Friday, November 26, 2010

Web Store Is Up!

[Harlan making fringe]

[Wonder taking pictures]

[Working on the web store from my strange loom desk]

This was a strange and amazing day. Black Friday, they call it, the biggest shopping day of the year.

I'm having a tough time with the big transition in my career, from a contract weaver making someone else's cloth and paid (very little) by the yard to a self-employed weaver making my own cloth and sewing my own merchandise from it. In order to get paid, though, I also have to sell it. This transition is being difficult because I have no money and few raw materials, just a big batch of cloth.

My next steps are easy to understand: I'll sell enough stuff to pay for a trip to Portland, host a trunk sale up there, and use that money to buy my next batch of thread and pay the fees to do my first shows this Spring.

To sell my first batch of stuff, I spent the last few days setting up a full-featured store on my own website. I needed the ability to offer discounts, coupons and such, and have them all combine on-the-fly in an easy-to-use system. I also needed it to track inventory and prevent double-selling the same item. I did it! And today I worked all day to get stuff listed in there.

My goal was to have a "Black Friday Virtual Trunk Sale." It turned out way different from that. You see, the last time I did this sort of thing I had a cable modem with blazingly fast network speed. This time, I had nothing like that. Tinker and Wonder loaned me their network extender so I had internet up in Halston, but it was super slow. It's the same satellite connection from Garden House, but split through another layer.

Then, I missed my own deadline for having samples sewn and ready to photograph. I got them sewn, but forgot just how long it takes to cut and make fringe on the edges of scarves. Wonder showed up to photograph and stuff wasn't ready for him.

That's where Harlan came in. I showed him how to fringe and the pipeline fell into place. He fringed the scarves, handed them to Wonder to photograph while I wrote up listings, attached the photos, and announced it all through Twitter. Even with help, it took all day before everything was up on the website.

But it's there now! Please help me spread the word by telling people about what I'm doing and sending them to my store:

I'll be leaving the special Grand Opening discounts in place until a) I make enough to pay for my trip or b) next Tuesday. After that it will just be a regular web store with moderate discounts.

Thanks for helping to spread the word!

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