The Seven Year Itch. Sort of.
Come September 2016, I will have been in business as a self-employed corsetmaker for 7 years. Time flies.
I love my work. I love other things too. Mostly, I love learning. The process of it, asking questions, making connections... There is a nice serenity in confidently feeling as though I can make a beautiful corset with my eyes closed and I've worked hard to reach that point, but I also know myself well enough to know that I need a challenge in my life. I need to be stimulated, one way or another.
I don't know everything about corsetry, far from it, but I know just about everything that I think I want to know. I feel like my work can now expand outwards but perhaps not forwards. I need something else to provide that mental challenge and ongoing growth. If you've been following my blog (and perhaps previously, my subscription diary) then you might have read my posts about Sigmoid curves and so on. Well I started a "new" curve last Summer (returning to horses). Doing that part-time is wonderful. Doing my corsetry part-time is wonderful. But my business, in its current incarnation, is something that requires full-time commitment, which is a challenge when I want the freedom to do other things. So you can see that there is a slight tension to be resolved. And if you'll remember this quote from an older blog...
"We are more likely to make [a] transformational change when the initial curve is still on the rise, since resources, energy and confidence are high. By contrast, initiating a transformation becomes much more difficult in a state of decline when resources are depleted. In other words, a new curve must begin while the first one can still support it."
...you can perhaps see why I have to begin thinking about these things now, instead of leaving it for later.
So my feet are tingling for greater understanding and learning and challenge, perhaps with the horses. Just for its own satisfaction. I anticipate full blown seven-year-itch by September. Something will be changing. At the very least, I imagine that we will downsize our studio and create a set-up that lets Sparklewren go part-time. It would be ideal, in fact, to keep the business going but in a cheaper way so that I don't need to think about it all the time. The more extreme end of the scale would involve taking a full year or two properly "off" to study something new.
I don't know which route I will go yet. But I do know that I need to create a plan soon, since the long production timeline of bespoke work means that a studio move or year off needs to be carefully scheduled. I've already done one studio move with 30 orders on the table, it's no picnic!
So keep your eyes on the blog or the mailing list. One way or another our orders are going to be limited come Autumn, meaning we have an emphasis on getting orders in and getting them done and dusted this Spring/Summer.