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New Site, Writer Husband, Bookkeeping

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

No time for myself. Always something to do but I know I do it to myself. For instance, in order to avoid doing bookkeeping I started making this new site www.coolbabysheets.com and now am even further behind. But it sure is more fun than entering bill after bill. Also, added some new shirts to babywit. Some cool stuff like thermals for kids and some ultra cool rib shirts that scream style with the bitchin' stichin'.
Someone called and asked for the thread count on the sheets and I am like ummm, I don't even know. I called the manufacturers and they gave me the construction of yarns per square inch 60x60 and the size of each yarn 20 x 20. I am guessing that each yarn has 20 threads in it and there are 60 yarns per inch which makes it 1200 threads per inch which doesn't sound right. I just don't know how to convert this into a thread count that is comparable to the fabric normally used to make sheets so I decided to just send people free fabric swatches from the site.
This is the sort of thing that fills my head early in the morning after my daughter has awaken me from a deep slumber which I cannot seem to obtain once she has returned to her resting position.
My husband is driving me a bit nuts. He just got the edits to his first novel back and I don't even think he remembers writing it as it was so long ago. It is such a fanciful novel. I suppose I read it and fell even more in love with him. Magical and the language has this beat and movement to it that I can compare to Bulgakov's Master and Margarite. Hope you like it when it comes out. Should be the summer of 06. Anyways, he is simply a huge grump around the house now. Major mood shift. He hates editing. Thankfully with him training for a triathlon he gets most of his frustration out by running and swimming and biking right after editing. But, if he doesn't get his excerise in...let's just say I have been tempted to do physical harm more than once.
Kathy and Gabe are visiting today and tomorrow. I met Kathy through my birthing class. We had the same due date and we were both 11 days late. Her son Gabe and my daughter were born hours apart. He was verbal very early on and Ava had greater locomotive skills. Gabe would just sit around and comment on things while Ava climbed up walls. They are pretty cute together.
Eric and Mandy from Justice Clothing are coming to stay with us during the union tradeshow this week. It should be very interesting and I can't wait to hear their thoughts on unions and why they hate American Apparel so much. We got talked into modeling at their tradeshow OH GOD on Saturday. It should be an interesting weekend.
I am trying to negotiate Guided By Voices and Pavement but I don't know how they will do on the site so the advance I can offer is a bit insulting, especially because I want to make a really cool litho (BIG BUCKS) to put on the shirts. I am waiting to hear back. If you are interested in seeing these groups on infant shirts let me know!
Almost done with the coolbabysheets site and then I promise I will start to do my bills. I swear. I promise.

Back from the city

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I miss San Francisco. I admit it. I do. Something magical about that city. I have been pulled towards it since I first saw the GG bridge when I was 16. I had way too much fun. Seeing old friends, like Kelley Ramsey who is in a band called the Wendy Croys that are a bunch of rockers over 30 and make some fantastic music. I was blown away when I heard their first album as have a ton of reviewers...
Julie, who, as a treat, gives her dog Henry her dirty panties to eat. Stoo, who just wants to be beat up. Ben and TJ who make life more delightful by being themselves and James and Jeannette, whom I managed to stay awake with through the entire night. What an adventure. But, I came back to a pile of shirts as Kristin was still sick and had to work all night so that you folks could get your cool shirts without waiting a ridiculous amount of time. I am sick now. My body aches. I think I have strep throat. Ich. Hope I don't give it to Ava.
Also, a nice surprise. We have some new shirts that rock this world. They are luscious and thick and so cool. Will post them up this week. Sweatshop free of course.
Not much else except that we are hiring a new customer support and sales person that will take even better care of you fulfilling all your needs.
That's all for today because I am not feeling too well.

No Birthday Fun and Evil Corporations who don't consider you a person

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Had to work on my birthday and all day yesterday making shirts because Kristin's hand is still swollen. It bit. Bad. I just get so behind in doing my work whenever she is out. The books are 3 months behind and I have some new designs that are supposed to be up already and tons of calls to make, emails to answer. I don't know what to do. I think I need to hire someone who can come in whenever she is out to. A sub. Any suggestions?
My husband surprised me on my birthday which is hard to do. I haven't had any time alone for over two years so after presenting me the perfect robe (soft, sexy, warm with little black polka dots all over it...how does he do it?), some new biking gear and a large Irish Oatmeal vegan cake he began the THERE's MORE game... On the third round of asking if I thought I had gotten enough presents he presented me with an envelope. In it a trip this weekend to SF all by myself. Alone. Unencumbered. Childless. He had even made all the arrangements there with my friends. What a man, eh?
I am a bit worried about leaving all alone to fend for himself with Ava because when I went up to Seattle he managed to drop her on her head a couple of times and she is going through an 'I hate Daddy' phase but perhaps this time together will bond them.
What will I do? I can't think straight. I started pulling together some samples to bring with me to stores. Jim told me that I was not allowed to work. What will I do? Socialize? God. I don't even remember how to properly. I barely talk to people these days. All cursory and harried. The only people I have real conversations with is my old neighbor and only because she calls me on a daily basis to find out what is going on.
My sister and my friend Julie (who saw me open my legs and give birth to my daughter in a pool of bloody poop...normally I would have said shit but I am trying to consciously work on my language as Ava is quickly picking EVERY little word up and tossing it back in my face faster than I can catch and recover) both told me horrific little credit stories yesterday. Ready?


