Costume, Business & Youtube: A Panel/ #CoSy2021
B: Hello welcome to the business CoSy chat! So, starting with Lina, introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about you where you're based and your business. L: I’m Lina, as loud cars are going past! I’m Lina, my business is very imaginatively named Lina Piprek Design which is my full name. My channel is also just called Lina Piprek and I occasionally do commissions mostly corsets and bridal and I’ve started in this past year working on doing digital sewing patterns. I’ve started writing a book also about sewing and I’m based in the UK. M: Hi, so
I’m Marion. I’m from France and I live in Grenoble in the French alps. I’m a seamstress for hire so my specialty is 18th and 19th century and corsetry I do bridal gowns and a lot of alterations. J: HI I’m Joanna I run Blue Lady Couture um it's not my business and that's also the name of my YouTube channel. I’m based in the UK but I do have clients all over the world, I send my orders all over the world. I do all sorts from historical through to kind of a steampunk cosplay and I do a bit of vintage and some more modern kind of bridal wear piece. T:
I’m Tiffany of Stitchin' Addiction and that's the name of my business and the name of my YouTube channel. I do commissions for specifically regency era and the mid Victorian era for mostly women I do some girls designs as well and I am based in the USA, specifically in Texas. M: I’m sorry I just realized I forgot to say I’m Green Martha online! B: I’ll put everyone's handles and stuff in the description down below. I’m Beth I’m the host of this panel. I’m based in the UK and I do mainly patterns and some ready to wear stuff.
I have done some commissions but I’m kind of moving away from commissions now and just doing finished pieces. Second question, What is your sub and view count? An estimate is absolutely fine and we'll start with Marion. M: So I just passed 800 subs like around now it goes up and down a little so I’m around that. View counts can vary a lot because I do sewing videos and I also do bullet journal videos and those have very different view counts in general. I have one I had
one video past 4k, that's a max I got for now. J: On YouTube my subscriber count is currently at 430 I believe and like Marion my views can vary at the moment depending on what video it is. My best performing video um I have over 3k views on it but generally I’m sitting around sort of just under 100 to over 100 depending on the video. T: I have around 360 subscribers and I mine is fairly new I just started last year. My view count greatly varies too just like you guys, like my most popular is up in the 1300s and then all the way down to like some of the least popular ones are like 30 or 40 views so it really depends on like what Green Martha was saying, it's what type of video it is too. It seems like certain ones are more popular than
others. B: For you what kind of videos do you find are more popular? Like making videos or? T: Yeah, the tutorials like the making ones are really popular and the ones that have been the most popular are the ones that have to do with corsets, stays etc and then this one really surprised me, the corded petticoat. I think that's actually my top video right now. B: Interesting and Lina? L: I have just shy of 4 000 subscribers at the minute I think like four or five to go which is very exciting. view count I mean like everyone said it varies hugely by video. I think the sewing ones generally have nearly a thousand up to a couple thousand. B: Is there a particular video of yours that just kind of surpasses the rest? L Yeah, I did a corset video and well not quite corset myths but about corsets in films specifically and why actresses complain about them and that has 85,000 I think which baffles me a little bit. M: It's well deserved go watch it if you haven't! B: I think anything with the word
'corset' in is like automatic algorithm fodder. How much business do you get from your YouTube, if you are if you are able to quantify it? We'll start with Joanna. J: In terms of actual sales, I don't think I have anything you know in terms of it. I did start YouTube with the understanding that I would be probably reaching a different audience to what my usual client base are, who would commission me to make items but at the same time I realized that YouTube was also a very good um platform to support my clients and show things to my clients as well. So I’ve got kind of a crossover but I certainly don't think I do actually get any sort of commissions through YouTube. T: So it's very similar to what Joanna was saying. I knew when I started mine I would get a different reach. I kind of was doing it
to play with the fact of are people interested in paying for the type of tutorials that I’m offering and I also offer some simple downloadable patterns through my YouTube, but what I didn't realize was that I get a lot of traffic to my shop from my YouTube, like a surprising amount. I actually just started asking my customers when they order from me 'How did you find me?' and I haven't gotten any answers yet of YouTube, so far it's been like Etsy or Instagram but I’ll be curious to see once I get a good number of them to start breaking down percentages of how many people actually found me through YouTube. So I don't have anything quantifiable but I do know that people are going to my shop from YouTube through Google analytics L: So the digital sewing patterns, all of my sales from those are through YouTube because I’m not advertising them anywhere else. Those were sort of created in conjunction with the channel. As far as commissions, most of my commissions have still in the past year been real life. I do have one at the moment that I’m doing because someone found me through YouTube but then I’ve sort of stopped doing as many commissions at the moment M: So I haven't got any commissions yet from YouTube but I have got inquiries and it means it's part of more general strategy to get more SEO. So, people find me on one platform and then they will follow me on Instagram or Facebook, so it's kind of difficult to know exactly for some people where they come from but there's definitely a lot of them who find me through Google, and YouTube is part of that. B:
