It Takes a Village

So…

in a previous post I told you that we’d soon be making some big changes to the way we conduct our business in order to provide me with some regular and consistent time to disconnect and recharge my batteries. Because let’s face it, our little home business has really grown since 2004 when we introduced our new pattern line to the American public with 3 designs while I was still working a full-time job outside the home.

Here’s the hubster, Bubba, who from the start has helped out by making deliveries, arranging for pickups,
and in general by being our head “schmoozer”.

I look back now and it’s mind-boggling. It’s hard to imagine how I was ever able to do it. But then i realized, just look at how different things were back then. I got very few orders or phone calls and mostly it was just my family who interrupted me. I had no distributors, our patterns weren’t in catalogs yet and I did all my own printing as I needed it on my home computer. We didn’t have a monthly newsletter, our Blog was still years away, FaceBook was still just a glimmer in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye, AND perhaps most importantly, our website consisted of a total of EIGHT pages! In short, I really only had a few “hats” to wear back then. I published the patterns I designed, selling and printing them mostly one at a time on a website I coded and maintained by myself. 

Here’s good ol’ Dad packing up patterns for me!

As time went by, the business grew, and one by one, I added more “hats” to my repetoire… Bookkeeper, Newsletter writer, Internet researcher… but no big deal, I retired from the City in December of 2005, which meant I could devote my energy FULLTIME to the business. We started an advertising & promotion campaign and attended our first Quilt Market in Fall 2007. By now the process of producing patterns on my own printer had become overwhelming, so I hired a local printer and was fortunate indeed that my Dad volunteered to provide some much needed help packing the components into clear envelopes. In the Spring of 2009 we started the Blog and built the new studio later on that year. We incorporated in 2010, and added the Notions line in 2011, so now my “hat” collection included: Photographer, Travel Agent, Graphic Designer, Warehouse Clerk, Shipping Specialist, Purchasing Agent, Public Speaker, Marketing Specialist, Technical Service Agent, Blogger, Spokesperson, Product Developer, Publicist, Videographer and most recently, Social Media Coordinator.

 So… what does it all mean? In a word… It means I’m MAXXED-OUT!

This past summer, it became painfully obvious that I had a little too much on my plate. And in order for me to maintain my creative momentum, I’ve just gotta find a way to carve myself out some regular downtime in order to stay refreshed. And since I can’t add any more hours to my workday (and still sleep at night), the time has come to hire some personnel, so without further ado, it gives me great pleasure to be able to introduce you to our two newest staff members!

Erica Lineberry- our Social Media Specialist

One thing I found out about Social Media is that it’s a very effective way to promote our line, BUT, it’s also VERY time-consuming! The very first person I thought of when I started thinking about hiring someone for this position was Erica. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband Steve and my beautiful grandson Canaan. That’s right, Erica is my daughter, but she’s also a very experienced and successful writer, Blogger and sponsored athelete. You can check out her Blog at www.cragmama.com.

Erica joined our staff in late August and she is now functioning as our Social Media Specialist. Her objective is to generate, coordinate and grow our presence on social media sites, such as this Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. In short, we’ll be counting on Erica to research the Internet to find the best ways to engage our target audience and to deliver the StudioKat Designs message to the world. Erica knows our product, and she has a really good handle on what our target audience is like, but what’s most important to me, is that Erica knows ME and will have no problem representing our brand as if I were doing it myself. So far, the transition has been virtually seamless. (Even my very best friends did not  detect the transition!)

Lina Martel- our Office Assistant & Shipping Manager

My sister-in-law, Lina and her family had been living in Northern California and loving the West Coast lifestyle for over 15 years, so our whole family was delighted when she, and Larry (who just happens to be my youngest brother) and my 6 year-old nephew Lance decided to move to this area last year. And when school started this fall and Lina found herself with time on her hands, she was the perfect choice to train as an Office Assistant. Lina’s quick, efficient, organized and completely suited for this type of work and if you’ve ordered anything from us in the last 45 days or so, then chances are good that Lina processed your order. She’s also taken over the bulk of the pattern packing, so between her and Dad, I have completely shelved that particular “hat”.YIPPEE!!

So… how’s it working out so far?
We’ve been at it for a little over 5 weeks and I can already detect a big difference for me. I’ve traded in several time-consuming “hats” and got a supervisor’s hat in return, but with employees like this, that’s a pretty good trade in my book.

Well. there you have it. I wanted you to meet my new staff (as well as the ones who have been with me almost from the start). And even if you never have personal contact with Bubba, Dad, Erica or Lina, and even if I may have exaggerated a bit about it “taking a village” to run StudioKat Designs, I think its apparent that at least for me, it pretty much takes a whole family!

And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

Working with family can be tough for some folks. How do you think it would work out for YOU? And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.

Check out the best sewing pins with me on Pinterest, join our Facebook discussions, get your daily sewing fix on our Facebook Business Page or get behind the scenes scoops on Instagram, and be the 1st to know about new patterns, discount codes and sample sales by signing up for our monthly newsletter.

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