When 2 becomes 1. Cutting a Supplier out?

About a week ago, I mentioned that I was juggling with two suppliers right now. The original one, whom I received my 8 samples from last week on Christmas Eve, is teetering on the edge of a wobbly cliff right now (not literally). After he was a month late with my samples, I anxiously awaited them, only to find that they were not made according to any of the measurement specifications that I had sent him. I really don’t know how many ways I can spell it out. The drawings sent had a standard frame in every single angle, with measurements to the millimetre in red font! Typically red means important I thought. I spoke to him on the phone several times and he assured me he knew what to do. What irritated me even more was the fact that each style sample had no consistency to it. Each had different angles, nose pad heights, it made no sense.

Over the last week, we’ve spoken a couple of times and he pretty much gave an ultimatum to me, which I was not pleased about. I either pay him 30% deposit on the production cost (which is 30% of the cost of the entire order) up front to show my “goodwill”, as he put it, or he will not redo the samples for me. Excuse me? Are you serious? How am I supposed to commit to you when everything you’ve provided me so far has not been what I’ve asked for and late? Maybe he is starting to sense that I might not use him in the end. But still, asking for this money up front is leaves me no choice but to stick with him as a supplier in the end and is way too risky for me. It’s like getting yourself pregnant to loop someone into staying with you forever! Trying to reason with him has been a nightmare too. He will not budge on this deposit.

I just started talking to a new supplier, who received my package on Monday, meaning I haven’t seen anything from him yet. Though, I’ve heard good things about him and thus far, he seems much more transparent and proactive about sending me information and updates regularly. I won’t see the first full set of samples from him until the end of January.

So, I have an important decision to make: Walk away from supplier #1 now and bank on supplier #2?  Or string #1 along until I get the other samples at the end of Jan to see if I need to grudgingly fall back on him? (though I really REALLY hope that doesn’t happen)

On a more happy note, new logo and monogram are done and I’ll post it up sometime in January!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! May all your wildest dreams come true. Best wishes for 2011 and following through with your resolutions! Or at least sticking with them longer than last year :)


Samples detoured to Memphis?

The homeland of the infamous Graceland is now also home to my acetate samples. Somehow the snow storms (legitimate ones this time I think) in Europe have detoured them to Memphis? Hopefully they enjoy their stay – a short one preferably!

Stamping it in the ground. We’re Incorporated.

When I said “I’ll update you tomorrow” after my lawyer’s visit, really, I meant a week later. Sometimes I speak in code. Well! First thing’s first, you know your lawyer’s awesome when he shows up wearing a Patagonia fleecy, jeans and black sneakers. (Patagonia’s a climbing/hiking brand fyi) I was half expecting he was going to say, let’s go rafting! But half not, because I hate most sports. Two, you know he’s great when he makes suggestions on how I can save myself money by doing certain things on my own.

With his help, as of 4:48 pm today, the company was officially incorporated! Somehow the “Ltd.” just makes it feel so much more official, while of course providing lots of practical aspects.

Good day I would say.


Logos, lawyers and beeswax, oh my!

It’s been done. I changed my logo, which I love, and am now working on a monogram. It was, surprisingly, incredibly difficult to part with my old logo and I’m not sure why that is considering it’s only been in existence for 6 months. But, it had to be done. It was a little too modern. Maybe it was a remnant of my hoarder ways. Speaking of hoarding, I was cleaning out my drawers last week (in the process of moving fyi) and found copious amounts of beeswax sheets that I must have collected about 10 years ago. Honestly, I have no clue what they’re for, but the sheer quantity indicated that they were clearly a prized possession at one point.

Other than that, I’m seeing a lawyer tomorrow for a consult about all those legal administrative things that I keep shoving under the rug, but know I must get to at some point. I don’t know why I dread going to see a lawyer. Is it their fingerprint-less glass walls around their waiting room? Or maybe their “legal” sized paper intimidates me. What makes them so special that their paper has to be 3 inches longer than the rest of us? Boggles my mind, even though I dearly love my friends who are lawyers.  Nonetheless, I’m sure I’ll come out of it feeling much more at ease because there are tons of questions I have about incorporating, trademarks etc.  I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

Bye for now! And for all of you living in Toronto or the east coast, bundle up! Don’t let your hands get to the state of mine right now, which would currently resemble a dehydrated reptile.


I feel like I’m having an affair.

