I quit my job to run my fashion company and this is how it's going.

I was nervous walking out of the hair salon that I worked at for the past 7 years to step into the fresh & harsh territories of entrepreneurship. I had been down this road before. I had two small children the last time that I went without a literal 'job' and tried to make it. I created an LLC in 2005 and it was really difficult to get things rolling with such a starting deficit. No time, no money, half assed ideas... but a strong desire to create and nurture my very own career path. Maybe thats why I felt nervous the second time around, because... I remember very clearly,

 

THE STRUGGLE. 

 

Many years have passed since the day that I filed paperwork for my company but I still have it. Though I did jump into hair artist-hood as reliable cash flow to secure some kinda livelihood for my small babies, I had been pecking at my business all those years, little by little. I slowly morphed it into whatever it is now through careful observation and slight action. I had to think about it at least once a day because filing that paperwork and letting it go stagnant made me feel like I was letting myself down a bit, and inspired me to continue to pursue it regardless of how small my efforts were. It was a great experience that was completely necessary to get me to where I'm at today, which isn't very far, but it's something of a distance. 

 

MONTH 1. 

 

The result of my hustling was an ability to pay all of my bills doing some side jobs, like using my studio space to tighten dreadlocks for folks or doing some styling for photo shoots. I sold very few clothing items but that was expected. I didn't think I'd manage to pay my bills on my designs for the first month. Not even the second month. I feel like I'll be there in about a year. So, my focus is on the hustle. Whatever I can do to with my time to pull in a little extra buck, I'm on it. 

My focus is also heavy in the self manufacturing arena right now. I've always been capable of coming up with off-the-wall, one-of-a-kind funky 'runway worthy' designs, which is (SQUEE) exactly what I want to continue to do forever and is THE number one reason that I'm pursuing this entire thing, but I also want to be able to share the garments that I make with others. The runway designs, for the most part, are not something people would want to buy and wear; because they've been mostly constructed for art and not always purposeful use. I have been making things that people will be able to wear, and for a long time. While I build this facet of my wheelhouse, I've been taking clients that I still style & maintain dreadlocks for so that I can continue the humble lifestyle that I have, and attempt to invest in the potential of this business. 

It takes a lot more time to get some of these hair tasks done now that I'm casually and peacefully determining when the appointment fits into my week, rather than saying "Ok, these 3 days are going to be INSANE but I'm going to make what I need to push forward." That's what the salon was like. I'd be triple booked, hungry as hell, hustling. I've realized that I got a lot of people in and out most quickly in that setting but I've been handling my schedule differently, to find a middle ground between the two. Can't be gettin' lazy. But, I also don't want to do exactly what I was doing before, because I'm ready for some change over here. I want to keep doing locks, and I want to just have them poppin' in at random. But not too random. 

I've been doing a lot of planning. Like, loads of brainstorms & have started using an app called 'MindNode' to organize them in a web styled interface. It's pretty refreshing to see my brain in bubbles that connect to each other and branch off into lists and categories. Alongside using MindNode I'm also taking my calendar very seriously. I used to use a giant paper calendar (which I still use because I enjoy the ease of crossing things off and jotting things down) but now I'm integrating the use of my iPhone calendar. I hated using it before because I had the settings all whack. It was showing me all the dates on social media as well as peoples birthdays & events that I didn't opt into. Once I cleared all the crap, I was left with a clean canvas to enter dates that matter to me.

When I have a conversation that includes a date that I need to remember,  I now discipline myself to immediately add that to my calendar because I don't want to be the kind of business dude that keeps forgetting appointments & needs constant reminders. I am that forgetful dude, and I really want to work on bettering my trustworthiness with people so that I can be more reliable. This has been a really easy way to eliminate the forgetfulness & avoid that inner shame that I feel when I've not been as reliable as I'd like to be. Bonus: It also helps me see what I have coming up easily! I'm able to be realistic about what I'm claiming to be able to do because I can see it all up front. It's helping me be honest with me & in turn, everybody else. Doing that relieves so much stress and I wish I'd have just funking done that all along.

Being more reliable means that I'm following through with the organizational meetings that I plan, and meeting the hairs that I book, which has opened a gateway for people to come to my space. It's cool for me, and it's cool for them. We do like to have ourselves a pretty good goddamn time. I get to curate my days and weeks and as long as I show up, it gets done. Showing up hasn't been so hard because I'm where I need to be for both fashion, and dreadlocks, at the same time. Though, I'm always totally open to meeting someone at their space! People do like to come to our building & see what it's all about. 

I really enjoy the fact that my fashion work and my hair work are all in the same place now. That means I can book appointments randomly (and remember to put it in my calender right awayyyy) and it doesn't cramp my day to fulfill the task because I'm there working on designs, regardless. People get to see my studio, listen to my music, have a beer if they want, see what I'm coming up with in fashion land and chill to the max. It's nice! It has also been great on the gas tank as I'm not carting my ass to Ferndale and back and to Detroit and back. I'm right where I need to be at all times, and you wouldn't believe how much time and money that actually saves. 

My studio is attached to this really great art space called Tangent Gallery. It's a nice big semi-finished warehouse space with a city legitimate bar that invites promoters & their guests of all sorts to come and show their art, music, and entertainment. It's a pretty happenin' spot and it just keeps getting cooler all the time. I find myself there quite a bit, and many people know about me and what I'm doing in the studio over on the other side of the building. When I open these doors for shopping I have not a doubt in my mind that I'll have all sorts of traffic, so that's really exciting. I also plan to open a mini-shop in the gallery to sell all kinds of local artists goodies, as well! This space is great, and is the house of many of my fashion shows including my very first one. *tender*

I'm working my brain off to open a little fashion haus of Stein Van Bael in my space and keep putting new designs and fresh looks on the racks. I want people to come in and get dressed up, get some pictures taken, have some deep talks or whatever. I want to host knitting classes and twist peoples locks up. Put on art shows. I'm planning a fashion show for the summer that I'm getting all kinds of inspired over. My walls are getting a fresh coat of paint this month, and, I'm ready to meet my expectations. 

This month has been really great. I've done some super crisp shoots with great teams, one specifically for the shopping end of this site! And I'm looking forward to more! My studio walls are getting the facelift they deserve. Things are coming together and I feel very grateful. It's quirky, don't get me wrong. It has its surprises and confusions, and moments of insanity... but. I jumped into the deep end, been learning a lot, and found out that I'm gonna be ok. For now. And the rest, depends on me. And you too, a bunch. 

WAIT. I seem to be kind of losing my ass in February but I suspect I'll pick it up off the ground what with all the squats I've been doing. 

STAY TUNED! AND STAY STELLAR.

<3 Stein3r93r

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stein Van Bael