So I know we kind of touched on this a little bit already but do you design your videos around your business or your business around your videos? do you have an idea for a video first and then it kind of goes from there maybe a product or a pattern or whatever or do you come up with the product and pattern first you know do all your mock-ups and things like that and then make a video on it. We'll start with Tiffany. T: So, I actually come up with the products first. The YouTube video was like the last addition to my business basically and so at that point I just decided to do videos based around things I was already working on and one of my logics is that if I give them the tutorial and the free downloadable pattern and then they find it's too challenging they know where to come to buy it. L: Oh I do a bit of both I think because I sort of set up my channel as a whole, together with shifting focus on my business so it's all sort of mixed together, but with the patterns specifically I do pick things that I think would do well as YouTube videos and then go and make the pattern and make a video about making the final thing. Then with the book I’m planning on doing a video series that's like the making of that and that is the other way around. B: That's fine it's a good way to do it, having a bit of both.
Marion? M: So I make the video and it goes pretty much between the cracks in the rest of the work like Tiffany. The YouTube channel is the latest addition to my business so I usually film personal projects that I am doing and I think will be interesting. So I don't film everything I do, sometimes I will just talk about one part of a project and I try to have a focus not just I’m making this. I can show the alteration and pattern making or how I will decorate one bit. I try to have a general arc to the video
so usually I have a project and then I decide I can make the video out of it, but it can be the other way around for collabs when someone suggests a sew-along or a collaboration and the topic is something that excites me like I can pick up a project that wasn't originally on my list. That's not to say that I will change my whole schedule just to do something with other people but if I find it interesting and exciting I say yeah okay I add it to the schedule and make the project. J: I’m kind of probably a bit like Marion, a lot of the projects I film for YouTube are kind of my personal sewing projects. There's sometimes the projects that I can share a bit more, kind of behind the scenes. I feel a bit more comfortable if I’m filming something where perhaps I’m not quite so professional. You know, if I make mistakes and things like that I don't want to be
sharing that kind of thing obviously working on customer projects. Also if I’m working on bridal garments or anything like that then I can't show those on film. So I do tend to try and focus on some projects that are for me, experimenting on new ideas or new techniques but I do try and sort of filter that with stuff that is more relevant to my business side of things, where the sort of the products I make showcasing how I make some of those products. Then again, like Marion, if something comes up you know that like peaks my interest I will probably go off down that rabbit hole. I do try and have a vague plan of projects that I want to film throughout the year and I started off really well at the beginning of the year but then I just got distracted by 'oh that's really interesting'. I do try and look at my statistics on YouTube as well, so you look behind the scenes and you can see the keywords that people are searching for to find you and the sort of YouTube vloggers that I follow. Her channel is all about how
you kind of get successful on YouTube and one of the things she recommends is using those keywords to see how people are finding you and kind of thinking about what other videos you can make that fit into that algorithm. So I do try to do a little bit of that but yeah, I’m still quite a new channel so it's all kind of all over the place and I’m sort of trying to find where I sit if that makes sense. B: Yes, that definitely makes sense, the problem is with creators and sewers especially, is you end up with a list of things that you want to make as long as your arm. It's just like, I want to start all of this stuff
and you just do not have the time physically to do it and that's kind of annoying sometimes. J: I mean that's one of my other things as well is that because I do this full time and I say working for clients it's finding the time to obviously sew for myself. It's really hard so that kind of influences you. You know, I would love to, like some Youtubers, put out a video of what they're making every week but that's just absolutely impossible for me. There's just no way I could do that so I’m sort of filtering in other interesting subjects to kind of keep my channel bubbling along and kind of keep content coming out. B: Okay so we you know we make videos and stuff and we've touched on this a little bit before but what are your stances on commissions? Obviously we want to dedicate a good amount of time to making videos on content and things, but do you do commissions? Do you take whatever comes in? Do you have a set of slots every year or do you just go no I’m not doing commissions, I can't deal with the unpredictability of it, which is kind of my stance on it just the unpredictability of it. Things go wrong and it just ruins everything, but we'll start with Lina.
