I want to share a bit about what's going on at the company lately. Wiksten has been around for 15 years, and the course has changed here and there over time. For years Wiksten was just me, Jenny. Then a couple of years ago I brought on a team of one more and then two. With the help of my employees I was able to accomplish so many things I'm proud of, and I feel grateful for them and that time of productivity.
One of the things I wanted to accomplish was adding more sizes to the Shift Dress + Top pattern. I've heard from so many of you saying how much you wanted that, and I was confident that with help I could accomplish it this summer. I had an employee who could draft patterns, and she was working on those new sizes with me. I did fittings for the new sizing, and I wasn't satisfied with the outcome. I have really high standards for my products, and that's why my patterns take such a long time to create. I really like to take my time to get something right. Quality has always been more important to me than quantity and speed.
The employee that was helping me ended up leaving the company a couple of months ago to pursue an education for another career, and this change in staff delayed the timeline even further. I've been asked multiple times for a release date, but the truth is that I don't know when this will be finished. I have a fit model that I love, but she lives far away and our schedules don't always match up. Sometimes it takes awhile to get together. To remedy the situation, I've found a couple of other fit models to add to the roster so that this process will be a bit easier.
I said that this project would be done this summer, and I failed to deliver. I really underestimated the time commitment for this task. I'm so sorry for the disappointment I may have caused. This project is important to me, and I'll continue to work on it until I have a product that I'm proud of. I think my customers deserve my best work rather than a quick but shoddy solution. To me, this is a classic style that will stay relevant no matter the season or year, but I do apologize if waiting has made any of you feel unimportant to my company. I'm so appreciative of my customers and do not want to exclude.
For the sake of transparency, I'll say that a lot has shifted around here lately. I'm trying to settle into the new situation and rhythm. During the past year, my company has started to outgrow my space. I work in my garage, and it's felt chaotic and tiny, overcrowded by staff and inventory. I've been really stressed. I had to go through a real period of searching to decide what to do, and in the end I realized I didn't want to rent a big office space and grow the company. I want to stay small and stay near home, so that I can be more connected with what's important to me, my family life.
After one of my employees left, I was stretched pretty thin from committing to too many projects to handle on my own. One solution to being understaffed and having a lack of space was to outsource all shipping to a fulfillment center. Now that that's in place, all the boxes are gone. I have my creative space back, and shipping is one less job we have to do in the office. What I've really needed in addition to that is just one employee to consistently handle customer service every day. Unfortunately my remaining employee wasn't able to work the hours I needed, so we've decided to part ways.
Now it's just me here in my garage for the time being while I decide what the next steps are. My daughter just started kindergarten last week, and the hours I'm available to work have decreased due to her new schedule. My work day must now end at 2:30 PM so that I can be with her.
You may have noticed me being more absent from social media. It's one of those things that takes up so much time, and I'm finding that unplugging a bit is helping me to have more connection in my life.
I've worked intense hours for years, and I no longer want to do that. I want to consciously create more balance. As I near 40 and mid-life crisis territory, I'm really coming to terms with my priorities. Fame, popularity, money, and success is not what I truly value. The people I love are the most important. They need to get the best of me, and sometimes I work so hard there's not much of me left for myself or anyone else.
What does this mean for Wiksten? I'll still be here, chugging away. The pace will be slower, but I will continue to do my best work. I will attempt to do the job with less stress and pressure and more grace toward myself. I will learn to be ok with less and not more. I'll eventually look for that customer service person who's just right, but in the meantime I'm going to take a tiny break from managing employees. So if you send an email, I'll be answering it myself.