Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thanks, everyone, for the awesome response to my last blog post and the new item's I've launched! 

I finally got everything from my new collection up on Etsy, and things are selling pretty fast!  So, if there is something you've had your eye on, I wouldn't wait too long to get it as it might sell out.  Some of these fabrics are pretty limited. I thought I'd show a few pieces below that mix and match well.  I love mixing and matching prints and textures... 

Yesterday, I also finished putting up a few Sample Sale items.  I'm really trying to clear out old pieces that I was hanging onto for too long. 

Today, I'm going to finally make my way back into the studio.  The first thing I will do is CLEAN.  I worked my butt off last week trying to finish up orders so I could focus on admin-type things for a few days, and left my workspace a disaster. After, I'm going to get a head on a few orders (that feels so good to say!), and (here's the exciting bit), order swimsuit supplies.  I want to offer a few ready-made swimsuits this summer (and maybe do a sew along using some of my patterns...? yay or nay?).

Mix and Match Bras

Eventide Blue Satin Bra

Mix and Match Hipster Panties

Midnight Blue Velvet

NEW Nautical Three Pack

Nebula Lace-Back Panties

Bon Voyage High Waist Knickers

Eventide Blue Satin Hipsters

Thinking Summer...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Yesterday it felt like -31° C, but I'm day dreaming about much warmer weather...

I always find this time of year hard, but this winter has been particularly difficult.  We can't see past the snow banks to pull out of our driveway, temperatures seem to hover around -20° C, the side walks are so icy and lumpy and hard to walk on, the roads have deep grooves in the packed down snow that make it hard to drive... it feels like it's been snowing since December 1st! At first, the excessive snow was a bit of a novelty, even for this seasoned Canadian, but now it's just depressing... 

I am really itching to get back out into my garden.  In the meantime, I've been making frequent trips to the florist up the road to buy fresh flowers for in my house.  The smell alone is just so uplifting! 

I've also been using these flowers as props for the photos of my new items! I am really excited about these pieces.  I've gone back to basics with this collection.  The first thing I need to mention is that this collection is huge.  I get tired of sewing the same things and using the same fabrics, so I've got a huge variety for myself to work with.  Secondly, I wanted to be able to mix and match a lot of these pieces.  Third, I did a lot of thinking about what Ohhh Lulu meant to me when I started it back in 2010.  I remember clearly, sitting in Dan's cramped, wood-panelled living room, and telling him how I pictured Ohhh Lulu.  The thing that I wanted Ohhh Lulu to capture is how beautiful you can feel when you are wearing the simplest garments that show off your natural shape.  I don't know about you, but there are days when I roll out of bed and my hair is a glorious mess, and the sun hits me at just the right angle, and I'm just wearing a simple tank top and panties, and I feel like the most beautiful person in the world! That is what I want to capture, that relaxed and natural state of beauty. Something I struggle with in my personal life as well as in my "designer" life is doing what I want to do as opposed to what I think other people want me to do. I kind of feel like I veered off course a bit... not that I am not happy with what I've done, but I feel like these pieces are really "me." I made a point of just makings things I like and that I want to wear (and that I am frequently wearing!).

One thing I do whenever I design a new collection is think of a loose theme... often a place or an era and how that makes me feel. Capturing a mood or a feeling through my lingerie is something that is important to me, and I hope comes through in my designs! I've been thinking a lot about morning and the sky, and how that is my favourite time of day.  One of my favourite memories is from my honeymoon.  We camped for a week, and got up bright and early each morning.  We would walk down to the lake and sit on the dock, listening to loons and watching the sun rise.  Then, we would do the same in the evening and watch the sun go down.  If you haven't stopped to watch a sunrise and sunset, you need to do it ASAP because it is one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

Inspiration: Untitled Photo by Angela d'Avignon, Clouds via Pinterest, Flowers via Pinterest, Sky at Dusk via Pinterest, Beach via Tumblr. As for the lingerie, you can find it in my shop!

I've been slowly posting new items in my Etsy Shop.  I have to say, I am personally wearing a lot of these pieces day to day.  I have a couple of new styles, with my favourite being the longline bralettes, like the one show below in midnight blue velvet.