L: Particularly when I was still working in costume shops for theater and film and things like that because I wanted to have like my own business so any chance to feel like I was getting closer to that I sort of grabbed on to, but as I’ve spent like more time and over the past year I I’m taking less now even though I guess theoretically I have more time just because it's not the direction that I see my business going. I would rather put my time into something like a digital pattern which is going to be like this digital thing that sits there indefinitely rather than spending that time making one single garment that's for one person that's only sold to the one time. So I’m doing less now basically. B: Yeah that's pretty much the same as me, just you know I think everyone should at least try to and they might really enjoy it. Like, problems will come up and they'll solve the problems and that'll make them feel great and everyone should try it I think. For some people
they just don't like it. Marion what about you? Do you take on commissions? M: Yeah I’ve gone the opposite way a little so I started making some ready-to-wear and small scale accessories and I wasn't comfortable doing it so I decided to phase that out and work mostly on made to measure and made to order. I work mainly with people coming to me. There's also the fact that I’m the last seamstress doing alterations in my town, no one else is doing it so I have people calling me and asking if I was doing alterations and doing small jobs. They had no one to do it, so
I just can't let them just throw away a perfectly fine sweater just because the zipper is broken. So there's some eco-conscious part to this because I don't like the idea of creating stock and creating items that might not sell and that will take space in my home because I work from home. So right now, I’m just mostly working on commissions and alterations and in the future I would like to go, like Lina, maybe the road of patterns and digital things but that's a further away goal. J: So my business is entirely commission based and I did originally start out like Marion, I was also making kind of pieces for stock but it was just a completely impractical business model because, like Marion said, I would end up seeing they were perfectly good items but they wouldn't sell and it's not because there's nothing wrong with the item but because it's in a set size and a set colour you know unless you find that perfect right person for it or you've got a big enough reach that you can reach enough people, you know that you can't sell those kind of things easily. It's a very hard business model to follow I felt. So with the advent of Etsy and selling on Etsy,
it's just easier to make to people's kind of specifications a little bit more. So I have a set range of, on Etsy in particular I have a set range of of styles for people to choose from and then they can pick their colour, sometimes the trim colours and then they send me their measurements and then I make it to measurements. Then I have my more bespoke side as well which tends to be more for my UK based clients, so mostly all commissions for me.
T: I have gone from ready to wear to commissions. I started out, just well let me back up, I love to sew and I have like a million ideas, like we were talking about and it was too much like I couldn't use all of them and my family was tired of all of them. So I just started like listing them on Etsy to sell them but, like some of the other people have already mentioned, the problem is that some of them are perfectly good designs but because of the size or the colour they never sell so I actually switched to mostly commissions about a year, maybe a year and a half ago, and that actually sells way better than my ready to wear stuff was before and I actually really like it because I grew up fitting my mother who has pretty severe scoliosis and so fitting challenges are like a puzzle for me to figure out as well as like design challenges and so I actually really like the commission side just because it gives me a chance to experiment with fitting different sizes and body shapes and different designs and all of mine almost is long distance very few are local so that adds another challenge to it that I’ve really enjoyed. I do, like Joanna, have a specific set of designs that people can generally pick from and then once in a while somebody will message me and be like can we add this to this or do this and then I just have fabric in stock that they can choose from and then if they want their own fabric they pay an extra fee for finders fee for me to find that fabric. B: Okay, this question comes with a caveat of a lot of people who are watching, you know, sew for a hobby and you do not need to monetize your hobb,y no matter what people say. They might admire your work so much but you
do not need to monetize your hobby if you do not want to. I just want to put that out there but I want to ask you guys, and some of you have already touched on it, why you decided to monetize your hobby. I’m going to start with Marion. M: So I was in a very privileged position where we had financial stability no matter what, thanks to my husband and some other income. So the university degree I got
led me to a job that was literally killing me so I ran I found another job but it wasn't making as much money as I would have paid for child care, once I had two kids so I decided if I had if I was not going to bring in any money at least I could have fun and do what I loved. J: Why did I start? I don't know why I started. Dressmaking and kind of designing and my passion for costumes, I’ve always had since I was a child. It's kind of what I always wanted to do when I had the option of going to onto further studies or college and university, I went down the fashion studies route but I never really knew what exactly I wanted to do. I always had my eye on bridal wear I fancy doing bridal wear design
but I quickly realized that that's such a challenging industry to establish yourself in. Or if you want to work in the industry, say for a brand or something like that it would mean completely uprooting from where I was and at the time, when I left university I was engaged to my now husband and we were just setting up home together and so I didn't want to do the whole going off to London or you know wherever to to pursue a career in that respect. So yes, I just kind of fell into it. I said, I can design, I can set up my own business. It seems like such a simple thing to do. Looking back now I probably wouldn't have done it that way but yeah I am here now how are we going to do it? T: So I touched on mine kind of in my last answer.
