#swapaddict · Holidays · Newsletter · Swaps

August News

Hello, August!

It’s so cliche to start with “I can’t believe it’s August already”, but all summer I have felt like life is stuck in fast forward. I wrote “June” twice yesterday when signing forms at the doctor.  I am glad I decided this summer to take a hiatus from my craft projects, sewing orders and swaps because my kids are here 24 hours a day, plus I actually like leaving the house in the summer.  While my kids are happy to watch TV all their waking hours so I can work on projects,I do like them to see the sun occasionally. I signed them up for a bunch of small activities, all of which seemed to happen in the last three weeks. We have lived in the car and eaten a majority of our meals as picnics on park benches or en route to the next thing. Thankfully the bulk of the actives are wrapping up and they only have a few things left this summer, but we’re planning some family adventures for August, so I don’t know when I will get back to my sewing room. Continue reading “August News”

Etsy · Projects · Theme Week

Back to School: Out of this World First Day Outfits

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This is the last day of Back to School week here at Just-Joshin. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my kiddos’ outfits as much as I have enjoyed sharing them. I sew for my boys because I love doing it, and I know they love the special outfits I make for them. They have been super cooperative this week with multiple photoshoots, and only required minimal bribery. Next week they start back to preschool. This will be their second year of preschool, and they are both excited to go back. I decided to make special first day of preschool outfits, what with this being their last-ever first-day-of-preschool. (It’s a real thing. I am sure of it.) Next year: Kindergarten!

The t-shrits are a design I offer in my Etsy shop, and I made matching shorts for them. Since my boys are really into pockets, I chose the Castaway Cargo pants from Peekaboo Pattern Shop. (affiliate link.) I used this pattern before to make safari shorts and they were so cute. This pattern can be used for pants or shorts, and goes together really quickly, despite having 4 pockets. (There is an option for welt-pockets on the back too, which I did not add.) The waistband is stretchy knit casing over elastic so it is easy for little guys to dress themselves. They love the cargo pockets, of course. I left the button/snap option off so they can more easily access the pockets. I figure if losing things becomes an issue I can always add snaps later. I asked the boys which they would prefer for the pockets, blue flaps or the space fabric. I got one of each. They also chose the colors for their t-shirts, based on their favorite colors. They also like how their shorts are like Miss Frizzle from the Magic Schoolbus

Even though school doesn’t start until Wednesday, they begged to wear these outfits the rest of the day after we were done with photos, and even asked if they could wear them to bed. I guess they like them!

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

And now, off to school next week. I am sure I will miss them at least a little. I won’t know what to do with all the quiet around here, though. More sewing, I suspect.

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Out of this World Back to School | Just-Joshin.com

Announcements

A Different Direction

I started my etsy shop almost a year ago, and at the end of June I shipped my 200th order! This started as a little project while my kids napped and has exceeded my wildest expectations. Most of the orders I get are for sibling sets, 2, 3 or more shirts that go together, so I am doing at least 100 shirts a month.  I am thrilled that so many people like what I am doing, it’s exciting and humbling.

The past six weeks, though,  I have been struggling with many challenges, and it is causing me to rethink my business. I have had an ongoing machine malfunction with my newer embroidery machine which has rendered it unusable since late May. I have been getting by using the smaller machine, but have had to turn down requests, spend countless hours troubleshooting and driving to and from the repair place. It has taken a toll on me physically, with daily migraines, and the stress from the demand and my inability to complete things as promised has been unpleasant for me and for my family. It is evident that if I cannot rely on this machine I use to create these embroidered shirts, I can’t run my business in a way fair to my customers. I am not writing this to air my grievances with the business who sold me the machine and has failed repeatedly to fix it,  there is plenty of that going on in my life as I am seeking a resolution. I want to be open and honest with myself and my customers. I can’t run the type of business I want mine to be, a business that exceeds expectations, delivers ahead of deadlines, and meets the demands of my products. I cannot do this with a sub-par machine, poor, unreliable service and hours of wasted productivity. Truthfully, I also cannot afford to replace the machine since it was already a huge investment and it’s not paying for itself packed up in a box. It is beyond frustrating.

