What a crazy couple months! I'm so happy that my debut collection Deep Dream has been so well received. So much crazy hard work has gone in to this and it's relieving and rewarding to see that everyone likes the collection. Thank you for your orders and inquiries.
Since I feel like I know most of you I was going to share a little glimpse into my day to day and how operations work here at the "headquarters", ya know some real-life stuff. It's funny because for the most part I work independently here in the warehouse, so it's funny to say headquarters or warehouse. I do have 3 amazing assistant/interns. They come in and help me with a lot of things...These poor girls get to see what it's really like to run this business and see me at my best and worst. However, I think it’s a great opportunity to intern with me because I need help with hard stuff and scary decision making, which can be the hardest part of being an entrepreneur. Plus photo shoots are fun and FREE bikinis duh!
*One great bonus of being your own boss, I get to bring my dogs to work.
The warehouse is awesome. It's taken just about 5 years to get to have this open space to run my business. Many of you have seen every spot I have worked in.... (amen that I ended up here) Growing a business and trying to keep costs down is a daily task and finding a spot that could accommodate my operations wasn't easy. Here are a few photos of my warehouse. Nothing fancy as you can see, but it’s my own. High-fives!
I love for you to see the real side of the "fashion industry" I'm sure by this point in the letter, you have to have some vested interest to keep on reading.... It sure does have it's fun days, but trying to grow this company takes for many sleepless nights and endless hours. I work a second job to keep things moving forward. Many days I roll into the office in my pajamas. (this is a blessing and a curse) Dedication daily, no days off... For those of you who are interested in the industry or want to start your own business, just know it's so much hard work and you have to sacrifice a lot. I have faith that it will be worth it. I'm always down to chat about my experience with both these things and lend any "knowledge" to anyone- email me. But back to the “fashion” industry…
You think I live on the beach and eat acai bowls all day? Ha.. #instagramlife Nope, Reno, for the most part is cold all winter long. Long days of planning and sewing and trying to make systems. Then BAM Spring/Summer hits and it’s wham bam thank you ma’am until September. Small business operations are never ending and most of you probably didn’t know that 9 times out of 10 I’m processing your order, sewing your order and shipping your order… I get all handsy with you order… making it the best. You wouldn’t want me to send crap out my door would you? Good things take time. I’m making these with my H A N D S…. No Bali factory full of children sewing your high end kinis here, no ma’am. So be patient and kind to me.
I think it’s fun to share some of the daily tasks here at the office:
» Answering emails (no big deal Ali we all get emails)
» Creating content and posting to social media: creating and taking the photo, captions, graphics and web sizing for all social media outlets, takes more time than you would think....
» Responding to and managing social media (all those DM’s and answering comments)
» Designing (this is the best part)
» Checking and answering emails again (I do this about 8 times a day and each time there are over 40)
» Quality control and managing the factory work that is delivered.
» Setting up the retail store and managing the expansion.
» Creating new accounts and managing wholesale orders.
» Planning and collaborating pop up shops, trunk shows and events. (I love this, this is when I get to meet all the people or customers I email with + I get to travel)
»Organizing orders, cutting out orders (oh yeah baby I do this not some machine) sewing the orders (again, I sew most of the swimsuits… it’s not bad I just watch Netflix allllll day)
I’m certain there’s way more than I’m mentioning, like paperwork or taxes, nobody ever remembers the boring stuff… but it’s a crazy packed day…
» Shipping… (Lord kill me now… shipping is sooooooooo boring)
» Planning the future, marketing, outreach, ambassadors.
Is any of this interesting you? I’m sure I’ll be hiring soon. Hang tight!
April 1st is the soft opening, it also marks Strange Bikinis fifth year anniversary!!! It's pretty incredible to think this small side hobby of mine turned in to a well-received brand and business with a message that continues to resonate with so many.
For those of you who have been with me since the beginning, THANK YOU.
For those of your who have just discovered this Strange world, Welcome and I hope you become part of this Strange culture. Strange Bikinis is a SMALL BUSINESS... really small... but we keep growing and improving our systems and our products with each year.
Can’t wait to see what the next few months is like here…