My sister is about to make an offer on a house. She is a single gal. A writer and doesn't have much of an income. She has worked diligently on maintaining a top notch credit rating. She had a squeaky clean record of over 800. Her mortgage broker calls yesterday and tells her that her rating had dropped to below 600. Apparently some panties she purchased over 6 months ago destroyed her entire life. Get this. She is buying herelf some panties and Victoria's Secret encourages her to reactivate her credit account to get a nice discount. When they reactivate it they don't keep the address on her file but replace it with the one on her Driver's License which is the address of my mom's unoccupied house in Florida.
We visit maybe once ever couple of years. The post office there refuses to forward any mail and doesn't return any of it. It just sits there in limbo until someone picks it up. (I have lost more than a few checks and my husband had to have his W-2 reissued because they wouldn't forward it.) The Alachua Florida post office is truly the worst post office in the entire US of A. I promise. I could tell you horror stories of what we had to deal with when we stayed in Alachua (we ran out of $ in SF so retreated to FL to regain our footing before moving to Portland.) Not only is it a totally corrupt little town run by rich, southern white men (our power bill was over $200 during a month when we ran only the stove and the washer dryer), the houses running through the town are all tract housing, cinder blocks, rectangular and my mom's house (she bought it after her divorce) sits directly across from a newly forming sink hole.
Anyway, to continue, Victoria's Secret turned it over to a collection agency because they never received any return mail and the collection agency refuses to remove the seriously overdue delinquency. The only thing they will do is show it as paid. She cried and pleaded and begged but what she got was hung up on and yelled at for not taking care of her responsibility. So now my sister cannot buy this house as the interest rate she would qualify for would make her monthly payments too high for her salary.
Julie's story with the Bank of America:

Sorry for the unsolicited advice, but if anyone has a

credit card with Bank of America, you might want to

read this.



I just had a terrible (and costly) experience with

them. Two years ago I paid off and *thought* I had

closed my credit card account with them, and came to

discover yesterday that they never closed my credit

card account, let it accrue hundreds of dollars in

interest and late fees, and sold the account to a

collection agency. It was then sold 3 other times to

different collection agencies, and by the time I

tracked it down (which took hours) I had accrued

almost $500 in interest. And in order to fix my

credit, I had to pay it off.



I never received ANYTHING in the mail about this (and

unfortunately, kept no records that I had closed the

account).



And the kicker is that the last collection agent I

spoke with told me that B of A - and I quote - "does

this all the time".



B of A won't do anything about it because they sold

the account, and claim they don't even have records of

it anymore. The collection agencies won't do anything

about it because they say they don't have any details

about the account activity before they bought it. The

account just exists in some limbo land and no one will

take responsibility for it.





WOW!

Birthday Today

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I am listening to the Decemberists and drinking coffee at our square dining room table this birthday morning.
About our table, it neatly fills the width and length of our entire squarish dining room and looks quite stately in a friendly farmhouse sort of way. One winter morning when our alarm went of accidentally (Igor, our 14 lb dog managed to set off a pet proof alarm more than a couple of times) the police showed up at 6 am and did a walk through of our house. As the female officer walked up to the dining room she ooooohed out loud at the table. The table was settled in some incredible backlighting from the infamous tikki/karaoke lounge directly next to hour home. It's girth made it nearly impossible for Jim and I to carry it up the front stoop. If only there had been too long, sheer curtains floating in the air as she passed by them it would have been a complete showcase scene.
Yesterday I somehow ended up in Smash's cutting chair (She is absolutely the best hair stylist I have ever been to. She has a gift with that straight edge. After she did Jim's hair I let her take a stab at hacking off my long locks. She went to work on my head and as I felt my hair being sawed at I saw large chunks of my hair being tossed haphazardly here and there. She whipped the chair around. I gasped. I never thought I would dig my hair that short. She works at Bishops on 28th, a starting point for most young hair stylists. This is where they start to build up a clientele before moving into their own gig. All throughout the experience people kept coming in requesting her services. She built up a client base so fast she is already headed for greener pastures.) for my haircut and color. It being my birthday and all tomorrow I decided to throw 4 colors into my hair. Red, copper, purple and a bit of bleach. You would think ugh but as usual, Smash worked her magic and everyone in the Salon breathed admiration my direction. Wow. Who would have thought that mishmash of coloring would have come out to be anything except some horrendous rainbow? I love Smash. Really.
I didn't really want to work today it being my birdday and all but Kristin's thumb looked truly horrific yesterday and she still isn't in. I think I may be pressing shirts today. I actually enjoy making the shirts. Sometimes I crack up out loud imagining the babies in some of these shirts. I think my favorite thing (other than applying a new design that came out really well) is seeing the pictures of the babies wearing our shirts. The best orders always come from dads who have a feeling that their wives will not let their child leave the house wearing a bad ass mother fucker shirt but they can't help but order it anyway in hopes they can sneak it in or from the women with a sense of humor attending showers and bestowing upon the new mother to be "He Thinks He's My Daddy". Indeed a classic shower gift in my opinion.
Off to make shirts and much more.

