Search Results for "wholesale"

Do you need to get your shit together?

So by now I’m sure you all know I have a new notepad out.  As with my other notepads, the theme and functionality is always born out of my own needs. The fact that I need to get my shit together is no secret and something James says lovingly (?) to me often.

Despite knowing what I need to do, that alone doesn’t always spur me into action. Why I’ve no clue and perhaps that’s a whole other blog post in itself. Or perhaps I just need to quit seeking the “why do I do this to myself” and just do it instead. There’s a refreshing thought huh?

In the spirit of sharing, here are some areas where I need to get my shit together. Rest assured there are way more items than the 4 you see below but I’ve deemed these as the most important. Besides, this is a re-occurring theme in my life so there will be plenty of opportunities to share more going forward.



Complete Wholesale Documentation
I am super close to completing this. I just have some minor details I need to iron out and some procrastination to fight with. Yes, yes, you’ve heard this all before but let’s pretend this is the first time.

Reprint my old notepads
2 of the 6 are sold out and others are very close to that status too. This particular run will be big and my largest investment in modernemotive yet. It’s scary. Oh and well I can’t do the above without completing this component can I?



Work on the condo
Despite going all gung-ho on our condo redo last year we didn’t reach the finish line. Artwork was found but not purchased. Accessories were pondered but not sought out. Pillow inserts were purchased but cases not sewn. The list goes on. We need to complete the living area, kitchen, and bathroom soon as we have a bedroom, another bathroom, an office and an outdoor space we need to procrastinate on and drag out forever.

Work Out
A few weeks ago I miraculously got my arse to the gym. I did this repeatedly for over a week and then I fell off the band wagon. Starting each day with a workout made a HUGE difference to my attitude throughout the day and my overall happiness. I felt so energized and I need to remember that feeling and get back to the gym ASAP before it gets lost.


So, now that I’ve shared some of my shit list, please do the same.

Artwork Copyright Lim Heng Swee. Print available here.

 //  Filed under: Etcetera  //  Tagged: business, life  //  3 Comments

Retailer Spotlight: Twelve Chairs

Twelve Chairs - Boston

As I mentioned last month, I recently accepted my first wholesale order and I’m so happy to finally share the details with you.

The store is called Twelve Chairs and is located in Fort Point, Boston. Founded by Roisin and Miggy, who met in university while majoring in Interior Design, the store opened its doors in September 2010. I am truly honored to be stocked in their beautifully curated store. The list of vendors include Rifle Paper Goods, Hammocks & High Tea, Suzy Jack, Pigeon Toe just to name a few and I’m beyond thrilled to be alongside such amazing artists. Pinch me please!

Twelve Chairs - Boston

Aside from the above, I’m also thrilled the core philosophy behind Twelve Chairs is a commitment to the environment. Offering eco-friendly products has always been at the heart of modernemotive, so this partnership couldn’t get any better for me.

“Twelve Chairs goes beyond offering beautiful products that are socially and environmentally responsible by integrating sustainability and stewardship into our day-to-day practices.”

I could go on and on about how much I love this store. The esthetic is stunning and I wish I was close by so I could visit in person. So for now, I’ll have to make do by browsing the photos of their location.

Twelve Chairs - Boston

Twelve Chairs - Boston

Twelve Chairs - Boston

Twelve Chairs - Boston

Twelve Chairs - Boston

Beautiful isn’t it? If you a Boston local, be sure it pay them a visit.

P.S. Accepting this wholesale account was certainly the push I needed to finally get my wholesale availability up and running. I’ve been very fortunate to get a fair bit of interest in my work without actually approaching any stores myself. There’s lot of reasons I stalled on this, which I will eventually write about, but my 1st to-do in 2011 is fulfilling existing interest from retailers and approaching some myself. Stay tuned.

Photo Credits: Twelve Chairs

 //  Filed under: Retailers  //  Tagged: eco, ecofriendly, modernemotive, sustainable, wholesale  //  10 Comments

I took the plunge

Early this week, an email appeared in my Inbox from a retail store located in Boston requesting my notepads for wholesale. As can be expected, my initial reaction was “OMG, so cool!”. I’ve had many requests. But then, reality sets in when I realize I’m not set-up to wholesale and still need to iron out many details. Yes, I know, I know, it’s been on my to-do list forever. But, let’s not go there. I’m saving that for another post.

