Lots of progress made this week. We're done designing all of spring 07, for the most part. Monday is when we have our big merchandising meeting, put everything up on boards and see if we have too much of one thing or not enough of another. Are we doing we too much washed lamb? We need another style with a shirt collar. Let's do just one more style with contrast topstitching. Do we need this style? Is this a tight-knit collection? Does it scream "Spring!"?
The big challenge is that jackets, especially leather, don't sell as well in the spring so we have to extra careful. But, we did receive some amazing superthin leathers, so we shall see. And I'm trying to persuade the team to develop some cotton jackets with leather trim. We only have 10 weeks until the New York shows, so cross your fingers.
I've got 3 hours to wrap up all the work I want to get done at home today before the boy comes home. Today's our 2-year anniversary, so no work past 8pm. (He's making his famous sammiches for dinner today. Doesn't sound too grand, but my friends who have tried them can testify to my Pavlovian response to his offer to make them.)
…should be like today. You know, when you're running around so much you forget about the blisters, when you're too busy to eat or smoke or pee, when you wish you could type faster so you can answer your emails faster, when you're in a meeting and you finally feel like you're making progress, when your corkboards look like a collection and not a smorgasboard of randomness, when a streak of decisiveness hits you like a bolt of lightening, when Illustrator decides to behave, when you look at the clock and realize it's already 5pm and of course, cuz you've gotten so much done but dammit if you could use another hour.
sigh. Maybe asking for every day like that is too much. Maybe every other day?
I haven't been writing much about my day job lately because it's been a source of frustration for me the past month or so. I've been trying to work towards organizing the design team better, so we're more focused and efficient, but I've been getting a lot of balking and procrastination. I think the main problem is that I'm the youngest person at the company I work for and they don't have a lot of faith in me to do anything but bust out some good jackets.
Eh, I don't like complaining. The real reason for this post is to tell you that a potentially very good thing happened at work yesterday. We got a temporary marketing and merchandising consultant. Most people tend to dislike consultants, but if he can accomplish half of what he tells me he wants to accomplish, I'm feeling very hopeful for the future of this company. I've said it before and I'll say it again–I don't work for a paycheck. I work because I love to design and I love to see the companies I work for or with to grow and become successful. I would love to see San Francisco fashion design really prosper, one company at a time.
I refuse to divulge much information about my day job (the rest of my life is an open book), but I will say that waking up in the morning is a lot easier and I'm really looking forward to the big design meeting tomorrow. (Insert hopeful little happy dance here.)
This week's Carnivale topic comes from my girl Danielle:
I want to invite anyone who wants to join to describe that favourite outfit that you always like to wear still warm from the dryer. Bonus points if you've got pictures! What does your outfit say about you?
Let's take a little trip down memory lane, shall we?
I've been working since I was 10. My first job was as a incognito shoplifting spy at my dad's grocery store. My second job was running the laundry facility at my dad's hotel when I was in high school.
Yes, it's almost as glamorous as you imagine. I'd run all the washers at once, fold the previous loads, then run all the dryers in one go and go sit in a corner to sketch evening gowns while listening to hiphop and grunge out of a beat-up radio. After all the pristine white sheets and fluffy towels were done drying, I'd dump them all in a rolling bin (like the one pictured below) and then throw myself head first in the pile, luxuriating in the heavenly soft coziness radiating heat and clean soapy smells, with my legs sticking up in the air. (Yes, take a moment and picture me in all my ridiculous glory. Yes, go ahead, point and laugh.) After I got my fill, I'd get up and start folding. I got really good at folding king size sheets by myself without letting any of the edges touch the floor. (Another one of my myriad special talents.)
When I was getting my BFA, I had to take 2 textile science classes. One chapter focused on stain removal on different fibers. Do I remember any of it? Nope. I just remember my friend A telling me to use club soda to lift stuff off my carpet. What I do remember the most from those classes is 1. I suck at knitting. No, really. I tried to pay my then-stepmother to knit me a sample for class, but she wouldn't. Evil woman, making me do my own homework. Hrmph. and 2. To do burn tests for fibers. When I worked at Eva Fortune, people were always trying to swindle us into buying cheaper silks, which were actually polyesters. I'd politely ask for swatches, and then my boss and I would go out back and burn a little corner to check before purchase. (If it bubbles and melts into a little bead, it's polyester. Silk actually burns.)
