Today I wanted to write a quick post about struggle and motivation. We've opened our doors in April of 2012. Our retail location, located at 1382 40th St, Brooklyn, NY 11218, is a small space where our clients come in to get their clothing fixed. We do small jobs such as hemming pants, fixing buttons, shortening/lengthening sleeves, etc. We also do big redesigns of complicated designer dresses for clients with pickier tastes.
This location also serves as a workshop for our Etsy business. All of our equipment is in our store along with materials, accessories, mannequins and so on. So everything, starting from creating our items, so shipping them to our customers, is happening at the store. We have a little shelf, where we display our pillows as a means of promotion as well as storage.
In the few months that we've been open, we had 4 floods. And I'm not talking about Hurricane Sandy, which actually didn't even touch us. Our upstairs neighbor did it. Four times. Because if you leave your water running all day long, and your child starts splashing it around the bathroom, flooding your downstairs neighbor as a result, it's apparently ok to do it again, and again, and again. Clothes got ruined, some pillows got soaked, sewing machines got rusty. Landlord's response? Sorry, but you must have flood insurance, I suffered financially too. How? No one knows. He refused to pay for damages, and badgered us for withheld rent.
The last time it happened, about 3 weeks ago, we literally had a pool of yellow water in our studio. The landlord again said it's not his problem, and what could he do if a baby is playing in water upstairs? Yeah, right, a baby did it. We called the fire department to come make a report and check up on the neighbors upstairs. Magically, after 2 hours, the neighbor was nowhere to be found, with all of their clothes and things gone. They were apparently illegal immigrants, and got scared when the fire dept stopped by.
Us? Well, we were left with more damages, more money went into fixing everything, refunding our clients, and paying for their stuff, and the landlord is badgering us for withheld rent again.
So how does one keep motivated to continue working in such conditions? This is not a business anymore. It's not even a hobby. When you lose more than you make, your investment does not turn a profit, and then your reputation is on the line for something completely out of your control, it's probably time to call it quits.
Etsy? Well we have only had two sales so far, one of which was actually on Ebay, so that does not feel viable either. Yeah, we get admirers, and we get featured in some treasuries, but nothing sells. There's less and less motivations to make new designs.
By the end of the year we will probably close our studio, and work from home. Our pillows and headbands will stay on Etsy because we just don't feel like throwing out stuff we worked hard to make. We'd really like to continue this journey and will make every effort to. Perhaps you, dear readers, came make some suggestions about what your interest are and what you'd like to see in our Etsy shop? We'd be really grateful for that!
Here's our latest design, by the way