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Reflecting on my slow-fashion business in 2022! [What worked and what flopped??]



Here's why my 2022 word of the year was "EXPLORATION":

I tried a lot of new stuff-- some of it worked! and well... some of it flopped!

 

Here's what

WORKED!:

After diving deep into many creative business online courses in January, I was inspired to experiment with launching a clothing collection with a full marketing plan in place (as compared to how I was randomly uploading one item at a time to my website in 2021, and half-heartedly marketing it after the fact). I was really nervous about how a bigger lead-up and marketing plan would feel (seemed cringey at first!), but I quickly got the hang of it and really enjoyed the cohesion that comes with creating a collection!


This February collection was the first to feature my new dye color: INDIGO blue, and this collection was my best-selling to date!!!


(KIND OF) WORKED!:

I also invested in a gimbal (a device that stabilizes your camera so videos are less shaky) and created my first Charlie Darwin promo video for the February collection, which my partner and I filmed at the botanical gardens in Providence, Rhode Island... I think the video quality has a lot of room for improvement, but IM OBSESSED with our slick transitions!! Feel free to LOL with me that it has basically 5 views on YouTube 😂


The #1 bestseller from this collection is (still) the CANARY peplum shirt.


 

WORKED!:

A couple months later, I launched my spring/summer collection, where I experimented a bit with patchwork stitching on pants. You all know I LOVE hiking in linen, but sometimes outdoor fashion photography can really make you work hard! What I remember most about this collection was how pissed I was when trying to get the photos for it because we went into the woods on a VERY sunny day which was giving us very intense shadows...but we prevailed!


The best seller from this collection is definitely the SWALLOWTAIL pants, I think because they are so sleek, versatile, and practical (yes, they have pockets!!)


 

FLOPPED:

In the summer, I experimented with home goods by launching a kitchen collection in my signature linens. This was a project perhaps better in theory-- or maybe it is more well suited to selling at in-person markets or retailers. I personally found it really refreshing to create a collection a little bit less complicated since it didn't require precise body sizing-- but as I launched it to my audience in the heat of midsummer, it just didn't take off as I hoped. This was an exploration with a little bit of a flop vibe, but I'm still in love with my samples, so you all are missing out!


 

WORKED!:

Rewind back to February--- I got accepted into a PhD program! After finishing my Master's in Animals and Public Policy in 2018, I knew I wanted to become a professor in anthropology (alongside my artistic practice), and getting a PhD should help me get more permanent and well-paid teaching positions. I applied to different schools for a few years, so it was very exciting to get accepted. The move was challenging as I am now living far from my partner, but I did definitely upgrade my sewing and dyeing studio space!


For size reference, I can fit into that big dye pot below!!


 

KIND OF FLOPPED, but DAMN DOES IT WORK!:

Before moving to Pittsburgh, PA to start school, I tried to squeeze in one more mini-collection launch-- the Summer/Fall collection. Given my busyness with the big move, I wasn't able to put in the legwork on the marketing for this collection, so it didn't get the full attention it deserved! But I absolutely love these designs for how practical they are for everyday life. The star of this collection is the LADYBIRD dress!


 

WORKED!:

I finally rounded off the year with yet another new experience: an in-person holiday market! A highlight of my year was being a vendor for the Handmade Arcade 2022 holiday market. Reasons I loved this market: over 10,000 visitors, indoors (sheltered from the cold), and really well organized! I finally got to see people touch my clothing and feel how soft and high quality it is (sometimes it is hard to show this level of detail online). I also was able to make connections with new local customers :)


By far, the star of the show was my scarves!


For the market, I experimented with several new products, two of which I am so excited to carry with me into 2023: linen PAPER (made from my linen scraps!!!!) and linen laptop sleeves!


What else WORKED in 2022?:


Thanks for following along with my handmade business journey in 2022!

 

Charlie Darwin's word of the year for 2023?

~DEPTH~


 

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