Wednesday, October 14, 2009

{q&a: my first sale}

Last week I asked you to write in with any questions you'd like me to answer. Oh me, oh my. Gussy sure has a lot to say now ;)

The first question is from L. She wrote, Okay, so what was the first Gussy you sold? What do you remember about it and how did you react?

The first item I sold was this zipped pouch, back in December 2008:

But technically {if you want to get technical}
, this was the first {Gussy} I sold:

If it weren't for The Books {aka: my financial stats} I wouldn't have believed that I started using {Gussy} labels in March. March?! MARCH?! Unbelievable. I would have guessed a month prior to March. But, it has to be believable because The Books say so. So there.

But really, March?!

It's hard to differentiate between December {my first Etsy sale} and today. Every single day, and I am NOT even joking about this, I am a tad surprised that I'm the one behind the Gussy label. Adding "sewing" to my list of know-how's isn't something I would have anticipated.

Really, I wouldn't have.

To anyone reading this that isn't sure whether they should learn something new, my advice to you: Do it! Do it today! You are wasting time with your hesitation. By the way, Jacky, have you started reading those books?! :)

I'm convinced one night, while I was sleeping, an Angel sent from God tapped my hands with her wand and bam! I learned how to sew. I can't think of a better way to explain it. Ever since that first evening at the kitchen table I wanted to learn more. I suddenly had the desire to sew, so I checked-out two dozen books from the library {just ask the Ferndale Public Library}, I spent hours online watching tutorial videos, and I bought an abundance of Quarter Flats {fabric}. I was using my parents sewing machine at the time. I had borrowed their case of extra thread and machine attachments. What did I have to lose but a little time and money?!

At that point we were living in Detroit and Zack was working a lot.
I needed something to fill my evening hours. I remember feeling a huge sense of accomplishment after making a few items. Maybe I felt something more like shock, but that's not the point here ;)

Zack was incredibly supportive. His positive response to my interest in sewing is probably what encouraged me to make just one more item. And just one more, and one more, and...

I continued to sew and made a few sales selling on Etsy. Then January came. Zack lost his job. Then February came. I lost my job. Do I need to mention we were married 8 months at this point?! I found myself sitting at home as the result of an unbelievable amount of unsuccessful attempts to find a job. No one was hiring in the Detroit area. No one wanted to see you if you came in. If you wanted to check on your application you were required to obtain an application number as if you were just that: a number.

The nearly seven months I {Zack, too} was unemployed was probably the worst months of my life. Talk about feeling abandoned, unimportant, helpless, useless, etc. to the world of employment. Every door that I attempted to open was slammed in my face. With all the free time I suddenly had I was able to sew like a mad woman.

. He was able to pick up a temporary landscaping job, but again, that door closed too soon. One day he came home and I had carefully placed all the things I had made.
Zack nicknamed our office The Sweat Shop as the result of that super successful sewing day. I had displayed everything I made on his desk, on my desk, on the couch in the living room, and on his dresser.

The Sweat Shop, run by Gussy :)

Those days were so fun. Aside from the negative emotional feelings felt, it was a great experience to test my ability at something I was so new at. I was able to prove to myself I could run this business on my own. I track my expenses and sales, work hard to find creative advertising opportunities, purchase, cut/iron/sew, and smile {almost} the entire time I'm doing all of it. You want to see the sparkle in my eye? Show me my sewing room.

Back in January, when Zack lost his first job, we were four months into the one-year lease we had signed. We were renting a house. How were we supposed to follow through with our lease commitment when our employers couldn't follow through with us?! The only way to get through it was to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us, stay united as a marital team, and of course: present all our worries to God. Let go and let God, they say.

It worked.

In August I was offered a job in Minneapolis. We accepted it, moved away from our home state, and started this new opportunity. I am hopeful this was the right decision. You can read about the exciting news here and here.

Have you noticed Gussy has a lot to say?

Back to L's original question:
Okay, so what was the first Gussy you sold? What do you remember about it and how did you react?

I'm pretty sure I have part A down, now for part B...

I don't remember the details on how I reacted, but I'm sure it is no different from how I react today: I immediately tell Zack about the sale, I for sure keep my mom and MIL {mother-in-law} updated on how many sales I'm at, and I go to sleep dreaming of new ideas, the fabrics I've recently purchased, and the delightful uncertainty that the Gussy brand holds for the future.

Last night I took advantage of an opportunity to sew. Zack was working late because an Editor is in from L.A., so I was home alone. I headed straight to the sewing room and got to work.


To clarify, that's 7 sunglasses/accessory cases, 2 zipped pouches, and 9 wallets, all with the Signature Gussy ruffle. Bam! :)

I'm just taking this day-by-day.

{And really praying this isn't all a dream!}

In the meantime, I'm sewing up all sorts of pretties. I've got 18 new items prepped. All in one night. All in just a few hours time. All Gussy :) The solid pieces of fabric you see on top are soon-to-be-ruffles. Oh me, oh my. Love it! Stay tuned... they'll become a Gussy item really soon! :)

Have a great day!


Melissa G. said...

I'm so glad you found a something to do that you're so passionate about. I know you're going to go far with Gussy. You're impossible not to like!

Jacky said...

Oh my, you're talking to me there, weren't you...=)

I have been reading the sewing books! I had to return one last night (14 day loan, yuck), but I have the other one for another 2 weeks. Of course, the only thing I've sewn is a half apron, and it didn't turn out super well...So I need to climb back up on the horse and keep going, I suppose. =) I'll keep you updated, for sure. Thanks for all you help and encouragement! =D

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Good work Maggie. I love when you have a lot to say, which is always...ahem = )

Anonymous said...

Your story is very inspiring to me. I just got my first sewing machine, and I used the manual to thread everything. I was so proud because I don't know anything about sewing, but I've wanted to learn since I was a kid. I've been practicing the straight stitch, and got a helpful sewing picture book over the weekend. I bought my first pattern and for now I just want to figure out how to read it :) Do you have any suggestions as far as books and beginners projects go? Congrats on the success you've made for yourself :)

mandiegirl said...

I am just starting sewing lessons and am hoping to learn to make things to help support my family from home one day when we start adding littles to our family, so your story is so very inspiring to me! I'm from West Michigan originally, and my sis and BIL had to recently move from Detroit, too, due to the economy, so I can empathize with you...I am happy that you guys were able to have such a great attitude through it all. :) Thanks for sharing!

Lindsay - Paint Me A Picture said...'s great to see how your sewing has evolved. My mom sews, even made all my prom dresses...maybe one day I'll pick up a sewing machine [you know what I mean]. For now it's a whip stitch and a paint brush.

dinkinflicka said...

I love reading you blog. Which is weird to me because I allways thought it would be creepy or boring to read other peoples blogs, but the way you write it so invting. Anyway, you really make me want to sew more! I know how, but the tension is off on my machine, which is very anoying. Anyway keep sewing and writing! Its all good!

Candice said...

I love your posts! They are always so encouraging! :)