Anyway, I fired off an email letting them know when I plan on officially opening up for wholesale (I have a plan I swear) but they asked if there was anyway they could get some for the Holiday season. This request made me pause. Did I really want to lose a potential opportunity because I didn’t feel ready? Because perhaps everything won’t be as perfect as I would hope? I didn’t. I couldn’t. I owed it to myself to just say YES and let the chips fall where they may. So, I did. I said yes.

I’ll share more on the actual shop soon. It’s truly beautiful and worthy of it’s own dedicated post. But I will say it’s stocked with the most beautiful, eco and sustainable products. And, that my little paper goods are going to be amongst the work of some of my favorite stationery designers. I’m honored, excited, nervous and everything in between.

So, yes, modernemotive is heading to Boston. I did it. I took the plunge.


Photo Credit: txhippichic

 //  Filed under: Paper Goods, This Self-Employed Life  //  Tagged: business, business goals, comfort zones, eco, ecofriendly, modernemotive, professional growth, self-employment, stationery, wholesale  //  16 Comments

This Self-Employed Life: At a standstill

So, about those new products. While technically I could go ahead with them, I’m having a hard time navigating the pros and cons of going ahead now vs waiting. If I go ahead and print them digitally, I CAN’T wholesale them, BUT I can test them. If I go ahead with off-set printing so I CAN wholesale, I run the risk of having a large inventory that I CAN’T move at a reasonable rate. Of course, they aren’t the only pros and cons, but they are the ones weighing most heavily on my mind.

My biggest goal here is to set myself up for wholesaling. Realistically, I can’t justify running modernemotive another year without it. This isn’t just for financial reasons but also a need for me to justify why the heck I’m here. I feel as though I’m losing that vision with each week that passes.

While some may argue I’ve already seen some success, I can’t sustain myself or my business at the rate I’m going. I say some because in the grand scale of things guys, let’s face it, it’s minimal. In part, this is my fault. I’ve been in and out of my business since January 2009 for personal reasons and I need to either commit to it 110% now or quite frankly, get out.

While I am looking at a Plan B, I invested so much time and energy into these new products I can’t see it. Did someone turn the lights out? I was already nervous about introducing these new products and this spanner in the works is allowing the self-doubt to take on a stronger hold. I’ve barely done a thing in the last few weeks. My tip of the day – this isn’t how you move a business forward.

Ugh, it’s days like today that I regret being so honest about the “behind the scenes” of modernemotive. I feel as though I’ve built such a “buzz” around my relaunch and I’m not sure how to move forward. I stepped away in January promising “big things” and 4 months later I’m at a complete standstill. I’m none the wiser than I was back then. Ugh, there I go being honest again.

When you’re at a standstill, how do you get yourself moving again and keep yourself looking forward?

Photo Credit: B Tal

 //  Filed under: This Self-Employed Life  //  Tagged: business, business goals, life, professional growth, self-employment  //  5 Comments

This Self-Employed Life: Are you becoming a technology recluse?

The concept that technology and social media is making us anti-social isn’t a new one. Just Google it and see. There is no denying that social media is opening up the doors for communication and providing us with opportunities that may otherwise have been impossible. It certainly has for me. However, I’d hazard a guess that many of us aren’t taking those relationships and/or opportunities offline in order to seize their full potential.

While I have benefited immensely from social media, it some ways, it’s also hindering my business when it comes to my communication skills. Though many are surprised to hear this, I can be a pretty shy person in real life. Until I get to know someone, I’m often the quietest person in a room. This isn’t because I’m guarded or intentionally anti-social, plain and simple, I’m just shy. Nothing wrong with that. However, if technology is allowing you to avoid dealing with that shyness/self-confidence/whatever, I do believe you’ll begin to see the effects trickle over into your business where a lack of confidence isn’t invited to the table.

Think about it. It’s far easier to exude confidence in an email or online situation. We have all the time in the world to script a typed communication that’s laced with conviction and self-confidence. Yet, ask yourself this… could you do that via the phone or face-to-face? If your answer is no, you may want to assess how your reliance on online communications is effecting your business today and potentially in the future.

