Looking Back with Gratitude, Forward with Hope
I’ve always had “side hustles” throughout my years as an educator – whether I was selling health-based nutrition products or running a bustling wedding and event planning business. My mind needs to be going to several directions at once to be happy and satisfied. I have enjoyed sewing since I was in college and my grandmother gave me my first Kenmore sewing machine. When I was sequestered to my small rental in Bethel during the pandemic, I borrowed an old machine from a school, and began voraciously quilting. I had multiple projects going, and just kept ordering fabric, kits, patterns. So, there I was with a stack of quilts. When you are a quilter, after a while, everyone you know has been gifted one. They take too much time and fabric to sell for any type of profit, so I did some research on how I could continue to sew but turn it in to a thriving business.
2021 continued to challenge all as the Delta variant morphed into Omicron. Most were back to work in person full time, and shops and businesses reopened doors to the public. But the face of retail and work has been forever changed.
In June of 2021, I ordered an industrial sewing machine and started Forget Me Not Fiber Arts. I practiced with crossbody bags and pouches, then branched out to backpacks and more complex totes. I had a website designed and struggled to keep the inventory up. I tried the local Saturday market, which proved successful each time. I ended the year with almost zero stock and low supplies. My total sales for my first few months were more than $6000.
I took a complete break from sewing and work for two weeks over the winter break, which proved to be a great time for reflection and planning. If I truly want to expand the business, I need to find a way to produce more bags, more quickly. I also need to expand my online presence to include an Etsy shop. Doing this while working full-time may prove challenging, but I am determined to make it happen. My goal for 2022 is to reach $12,000 in sales. As we look to leave Alaska and move to Hawaii, I am reassessing my product line to cater to tourists. My original vision always involved travel, so this will be a good fit.
I have so appreciated the support of friends and family with my little venture. I look to 2022 with hope that people remain healthy, happy, and good things await all.