My very first ever pdf sewing pattern, the Bow Tie Leggings & Shorts released exactly a month ago today. That day came with a lot of fear in me. In light of that, I'm going to switch gears here for a second and get personal. I've been talking with a few people since I started on this journey, and I've made several friends along the way. I've shared bits and pieces with fans, but not as much as I have with those customers, testers, and designers that I've gotten close to. Candice Ayala at CandiceAyala.com told me that she thought my story was inspiring. I was a little taken aback. Me? Inspiring? I felt like she was giving me too much credit. She insisted that if I would just be raw, I could help inspire a lot of other people to achieve their dreams.
I think what it comes down to, is a lot of us are afraid. Afraid of failure, of trying, of being ignored, of what we will do if someone actually does pay attention, afraid of success.
My Beginnings and Fears
I know I was. While I just launched my first pattern a month ago, it actually took me a year to get to that point. I had a million excuses as to why I didn't want to release anything yet. First it was that I wanted to get the pattern drafting perfected. Mind you, I have been sewing and creating clothing since I was 9. My grandmother was taught how to draft by her sister who was a professional dressmaker in Oklahoma. She taught me when I was a child. It's an art that is somewhat lost. But that was my excuse that was working for a while.
Then I drafted my first blocks, and they fit perfectly. But I didn't feel like I knew how to use the digital software well. You would think using Adobe software for the 6 years that I owned a professional photography business that I would have had multiple opportunities to learn the software. But that was the excuse that was working for a while.
Then I got pregnant. Who can launch a business while they are pregnant? Well, actually a lot of people do. But that was my excuse that was working for a while.
Then I had a baby. Who can manage to find time to work with a newborn in the house? I needed to get into a routine first. That was my excuse that was working for a while.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
My RealizationThen we hit 2015. And I realized that I had spent an entire year making excuses as to why I couldn't do what I really wanted to do. A WHOLE YEAR! And other than draft a few patterns, I hadn't released a single thing. I still had a dream. But I had a big problem in my way...
I was afraid. I was afraid that I would release something, put my heart and soul into it, and that others would hate it. That once again, I wouldn't be good enough. The fear was polarizing me and holding me back from what I really wanted to do.
Then one day, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I saw this...
I feel like it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was totally true. I was in a prison. I was never going to do anything until I jumped in and just did it.
So that's what I did. Despite having had 4 other patterns drafted, I decided to start fresh. I signed up to be featured on Pattern Revolution to keep me accountable, and I designed the Holiday Cutout Dress & Top. I made my own illustrations, created the instructions, and finalized everything so it would be ready for testers. Fear kicked in when I put out that testing call that no one would apply. After I posted the call, I had 8 people signed up within the first 15 minutes. I ended up with 60 people total by the end of the day. I was shocked. People actually wanted to work with me despite the fact that I was a brand new designer. Maybe this is surprising to you, but I had no real faith in myself. And the whole time, I kept seeing these messages being posted by friends...
The First Test
I was definitely outside of my comfort zone. Truth be told, I scheduled the test way too early. Once again I was doubting myself. I could just see all the testers completely hating me because I had wasted their time because nothing was fitting right, so I wanted to give myself plenty of time to redraft if needed. When I sent out the email to have people join the test, my stomach was in knots. I could have thrown up I was so nervous. But I had decided that this was my year. I wasn't going to let fear hold me back anymore. And I did it.
My testers were raving about my pattern. Once again, I was stunned. They liked my work. And every size fit exactly as I had planned. I had one minor adjustment to do to the neckline for the smaller sizes, but overall, there were very few edits. I just couldn't believe that things were going so well. So I pushed forward. I designed and tested the Bow Tie Leggings & Shorts pattern. We had a few hiccups that required a second round of testing, but overall, the finalized pattern as well received. I released it a month ago today as my very first pattern and I was so proud of myself.
Dreams DO Come True!
I called my mom the instant I sold my first copy (Shout out to Alyssa Carrion of Calm & Carrion! She was my very first sale.) I was giddy. I had made $6, and you would have thought that someone had paid me a million. That's how I felt. I couldn't believe that I had let fear hold me back an entire year. Only because I didn't believe in myself, and I was scared of failing.
So a month later after the official launch of my business, and things are going so much better than I ever could have hoped for. I've had over 400 people download my patterns, and gotten over 11,000 page views on my site. I may not be making a living at this yet, but I'm well on my way.
Just JumpThe purpose of this blog isn't to boast. It's not to say, "Hey, look at me! Look at what I did!" The purpose of this post is to inspire someone else to just jump.
Just jump. That's all you have to do to get to where you want to be. Yes, it will be a lot of work, it will be terrifying, and yes, some people may even hate it. But guess what? A lot of people may just end up loving it. You will never make it if you don't make that first step. And after you make that first one, make the second, then the third. And then all of a sudden you will look around, and be exactly where you wanted to be all along.
Seriously, start. And do it today.