The picture above is a rare one for my company blog. It not only shows me IN MUGGLE CLOTHING, but it also shows a member of my family. Generally, I try to keep my kids nowhere near the business, publicly, because I KNOW that if I mention my kids and being a stay at home mom, people are going to think that their orders are less important than my kids. As a result, they would hesitate to order from me, because on a subconscious level, they're thinking that my kids come first, their orders second.
*sigh* Sadly, they are wrong there. Their ORDERS DO come first most of the time. They come before me playing with my kids. They come before me cooking healthy meals. They come before me washing my hair or getting dressed for the day. They come before me working out at the gym. I never imagined how much of my whole soul I would have to sacrifice into this business just to be successful. Everyone has to make money, right? Money makes the world go around. I couldn't have a place to live or food to eat or ANYTHING without the income. I'm grateful for the job, but I don't know how to disconnect it from my whole being. I'm so emotional about the whole entire company, and so passionate about every piece of it, that when something goes wrong, my insides just crumble. When people have a problem with their orders, they have a problem with ME as a person and my dreams and hopes and fears and insecurities. Thankfully, since my whole entire company works their bums off day in and day out, most orders go smoothly. However, I would say there is about 10% that we just SUCK at.
I generally can grudgingly appreciate failure, because it teaches me what to NOT do the next time. The strange thing with selling corsets, is that each order is as different as the customers themselves! Or rather, every woman is a completely unique entity with her own passions and pains, and so the situations with their orders will be just as vastly peculiar to her. This means that when I figure out how to correct one mistake, and I breathe a sigh of relief, the NEXT issue will be a completely different animal. I'll have one order where I just did not communicate on the same level as the customer, and so the end result will absolutely manifest that fact. I'll have another order where I think I was right, the customer thought they were right, and we were BOTH wrong. There's orders where crucial bits of information are missed, and there was no way for me to even KNOW that something was wrong.
These are all the orders that take tons of emails, lots of stress, tons of pattern changes and tweaks, and a tremendous excess of production time. After all of that work, I still fail my customers! I will literally go to bed at night freaking out about these orders and wake up the next morning worrying and obcessing. I spend crazy amounts of mental energy and physical excursion, and then still end up with customers that are unhappy (rightfully so.....).
I know.....just "take some time for myself" and "don't stress." Sorry, but when your clients are the ones that make it so you can pay your mortgage, you had better dang well put some of yourself into their requests! I've also heard sentiments similar to "That woman is a hag, you don't have to work with her." I completely disagree. From my standpoint, these customers are just people who have faith in me and my company, and believe that I have the power to make their corset dreams come true (Ooooh, corset dreams....). Because the customers don't spend every day of their lives producing these, and they have no idea how the actual production works, and so the requests and pattern changes that they are making seem very simple and reasonable.
I'm always so grateful for their faith in me, and I mistakenly take on these big projects, and I'm also too much of a weenie to CHARGE what that kind of customized work is ACTUALLY worth. These are all mistakes made by me, someone who leads with my heart, and not with my brain. The emotions take me everywhere, good or bad, and while it means that I do a lot of things really well, it also means that I do a lot of things absolutely horridly. When I fail customers, I always get this big hard knot in my stomach that feels like a honey badger gnawing on my spleen.
I suppose this whole narrative is coming about because I've received an uncommon amount of hate mail in the last week, and I DO want to make a public apology. This is a very hard job, BUT there is NEVER an excuse for making one of my customers feel frustrated, taken advantage of, ripped off, or just plain disappointed. We've had a very VERY hard year this year, with such huge business expenses coming up that even after doing 5 big successful festivals, the business sucked away all of my earnings. I guess I just haven't been at the top of my game, and I'm pleading with all of you to give me another chance and make sure you clearly communicate your needs so that I can better serve you.