military Tires to get a work out, and I took on a commission as a semi-professional seamstress to make a homecoming character gown for the lovely and beautiful Alexis Gilbert.

The whole project of sewing really got me thinking: if I needed a break and didn't do anything productive...what would be the point in taking a break? Small business owners know what I mean. If you don't work, you don't get paid, you don't expand, and you don't get advertised.
It's really tough building a company and your reputation...but it's not unlike building a costume.

1. Visualize you customer basis and the strengths of this basis.

My client was Alexis Gilbert. She loves Frozen, Disney movies in general, has a fun and proud personality. A marvelous dancer and a total smarty pants.

2. Plan what you can offer you client. (In this case I was hired as a spur of the moment but it works just as well) Alexis knew I had made several costumes in the past and had something very specific in mind for her homecoming character.

3.a Understand the client's wishes and know if you can provide excellent service. I had the experience and confidence to make a wonderful costume, however; I would have never dreamed of making a wedding dress, that I would have passed on to another person I know. I knew my limits and strengths.
                  3.b (Know the budget and financial breakdown of your client so that you can always meet their financial and mental expectations, and in finances always go for under budget when possible. Your client is top priority and so are their funds.)

4. Next brain storm and project plan. Know how to personalize your business for you passionate client base. In my costume plan I wanted something that reflected Alexis in every possible aspect. Elegant, graceful, and 'go big or go home' attitude. So I made my list and went shopping (fabrics, thread, contracts fabric, glitter, zippers, bling, and pizzazz) I also considered even the eye color and skin tone of my client when selecting colors of the fabric, no aspect of the client is too superfluous.

(The beginnings of the order)
 5. Start from the bottom up. Much like a business a costume has basic pieces it needs and you can solidify a good reputation and plan if you get the basics down first. You cant have a princess dress without a skirt ;)

(Basis skirt model)

6. Step back and reinvent the idea of your project to better streamline the process. I altered the pattern in seven key places because I knew my client and I had wanted excellence (as much as I could)
(End of week 1)

7. Quality trumps QUANTITY! Especially in the small business world you have to prove you are different and the quality (not quantity) will prove that to your client. Not only had Alexis already shopped around for a costume, she was not impressed with the price and quality of the gowns. Quality is what brings customers your way. Knowing this I tailored the dress to fit her athletic tastes and bought the performance fabrics for durability, sheen, and feel.

(Photo I sent to Alexis to get approval on the train)
8. Always keep the client up to date on advancements, changes, and further ideas...seriously that's a no brainer. It makes and keeps your business human. Never automate and be a personal as possible. (I added embellishments whenever possible to give regal elegance to the costume but not to over do it and make it itchy or impractical)
9. Fit the product to your client and make sure all is well. I had two minor things that I needed to do before the final turn over. Hem and trim the dress per her shoe selection, and add the final touch to the collar. Honestly it was a simple process and I gave the materials for embellishments to her in case she made a last minute choice. Check and double check before you turn the product over. Your name and your reputation are contained within each project. Make it shine.
And boy oh boy did it shine! I was so pleased to see this mornings pictures and look forward to many more.
Remember, if its a costume or business, simple, smart steps that are all customer focused will get you further than any amount of convention.
Be YOUnique!!!
Props to Andrew of A&L Adventures Inc for the gorgeous photos before class at oh dark thirty this morning. He took plenty more and the special effects are beautiful. If you ever need professional, well priced photography with an amazing turnaround you should look his company up. Just another small business trying to make it by.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Nice Vice

Ever thought about what you're top vice is? I've so many, I lost count years ago. Not to brag, but suffering from chronic perfectionism, OCD (CDO for those of us who understand), mega artist complex, and anxiety they can't live without me. They define that person I like to call my evil twin, and if I stopped feeding them, I wouldn't have an evil twin.
A long time ago someone told me that weaknesses were strengths overdone...well I that didn't help this monstrous ego I am saddle with because out came the snob. "Hahaha so really you're telling me I am too good at everything." (evil monologue laugh.)

(courtesy of google images)

Ok, so that got me thinking and being sick recently has helped me calmly formulate an idea for a post. All writers are artists, and even business persons have a unique creative intellect. We are a special kind of OCD (boy, it hurts to even write that) and have a huge chip on our shoulders. We all have vices, and some of the best ways to change said habits are to realize we have them in the first place. They do affect us negatively, and it is something we can why hide it anymore? Believe me, often times the last person to know about the vice is the person who has it. You won't surprise anyone but yourself with this introspective assignment. 
In an effort to ameliorate our imprisoned souls from the stigma that all artists/business persons are stuck up, I propose we allow a moment of honesty pierce through our ever creative worlds and think of our vice that we most often struggle with. I am actually collecting and making a scrapbook of the neatest takes on vices, so to kick of this new honesty fest here it goes...

I have the worst, and most embarrassing habit of assuming everyone is entitled to my opinions and not their own. Technically they aren't facts so I shouldn't be so full of myself. No matter how much truth I have use to levy off any rivers of doubt regarding my heavily fortified opinion, that doesn't mean that one day the rivers might swell and overwhelm the dam. I need to become a more appreciative of people's opinions. (Note: this is NOT including morals- we all know what's wrong and no matter the excuses just because you don't like it doesn't make a moral issue an issue of opinion.)

(courtesy of google images)
My goal is train my spirit into the ultimate sai-keirei- so far I meet everyone disrespectfully face to face...FAIL

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Too long fair world!

I have missed this so much! I'm so behind on updates and emails, and goodness gracious work with my publisher. Since my mental capacities are always stretched I have little energy for any other exercise- hence low immunity, yup, constantly sick. Been laid out with the flu... But it has inspired me to write a new-perspective post. Will post soon :) 

I miss you all!!! 

By the way, anyone remember the contest I started a while back? Here's a hint: Nuna in Korean means what?