Fourth Anniversary!

As of yesterday, Fashion-Incubator is four years old. Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday dear uh-us, happy birthday to us.

Oh, if you ever want to make your own custom cake, you can do that here.

Way back when, this site started on blogger and it was called The Designer’s Network Newsletter (DNN) after a newsletter I used to publish from 1995-1997. At the time I was publishing the hard copy newsletter, I also ran a listserv for an organization I started called NADEIM (National Association of Designer Entrepreneurs and Independent Manufacturers). The organization was actually called NADE (National Assoc of Designer Enrepreneurs) before that but either way, both were lame names. Besides, we went international very quickly so the names were embarrassingly provincial. NADEIM was fun. We used to host three day long manufacturing seminars (Boot Camp). The military analogy was pure camp. In advance of each session, I’d order custom dog-tags for each attendee as a souvenir. The workshops were held at a plant belonging to a friend of mine in Missouri. We’d convene there for three intensive days of pattern seminars, designing, cutting and sewing. There was homework every night. It was the first opportunity that many had to work in an actual production environment. We may do these seminars again someday but I’m lacking a host location. I have a potential factory in Wisconsin but I haven’t pursued the offer yet.

Anyway, I published the newsletter for two years then I combined that into a book (1997). In 2000, some awful things happened to me that shouldn’t happen to anyone so I fell off the internet for almost four years. Yep, those were trying times. I didn’t answer my phone, open my mail (still have a problem with that) or access the internet accept for filling wholesale orders between 2000-2003. I spent that time in solitary intense study and experimentation trying to discover what it is that I know. In 2004, I came out of my prolonged state of grief to stumble around to see what had changed with the world while I’d been away wallowing in self pity. Actually, I started blogging in July of 2004 but I don’t claim those entries since I deleted them. I was too negative still. Some would argue I still am. ~sigh~ I can only be myself.

The short version is, I guess Fashion-Incubator has become yet another phase of my publishing career. We still have many of our original visitors. Heck, we have members who were original subscribers to the newsletter, people like Angela R, Mary L, Darla R and Marsha P. I know I missed a lot of names, no slight is intended. Here’s to another great year on Fashion-Incubator. How many years have you been here?

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  1. Amy says:

    Yesterday was also my son’s 4th Birthday AND Lincoln’s 200th Birthday AND Darwin’s 200th Birthday…Clearly a day for the birth of pure genius.

    Congratulations…I love this site!

  2. Karen LePage says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary!
    I appreciate all I learn from you, here, and in the forums.

    I would definitely be in for a boot camp, were you to restart that practice!

  3. Happy Birthday! (I incidentially baked a chocolate cake yesterday, does that count? ;) )

    I cannot remember since when I’m reading here… I started my blog november 2005 and I think the first time I read an article here was around february 2006. One year later I was a regular reader, but I can really not say, when exactely that happend.

  4. Renee says:

    Ooo, I am making Chocolate Lava Muffins today. They were for Valentines Day, but I’m happy to share with the birthday blog!

    I’ve been lurking for at least a year, but only commenting since the advent of the CPSIA woes.

  5. Congratulations Kathleen, I’ve only been around here for a few months, but can already see that this site is invaluable. My daughter’s 4th birthday is today (gasp), so she is definitely in good company.

  6. I can’t believe it’s been nearly 4 years since I first happened upon your site! It was April or May of 2005, right before I graduated from college. I had no idea where I was going or what I’d be doing… one move out of state and into my 3rd “real” job I still don’t know. :p Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us.

  7. April Femrite says:

    Happy b-day! This site truly has been invaluable to me and you have inspired me to be a mentor to others when I grow up (that may be a while). FI has even inspired me to finally get my own blog going. I’ve been hanging out here about a year and a half and hope to be around for a while.

    Yes please do a boot camp in Wisconsin – I would be there in a heartbeat!

  8. Valerie Burner says:

    Happy Birthday! Love the cake! I’ve been here since May 2008, but I really had no idea what I was missing in the Forum until around October. Thanks, Kathleen for all you do. Keep up the good work!

  9. Anne says:

    Happy Birthday — you are much appreciated! My son’s 2nd birthday is today, so we have been in a celebratory mood all day as well.

  10. Gidget says:

    Happy Birthday to the Fashion Incubator and it’s very nurturing mother! I wonder how big it will be in four more years? Time flies…

  11. marianne says:

    Happy Birthday. You have been an amazing source of information over the years for many, and a new source for all your new readers (including me). As we expand in the future, we look forward to learning more from this site and forums.

    Wishing you many years of continued success!