Often when my cell rings, I’ll let it go to voice-mail and later respond via email. Rather than set up an face-to-face meeting with someone, I’ll drive all communications through online venues. When talking in person with someone about my business, a quick exchange of URLs/email addresses will occur. While all of these scenarios are certainly convenient, I do believe this convenience can manifest into a problem overtime. If we are constantly by-passing face-to-face interactions in favor of online interactions, is it safe to say that for many our communication skills in person will begin to deteriorate?

Case in point (and this is one of many I could share), James and I were in a very high-end store here in Toronto a little while ago. Amongst other things, this store offers stationery – primarily for weddings – but also other paper goods. While I chose to walk around the store as inconspicuous as possible, James being a very outgoing person, walked up to a chap sat at a desk and plain out asked for the buyer. Turns out, he was the buyer and I was suddenly forced to communicate face-to-face about my business.

Did I have the same confidence/conviction as I would have via email? No. I didn’t have the time to “script” the perfect pitch and so I fumbled my way through the conversation. Sure, I walked away with his business card, but did I do my business justice? No. While that awkward interaction may be forgotten when I approach him for a possible wholesale opportunity, if I overlook the fact that I’m relying too much on online interactions and my communication skills in person are deteriorating as a result, I will continually fumble my way through face-to-face interactions and eventually it will be remembered.

Therein potentially lies the problem. The strategies and confidence we play out and display online need to extend offline too. The time we invest in building our “online presence” and relationships needs to be invested in our offline communications/personalities also. Both are equally important and combined can significantly drive the growth of your business. While you can certainly play in the online world with great success, if you can’t play face-to-face with the same confidence, the only person you’ll exclude is yourself and ultimately your business.

So, my question to you is this… while you may be navigating the world of social media with confidence and conviction are you doing so face-to-face as well? Or are you relying too much on online communications and becoming a technology recluse?

Photo Credit: aftab

 //  Filed under: This Self-Employed Life  //  Tagged: business, comfort zones, professional growth, social media, technology  //  6 Comments

This Self-Employed Life: Always have a Plan B

So, quotes are trickling in for my new products. As I feared, the cost per unit for most of them is going to price me out of the market. Even with the FSC Certification (as my printer/materials are FSC certified I can now use the logo), while that allows me to price at a slight premium, it’s still too high for retail in my eyes if I want to wholesale them too. Can I get a bit round of shit applause please? Cheers.

While I’m not giving up yet (I still have calls set up with other printers), this has been a good lesson in planning. I knew from the get go that one product category might not be feasible until I moved my products to off-set printing – I’d be using professional digital presses for now. Yet, I still went ahead and sunk all my design time into them. While I did ask for quotes early in the design stages, I should of been more aggressive and got them sooner. Well, I may of just crashed and burned myself thanks to tunnel vision.

We are 21 days away from my relaunch deadline and only 2 out of 8 new products are currently feasible. Do I have a Plan B no? Am I panicking ever so slightly? Yes. Always have a Plan B folks, always!

Photo Credit: flexgraph

 //  Filed under: This Self-Employed Life  //  Tagged: business, self-employment  //  3 Comments

This Self-Employed Life: Sorry We’re Closed

So, I’ve been debating whether to close up my shop up for a few weeks. There are so many other things I need to attend to – finalizing new products I have on the back burner, setting up some admin documents, that darned wholesale stuff, finishing up my .com…seriously, the list just goes on and on.

These days, it seems I just have no spare time or the focus to get it done. Obviously, getting orders out to customers in a timely fashion is my first priority, and some days, that’s a whole days worth of work. So, hunkering down at night to attend to the other to-do’s in my day simply isn’t happening. The reality is, this just adds to the stress and lack of focus because in the back of your mind, that mental to-do list is just eating away at you. I think in part, this explains some of the reasons I’m feeling burnt out too.

Of course, the major kicker to closing up for a wee bit is missing out on potential sales, especially when they are steadily coming in. Then there’s the fact that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I had a pretty good success rate for a new shop last year. It makes me wonder if I’d be bonkers to close at the peak of a possible sales surge.

