(About a 4 minute read.)
When I first came up with the idea for Classic Six, I didn’t even really think about how I was going to come up with the money to pay for it. I knew I wanted it, and the money would come. I have another business, as a graphic designer, so I was basically going to use one business to pay for the other.
That was working for things like my pattern-maker, samples, fabrics, and all of the other expenses that would come along with starting this business, but when it came time to pay for my entire production run, ( a risky venture, to put it lightly) I kind of just trusted that I would figure out a way. I was very determined to hold on to the equity of the company at least for the first season of building, so I didn’t want investors just yet, but with my savings dwindling by the day, it was time to map out a plan.
Early on, I thought a Kickstarter was the way, but the more I looked into it, the more impersonal it seemed. It felt like the opposite of luxurious, plus I would also be giving a good percentage of the money I raised right over to the platform and that just seemed counterproductive.
Then I thought, worst case scenario, I can take a loan from my 401k…just borrow from it for a few months until I had the chance to sell. My husband, who coincidentally manages peoples 401ks to help them retire was not as impressed with this idea, but agreed it was a solid option. I knew then that he thought this was something. He’s seen me fail and get back up. He’s seen me so passionate about projects that completely fall flat, but his endorsement of the idea proved to me that he saw something in this. He believed in it as much as I did.
That was definitely plan B, but there had to be a better plan A.
There was the "loan-shark route," which was brought to my attention a few times, but even the words alone felt sketchy. I could try to get a small business loan with the SBA, but found they usually want to see some kind of revenue first. Maybe a smaller bank that wouldn’t require much collateral would be willing to cough up some cash. I would explore all of these ideas, but my mind was set on another option…
A private online pre-sale.
It was my favorite of the bunch, against the guidance of the consultant I had hired, who said I wouldn’t sell one piece. You guys know I love a good challenge. I had nothing to lose. I would offer a special price and a special gift, for a limited time, and I could then use that money in pre-orders to pay for a portion of my production run. I just needed to figure it all out.
Can I have a shop up on my website for only a limited time? How would it all work? Would people even care about it?
I don’t have a huge following, nor do I have thousands of people waiting in line to buy, but I did, over the past year, gather a group of exceptional women (and some men ;) on my mailing list who have shown interest in what I was building with Classic Six, so I thought, why not do something exclusive for them?
I brainstormed ways to roll out the reveal of the collection, how I was going to build the shop on my site, how to photograph everything, and how to market this pre-launch.
On Sunday, December 8th, the shop went live and would be live for the next 6 days. Earlier in the week, I had sent a daily introduction of each of the pieces in the collection to my mailing list. People were excited, and I was excited people were excited!
I woke up super early that Sunday morning of the sale to send out the link to the shop and to mentally prepare for the outcome. It could be a total bust, or it could be amazing. I was focusing only on it being truly amazing.
At 8:16 am, I got a notification….My first order! It was in the amount of $3,004.95. I cried. Of pure happiness. Of utter excitement. Of semi-disbelief. Of extreme gratitude. Of anticipation of what was to come, but mostly, because even if only this one person were to shop for the rest of the day, even the rest of the week, I had one person that was interested enough in Classic Six to actually put their hard-earned money towards it. To me that was all the success I needed.
The rest of the week had me crying on the daily. Orders kept coming in. I was getting emails and messages from people that I have never met telling me that they loved the idea behind the brand and that they thought the collection was beautiful. I’ve saved every one.
The gratitude I felt, and still feel, is immeasurable.
One sale down, and even more pressure than ever to make Classic Six into something people will want to buy. Something I can stand proudly behind. The success of this sale for sure gave me a pep in my step to keep going, but there is so much more to do. So much more to give. So much to still learn and create!
As the craziness of that week died down, I felt the need to tell you about it. To write about it. This article is really a THANK YOU to YOU. YOU are the reason I am able to pay for my first production run. YOU are the reason I am able to keep forging ahead. YOU are the reason I have felt more creatively fulfilled than ever before. You are all such an important part of this journey! Each and every person that has shown the slightest bit of interest in this brand is what is allowing me to keep building.
And to that, I say, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.