Saturday, May 17, 2014

Something that's been on my mind lately, is the idea of 'Success.'  

Success is being able to spend most of my time with Oliver!
I had the opportunity this winter to take my business in a different direction than what I've been doing now, by expanding into a much larger retail market. It would have required me to outsource labour and change the model of my business.  I hmm'd and haw'd over it for a long time, and finally decided that direction wasn't for me.  When I mentioned this to someone, I got a surprising response.  "So, it sounds like you don't want to be successful."

Obviously, I was a little taken aback by that response.  

I am so grateful for my parents. They taught me so many important things.  One of the first thing they taught me, is to always speak my mind.  Speak it in a polite manner, but always speak it because what I have to say matters.  So, I told that person that they were wrong.

The second thing my parents taught me is that success isn't defined by the amount of money you make, the newness of your car, the brand of jeans you wear, the size of your house, but by the feeling you get at the end of the day.

A weeks worth of orders cut and ready to be stitched
So, this got me to thinking about how success is defined in terms of Ohhh Lulu... A large corporate entity and billions of dollars does not equal success to me. Okay, I'm not going to lie, a billion dollars would be super awesome. But, I currently do not feel in want or need of anything.

A larger business to me, is not necessarily more of a success, and in fact, I feel like it would take away part of what makes my business different. As it stands now, I get to work one-on-one with people from around the world.  I get to make them pretty things.  I get to offer something different, because I can customize and personalize things as people wish. Every day, I get to take a piece of cloth, and stitch it into something unique and beautiful with my own two hands! To me, there is nothing better than that.  Talking on the phone all day to suppliers and manufacturers and negotiating wholesale rates sounds like the worst day to me.  On the other hand, making stuff all day is a dream come true. And if success is that feeling you get at the end of the day, I guess I feel pretty successful. 

Going forward with Ohhh Lulu, I'd love to be able to hire a person or two within my own community to help me increase production.  I would also like to expand into some smaller boutiques, especially within Canada.  But, seeing Ohhh Lulu at Your Major Department Store isn't something that I want for my brand.  Being a maker is what makes me happy, and I don't want to change that!

Last week I had the opportunity to have a little interview with the ladies from Gallant & Jones.  They run a business out of Vancouver, and make beautiful outdoor furniture.  I talked a bit about what I do and where I see the future of Ohhh Lulu. If you'd like to read more, you can see the full interview Here

A custom set for a lovely summer bride!


  1. I completely agree with you! You have a very special talent! If you can do what you love, and it's absolutely beautiful, why turn it into something ugly and bloated? Congrats!

  2. I think you are bang on with your definition of success. In the end you are making a beautiful, handmade (and quite intimate) product, that you can be proud of. As a customer it must feel amazing to know that one person designed, customized and made your garment. There's an exclusivity to that too. I think once a little company expands it loses something - probably love. Things made with love are just so much better than things that are mass-produced - hence why so many of us sew!

  3. It seems like you've made a really wise decision! It's so smart to identify what you love about your work and to keep yourself on that path. As you said, spending all day long on the phone dealing with the business end of things sounds pretty awful. You get to work with your hands, making your ideas come to life, and help people all around the world feel pretty and sexy- what's better than that? I'm trying to make a career change right now as my current trajectory isn't a very good one, so I hope that I'll be able to navigate opportunities as wisely and gracefully as you.

  4. I completely agree with your definition of success. I run a small handmade internet business too, and I've often thought about growing the business because that's what society tells us we're supposed to want, but I just don't. As you say, the job changes from the original craft and becomes all about business deals - not my idea of a fun job either! Keep doing what makes you happy and ignore the downers :)

  5. I completely understand what you're talking about and I think you're very brave for having such a strong vision of who you are and what your business is. It's easy to be tempted to take these opportunities even if you know they might not be the best ones for you.
    But you're right, at the end of the day, success is enjoying what you make!
    Thanks for the great post.

  6. Thank you for speaking eloquently about an issue that can plague the creative, even if we have not been offered "big time." I think that if you are happy with your life and your product, then sticking to your guns is just the right thing. You are obviously successful in that people love your lingerie, you like what you do, and maybe you don't necessarily need that really high car insurance for the porsche delivery vehicle. :) You are lovely. Keep it up.

  7. I adore your brand and your products and I was actually just thinking to myself, "Goodness, she's so busy. I wonder if she needs an assistant..." To expand and perhaps even be in stores would be amazing - but only if that's your dream. I think so many people focus on success = all the money rather than focusing on what they want personally and how what they want at the end of the day. I'm glad you were able to focus on you and what you want. I know you've made the right decision. :-)

  8. I agree with you 100%. Getting more money, but having less time doesn't make you successful or happy. Getting to do something you like so that you can afford the things you need and spend time with the people you love is the perfect life for me.

  9. Great post. I, of course, think you made the right decision and I admire you for being able to define and stick to your values. As someone who loves to sew, I've often considered selling my handmade items. But I could see how a business can expand to the point where sewing can no longer be your primary focus or activity, and that's not necessarily what I strive for. So instead I've been taking on little freelance jobs for other small business owners -- they do the design and marketing, and I sew their items. The actual creation process is where I'm happiest.
    Anyway, good for you! Keep doing what you love.

  10. Oh my gosh, that was a rude comment! I work for a "successful" company and while I love my job I often wish I could work from my home studio making pretty things with my own two hands. Congratulations on all of your success!

  11. I've been feeling the same in regards to being reluctant to 'get bigger' with the work I do. I've spoken to people who go on about 'potential' and i'm left feeling like I've failed. Thanks for reminding me that being right in the place you're happy is just fine!


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