I’m a consumer, get me out of here. The confessions of a fashionista.

At least my shopping has shifted from TK Maxx to Princess Alice shops and my goal is now to remake rather than simply to acquire.  Old friends will remember the days of peak acquisition. I know you know those days are not over yet, don’t judge me it is a personal journey.

I’m in the thick of the production process suffering the consequences of a less than disciplined stock acquisition strategy.  😉 I’ve also passed this pain onto my production team.  I can only apologise.  It’s amazing how with real products the horror of this can actually be seen, my real job is generally less tangible.  Pause for thought about my discipline, planning and ideas.

Yesterday Tanzeel, Majid and I had a mid point review.  I’ve successfully fried my brains, caused Majid to lose it and put Tanzeel in the unenviable position of translating his concerns.  It was salutary to hear a very long outpouring in Urdu from Majid and then Tanzeel turns to me, “I think he’s just overwhelmed”, another long outpouring “he’s just not enjoying the new items”, he draws breath.

I say “tell him not to worry, I’m an excessive person, there is too much fabric here we don’t need to make it all by Thursday”  Things relax. He smiles.  His assistant makes eye contact.  We’re back.

This is the consequence of my broad planning style, too many ideas and options.  Spending a year gathering raw material that I’m now trying to squeeze into two weeks of production.  I’m trying to create new styles and expect him to be able to understand what is in my head without really knowing this myself.  I’m not skilled at drawing the designs; this not false modesty. I don’t speak his language and I’ve literally swamped his shop with raw material and no understandable production schedule. He just doesn’t know what to do next, doesn’t want to let me down, thinks I’m withholding my plan.

I’m sorry for that.  Earlier in our meeting he ordered us drinks, they took a very long time to come.  The apologetic delivery boy got the brunt of what I’m sure he wanted to say to me.  I asked for a translation of the exchange

The Boy:  There’s only two of us, it’s really busy, we lost track.  Sorry, Sorry. Backs out of shop

Majid: Sorry doesn’t solve anything in this world.  Turns back on boy

Me: I’m still sorry.  Now I know this is of no help

Now he’s looking at me and asking me for limits, numbers of items, by when.  All questions I don’t enjoy answering.  Its the decisions, once made all other options die.

He is expecting me to be a leader in this moment and I just want to dive into the pile of fabric, put my thumb in my mouth and sleep on the floor.   Tanzeel has to leave and pick up the kids.  I’m flying solo again.

No wonder he’s stressed out, I am too.  I sat in my car for about 15 minutes to recover before driving off into the traffic chaos.  I saw him leave the shop to head for the mosque.  Two tiny kids were sitting on the step next to his shop and the little girl reached out her hand to him, he stopped and shook her hand.  A really sweet thing to witness.  Let’s hope she wasn’t specifying a dress for the weekend, he just doesn’t have time.

The funniest part of our mid point review is that I’ve been putting batches of two to three pieces of a relatively complicated item into one bundle and have asked him to make the final decisions.  To save time.  I know. Don’t judge, we’ve all done this in some form or another.

I look over his shoulder through to the person in the shop who’s actually getting stuff done and his assistant is stitching together a combination that I can only describe as eclectic (even for me).  There is fabric all over the floor Majid is telling Tanzeel the story all over again.  His assistant looks up and smiles at me, but I’m transfixed by the garment, I think I know what’s happened.  I think my bundles may have been dropped (they weren’t securely tied) they’ve unravelled and he just can’t find his way back to my ‘vision’.

That batch may become my lifetime’s supply of pyjamas.  Sweet Jilly’s epiphany range.  It is now the that time that I hate,  the list day, the day of clear direction, limits and choices.  It’s leadership time.  Yes my friends it’s time to be a grown up.

Well at least until Thursday when we open the shop.

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