As always, there’s a flip side. Opting to temporarily lose sales will actually allow me to generate more down the line as I’ll finally have my wholesale up and running as well as my wedding line launched. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. I’m just going around in circles and circles about this decision. Where’s the answer fairy when you need one?

Have you ever been faced with this decision? If so, what did you do?

Image Credit: bluecinderella

 //  Filed under: This Self-Employed Life  //  Tagged: business, professional growth, self-employment  //  12 Comments

Green Motive: An Interview with Daisy Janie

Please welcome my online buddy, Jan DiCintio of Daisy Janie today – the first interviewee for the Green Motive relaunch. I could not be happier. With a love for designing geometric patterns myself, her organic fabrics and surface designs are right up my alley. I can also confirm she is one lovely lady too.

Welcome. Tell us about yourself and your business
Daisy JanieI am a freshly turned 40-year-old, who moonlights as a mom, wife, doggie owner and fitness nut. I am a self-taught fabric & surface designer, having segued over the past 10 years from other creative pursuits that involved building, painting and sewing (not all at once). I produce my own line of fabrics as well as offer custom surface design services to clients.

What makes your business green?
The retail fabrics I currently design and sell in my etsy shop are primarily what make Daisy Janie green. They are printed on 2 types of organic base goods: one is an organic cotton sateen made with 100% cotton fibers certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS); the other is an organic cotton/hemp blend canvas that is certified organic by the USDA’s Nat’l Organic Program (NOP). These are professionally printed in a digital format, using water-based, low VOC pigments. This method of printing also minimizes water consumption and fabric waste. Further, heat & pressure calendaring are used to finish the fabric rather than harsh chemicals.

Daisy Janie

I also have a collection of organic fabrics (Geo Grand) that will be offered at wholesale and will be available in early March. These organic fabrics, made from GOTS-certified cotton fiber, will also be self-produced. I am soooo excited about this line as it will allow Daisy Janie to make a more significant contribution to an industry (cotton fabric) that’s in desperate need of an overhaul. Conventionally grown cotton crops and fabrics produced from these crops are some of the worst offenders on the planet in terms of pesticide usage and toxic processing. Read “Cotton and the Environment” for more information.

Daisy Janie

Why is it important for you to offer products that are eco-friendly?
I offer eco-friendly products so I can sleep at night knowing I’ve done my part. I cannot remember a time in my adult life when I wasn’t a freakazoid about recycling, repurposing, clean living and protecting earth’s creatures. Choosing to offer green products is simply an extension of these ideals and a logical expression of my personal philosophies.

Have you found it easy to run an eco-friendly business? What difficulties (if any) have your encountered?
When I started my first solo venture in 1998 (JH Originals), it was much more challenging to procure green raw materials and market green products than it is for me today. The confluence of powerful and dynamic variables like Etsy, indie culture, internet as a mainstay for biz, green awareness and consumer acceptance has created a business segment that manufacturers can’t ignore & consumers can’t get enough of. Given that, I have definitely seen a nice shift in ‘what it takes’ to run an eco-friendly business.

Daisy Janie

The main difficulty in producing & selling a thoughtful product like organic fabric is price point. In general, organic cotton farming and processing requires more care and overall tending, so it costs *me* more to have it produced…which means it will cost my customer more as well. Not all customers understand this, and it has been a hurdle to effectively market and educate. (Interviews like this are a huge boost to that end – thank you Adele!)

What plans do you have to further your green initiatives?
On a smaller scale: I have planted seeds for additional eco-friendly product offerings using my surface designs. Haven’t gotten very far, but my research notebook is filling up! I also continue to find ways to package my products with a smaller carbon footprint.

On a larger scale: Daisy Janie is run out of my home (for as long as I can manage), and I’m very proud that we just made the switch to purchase wind energy for our electricity. There’s no way to know for certain if the electricity that makes it to the grid to power your individual house is that exact electricity you purchased. However, when you make this selection, you are casting a vote that dictates demand for this product. You are supporting the wind energy producers, and thereby taking a piece of the “electricity pie” away from coal/fossil fuel energy producers….much like choosing organic fabrics over non-organics!