I was just sewing so much that I had to find another outlet for it but also I’m a teacher and everyone knows that teachers burn out, at least in the USA, That's a big problem, as well as you always feel like you're walking a very fine line as an educator because educators can get fired for pretty simplistic reasons here in the USA and so I just kind of wanted a back pocket plan. So that's kind of the other reason that I started it was because I was like at least I’ll have something already going if I either burn out or something happens that I can't foresee at the moment. L: So I mean I guess my answer is a little bit different in that it wasn't necessarily ever a hobby. I decided when I was in high school that I wanted to do costumes for film and historical costumes and was able to go and do a degree in that and then luckily, because it can be quite hard to get a job and breaking into the industry because it's all about who knows who, I managed to get a job after I graduated, and then last year happened and that shifted it away from working for someone else making costumes for productions to sort of shifting it to working for myself, which was more or less out of necessity, out of what I have to do something now and this is what I know how to do, o I guess that's what we're doing now. B: So you weren't like sewing from an early age, you literally just did a course in it? L: I mean I learned to sew when I was a kid and I don't know like maybe that sounds crazy. I know certainly not everyone
just makes up their mind and decides what they're going to do and then just sticks with it. Maybe this is a little too philosophical but I don't think there's like one correct choice in life for everyone I think if it's something you enjoy then you can find a life that you like in that, and I enjoy sewing. There are so many aspects to it you know, I mean even with just everyone in this panel everyone's doing something a bit different and if I don't like the exact aspect of it that I’m doing, I can always change I can always find something else within that. B:I think that's a really nice way of looking at it because everyone I kind of know in this sewing community, it started as a hobby. You don't meet a lot people who didn't have it as a hobby first so it's a really interesting point of view. Like you said, in life in general
things change, what you like changes and I think that's something that's really important to keep in the back of your mind especially when you're running a business. Things will change and your preferences will change and it's okay to change your business idea and change the direction you're going in because you need to be happy. At the end of the day your happiness is the most important I think. It's really refreshing to have a slightly different point of view on that one. L: But I suppose just one last caveat on that, I do think it's important to say that if I’ve done where you've pursued or gotten a degree that doesn't necessarily mean that I have like more skills in it or anything like the direction that you come at it from isn't what determines your success, isn't what determines how good you are or how good you can be or anything like that. B: I mean I have a degree in psychology and I’m not using my degree in psychology so
yeah but yeah like I think that's really important to realize that what you've done before isn't always the be all and end-all of where you're going. T: You said it's weird for people to know from the time they were a kid what they wanted to do, that's not always true. I knew I was going to be a teacher when I was 12. so that's a different part of my life but yes I’m with you on that. B: Going a bit more into business, what kind of platforms do people sell on?
J: I mostly sell on Etsy and that's where I have my online shop and I have a presence on Instagram and Facebook. I also use Pinterest as well but not really for selling it's yeah um ah brain! It's just gone, sorry. B: That's fine it's quite hot here in the UK. J: and it's gone really humid, don't know if it's just me! so I mostly sell on Etsy, mainly because it's just I find it really easy. I know there are other similar platforms out there but I’ve been on Etsy since 2008 and I’ve kind of obviously grown and developed with kind of a lot of the changes that Etsy had put in place and I just find it such an easy platform to use to set up. It does all my currency conversions for me, it does language conversions for me, albeit not always very well, but you know I manage and it also deals with all the current things like in America, specific state taxes, it deals with all that for me, the new EU/ European VAT taxes and everything as well. It deals with all that for me and it's that kind of infrastructure that I just can't spend the time investing, you know, that time into setting up a standalone website. I’m a one-woman business and
I want to do sewing you know, I’m not I don't pretend to be a massive business guru you know figuring out algorithms and it's such a headache, you know I just want to be able to like say here's my products if you like them please buy them. So that's where I mainly sell and I do have friends on Facebook and Instagram which I’m currently in the process of linking with my Etsy shop but again different platforms talking to each other it's a nightmare. And then I have uh let's say my local clients who come to me directly as well.