  12. LisaB says:


    I’m not sure how long I’ve been here…several years…but I know that I got sucked in when someone posted a link to your famous “Sleevecap ease is bogus” entry in a home sewing forum. I see you wrote that in Nov 2005, but I think it had been around for a while before I saw the link to it. Anyway, I’ve learned tons here. Thank you!

  13. Ann Vong says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I’m not sure when I found Fashion Incubator, but I still have not caught up on all the archives.
    Thank you for sharing your energy so generously!

  14. Happy Birthday, Fashion Incubator (and Kathleen)!!

    Thanks for providing such invaluable information for people in the fashion/sewn products industry!! You are a wonderful resource.

    Wishing you continued success!
    Heather Allard
    The Mogul Mom

  15. Liron says:

    Happy birthday!!
    I really do cherish your blog and book.
    I am so glad I found it.
    Less than one year ago when I was searching for something about sleeve drafting!
    The book and blog have given me more than I can ever explain.
    A big thank you Kathleen!

  16. Leslie Hanes says:

    Happy Birthday to FI and the hard work you’ve put into it…you can’t imagine what a gift you give each day.
    I’m glad you perservered to get to this point, K. They say there is a fine line between genius and insanity. You keep us thinking you are on the genius don’t let that other side creep out other than in your humor! I much admire you.


  17. Heather says:

    Happy Birthday F-I!!!! I’m so grateful to belong to this group! Best wishes for many more years of helpful information and support for our community. Thank you Kathleen! Heather

  18. Josh says:

    NO Kathleen it can’t be true! 4 years!? Where has the time gone? I haven’t commented in a long while I know. I’ll have to drop you an email to tell you what I’ve been up to. I’m sure you’ll appreciate more email to sift through. : )

  19. Lisa B. in Portland says:

    Well, golly, I didn’t know I share my birthday with so many wonderful people and things! :-)

    A boot camp would be awesome! We missed that in school. Another reason to get wealthy!! I would totally work with my school to have that! I actually want to have my own shop some day.

    …And Scooby Doo on channel 2, many more on channel 4, Frankenstein on channel 9…! ;-)

  20. Miss Jess H. says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been reading the archives and current articles for about 2.5-3 years now, and I’ve had the book for a little over 2. I guess it’s high time I up and joined the forum, aye? Anyhow, thank you Kathleen for inspiring me to embrace entrepreneurship and good design. I really can’t thank you enough for the kick in the pants that this site gave me as I was transitioning out of design school and had not a clue what I was supposed to do with myself!

  21. colleen says:

    Happy Birthday and many more! I, too, would love to attend Boot Camp, especially in WI. I lived in S.W. WI for five years and refer to it as “Wishconsin” because I wish I still lived there. It’s a lovely state and the people are smart, kind-hearted, and hard working.

  22. Frances L says:

    Happy birthday to you, F-I and Kathleen. A big thanks goes to Lisa, Downtown Joey, for the link to this site. :) The info here is invaluable.

  23. Mary Lombard says:

    Wow! Happy Birthday from the old timer! 30 years in the industry and I’m still learning. Thank you for a “legal” excuse to read a blog at work. Carry on…

  24. Kysha M says:

    Happy birthday FI!! I can’t imagine what I would’ve had to go through to get all of the information I’ve received from you and the invaluable forum. Jinjer told me about this site at the end of 2005. I bought the book early 2006, and visited the blog a few months after that. FI has been one of my top 5 bookmarked sites since then and I don’t know how many folks I’ve since scribbled the URL on a piece of paper for…

  25. Harmony says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY FI!!! I have been reading your digests since March 2007. I am SOOOO glad you have come out of hiding and hope that never happens again! Your honesty, intelligence, generosity and insight is invaluable. We are all lucky to have this amazing resource.

    When newbies contact me I am always quick to tell them about FI… Cheers to the next 4 and many more!

  26. Sonia Levesque says:

    Bonne Fete FI !!

    Oh Kathleen… Don’t EVER think you’re a negative person! I find it refreshing that an expert is true to form; telling it like it is, and STILL really really wanting the DEs to do well in their endeavours. I love your “no white gloves” approach to subjects. We (I) NEED THIS!

    I applaud everyone working on the website. This is a gem, that seems endless in its depth. Will I, one day, be able to read it all? I (almost) hope not too… so much fun to be had.

    Merci pour tout ce que vous faites.

  27. susan owen says:

    I have been here for about 2 years I think, and love every minute. Kathleen, you are such an inspiration! The guidance you provide us here is so insightful, the book is so GREAT, and you are overall a super duper help.
    My business plans have been altered, and my day job in the car business is so disheartening, so I don’t follow along here as often as I should. However, I love to catch up on your current wisdom and rants.
    Thanks for being you and sharing with us.

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