Monday, January 31, 2011

How I schedule my time

This month is all but over! I have definately attacked the year with passion. I am pleased to announce that I seem to be more productive so far this year as well. Here is what I have been doing that I think is key:

Each weekend, I look at my order book and set about prioritizing. I am currently working on an order of over 800 bags but I know I can't do them all at once so I set myself a schedule. 800 bags in itself is daunting enough but I am also struggling to fill orders from my website and the stores that I sell to. That is where it gets a bit tricky.

I know that I have to make 25 bags a week for a specific amount of time to complete the 800 bags. So that, with my other orders, means that I have to complete about 100 bags a week. I break that down into what I will give to my seamstress and what I need to do myself. It usually takes me a couple of days of cutting and prepping for my seamstress which leaves me 4-5 days to sew. I have been trying to take one day a week off or atleast a partial day off.

I have some bags that take me most of the day to complete like my divas or my Aunty Tutu. So many details! But then there are other bags like totes that go together quick as a bunny and I can finish 15 or so in a day. When I make my schedule I have to also consider the time factor. I have bills just like all of you do so I can't waste time on things that don't bring in an income.

The past couple of weeks I have spent a little extra time on some bags that were promotional. They will be seen on a couple of upcoming segments on a morning TV show and the publicity should be well worth the time I spent on the bags. In fact the host of the show has been awesome about promoting me over on Oahu! There are some wonderful opportunities waiting in the wings right now that I have to prepare for.

I had intended to be posting weekly with tips and tutorials, but I guess I forgot to schedule that into my weekly "to -do" list. *sigh* so much to do....and only 24 hrs in a day!

I just looked at my schedule and it reminded me that it is time to go to bed!

a hui hou

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Things I have learned - #1 Find your Passion

I have been making bags for about 4 years and selling them since October of 2007. One of the things that inspired me to make this my profession was being encouraged to read books about finding and following your passion. At the time, I set a goal of being able to quit my day job in 3-4 years. As many of you know, I am quite goal oriented so after setting that goal, I had to make mini goals to keep my dream alive. I recently felt it was time to take the plunge and "practice without a net", the net of another income! So here I am in a new year, with renewed passion and determination.

I feel that finding your passion in life is so important. You don't have to make it your profession. Maybe you love to knit. DO IT. Maybe you love to cook. COOK FOR ME! Maybe you love children. BORROW ONE! Just kidding...but seriously, find something that brings you joy, peace or satisfaction and go for it!

When you are passionate about something, you are moved to find out more about it. For me, I wanted to learn how to make a better bag. I still have a couple of my first attempts that I may dare to share with you one day, but they were NOT good. They were limp and very "homemade" looking. Not a good thing! So my next stop was the Salvation Army. I went to thrift stores and bought bags made out of a variety of materials from leather to canvas that I took apart to see what made them more professional looking than mine. I discovered probably the most important feature in bag after bag. I will go into more detail about this feature in a future "Things I have learned", but let me just say one word, "Stabilizer". I noted where the bags were stabilized and figured out why.

Some gals would have just bought a pattern and learned from that. Well, I tried that as well, but I swear, I don't do well with other people's patterns. The drawings confuse me and I seem to spend more time reading and rereading the instructions than actually sewing! I guess I am one of those who learn best by doing!

When you have a passion that you also want to make into your profession, it isn't good enough to know how to make it. You also have to know who would want to buy it and how to get your product out there. In the early days, I spent hours and hours on the internet reading forums, blogs, and tutorials. I loved to read the stories of how other people built their little empires. Those stories also served to keep my dream alive.
In this new year, I challenge everyone to find and pursue your passion. Who knows where it will lead you?

a hui hou

New Blog Feature

I am looking at ways to "give back" even in small ways. So one of the new features I will be adding to my Sasaki Bags blog is "Things I have Learned". My aim is to help others out there who are just starting out. I hope to keep this about starting a business and making bags, but can not promise to not toss in a personal thing or two about things I have learned. I just remember that when I was considering going into the bag making business, I scoured the internet searching for information about how others had taken the plunge, the pros and cons and highs and lows of having your own business.

I would love to have you add your comments and let me know if there is anything specific you would like me to write about.

a hui hou

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year world!

I always begin my year by reflecting on the past. This year my "Best and Worst" were pretty easy for me to choose. My worst day began in June and just sort of continued on throughout the summer and fall, when I found out that my dad had cancer. All the scary events that followed began with the words, "Its cancer". What a blessing it was to hear that before the year ended, Dad is in total remission and the latest biopsy was benign! Such great news. I am wishing for good health for all my family in 2011.
My best for 2010, oddly may not have happened if not for "the worst". You see, I hadn't seen my son for 9 years and was able to see him and hug him and gaze at him when we were both out in Idaho assisting my parents. I hadn't seen him since his high school graduation and it was so odd to see this 27 year old man sitting before me. So familiar and yet such a stranger. I love him dearly and miss him daily.

I missed getting to see my daughter when she flew out to help mom and dad. We had to stagger visits so as not to all be there at the same time and so we all felt like we were able to help. I hope I get to see her this year. In fact it is one of my goals.

There are a lot of changes ahead of me for the coming year. I will embrace them when the time is right. With this and many other considerations, I have chosen my word of the year. It will be "Awareness". I can see this word touching many aspects of my life. Sometimes, I allow life to manage me and I am working on managing my life! I AM the Boss of Me! I want to be more aware of my environment my needs and the needs of others. My environment consists of any place that I find myself. If I am in my studio, I hope to be more aware of being organized with putting things away. If I am outside, I will be more aware by taking time to smell the plumeria!

I believe that being "Aware" involves living in the moment and savoring it. I am also committed to being aware of others needs. I have been working hard to build my business and it is prospering. But not everyone is. I feel strongly that before you can save the world, you need to start in your own backyard. We have a food bank in Kona that isn't always full and we have homeless with special needs of their own. So this year, I will be giving a portion of my profits to local charities, giving back a little to the community that I love so much. In Hawaii, its just called "Living Aloha". If we all do a little, great things can happen!

Have a wonderful, happy, tranquil, love-filled, inspiring, adventurous, healthy and prosperous 2011.

a hui hou