When I still lived at home, I had to do the house laundry. And when I moved out, I had a roommate who would rather buy more underwear than do laundry, so hers just piled up all over the place. Then she would beg and beg me to do hers when I was doing mine and she'd buy the groceries for the week. The last straw was when I came home to catch her borrowing my underwear. EEEEW!!!
Needless to say, I hate doing laundry now. But, God has smiled upon me and sent me a lovely boy who doesn't mind doing it. When he found out how much I hate doing laundry, he told me he'd take over from then on. (Insert me gloating here.) I haven't done laundry in over a year.
I don't touch the laundry. And I don't feel compelled to pull something out to wear right after. I just love the sight of fresh laundry I didn't do, neatly folded and put in piles to put away. If anything, I like to pull out my bathrobe. It's ginormous. I have a friend with a hot tub and I was over there soaking one day and asked for a towel and he handed me his robe. He's a big guy, so his robe was enormous on me, and the terrycloth is superthick. I jokingly told him I was going to keep it and he seriously told me I could. It's become my blankie, since the loft is rather drafty.
What does this say about me? That I hate doing laundry? That I like orderliness and don't like to touch/ruffle anything that's pristinely put together? (I do have rather anal-retentive tendencies.) I like cleanliness? I like being warm? I should live in a place with better central heating? I have generous friends? I like comfort?
Hey, Miz S, bust out with that DSM IV and tell me.
Spent a couple of hours today perusing Oh Joy!'s archives. One word–yummy. Delectable. Prettyprettypretty. Scrumptious. Colorful. Really lives up to the blog's name. Okay, that was more than one word, but anyway, go check it out. Really appeals to the pretty portion of my aesthetic.
Watched In the Mood for Love this morning. Sigh. What to say that hasn't already been said? Dimly lit, moody, smoky. I wish I had a quarter of Maggie Cheung's grace. That neck! That walk! Oddly enough, the thing that sticks in my mind is that she wears a wardrobe of cheongsams over and over again, like a real woman would, instead of magically having an endless wardrobe. If you haven't watched it, shame on you. Shame on me for waiting so long.
Finally done cleaning up after KBBQII. Now the place smells of lilies and narcissus and I only have 1 more load of dishes to do. (Where in the world did all these dishes come from? I swear they are spontaneously spawning in my cupboards during the party.)
In other news, Henri-V is coming this Saturday! YAY! She'll be here in SF for a couple of months studying and I can't wait to meet her.
In honor of Earth Day, Kathleen posted a quiz to take, to see how wasteful we are in comparison to the rest of the world. I got a score of 15, which surprised me. I thought my score would be worse. (Although, I realize it could still be a lot better.) I think the harshest blows were the fact that I like to eat meat every day and the square footage of the loft.
Was just thinking earlier today that my blogroll upkeeping habits are pretty lackluster. If you read me regularly and I haven't posted you in my blogroll, or if you've never commented so I don't know you read me, leave me a note and I'll make sure to add you.
I’ve done a lot of freelancing—sometimes it being the sole source of income. I’d like to share some tips I’ve learned from my experience. Some of them may seem obvious, some not.
First of all, in order to be a successful freelancer, you have to be willing to ride out the drought-and-flood cycle that often comes with the territory. Even the most established freelancers find themselves in this quagmire of working 16 hours a day for one month and then twiddling their thumbs the next. Many people view freelancers as people who have nothing else to do, even if you may have 3 other projects going on simultaneously. They will need everything ASAP and sometimes, their version of ASAP is yesterday. Also, a lot of people who hire freelancers don’t have a realistic timeline for design because they don’t have an in-house design team, so you’ll have to educate them on that.
You have to be excellent with your personal finances. (Drought and flood income doesn’t mean your landlord will understand.) You have to be aggressive about collecting what you’re owed. (More on this later.) You have to keep meticulous records for tax purposes.