Each embroidered shirt takes about an hour to complete. This does not include time spent marketing, creating and testing designs, packaging, shipping, etc. Now my kids are threatening to give up napping, which greatly reduces the hours I have to work. The newer machine was faster, when it was working, and I was able to get more done in a shorter period of time. Without a nap time break, I lose at least two hours of time I can work on my orders every day. Paying someone to watch my kids so I can work on Etsy orders would not make sense financially, since I would essentially be working to pay someone to watch my kids (which is why I quit my job to stay home in the first place)  I would have to charge $40 for a t-shirt.  My main job is to care for these two little boys who deserve a Mommy who can be there for them, not stressed about meeting the demands of my business and dragging them to and from a deplorable business who has failed time and again to provide me with a reliable machine. 

So what does this mean for Just-Joshin? I am cutting back, refocusing. I started this venture when I started making custom clothing for my boys to go to Disney World. We are planning a trip back again this year and I have a list of new outfits I want to make for them. I have been asked to make items for friends for their Disney trips this fall. I have a ton of fabric I bought at various times with grand plans and I would love to actually complete some of those ideas. I will still be taking custom orders, but they will be more limited. My Etsy shop has been thinned out significantly, and I am carving out a schedule for custom stuff. I will be taking orders through my website and Facebook, and will offer ready-to-ship items as I finish them. Right now I have two quilts in progress that have been in progress way too long, and those are a priority. In the next week or two I hope to have a storefront option added to my website, and a price list for custom items. 

If you have already ordered shirts, Christmas PJs, dresses or outfits for Disney World or a quilt, your project is on my schedule and will be done ASAP. If you are interested in any custom orders, please contact me. I will still be happy to do t-shirts for your special occasions too, but will be cutting back on paid advertising and marketing through etsy. I am going to rely on friends, family, repeat customers and word of mouth. If you have requests for the holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, let me know now. Look for a new product list and ready-to-ship items for girls and boys coming to my shop soon.

And always, thank you all for your support and for your business.

Jen

Giveaway

Lucky ’13 Giveaway

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To celebrate a big start to 2013 and add a little extra luck, I am giving away a custom shirt for St. Patrick’s Day. (or another design if you so desire!) Starting today, ending next Sunday February 10, 2013. Entries are available for simply telling me the item you like best in my Etsy Shop, liking Just-Joshin on Facebook, Following @justjoshinkids on Twitter, or Tweeting about the giveaway. You can earn extra entries by tweeting each day! Fill out the form below to enter!

My friends and family have been integral to my early success, please help me get the word out and grow my little shop and maybe get yourself a cute little shirt in the meantime!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Etsy · Projects

January Recap

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It definitely feels like February around here, at least weather-wise. (At last glance it was 4° actual temperature outside, yuck!) I am still catching my breath from a very busy January here in Just-Joshin HQ. Business has really picked up and I couldn’t be happier. My total number of orders for all of 2012 was 26. Sure, I made a ton of sample shirts and an entire Disney World wardrobe for my family. So far 2013 has been a frenzy of shirt-making:

  • 38 Etsy Orders
  • 59 Total shirts in those orders (Many of my offerings are Twin Sets.)
  • 42 Samples stitched out to use for photos in my listings
  • 2 Separate photo shoots I teamed up with Amanda at Loch and Key Photography
  • 15 Adorable Models posing for photos, ranging in age from 10 weeks to 3 years old. 

Now I am finishing up the very last of the Valentines orders and stitching out samples for St. Patricks Day and Easter. The nice thing about working ahead is the fun Spring colors warm up this cold, cold weather.

Thank you to all my customers, my models and my friends who are willing to lend me their kids for brief periods to play dress up. I can’t wait to get more things in the store. My goal for February is to top 100 listings.

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Here are a couple new things you can find in my shop, with lots more to come.

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Announcements · Etsy · Projects

New Stuff in the Etsy Shop

Here are just a few examples of new designs I have added to my shop recently. I have had a lot of fun creating new designs and even more fun seeing them modeled by a ton of cuties. More in the pipeline, so stay tuned. Big thanks to all the families who let me borrow these adorable little models and to Loch and Key Photography for the amazing photos of all these cuties.

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