Some people dream about much sexier things but this morning I woke up from a dream about business. It was a good dream I didn’t want to wake up. I had a big slick office with a full staff and I was interviewing people. I’m a big believer in visualizing things in order to make them happen. Success is not really luck, you pick a goal, you visualize that goal happening and then you make it happen. I even saw a fascinating 20/20 on the whole thing once. All I could find from the episode was a fun little clip about a guy named Scott who wears a name tag all the time.
In other news yesterday as I clicked around on the internet setting up press coverage and sponsorships for Stitch I stumbled upon 2 little press goodies with me. First I did a story with Cut Out + Keep called “Hot music tips on what you should be listening to from your favourite bands, celebrities and the indie kid next door.”
“Just bought The Sex Pistols at the Denver airport, my hubby Chris Boehk just had a new solo CD come out, I recently downloaded quite a bit of Steely Dan and Billy Bragg. The ole My Space profile just got switched to The Gossip. I saw Christopher Cross play last month and I’m buying Def Leppard tickets for the end of the summer. Others I’m toe tapping to are Girl in a Coma, Silversun Pickups and Plastic Little.”
That Def Leppard concert is next Wednesday and it is so going to rock!
Also while perusing one of my favorite blogs Indie Shopping I found an interview I did with these guys earlier this summer.
How did you get your start?
Naughty Secretary Club started as an online zine with band interviews and craft tips. Eventually I started making resin jewelry and selling it through my friend Tina’s web site Sparkle Craft. Eventually she and I hooked up with a newbie to Austin named Jenny Hart who was starting a business called Sublime Stitching and we started talking about business. The more we talked the more our respective businesses grew and one by one within about a year of each other we were able to quit our day jobs and work on our crafty businesses full time.
What was the first item you ever made?
If you mean as Jennifer Perkins I found a letter at my grandmothers house I wrote in about 3rd grade explaining the crocheted necklace I had sent her. She was to tape it to the back of her neck to hold it in place according to my instructions. As Naughty Secretary Club my first piece of jewelry was a resin bracelet with linking cubes. It was at the height of the WWJJD (What Would Joan Jett Do) trend. The WWD each had their own cubes with hot pink leopard skin felt in the background of the resin and little letter stickers floating on top. The JJ cube was a picture of Joan Jett.
Do you have any formal training?
I once took a class at a local bead store just to learn the basics of wire wrapping. I debate taking some formal classes, but it is hard to find the time.
When and why did you create your business?
About 5 years ago I was a secretary at a telephone company here in Austin. I had a lot of free time and had always written zines in high school and college so a zine seemed like the perfect time killer while at the office. The difference was that Naughty Secretary Club was my first online zine where the others had been print. While Naughty Secretary Club the zine was going full steam ahead with interviews of bands like The Faint and Spoon I decided to revisit one of my favorite hobbies, jewelry making. Lucky for me people liked my jewelry and after a feature in Bust magazine so many orders poured in I didn’t have a choice but to give 3 days notice at my day job. So my business got started to keep me occupied and entertained at my day job and somehow eventually became my day job.
What is the best part of running your own business?
That I am typing this interview in my pajamas. Well that is not the best part, but it is top 10 best things about the job. I love making jewelry and doing creative things and it is so unbelievably awesome that it is my job. I never in a million years thought I would get to be creative full time. I have a psychology degree I thought I was going to be a shrink for a living, not a jewelry designer and a craft show host. Through this I have been able to meet so many amazing creative people like the lovely ladies of the Austin Craft Mafia. On the set of Craft Lab I get to meet like 3 craft pros a day when filming. When we are doing the Stitch Fashion Show and Craft Bazaar vendors come in from all over the country that I get to chat with. So one of the best parts of my job is all the awesome crafty peeps I get to meet.
and the worst?
Running a business is hard and unfortunately being creative and business savvy do not always go hand in hand. Work is never over. When I was a secretary at 5:30 I left and did not look back until I hit my desk the next morning. With Naughty Secretary Club it is always there in the back of my mind, it never goes away, there are always things that could be done and fixed. Plus my office is in my home so work never really leaves.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspiration from everything. I just recently attended a Vivian Westwood exhibit that had my head spinning with inspiration. During SXSW there were so many trendy and hip girls walking the streets working their individual styles that I wanted to take notes. There is no one place that I get inspiration from I just make sure to stay conscious of my surroundings and try to take everything in.
Who is your favorite indie designer?
Eeek I can’t choose just one. Without sounding biased I love my sister’s label Hot Pink Pistol. I have clothing, jewelry and purses that she has hand painted that I get accosted about when I wear out. I really think Karly Hand of Identity Crisis Clothing has amazing talent and a great eye for trends. When you know how to make your own clothing and jewelry it makes it hard to buy it from other people so I always hold in high regard the designers who prompt me to get my wallet out. Some people I have scored goodies from are: Tatty Devine, Blood is the New Black, Charcoal Designs, Monica Burnett, Model Citizen, Happy Owl Glass, Otter Otto and Ramonster Wear. There are tons of people out there who I love and admire and if I had a million dollars to spend would load up on their goodies.
What one thing couldn’t you live without?
Diet Coke and a computer.
What music/books are you into right now?
Well I am fresh off of SXSW here in Austin so my musical taste is all over the place. At the festival I saw The Pipettes, Amy Whinehouse, The Federation, Kid Sister � man I could go on. I am going through a hip hop phase right now listening to lots of Plastic Little and Spank Rock. Book wise on a recent trip to San Francisco I loaded up on tons of Japanese Craft, fashion and home decor books that I am smitten on. So I am not exactly reading them since they are Japanese, I am more like looking at the pictures.
You’ve been very successful at selling your designs online, what advice would you give to other designers trying to sell online?
I used to always say it is so easy to start a website and there is no excuse not to do it. Now with Etsy even more so. There is NO excuse if you are crafty and interested in selling your wares � get your butt over to ETSY like yesterday. Even I have an ETSY shop now (www.naughtysecretaryclub.etsy.com) selling Crafty Curios. Selling online is awesome because you don’t have any overhead like at a traditional bricks and mortar store. It costs what maybe $10 a month for web hosting? Plus online you can reach people all over the world with your product. Once you have a website or an Etsy store remember that is only half the battle, you have to let people know about your website. This is where links and such come into play. I ran my business just fine and dandy without taking out the pay ads like I do now just based on links with other websites.
Where do you hope you/your business will be in 5 years?
I am always looking ahead with my business; my worst fear is to have to go back to a day job. After working from home for 5 years there is no going back. I would like to expand Naughty Secretary Club to carry other lines and other items beyond jewelry. More like a one stop shop for kitschy goodness. I would like to move the business out of my house and hire some more people to help keep me better organized. I hope that Craft Lab is still going full stream ahead on DIY Network. I also hope that Stitch has become a household name synonymous with awesome fashion and crafts. I am working on a book at this very moment so in 5 years hopefully I will have a few titles under my belt.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I’m not sure if it is advice that I received or instinctually knew already from running my own record label (Has Anyone Ever Told You?). I learned early on that marketing is every bit as important as product. I say this again and again in interviews, but it is totally true.