About a week ago, I started talking to another supplier about building the plastic samples for me in the event that the manufacturer that I’ve been working with doesn’t follow through. Remember the one who took a week to reply to my emails and claimed a snow storm in Italy in the middle of October?

I figured I would double up and have both doing samples for me so that I don’t end up being dependent on one. I feel like I’m cheating on my original supplier by doing this, though. Omitting information, not being forthright, sneaking around. It’s very uncharacteristic of me. I can’t help but feel guilty because I may end up dropping the original vendor after he’s put so much time and effort into helping me build my product.

In the end though, I figure I have to look out for myself. If the situation was reversed, I doubt he would think twice about it, right? Right.

So, get over it Kathy. Ok. Done.


It’s beginning to feel like Christmas.

My first Christmas present came in a brown packing taped UPS boxed last night. No, it wasn’t just creative gift wrapping, but my re-done metal samples! It’s hard to convey my excitement by writing, but the only fitting word I can think of now is a hurray!

At first I was apprehensive about trying them on because when I got the first set about a month and a half ago, they were not asian fitted at all. I kind of stood there for a minute in front of my dining room table staring at it. You would think that I was about to defuse a bomb. Then, I literally put them on my face in slow motion. At first it was a foreign feeling. It could actually make it all the way on without getting stalled at the edges of the frame curves, which was a feat itself! My cheeks didn’t feel like bookshelves for the frames either!

This moment captured exactly what I want people to feel like. For so long we’ve accepted the discomfort and ill-fit of mass produced frames, when we shouldn’t have to – kind of like how we shouldn’t settle for an ok boyfriend that eats macaroni and watches reality tv. (No offense to those who watch reality TV. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine too!)

Excuse me while I go celebrate with a festive cappuccino. Perhaps one with cinnamon sprinkled on top!


What success would look like for me.

The past few days, I have started to think about what success would mean for me. You might think it’s a bit premature, considering I’m no where near full operating order, but I thought it would be important to at least have a vague idea of what I’m striving for.  It helps to calm me down all those mornings I wake up with sweaty palms thinking, “what the hell am I doing?”

I tried to put together a list – something I could check off and look back and say, yes! I would feel like I’ve succeeded if this business had accomplished these X number of things. This was nearly impossible for me to do for two reasons: one, I think success for me extends way beyond just what ends up happening with this business and two, I had never defined what it would mean for me, and me alone.

For as long as I could remember, I had always measured success based on what I thought would make my parents proud.  I even convinced myself at one point that I might, just might actually like piano… this feeling didn’t last. My parents were entrepreneurs too, but they weren’t free flowing hippies. For them, stability and a good steady job was everything they wanted for me, because like all parents, they just wanted to make sure that I’d be ok on my own. And let’s face it; no one wants to be the black sheep of the family. When they passed away, I felt totally lost in all sense of the word. They were my harshest critics, but also my biggest cheerleaders at the same time. I no longer felt like my job was meaningful to me anymore, mostly because I took it out of fear of disappointing my dad. I started to think about what I really wanted in life because things (good or bad) can happen and I didn’t want to look back with any regrets. All of a sudden, I had nothing to lose and nothing to prove to anyone anymore. It was surreal to not run a major decision I was about to make in my life by them and get the stamp of approval to go ahead. But, I knew I made the right decision at this point in my life for me for the very reason that I didn’t have to do that.

Success for me would mean feeling fulfilled. I know that is incredibly vague, but it’s meant to be, just because it’s constantly changing for me. If I can build something, not let the fear of failure get in the way, give back to the people that have supported me all this way, be creative and do something that I really love and get giddy about, while making enough to fund my daily coffee addiction, I would feel like I’ve achieved a whole lot. Ok actually, to be realistic, it would have to make way more than a $2 coffee. My dog has to eat too! And, if I’m honest with myself, there is still a large void in me that deeply misses them and wonders and wishes that my parents were here to say good job. I’m not sure if that part will ever go away. But, who knows, maybe they will and a cat will deliver a note to me one day.  And now that you all think I’m sufficiently crazy, please don’t. I don’t actually think I’ll get a note from a cat… but how cool would that be?!


A glimmer of hope.

I finally received a tracking number today for my acetate sample shipment, so there IS light at the end of the tunnel! Unfortunately, it is “not found” on the fedex website, but maybe it takes a day to flow through?

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