T: I sell on Etsy as well and, for many of the same reasons that Joanna mentions. I’ve been on there a long time too and it I’ve kind of grown with it one of the things I like about it is you don't have to put any outlay like you literally pay that 20 cents for your listing but you're not paying anything else to Etsy until you actually make that sale. I will eventually probably launch a Shopify site once I am ready to do. That's the platform I’ve already decided on but even with that at a reasonable cost you're looking at thirty dollars a month for that and so you're having to outlay whether you're going to make very many sales or not that much but at that month versus with Etsy you can just pay as you go basically. L: So at the moment I just have digital stuff that I’m selling, obviously the commissions are a sort of a separate thing and that's all in person or sort of directly communicating with someone if they live far away and the digital stuff I have on kofI which I like a lot. I’m not sure how it does with physical products because obviously I don't have any on there but certainly for digital products it was super easy to set up.
It had the first pattern that I put up I wanted to have the variable pricing so the pay what you want thing and that was I think the only one that I could find that wasn't like make a shop yourself. They've got, I feel like I should have looked it all up before now, I don't think that I do pay for the sort of the upgraded membership which means that they don't take a cut at all and I think it's something like five pounds a month or something like that. As well as what Tiffany was saying, I would like to set up my own website at some point, well at some point this year. I suppose because I am trying to write a book and I want to have the patterns linked together so I want to have a domain name that's mine that I can have, you know, in text that's not going to change but I think if it weren't for that I would probably just stick with kofI to be honest because it's been problem-free. M: I started on Etsy a while, a long while back and I never really found my, how do you say, my client there and I found I ended up having to pay a lot for many many listings, and not really balancing that with sales. So now I use a French equivalent, it's the same thing except you don't pay upfront you pay a little a fee that's a little higher once you make a sale.
So for all the products that are ready made and like I said not as many now I use this site and I have another one for my illustration work it I use Redbubble, it's a print on demand and I don't have to worry about printing the thing right. I don't have to because I tried printing it at home and it was, I never could recoup the costs of that and I don't need to create stock up front, like if people like it then buy it and it's okay. So for me right now I choose the option that costs me the least up front I will probably redo my website and maybe have a web shop in the next year or so at least it's a plan. B:
A business question again. Is there any kind of business gurus that people follow? Are there any costuming specific or sewing specific or seamstress specific ones they follow? Because a lot of the ones I know of are either specific to Etsy or just kind of specific to selling online in general. Ha anyone got anything that is even more specific to costuming or sewing. I’ll start with Tiffany. T: So my three favourites, and they're all specific not to costuming but to handmade businesses, so people that make their stuff and sell them in our small businesses, is the Merriweather Council um run by Danielle and she has a ton of free content. She has a podcast, blogs she's on Instagram, Facebook, all those good places, YouTube and she just has a ton of free content out there that really helps you in your business. And she has a paid membership. I haven't tried that yet. Paper and Spark is another
one that has been amazing for the financial side of my business. She also gives a lot of really good tips but most of them have to do with finances and how to set goals based on your finances and how to break down your data and all of those things. I’ve paid for her finance course and her spreadsheets and they're a lifesaver. And then the final one that I really like, and once again I’ve only used her free stuff I’ve never actually paid for any of her stuff, is Creative Hive by Mei Pak and her YouTube videos are my favourite like I’ll just put on her playlist and watch through them and get a lot of really good stuff to help me with running business. L: I am the wrong person to answer this question! I’m so terrible for it it's not that I don't consume business content but it's just that I’ll have a question and I’ll just you know plug that into google or YouTube and whoever happens to come up and I’ll either take it or leave it or agree with it or not, so I don't I just pick and choose from everyone to be honest. B: I think that's a legitimate way to do it. Obviously,
YouTube is a search engine in it's very basic form and if you have a question you type it in and if there's a video that speaks to you watch it. I think that's a very valid answer. M: I’m a bit like Lina I’m subscribed to I think the one only business account I’m subscribed to is Cathrin Manning and I honestly don't watch everything she puts out because she puts out a lot of videos but sometimes I will google or ask Youtube a specific question, or if I find a topic that's interesting I will go through a little rabbit hole of like keywords or how to do this on this aspect of marketing but no one person or no several persons in particular that I would be super faithful to. J: Like Marion, I actually thought of Cathrin Manning as well, she did come recommended but I think some of the other big name Youtubers in the costume community recommended her as someone to follow, and again like Marion says some of her content is really interesting when she breaks down like how her algorithm works and how, like I mentioned before, she uses her keywords and people are finding her to kind of plan her video content so I do some of that on the YouTube side. On the general business side I follow a lady called Nichola smith and I am a member of her business club which is A Handcrafted Business and she's a UK-based business coach, small business coach essentially and she specializes in craft businesses and people who are making to sell and