Saturday, December 28, 2013

today i want to talk about my completely insane business model.

today i want to talk about something that ive been meaning to talk about for a very, very long time and never got around to. 

my business model. 
no, not that kind of business model. 

i mean like, the rules i made when i started poverty luxe that were supposed to keep me on track as a legitimate responsible business owner and not just a flakey artsy type trying to justify having an expensive hobby. 

because ive been there. i was stuck there. for years. and it sucked. it really, really sucked. no matter how much i sold (and to be completely honest, sometimes it was quite a bit) i never seemed to have enough money to grow my brand beyond wherever it was at the time and somehow, i never, EVER saw where all the "profit" that my little ledger notebook said i had made went. and when i looked back on my past work, it was, well, all over the place. to the point where i couldnt even give a quick answer to questions like "what do you make?". 

so when i took the long, long hiatus from etsy after alice was born, i decided i wasnt going to start back up again unless i could do two things, one, refine the vision and direction for my line into something that i could describe in a sentence, and two, i was going to treat it like a business. and if i couldnt do both of those things, then selling on etsy wasnt going to happen ever again. 

for probably most of 2012 i really believed that i wasnt going to be able to make it work and gave up on my dreams and settled into my not-unpleasant-but-not-fulfilling corporate job. that was a bad time.  

thankfully somewhere earlier this year it clicked. i could still have my dream of self-employment and we could make a nice life for ourselves if i just did those two things i mentioned earlier and stopped complaining about how nothings happening. 

i couldnt do it the "normal" way, though, where i put in a bunch of money up front to get started and go from there, because we didnt have any money. but what i didnt have in money, i did have in an extensive stash of vintage fabrics and elastics and half-made skirts from the time i tried to rebrand my previous shop. 

and after lots and lots of careful consideration of what i wanted to do and where i had failed in my previous shop, i came up with this:

the most absolutely completely and utterly insane business model ever written. 

it went like this: 

1. there can be absolutely NO capital investment of any kind, the shops initial inventory must come entirely from materials i already own. 

2. all business related purchases must be made with money that ive already made from the shop, keeping business and personal money separate at all times. 

3. all prices must reflect cost of goods, hourly wage for me, and profit to grow the business. 

4. all designs must fit a cohesive style to form a recognizable brand. 

i knew that with this model any sort of growth would be painfully slow, but i also knew that if i stuck with the plan, at least we wouldnt go broke trying to make poverty luxe happen. 

and so far, its working. financially, poverty luxe is 100% in the black. i feel really, really good about my products and the brands direction as a whole. as of right now, poverty luxe is 100% in the black. and while i havent had a whole lot of revenue, i have been able to turn that little bit around into vastly improving what i have to offer. 

but one thing hasnt happened, im not paying myself that hourly wage id promised to. because i really didnt put a whole lot of effort into coming up with prices that reflected cost of materials AND hourly pay AND profit. 

so starting in 2014, the prices on newly listed items are going to be a tad higher. BUT this is something that i need to do. my dreams of self-employment are never going to happen if every penny i bring in just goes right back into the business. this really wasnt my favorite change to make, but this one little change means that your purchases will not only help support poverty luxe the business, but also the meyers family who run it. 

(p.s. in the interest of fairness, the prices on the existing shop items will remain the same). 

well, that turned into a MUCH longer post than i had originally intended, but i really hope you stuck with me all the way down to the end, because i also have some really good news: ive finally added international shipping to the shop!!! right now im only offering priority mail international, as ive had some difficulties mailing orders to other countries in the past, but im always willing to make special accommodations if you ask ahead of time. 

also, if youve had youre eye on anything lately, now would be a really great time to place an order, since im for sure going to the post office on monday. just saying....

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