Midnight Velvet Lingerie Set

I also am doing triangle bras (yes, the bra below is a hack of my Brigette Triangle Bra Pattern, and showing you how to do this is on my To Do List!).  I'm a fairly busty lady, and I have to say, I've been wearing nothing but the long line, triangle, and cross-over wrap bra for the last few months. I try to put on an underwire bra and I just can't make it through the day.  I get quite a few messages asking if I do underwire bras, and the answer is, "no, and I don't plan to." First of all, there are plenty of nice underwire bras out there in a variety of price points points and styles.  If you disagree, just hop over to Figleaves and try to tell me you can't find something you like!  But most of all, I really like the shape that a soft bra gives.  Most people are used to the super round, bowling ball shape that foam push-up bras give, and while that is all fine and good and has it's place, there is also a place for a comfortable bra that feels like you're wearing nothing at all.  I have to say, the natural shape and curve of the bust, waist, and hip is just so pretty... why not show it off? A soft bra provides a bit of support while still showing off your natural curves.  One thing I will say is if you have exclusively worn underwired, padded bras your whole life like I had, switching to a soft bra does feel strange (kind of like you're half naked), but for me, it's hard to go back to the bowling ball boob look.

Tropical Floral Lingerie Set
 The other thing that was really important to me when I started Ohhh Lulu was trying to represent a realistic body type.  I don't think I've always been successful at this, and the longer I run this business, I realize how hard it is to try to represent everyone.  My resources are minimal and models and photo shoots are costly. Some models and photographers will work on trade, but there is still the time and cost involved in preparing and sending samples...  When I first started Ohhh Lulu, I thought I'd use myself as a model. I'm petite, but otherwise a fairly average person (ie. I certainly don't have thigh gap). I soon found that modelling/taking photos is not as easy as one might think and that it is also extremely time consuming.  However, I think there is some merit in seeing clothes on your "Average Josephine."  I really do wish I had the resources to represent multiple body types, skin tones, aesthetics, etc, but as a DIY shop owner, it's really hard... way harder than I thought it would be! There is a lot of pressure and competition to have the right look... I was spending so much time worrying about my photos and stressing that I wasn't living up to the competition that I feel like my designs suffered. So, I said "Screw it!" and I diy'ed it.  I still plan on doing some professional photos down the road, but as I said earlier, I'm going back to basics.  I am a DIY'er.  DIY is what I do! DIY is what Ohhh Lulu is all about. All the power to the DIY'ers!

Black Satin Basics
 So, I'm pretty happy (despite this miserable weather). In the past year or so I found it really hard not to compare myself and feel a sense of competition with other businesses, and I really hated that feeling.  Of course, I want to run a successful business and be the best that I can be, but most importantly, I want it to be fun.  For a while, it wasn't so fun... it was really stressful! I was trying to run my business the way I saw others run theirs... and that's not for me. Like a lot of creative-types, I'm highly self critical.  I looked at what everyone else was doing, everyone else looks so professional and like they've got it all figured out.  I needed to remind myself that what I do is for me, not for the approval of anyone else (but in the hopes that other people will share my passion).  I am glad I was able to take a step back and concentrate on what's really important... Pretty lingerie!!!

Black Satin Basics

Hurray! It's done!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I love people who can do things with their hands... like, build things, paint a picture, knit a sweater, fix a car... install an incredibly complicated vanity!

We finally got the bathroom put together last weekend.  It still needs a few finishing touches, but it is 100% usable and my house is a little more normal again.  Now that it's done, it feels so good! Our bathroom before was old, dingy, and poorly maintained.  It feels fresh and new now.

A couple weeks ago, I tackled our bedroom.  Everything upstairs had been painted boring-beige when we moved in. Our room is fairly small, just enough space for our bed, a dresser, and hope chest... pretty standard old-house size.

I'll take better photos (when I have a chance), but here is the headboard we made out of reclaimed wood.  I put a small painting that my grandma did over the bed... the frame was perfectly chipped and peeling!  We put linen-look sheers on either side of the bed to soften it up a bit and installed a chandelier.  I am really, really, really happy with how these two rooms have turned out.  It feels good to be surrounded by beautiful things.

I think we will take a break from home-reno's for a bit.  We still have a few things I want to do, like finish the flooring on the main floor, and paint the weird wood panelling we have in the entryway and hallway... but for now, I am reno'ed out!

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