she's been really really helpful. She has loads and loads of content and she does have some free content on her Facebook groups and I think she's just started on YouTube as well and as I remember her paid business group as well where she brings in experts on different subjects which again has been really useful. I would say that it's not something I would have done early on in my business, it's not like the cheapest thing to do you know it's sort of costing you know around 15 pounds a month so it's not something that's for everybody and I know not everybody is in a position to do it but I was at that kind of point in my business where I just felt I was kind of stuck in a kind of a bit of a rut and kind of in a rhythm that I just couldn't kind of break out of, I had a lot of bad habits that you know I would be like sewing constantly and then struggling to find time to do the actual business side of things like my marketing and just managing things like that, so I found it really useful actually to join her and she sort of helps you get into focusing on that if you're going to run a business you've got to get split that balance between your actual sewing and your making and the actual business side of things because that is equally as important because there's no point running a business trying to make stuff if people can't find you. So that's that's what were the two main people
that I follow and there's probably some other people that I’ve kind of been introduced to through the Handcrafted Business Club I’ve sort of followed from it so follow some of the experts that we've seen as well. I can't remember my head who those individuals would be but yeah, that's that's kind of what I do. B: So the last question is the question that Lina got from her Instagram, and we'll start with you, and it is how do you know when you are good enough which is a really difficult question but what are your thoughts. L: So I think the obvious one is probably
that there's a lot of imposter syndrome involved for everyone but the thing that I really wanted to touch on is how undervalued sewing is as a skill and with the way that things are right now there's so few people who have really like visibly succeeded doing it and those tend to be the people who are either so incredibly skilled that people are willing to pay lots and lots of money for their work or who are incredibly fast or who have found a sort of adjacent way to make the field work for them and because of that I think everyone feels that it's impossible and that they're never going to be good enough but I don't think that's the answer, because I don't think anything will ever change if everyone just accepts that, and you know crawls in a hole and says 'oh I’ll never be good enough it'll never be enough', because what we really need is for everyone to believe that they are enough and to you know change the way that sewing is valued and that helps everyone. If everyone values their own work and their own time and themselves. M: So, I know for me the kind of turning point or was a sewing for someone else and on a deadline that was the two things that, and that's also where I recently saw someone spectacularly fail someone trying to go pro who hadn't any experience sewing for other body types than their own and yeah it went bad So but yeah impostor syndrome is really really strong and I think half of the evolution in since I started as a seamstress was learning to tell it to shut up. J: Likewise as everyone else has said you know imposter syndrome it's probably you know once a week you know when I’m probably starting doing this you know 'Am I good enough?', but I kind of look at the kind of the testimonials on my Etsy shop and you know, it does give you such a boost and it is amazing feeling knowing that you've made something that somebody enjoys wearing but that is really wonderful but I do think you have to be honest with yourself and seriously assess your skill levels, well how you do that how you kind of assess yourself I mean that's a very personal thing, how do you feel about, if someone was wearing your clothing and how it's a very hard question to answer. I do also think you have to look at it from the whole aspect of going from a hobby to a business and focusing on the whole business aspect of things because it is a whole other you know kettle of fish as we say here in the UK. Yeah, it just turns into
something else and I think as we've already touched on you know dealing with deadlines, dealing with clients and kind of what they want, learning to say no to clients as well is also very important and because often it kind of touches in on what Lina said about valuing your skills and people, a lot of people out there honestly have no clue what goes into sewing and that is why sewing and dress making is so undervalued and is seen as a cheap job you know or you know it's a quick job you know or you can just quickly do this for me or you can quickly run up this dress for next week. You've got to know in your mind how you work and whether you can meet those deadlines and be comfortable saying no to people, don't take on jobs that you are going to either struggle to meet that deadline or to fit it in, or if you're not going to enjoy it. At the end of the day you are the person with the skills, don't feel obliged to do everything or have a go at everything. It is a hard one and
I think you just have to be honest with yourself assess your skills and focus on the business aspect as well as the sewing aspect. T: So imposter syndrome um is definitely an issue and I started out pricing myself really really low because I was like' oh people aren't gonna pay for this' right and then I had a really nasty experience with a customer and just realized this is not where I want to go I’m not enjoying it when I feel like I’m having to rush through these things as fast as possible in order to try to turn a profit in order to keep my prices low and some of the business gurus I mentioned earlier actually kind of helped me realize that the pricing was part of what was causing the problem with getting nasty customers like that and so that was kind of my turning point of realizing 'how do you know when you're good enough' because yes, there's always more to learn and we're creators and we always want to learn more like we were talking about with our sewing lists that are huge and long, I’m sure we have skill lists that are huge and