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The Value of Conversations

April 20, 2010

I’m at an interesting crossroads right now, and I’m enjoying the view. In my concentrated efforts to build the business plan for the new sewing studio I became discouraged when the numbers indicated it just won’t work. This would normally result in all the pages being tossed into the air to land where they may. Instead I am continuing on my outreach efforts to invite and consider feedback from friends and colleagues regarding the bigger picture…how do I share my talents with the market in a meaningful way? Querying others is a stretch for me as I tend to feel obligated to seek out answers in isolation. Why? It always seemed to be what one did as a result of being smart and together, and of course I wanted to appear smart and together. Wrong. The biggest part of my growth right now is seeking out the knowledge and experience in others and listening – truly listening – to my peers when they share it.

What a wonderful thing. As a result of this professional and heartfelt feedback I am developing the most beautiful texture to my hiatus from the corporate world. I had always guarded my sewing against becoming a commercial act because I thought it would devalue what I did and turn my studio into a personal sweat shop. What I missed was the opportunity to expand my creations to a larger canvas and create with a broader brush. The epiphany came from a combination of conversations over the last couple of months with my friends and confidantes.

The first unfolding of ideas came with my desire to explore the retail sewing studio. I still think it’s a good idea, and I am still diligently developing the plan and addressing the obstacles. During discussions on those very topics, it came to light that I should expand my services to couture dressmaking. This can be done selectively and with pure satisfaction for all parties. It is my first step toward providing services via my sewing studio, and as this evolves, it will support and be an integral part of the sewing studio.

You see, I am beginning a couture project for a friend, and I am enjoying the process immensely. In sharing my enthusiasm with others, the impression that I am an expert seamstress began to spark some attention and soon I am having others inquire about my professional services. As my friends pointed out over coffee, there is nothing wrong with being paid to do something you enjoy when it adds value to another person’s life. It was truly hammered home when one friend countered my concern over being paid by the piece feeling like a being slave to my tasks with the fact that each of us was trudging to work to be paid hourly for task-work, and at least I would be spending my days on something I love. An ah-ha moment for me!  Of course I’d love to create beautiful couture pieces and see beautiful people wearing them to special occasions!

So, now that my confidence is blooming along with springtime flowers I am feeling better about the sewing studio – as it evolves from being a personal haven to a professional service and into a retail store where I am surrounded by beautiful fabrics, notions, workstations, works from many artists for sale, and all of the creative people partaking of the store’s offerings. It will take focus and preparation to nurture the idea to reality, but I am sure this is what I will be doing for the next ten years in one capacity of another. I already have a sense of satisfaction thinking about the couture process for each piece currently in the works, and the evolution of the business process as it grows and changes with each new accomplishment.

My intent is to keep the conversations going and hear what my very smart friends have to say.

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