This is one of those posts people usually start with something like, "This post is so hard to write," or, "It pains me to write this post." Well, the truth is that it isn't. And it doesn't. I am actually quite happy to write this post. It took several months and a well-crafted financial analysis to convince my (over?) analytical, engineer husband to allow me to shut down the site. But finally, I can announce that Sew Kinetic is closing for good.
Let me clarify that I don't need my husband's permission to do anything with my business. However, we operate our businesses (he has his own/ours, too) as partnerships and consult each other with all major decisions. We have very different aptitudes for business, so our business ideas are often complementary.
The main reason is that it wasn't profitable enough to make it work. Over the course of several months in operation, I netted around $250. Yes, you read that right - two-hundred-fifty buckaroos. Despite decent sales, great wholesale prices and general excitement within the sewing/blogging community, I found it really hard to get the margins I was looking for. Add to that the fact that I had very little time to promote it (and very little space to store all those fabrics - sheesh), and it added up to a big failure - at least in the business sense. (I consider all failures to be learning experiences, so in a way, it was a personal success. At least I tried right?)
The other issue I had was that I couldn't consistently stock the fabrics that my customers wanted. I was purchasing from a company who buys random amounts of bolt ends from companies like The North Face, Lululemon, Polartec, Columbia, etc. So, it was really nice stuff, but it was completely unpredictable. For example, I had this great, black legging fabric in the shop for a short while, but once it was gone, that was it. I had no way of getting more despite the fact that it sold like hotcakes and drove the sales of other fabrics, too.
I also lacked the infrastructure to make it work. My husband and I knew we would be in one of three situations - 1) the business would take off, and there would be so much revenue coming in that we could hire people to help manage the business, and we could rent a space for the inventory; 2) we would have decent sales, but not enough to support hiring help/renting a space; or 3) the business would completely flop and be an obvious failure.
Unfortunately, we were stuck at option #2 which meant I was responsible for everything - selection, procurement, transportation, listing, photography, marketing, fulfillment, website management and accounting (among other things that I can't think of at the moment). I'm used to running a business, but I'm not used to selling hard goods. I was feeling spread precariously thin with my other commitments (not to mention my family), and that was not a good feeling.
So with that, I've closed the shop permanently. I do have some inventory left, and I'm not sure what I will do with it quite yet. Some of it I will use for personal projects, and some I will probably gift to sewing friends. I contemplated reducing the prices in the shop to liquidate it all, but I'm not in the position at the moment to deal with a huge number of shipments on which I'll be losing money. I'm sure my husband will encourage me to sell as much of it as I can, but I won't be doing that through the Sew Kinetic storefront. I need to see how much I have and whether it would be better to sell as pre-cut remnants or yardage (if I do end up selling it).
I am so grateful for the support I received while the store was in operation, and I'm overjoyed to have freed up some time to pursue other things. To everyone who placed an order, offered advice and promoted the shop, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys mean the world to me. xoxo
Note: The photos of Harper and Ezra above were taken at my wholesaler's warehouse, not at my own storage facility which was my kitchen/sewing room.