March 19, 2011

Sustainable Thinking....

I've been thinking. And thinking. And thinking some more. Way too much thinking going on around here. ;) But I had to do this thinking to make SLD sustainable for years to come. You know I'm an open book, so here's the dilemma.

There are three things that have been super important to me for SLD. One of a kind clothing, upcycled clothing, and quirky clothing. These are the main tenants of what I am about. But the first and second items are also the two things making SLD currently unsustainable.

How? Take one of a kind (ooak) as our first example. It just dawned on me recently why I am so exhausted. Not just physically or emotionally (what mother with a job or two isn't? ;). But creatively. I mean, there's lots of creative juices always flowing, don't get me wrong. But when my dresses, pants, tees etc are all one of a kind, do you know what that means? It means that I create and design each and every single one of those pieces. Each fabric is selected, switched around, selected again, paired with something else, cut.... That's over 1,000 garments this past year. That's coming up with three new designs, every day, of every week. Phew. No breaks allowed ;)

It also means photographing each and every piece, editing the photos, and listing each one of a kind item. It takes hours of each day. I wish there were two of me. :) Maybe even three so that one can go work out since I never seem to find the time ;)

The next item is upcycled. Upcycling is really important to me. I admire upcycler's work so much, because it's always a challenge. A challenge to hunt for the 'new' treasures of upcycled fabric, then figure out how to best use it, what parts are good, or not so good... It keeps things fresh. It keeps things eco friendly. And it keeps things unique in a sea of mall clothes.

The combination of those two things make for a non sustainable business model though, when I am also primarily trying to keep the clothing affordable and accessible. Sad, I know. And trust me, I am so not trying to be a downer. SO, like I said, I've been thinking, and thinking....

And....I think I've come up with a way to maintain my one of a kind upcycles, while sustaining the business. Yipppeeee. :)

SLD will soon be offering a selection of dresses/tees and pants that are a mix of 'made to order' and at the same time 'one of a kind.' My plan is to create some garments that have predominantly all the same elements so that the same dress can be purchased in multiple sizes, yet throw in a twist of upcycled fabric that will be different in each garment. Say the flutter sleeves, or back panels of pants, or who knows what else just yet! LOL. But my point is, I plan to make it work by combining my old 'business model' (haha, as if I ever had one! ;) with a new one that will hopefully allow me more time for me to create, play, spend time with my family, and not feel too pressured to constantly be re-inventing the to speak.

I hope all this makes sense. I'll explain more as I start making these items...but I felt that since some of you have been with me right from the very start, you deserve to know what I am thinking about how to constantly improve and grow SLD. In fact, I am participating in three art fairs this summer, which means in just under four months, I need to create over 900 pieces for these shows. Eeegads. Can you see why I need to make some changes around here to make it work?

I hope you will feel free to give me your feedback. You are a huge part of SLD. I would not be here without you. And thanks for all your support by shopping handmade.



  1. I just want to say that I LOVE your stuff! And I love the changes you are going to make. I have a teeny, tiny (miniscule is more like it) kid's clothing line and have been thinking along similar lines. SO hard when you are a WAHM. Your stuff is brilliant!

  2. Sounds like you are headed toward some fun and new times! Look forward to following (and purchasing) along this journey

  3. Thank you BOTH so much for your comments! And support :) Meghan, it's amazing how that teeny tiny kids clothing line can grow bigger and bigger and bigger pretty quickly, just like our kids :) Yours will be pretty soon I am sure :)

  4. Shari - I often wonder along the same lines, and I'm even tempted sometimes to do a bit of "mass production" within the limitations of upcycled/vintage. A sheet set is a lot of fabric, after all. Especially with the whole photograpy side of things! It does take so much time, doesn't it?

    I wonder if "limited edition" would be ok. It might be worth asking our customers if OOAK is really a big deal for them? perhaps a run of LI, "Similar" items, one garment in each size... then at least it's ONE photo but just changing the size per listing..

    Hmm... you've really got me thinking, now! :)


  5. I am in love with these clothes!! I can't wait to tell my clients about you! If you ever need someone to photograph your items to test, I am here! :)

    Keep up the creativity! It is inspiring!