long as well, that we want to learn but you have to stop, at least for me I had to stop and look at what can I bring an offer to the table. So like I mentioned, I have experience fitting my mother with her scoliosis and I have 30 years of experience at this point. I learned to sew when I was nine years old and I’ve sewn like a lot every year since then so like I have a lot of experience that I’m bringing to the table, and I just had to realize that this is what I’m bringing. Yes I still want to learn, and this is what I should be paid for bringing these things to the table so for me that was the turning point and then kind of tying into what Joanna said, as far as making sure that you're able to say no I keep telling myself this year this is kind of my mantra for my business this year is you run your business, your business does not run you and so I don't have to pick up every order that people ask me to do and I’ve done this long enough now that I can say I know I’m not going to enjoy that, I know I can't make that timeline, I know I can't make it for that amount of money and so that is also a very important point of getting to where you can actually enjoy your business, is actually you taking control and running it and not letting it just be you're at its beck and call instead. B: I think that's kind of a common thread you know, the same common thread for pretty much everyone I think when you start your business you you are going to make mistakes, you are going to say yes to things that you don't know how long they're going to take, and you think 'oh I can bash that out in a week or a month or whatever' and it'll take you so much longer, you have to order more material and more supplies and I think kind of setting yourself a deadline of maybe a year or two years and try lots of different things, try ready to wear, try pre-made things like patterns, obviously they don't have to be patterns, try commissions and then after a year or two you will find out what you like and what you don't like, what works for you and your business. It's really hard to be real with yourself because you want to please
people, you want to make people happy because those good reviews are just like, 'I love wearing this, I love carrying this, I love this thing' and you're like 'great I want to do that for everyone' but you have to realize that you can't, there's just no way that you can do that for everyone and if there's you know if you prefer one thing that's great, but learn to say no and realize your own limits. You set that deadline for yourself and set that barrier and boundary for yourself J: Can I just add in, because you know you said there about a year, two years, I actually think that's a little bit of a an under evaluation I think for a sewing business, unless you do happen to hit it and you are phenomenally successful right off the bat, I think you could be looking at like several years if you're talking about big commission pieces especially bridal or kind of high-end cosplay or historical costumes because they're such big projects and they can take such a long time to you know process and then to probably even start making potentially. It's how many of those do you can you fit in in a year, so yeah I would say, if you want to have a go for like for five years even or longer I think that's yeah don't give up after a year and you need to evaluate kind of every kind of year, but yeah I would say go like long term. M:
If I can just go from what you said, if you are doing like I’ve done craft fairs so if you're doing ready to wear and want to sell locally at regular fairs, you have one of these like every year so one year you may be trying out a lot of these and finding the good ones and the not so good ones so the first year you will probably burn out on a lot of them because you will find some that are really not good for you, or a good fit and some others that are really phenomenal and like it took me I think two years to have a good idea of where I could sell my ready-made products. B: I think that's a very good point, obviously timing isn't my thing because I generally do completely underestimate the time products will take. Don't they say something like it takes five years for your business to make a profit? Something like that, and I didn't think that you know full historical costumes would take a long time, so you kind of have to evaluate you know what you personally make at the time of that but yes good point. T: I would say that the two-year mark was pretty accurate for me though so like I think that that was probably, that's probably your lower end and then maybe going on like five kind of like what Joanna was pointing out. B:
So it's the end of my questions, does anyone have any final thoughts or want to add things in? M: I just thought of one question while we were talking, and it's what's your general upload schedule? How often do you have one? If yes, how often do you make videos? I'll start. I make two videos per month, about that. I try to do more but I never manage to do more I don't have a regular schedule but I know I can do about two each month so what about you? T: I do about one a month that's the same thing I try to do more I can have elaborate plans I have footage I’ve had filmed for over a year that's still not edited and out there, but as far as time it just doesn't happen.
J: I’m probably the same I kind of aim for at least one a month I did start of the year really well I was getting one out a week at the start of the year but yeah I couldn't keep up with that. But I kind of had a plan that if I had like a big project I fell into the trap last year of kind of really messing up my timings and was trying to film big projects all in one go and then it would end up being an hour long video, and although some people who do watch hour-long videos, I feel that the kind of the sweet spot is the kind of 20 to 40 minutes really. So I really wanted to try and kind of break down bigger projects into kind of into a series, into parts and that would also then hopefully give me content, if there was a week I wasn't filming anything, I could fall back on content that was already filmed and ready to go out and kind of just keep my sort of schedule running. But it hasn't quite worked out like that it's kind of falling off by the way a little bit but as I said it's getting distracted by other different projects and different ideas and that as well.
