News from Verbal Croquis

As some of you may know, I’ve not been myself lately. Being unemployed doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve looked and looked (and looked and looked) for a design job, but SF is just not offering anything in that realm. It would be a different story if I sent out a million resumes and got rejected everywhere, but I can count the number of resumes I’ve sent out on one hand–there just aren’t any jobs, period. Also, I am a people person–as much as they annoy me sometimes, spending long days alone does not agree with me. The husband doesn’t come home until 8pm, so the majority of my day is spent alone, and lately, banging my head against the wall. Feelings of worthlessness and loneliness do not a happy VC make. So things came to a boil on Friday and this is what I came up with:

First of all, I had 5 options:

1. Keep looking for design work. Keep banging head against wall.

2. Become a housewife. Strangle self with apron strings after shoving husband in oven. He’s skinny–he’ll fit. I am just not cut out for this type of work.

3. Assaf suggested we move to L.A. More jobs for me, close enough for him to telecommute easily with his office in Redwood City. I had to kindly remind him I hated living in L.A.

4. I suggested we move to New York. Lots of career opportunities. I watch Assaf struggle with his desire to be a good husband try to stop his lips from screaming “BAD IDEA!” My friend J has no qualms about saying that he hates that idea. Another friend scrunched up his face in that not cute way. Truth be told, I didn’t really want to move to New York anyway.

5. Stay in San Francisco, start my own company. Right. Because I have so much start up capital sitting in the bank right now.

So option #5 it is.

I’m starting my own company!

Like, right now. Are you as excited as I am? Probably more, because you don’t have the underlying terror that is preventing you from bouncing around the house.

I’ll be getting a part time “regular” job, and spending the rest of time plotting the beginnings of my future empire. Heh. Wish me luck.

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  1. Alisa Benay says:

    Best of luck! Sometimes just cementing a plan can be a great motivator. What type of product line are you going to be doing?

    I do understand the whole bang-head-against-wall/ shove-people in the oven thing. I’ve been a SAHM with my own studio for 9 years now. I…um…don’t really recommend it, but it’s what works for us. I do regularly threaten to duct tape my 3 kids heads together & shove them in the basement closet. I think there are several others on here in the same condition, so just give a shout out when you feel too alone. We’re out here! :-)

    Keep us posted on your progress.

  2. Karen C. says:

    I’M SO GLAD TO HEAR THIS!!! Though you wouldn’t know the way I nudge you to come to our Fashion Industry Network meetings. I really think your talent is unique. Yeah, it’s terrifying. Yeah, it’s lots of hard work. But you’re so ahead of the game than a lot of newbies out there. I’ll email you with more thoughts.

  3. Babette says:

    Congratulations! Even if you feel it’s been forced on you to take this decision. Sometimes life has to browbeat us to make us follow a dream.

    I’m facing this on the other side of the world. Real work contract ends in 5 weeks. Then what. No design jobs in Hobart Tasmania (small island off bottom of Australia), if fact, few jobs.

    So into the studio it is with all the fears about not having anyone to talk to, going nuts as husband coming home becomes highlight of day. Might have to get a cat.

    Am starting with guaranteed sales. Going pull not push. Have three custom clients and hope to win more business from them with the designs I’m planning on doing for a line so as to go some way to cover initial work. Will also help to test fit and other issues.

    GOODLUCK! Please give progress reports.

  4. Debra says:

    I am an out of work industry patternmaker.
    There is just nothing I can find in my area.
    It’s been a year and a half of being home with nothing to do and then a few odd jobs here and there where I felt worthless… being out of my element…which the garment business. I miss patternmaking more than I thought.
    So I have decided to start my own freelance pattern service. With Kathleens incouragement I am also interested in her ‘patterns for sale’ idea. If anyone out there needs a patternmaker I have had 10 yrs in knitwear and 10 yrs in wovens….outerwear and sportwear, I’d be happy to get in contact with you.

  5. Sue W. says:

    YOU GO, GIRL!!!
    Can’t wait to hear the details. I’m sure whatever you come up with will be fabulous. You have a unique, original, and creative mind. You are a real thinker. I’d love the opportunity to buy something you designed. I’m sure whatever you create will be as exciting as those wonderful Josh Jakus handbags that I now covet. Sometimes the Universe conspires to pitch us headlong into a new realm. Trust that you are ready for this new adventure. Use the fear to build momentum. Fear can be your friend, alerting you to areas where you may need more focus, information or support. But you already know that :-)
    God bless your efforts. You have a large cheering section right here.

  6. EvelynC547 says:

    Congrats. My offer about fear…. my father always told me when I said I was afraid to do something… “That’s okay. Be afraid. Now just go do it.” And I always have done just that. Fear cannot stop you. The lack of self confidence won’t stop you nor self esteem. It is a myth that people must have these traits. Believe me, I know first hand. And yet, I have accomplished most that I’ve set out to do. So will you. At the very least, you’ll be even smarter.


  7. sfgirl says:

    I love your blog first off. You really put industry info out there for all to see. I am like you, I am in the bay area and I can’t find a permanent design position! Been 3 years of freelancing and that hasn’t been paying the whole rent and I would love to talk/network with professionals. Is it really about who you know? I am starting to think so. I have looked on CL, stylecareers, apparel news, 24seven and I don’t even so much get an automated response and I have a fashion school AA and 5 years of experience so go-figure. Please do a thread on the best ways to find a job, I read you patternmaking position advice of cold walking in but is this really typical? I’ll be reading daily:)

  8. Andrea says:

    I’m interested in contacting Debra about freelance pattern services. I really appreciate this website. I am new…this comment string is relevant to me. Balancing the mom thing, sporadic freelance designing, substitute teaching to finance the startup of my first line, singing with a big band; and then—complications from thyroid surgery left me with a paralyzed vocal chord. No singing, no speaking…no teaching, no money, emotionally devastation trying to re-define who I was and how to proceed, battling with manic-depression made worse by the thyroid stuff…. Its been just over a year. I am feeling a bit better every day. I gain a lot just reading the posts and articles on this site.

  9. Debra says:

    Congrats to Zoe! Good luck to you.
    And to Andrea….I sent you an e-mail through your website, and if you do not have Kathleens book, I highly recommend it! I feel it is the best on the market about the “real stuff” in the sewn product industry.

  10. dosfashionistas says:

    Best of Luck to you. I have been on my own for a couple of years now, and I have a few words of advice. 1. Keep it cheap and cheerful. (Actually that comes from a designer who has had his own quite successful line for many years.) 2. Sell it on eBay. Truly original itmes sell. You have to establish a presence and build a customer base, but that applies everywhere. There is much to be said for selling to the woman who will actually wear your designs.

    Have fun with this!
    Sarah (dosfashionistas on eBay)

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