You have to network. Be always networking. Always be professional. Do not read this as constantly kissing ass or using people. You will never get jobs if you’re not meeting new people in the industry. Hardly anyone posts freelance projects on the boards, unless it’s a lengthy one, so you get your jobs from your connections. The best paying gig I ever got was when a customer of an embroiderer I used to work with was chitchatting and mentioned the project to her. I socked away several months worth of rent just by being super nice to my embroiderer, even when her assistant screamed at me once and I had every right to be a bitch*.
You have to make sure you get paid promptly. Have terms. Stick to them. Call them. Write up a proper purchase order for everything, invoice them on time, draft a contract for bigger projects. They will conveniently forget to pay you if you’re not careful. I usually work x% upfront, balance upon delivery of goods. Net 10, max. I used to go net 15 for repeat customers I trusted.
Speaking of money, make sure you have a great plan on your cell phone. You will need to be reached at all times, and mostly during the day. Paying for a more extensive plan is still cheaper than overages and you never want to cut a call short because of your cell phone minutes.
Now that I’ve written at length about all the hustling you need to do, you may be asking yourself why in the world I did it. The flexible hours. I’d work the mornings, run errands in the afternoon, go out on occasion, nap, work until the wee hours of the morning. (I used to have problems sleeping in long chunks of time, only sleeping 3 hours at a time, a couple of times a day.) The ability to work a variety of projects and constantly challenge yourself. Focus on nothing but designing or illustrating. Get to explore different markets to see where you really want to work (if you view freelancing as short term). The freedom to work on your own. You just have to figure out whether these particular sets of pros and cons work for you or not.
The board is now open for questions. 🙂
*If you must know, I had called in to check on an order that was promised to me by the end of the day, routine, and the assistant just blew up, screaming “You know, I’m not some fucking miracle worker! Your stuff is gonna be done soon. STOP CALLING ME! JUST STOP CALLING! I’M WORKING ON IT! FUCK! I don’t remember saying your stuff would be done today. YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR STUFF THAT LOOKS AS GOOD AS OUR SHIT! DAMN!” *click* Did I mention fashion is uber glamorous?
I've got a hefty list of things to do in preparation for New York, but all of that is manageable. What I need help on is what to wear to the Big Event Tuesday night. I've been in the habit of wearing one of my vintage kimonos to most big events the past few years. I wear them with some lingerie type slip thingie, tied shut with a sash of sorts, worn with big earrings or a metal choker. Not very geisha like at all.
My dilemma is that now that kimono looks are trendy, do you think I'll look stupid if I wear one? I like this one the best:
I also like this one, which is more subtle, with the shorter sleeves, but still pretty.
And I also have an all black one, in matte silk crepe, with a orange/gold phoenix rising from the ashes motif circling the bottom half. Those are my 3 favorite kimono.
Non-kimono options include a brown suede mid-calf length loose-fit trench coat that I can wear as a dress with 6" wedgie platforms. (Yes, I walk great in them. One of secret talents.)
I could also do this:
It's a big ball skirt made from 15 pairs of jeans and a hoopskirt understructure. (Yes, one of mine.) The fronts are in the front, the backs in the back. L.A. and S.F. have seen it, NYC has not.
Or I could go real subtle and do a leather jacket/chiffon skirt number. Or, or, or…bleh.
Make up options:
(The boy likes to take lots of photos of me.)
Or a smoky eye with pale lip (which is my preferred regular party look) or the red eyeshadow look from above?
The reason I'm so nervous is that I'm tragically unhip. I am usually very outgoing and friendly, but put me in room full of skinny fashionable people and I don't know what to do with myself. I don't have the best figure, my hair is long, fine, and likes to hold curl about as much as I like paying $3/gallon for gas. Usually I like to dress or make up my face crazy so people will approach me about it and break the ice first. After that, I become my usual loquacious self.
Oy. Navigating Alaskan snowstorms and potty training 2 kids? No problem! (I don't have any kids–I toilet-trained my siblings.) Dressing myself, all of a sudden I'm at a loss.