L: yeah I mean like Joanna was saying it's I’ve yeah fallen into the same trap of picking like really big projects I would like to start splitting big projects into series is what I’m trying to say I’m hoping that I’ll actually manage it because now that I’ve decided that I’m doing videos about writing a book, I don't think I could physically fit that in a single video if I tried, but that's essentially exactly what's happened on past projects, either it's a little project and then it just gradually grows and grows and grows because my brain goes 'Oh well it's only a little project I could just film this bit as well that's fine' and then suddenly it's still a 40 minute video or I go into it thinking that it's a big project and maybe I’ll split it into a series and then I never do split it into a series and it's still just a giant video that takes so long. J: That's the thing it's the editing isn't it, a big video or a big project that can be long hours and hours of time to edit. L: Oh I didn't answer your question Marion. About once a month-ish but very inconsistent and just when I managed to finish the projects that I vastly underestimated.
B: I think that's the problem like, because I started just before CoCoVid last year and I tried to do the weekly thing and I think I kept it up for like a few months especially after CoCoVid, but I’m really susceptible to like overwhelm and things like that and then trying to do these big elaborate projects, and then the last year just kind of... so I haven't put up a video in a while I’m trying to get back into it slowly so I’m going to try and do one every three weeks, three to four weeks that I can manage. I think the one week thing you'll do great at first, and then it'll just go downhill. M: I mean it's a full-time job to do one video a week because you can spend like the beginning of the week doing the thing or scripting the video and recording the talking head and then you spend the rest of the week editing and then you don't have any more time for anything else. J: And then you're trying to run a business as well. Yeah I am I’m very open with my viewers on my channel that I do have paying clients who have to be my my priority for my sewing so therefore my sewing content is sometimes a little bit, you know, not as consistent as it could be, but hopefully people follow my channel then they understand and they appreciate that. B: And I mean some of us also have muggle jobs as well so add that into the mix and it's just like where do we find the hours. T: Right well I
was going to say it boils down to priorities too, it's like we talked about how many sales are you making through your YouTube channel and none of us are able to actually quantify that so like if you're going to prioritize, 'I’m going to do this new design' or 'I’m going to do this commission' or 'I’m going to do this photo shoot so I can advertise this new design or create these new Etsy listings so I can sell this design' that's gonna give you more payback for sure, than your YouTube channel will, so at the end of the day you have a limited time and you prioritize too. At least that's what happens with me and I mean you said you have anything final you want to say and don't feel bad about prioritizing. Think about 'what's my big goal?' My goal is to run a business and whatever that is if you want it part-time or full-time and you have to prioritize what's making me the most money, what's working the best, that's what I’m going to put the most time and effort into and if YouTube isn't one of those things then yeah it's gonna fall lower down on the list. B: Anything they want to add? M: Yeah, to add to what Tiffany was saying,
like I started YouTube because I wanted to to share what I was doing and I found I keep doing it because I enjoy the process of making videos, it's maybe a bit masochistic but I enjoy editing and I wouldn't do it otherwise. Maybe if or when I reach monetization and at some point it ends up making money my view will change and my priorities will change, but for now it's a nice thing that I do both for my own pleasure and for marketing to be more visible on the internet and also for me to feel there was a gap of French speaking channels, there's almost nothing in French on costuming so there was a demand and I regularly get comments from people saying 'oh I’m so happy to finally find something not in English'. B: Yeah, I think it's important to remember that YouTube in itself is a business and if you want to do that full-time then that is a business but for business people who sew for their business it is more of a social media thing and it should be treated as a social media thing not as a business. M: It can also help to give another perspective or go into an a slightly different and adjacent direction. I know for my other, for example my blog I will talk of about my products and my photo shoots and my some of my clients and on YouTube I have slowly added a bit that's more 'How to start historical costuming' and 'How to make corsets', like questions that for more beginners in historical costuming or corsetry and that's not something I would have talked about on other platforms. B: If you enjoyed watching our video give it a like down below, I’ll put everyone's links and anything we've mentioned in this panel in the description and thank you for watching along, thank you to my lovely participants I’ve had great fun this evening and if there's any questions you have stick them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them if we haven't answered them in the panel so far and I hope everyone has a lovely evening.
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