Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dilemnas, dilemmas!

For crying in the sink!  Before I even began this post, I had a sudden fear that I was mis-spelling 'dilemna' - was it really meant to be 'dilemma'?  So I looked it up, and half an hour later was more confused than ever - and here is the reason: Spelling Dilemna .  While we all know there are multiple accepted spellings for some words, this must be one of the only cases where there is a fairly common spelling of a word that seems to have absolutely no basis in etymology, or any recorded history at all...and yet so many people seem to have learnt the apparently incorrect 'dilemna' with an 'n'.  I'd like to blame my junior-alma-mater Grange Primary School but I'm just not sure that would be kind.  Or accurate - apparently this enigma has been alive and well for over 200 hundred years, long before Grange Primary was I'd better conform for the sake of tradition, and start writing about my dilemmas from now on (or should that be dilemmata?)

After that minor digression, here's our real quandary (and it's one we're very lucky to have): our wonderful and beautiful Ginger Pye reusable sandwich wraps are selling so well at the moment that we are having to spend almost every minute of each day making them up and posting them out to our extremely discerning customers.

Our first school fundraising order, for Anderson's Bay School.

Wraps ready to be posted to Objx on Dalton, in Napier.

While this is unbelievably fantastic and makes us feel like this:

...and even this: makes our children feel like this:

...and as all you parents out there will know, if we ignore them for much longer, soon that will lead to this:

...which, if we don't attend to it, will end up as this:

...and we'll officially be Bad Parents with Neglected Kids - which doesn't tie in with our whole child-friendly, family-oriented, clean, green, soft and cosy, healthy-lunch-eating image at all!  So we've decided we need help, at least with the actual sewing part of the business, and we've begun to look outside of our own living rooms. 

This week we had a meeting with David Quinn from the local council's very helpful Economic Development Unit.  David was really positive about our products and our little business.  We'd already identified that we definitely don't want to be having our wraps made overseas - made in New Zealand is really important to us (and we even have a bit of a soft spot for the idea of keeping our products made in Dunedin).  We would hate the Ginger Pye name to be attached to the sweat-shop, child-labour concept (although my own children are so desperate for pocket money that lately they've been begging me to let them make wraps too - last night they were fighting over who was allowed to cut the metres and metres of Velcro up for me.  I don't think they quite understand the evils of work yet). 

We'd also decided that we'd really like to support the cottage industry labour.  Rather than sending our wraps off to be made by the hundred in some impersonal factory, we'd love to be able to supply work to people who only want or need a few hours a week: single parents with their new work requirements, retired folk who have a bit of spare time, new immigrants who might not have found their feet in a new city, but still need to earn some money.  Luckily, our brand spanking new advisor, David, saw the beauty in our plan, and is now trying to connect us to some interested folk.  Sadly, he straight-out admitted that we were probably not going to become millionaires this way (which was a bit devastating - my plans for world domination are not coming along very quickly), but we will have the warm glow of feeling ethically/politically/morally correct, and hopefully a bit more time to spend with our kids, before they all grow up and leave home.  And if that warm glow cools off, we'll be able to snuggle up to all the many, many sandwich wraps that our lovely new bundle of sitting-room-sewers and sewing-room-stitchers will be churning out.  Any minute now. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Aha - there IS something we can do...

After Christchurch's awful earthquake this week, the whole country seems to be galvanised into action, and everyone wants to be doing something to help.  Donating money seems to be the most practical way, but not everyone has loads of spare cash - so it's been amazing to watch the NZ crafting community on Facebook come alive (which is saying something, as they're a pretty techno-active bunch anyway), particularly with hundreds of donations of beautiful, handmade goods.  These will all be auctioned off by various groups, with proceeds going to Christchurch.  Here are some of the grass-roots support that I've come across in my virtual travels since Tuesday, and which we've donated to...

Li'l Magoolie's Li'l Quake Appeal

Charity Auctions for the Christchurch Earthquake 2011

Sew Pretty's Operation Comfort

Scamps Eco Boutique's Canterbury Quake Care Packages

Handmade for Christchurch
Visit them if you can :-)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Untitled (AKA Grand Post Number 3 - I'm catching on to this whole blogging thing)

It's all been a frantic, hectic (but excellent!) blur since my last post.  We've done three markets (Brighton Gala, Moxie Market and Thieves Alley Market) which were pretty much just insanely busy, got ourselves stocked in the Otago Museum shop, filled various orders, set up a few other suppliers and reviewers and networked till we can network no more - and now we have an interview published on the lovely New Zealand Handmade site!  Phew!!

So I feel we can rest on our laurels for a millisecond before rushing onwards with our plans of world domination.  OK, done.  Now while I head back to the sewing machine, you lot head over to Sew Pretty who are running a raffle to raise funds for a fantastic cause called Bellyful which provides "meals for families with newborn babies, and families in crisis".  Such a great idea, so we've just donated one of our reusable sandwich wraps to Sew Pretty's prize pack.  Go here to pick up a $2 ticket!

And lastly, Ginger J and I have decided that we will share custody of this blog henceforth so that it doesn't get too neglected and rusty - and now we have blogosphere witnesses!  Stay tuned for Ginger J's upcoming missives, full of wit, artistry, business acumen and all-round-gorgeousness.  Oh, and mine, too.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I'm a bad blog mother (sob)!

I'm already neglecting this poor little blog, and it's only an infant!  I think one of the challenges of setting up a new business is building a new timetable for your life - and this is not something I've ever been particularly good at anyway!  I need to deliberately set aside scheduled time for all those little computery things, like blogging, checking in on our Facebook page, and learning how to run and grow a little business - as well as the practical side of physically taking orders and sewing wraps (and trying not to forget my actual human children in all this)!  Luckily, my sister Ginger J is naturally talented in this area, so is quite good at gently reminding me as I consistently stray off topic (and task)...And it's definitely a matter of getting out what you put in.  I'm constantly amazed at how every single time we make a small effort to communicate with the outside world via the old interweb, more orders trickle (and occasionally flood) seems like some kind of great karmic, magic thing because we can't actually see or know how many people we've reached, but I'm well aware that it's potentially billions!  (Hello, all you worldly citizens!)

A friend pointed us to this blog where we had a great little blurb this week, and we immediately took all Paddy Lewis' advice and got some more boyish fabrics in stock (I hate to say 'boyish' because I know there's plenty of girls who might like these - or boys who really might not - but I just don't know how else to describe them!).  But here they are, in all their glory about to be 'wrapped'...

Acid Rain
Chocolate Fish

Sk8er Kid
Silver Fern
Pirate Skulls
Alien Kids

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ginger Pye, coming to you live from Blogger!

In accordance with our new hero Karen Gunton at Build a Little Biz, we have started a blog for our teensy little baby business, Ginger Pye (it's not quite big enough to be called 'small' yet).  Karen has written a few great articles on the importance of blogging to small businesses, and after all, it's free and we'll try pretty much anything, so here we are!  Not much inspiration is flowing through me at 2am, but I'll be back once my Muse is rested :-)  In the meantime, in place of elevator music, here are some photos of our latest wraps.