It occurs to me every now and then that you guys don't know the intimate behind-the-scenes details of the sensual and gritty Damsel-in-this-Dress underground! Whew! *Mops brow with some scraps of corset cloth.* I thought it would be fun to give you guys some fun insights into my company. Well....maybe they're not necessarily fun. They're sure as heck not fun for me somedays. Anyhow, ON with the facts!
*I started this company officially when I was 17, selling my goofy little renaissance bodices on ebay and taking my pictures on myself with a film camera. (One of my pet peeves is when I see the little bright orange dates on the bottom corner of a picture! Seriously, friends....I'm not a techie, but even I know that digital cameras are the way to go with internet businesses!)
*To date, I've sewn around 6,000 corsets since I started the company.
*The lovely cap-sleeve blouses that we make are sewn by my lovely mother and my great aunt, who is home-bound because my uncle has Parkinson's Disease. She gets to stay home and take care of him, and the fact that you guys buy blouses is what makes it possible!
*We have a second branch of the company run by my brother and his wife, who have the most adorable kids in the whole world. Both branches of our company make and sell the same high quality sex appeal-packed corsets on etsy and artfire!
*My husband's younger sister is trained to do the inside corset work on all of the renaissance festival inventory. She does lots of interior stitching, reinforcing, and quality control, and then hands the corsets over to me for top-stitching and finishing.
*The guy who grommets our corsets is a radiologist! His job got killed with the new health care stuff taking effect, so I hauled him into work for me. Oh, he also used to work a back-hoe and dig graves in the local cemetery. He knows how to do everything. He figured out a brilliant way to make new mannequins for us, and basically streamlines various parts of how my company runs to make us more efficient!
*The guy we just mentioned? Well, his wife works for me also. She lists items on etsy and artfire, takes photos of the mannequins in the corsets, and makes it so my life is ACTUALLY organized. My sewing shop was chaos before she came in and put the smack down.
*The skirts are sewn by my best bud, Natalie, who is so good at bustle skirts that it makes me jealous. She hires out sisters and friends to cut the skirts out for her, and we end up with gorgeous and lush products to sell!
*When you lovely ladies send me emails and etsy conversations, they get filtered through my brother-in-law, who is my personal assistant. Basically, he sits beside me with a laptop and reads aloud your questions, concerns, rants, praises and body issues. While I'm busily sewing, I gently and lovingly dictate answers for him to reply. (Okay, that may be an exaggeration....I yell...a lot. I'm a passionate artist!)
*Oh, I almost forgot! My husband still does all of the cutting. He is the reason that all of the fabrics that have patterns line up symmetrically in the back. Without precise and careful cutting, the sewing and fit isn't as good. If you ladies ever see him come in the booth at a festival, you ought to take his hand and shake it. His support, love, and patience is the whole reason my dream is even a reality.
*Our magazine is done by my husband's cousin, who is simply adorable and is a freaking genius at photoshop. She does a lot of our ads and marketing type jobs.
*It IS good to note that all of these people aren't working every day all day for me! Man alive! What a MACHINE that would be! Nope, we try to organize, see what needs done, and do it.
*Tonight, we're having our "First of the Year" meeting where I talk about the goals of the company, how we can improve ourselves, how we can create synergy. (YES! I used the ultimate business-lingo word!) We're going to discuss how to better serve the customers, how to better communicate with each other, and how to basically be the best costume company there ever was.
The bottom line is-the reason this is all possible is YOU GUYS! It has been such an amazing blessing to serve so many intelligent, quirky, independent, gorgeous, thoughtful, and grateful women. It never fails to amaze me how loyal and kind you ladies are! I get at least two emails a day that are nothing more than encouragement and praise! I mean, MAN ALIVE! I'm sort of a pissed off drama-queen that doesn't deserve to have such customers, and yet there you are! You are literally the reason that my family is staying afloat. In fact, you're the reason that 5 or 6 whole familes are surviving! I am just feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, and I wanted to make sure that all of my help got some credit as well. I know it seems sometimes like I'm the only one making all of this craziness happen, but I am NOTHING without my friends and family AND, of course, my customers.
I LOVE the fact that facebook allows us to connect with each other. It was very early on when I realized that we weren't just a company selling corsets. The thing with corsets is that suddenly I'm connecting to a more personal side of the customer. It's not just clothing...it's confidence, sexuality, self esteem, and above all, a weapon to fight off those feelings and thoughts of self-loathing and the perils of "pudginess." Corsets empower you to look in the mirror and connect with the woman you see there! Suddenly, that woman is seductive and sanguine. I can't even COUNT how many times I've had women come into my booth hating on themselves and their bodies and then walk out as people that I don't recognize compared to the original.
The clothes we wear REALLY do have the power to transform us. Think about how you feel when you put a pair of knee-high sexy boots! I know that I personally feel like I have power over ever y-chromosome within 100 miles! And....good night! This has gotten long! Uh...more later.