Daisy Janie

Lastly, anything else you would like to add?
Eighteen years ago, I read this quote in a shop offering Native American art: “We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We are borrowing it from our grandchildren.” It hit me hard and solidified my desire to do what I could on an individual level to lessen my impact on the earth…a defining moment in my life to be sure.

Website | Shop | Blog | Twitter | Flickr

Image showing chair covered in Daisy Janie fabric is courtesy of Storefront.

 //  Filed under: Green Motive  //  Tagged: eco, ecofriendly, fabric, interview, organic, surface design  //  3 Comments

This Self-Employed Life: Comfort Zones

We all have our comfort zones in life and let’s face it, they can be nice places to reside, but what about in business? Do comfort zones have a place in business? Or do they simply hinder our professional growth?

Comfort Zone
Definition: an environment or situation in which a person feels secure or at ease; also figuratively, an established lifestyle in which a person feels comfortable as long as there is no drastic change

After living in my professional comfort zones last year for longer than I care to admit, for the most part, I believe they are a hindrance. Some might argue that a comfort zone in business is finding your niche, sticking with that niche and not exploring others. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Depends on your business goals and other factors. However, for today, I’m just going to talk about comfort zones that you need to run beyond. The ones holding you back.

The reality is, when you step outside of your comfort zone once, you’ll find yourself wanting to take more steps down new and exciting paths. Essentially, your expanding your comfort zone and causing a ripple effect. Here’s how…


For me, the first step outside of my comfort zone will be getting my wholesale division up and running. In 2009, I approached this project intermittently, often putting it down after a day or two. There were many reasons but the main one was fear. Would retailers buy my projects? Was my line-sheet and catalogue professional enough? Did I have enough products? Would I be able to handle the orders? How would I handle invoicing? The questions where endless and perhaps if I’m honest with myself, just served as great excuses to stick where I was – in my comfort zone.

The matter of the fact is, I won’t know until I try. I can’t leave my business in the hands of the “what ifs”. It’s my job to steer it. Of course, I’m not saying that one should jump right in to things with the blinders on and hope for the best. Some planning has to be done and certain structures put in place. However, sometimes you have to leave things to the unknown because you won’t find the answers until you truly ask the question and that can mean taking a walk to the other side.

Funnily enough, I was chatting with Jan DiCintio of Daisy Janie yesterday regarding wholesaling and here’s some advice she gave me…

“Try not to get too hung up on the precedent-setting nature of how you handle your first forays into wholesale – if you do, you’ll miss out! I know I did – I got so worked up about everything being just so that I often missed the window of opportunity.”

This mindset can be applied to many areas in business (and life!) and here’s what she went on to say later that is equally relevant…

“So many times we feel our presentation to the world has to be so perfect and impressive that we waste valuable time getting ourselves out there. Like… my logo’s not good enough, my website isn’t right, my photography looks horrible… and while it definitely is a good idea to have these things look good and properly branded, sometimes we set the bar so high for ourselves that we never get over it!”

This advice was just what I needed. Sometimes you need to reach out to others and simply learn from their experiences. Often, you may hear what you already know, but sometimes you don’t truly hear it until someone else says it. Again, this can mean stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Now, here’s where I think the ripple effect comes in. Deep down, I’m confident retailers will respond to my product offering positively. If I wasn’t, then really, what the hell am I doing here? Do I believe that once I see a “return” on my wholesale adventure I’ll have the confidence to expand my product line? Yes! Do I believe order fulfillment will eventually lead to production outsourcing? Yes! Do I believe the increased revenue will allow me to explore other business ideas outside of paper goods? Yes!

Guess what? All these answers mean I’m successfully adhering to my business plan. My goals. My hopes for modernemotive. And all I had to do was step outside of my comfort zone. Of course, I don’t expect it to be easy. I’m sure I’ll be stepping on the “roller-coaster” of business many times. But this time, this year, I’m going to sit back, let my hair blow in the wind and scream in excitement. I’m ready for the ride.

Now, my question to you is… what are you going to do to step outside of your comfort zone this year?

 //  Filed under: This Self-Employed Life  //  Tagged: business, business goals, comfort zone, comfort zones, professional growth, wholesale  //  20 Comments