Taxes, Daycare, New CDs, Pricing

Monday, April 11, 2005

Taxes. We didn't pay a dime last year because we didn't make anything. This year is a bit different because people finally found our site so the tax bill this April is for an entire year plus a quarter. Empty out the pockets and pay into a doomed 'personal' retirement plan. The bill is fat and unwieldy for a new business. Today we write out the checks.
We have a fantastic daycare setup. A family coop that I got into by throwing out ads craigs way. There are three other families besides us and all the children are around the same age. We got together and found probably the best nanny anyone could possibly hope for. She wants to be a midwife. You can just feel her love wrapping itself around your babies. We adore her.
We rotate between all our houses three days a week in the mornings. The cost is about half of what one would pay for regular daycare plus these four toddlers are the best of friends. Ava spins and whirls around in endless circles singing the Ukiah, Oscar, Avery and Berlin Hoppy Birdday song at the very top of her oversized lustful two year old lungs. HOPPY BIRDDAY TO UKIAH HOPPY BIRDDAY TO OSCAR HOPPY BIRDDAY TO VEEE AND BERLEE... You get the idea. We all attend each other's birthday parties and of course share every conceivable illness btwn the four families.
Kristin came in today with her thumb swollen to twice its size. She just woke up with it that way. Not too many shirts going out today. If yours is late coming in the mail just think of poor Kristin with her swollen thumb.
Went up to Seattle last week and got some amazing new fabrics coming your way. First I will try to wholesale them and see how they do before continuing on with the bedding. I just think they look absolutely fabulous but the entire wholesale/retail market makes pricing so impossible. Basically, one has to decide as a manufacturer whether or not to focus on retail or wholesale. If one chooses the retail market, one better have access to a gigantic audience. You need to be well established with either your own brick and mortar stores or have an amazon like reach over the net (millions of views.) The wholesale market is the one everyone tries to get into because this is where the volume comes in. You pay a few thousands to go to these shows where store owners cruise for new goods or you get a sales rep with a showroom in these markets to show your wares. Only problem is the pricing bites. Here is how it works without a sales rep...with a store rep add on an additional 15%:
You make your goods and say it cost you between $12 and $15 just to make it. You then double that and sell it to retailers for $24 to $30. They in turn, at a minimum, double that price and sell it in their shops. If you have an online site your prices must be at least double your wholesale costs or no retailer will buy it as they do not want to compete with your online store. So, online you have to sell your $12 to $15 goods for at least $48 to $60. Retailers actually have to charge this much simply to keep their doors open. They wield a gigantic variable overhead with rent, employees, utilities, and think of all the money spent on keeping the store looking like some place someone would want to drop $45 for a sheet. But, you need to be in these stores. So, yes, I get it but if you wonder why the prices on some sites are so much higher than others it is because they are trying to sell their goods to wholesalers. Other sites either have a gargantuan reach on the Internet, have a brick and mortar or just don't need to make any $ or have a product that isn't going to make it in a store.
UPS showed up today with my package from Aquarius records in SF. Best record shop with the most amazing newsletter (thanks Cook.) Got the newly released unrest which I haven't listened to in 10 years. I suddenly feel briter whiter newer and a bit tinny. Hmmm

Purpose of this Blog

Sunday, April 10, 2005

I thought I had forgotten how to write. Thought I had forgotten a lot of things. Like how to feel halfway human when the sun comes up. Everyday I sport sweatpants and a t-shirt. Most days my sweatpants are covered in food like particles before I even walk out the door. An embarrassing moment was when my girlfriend told me (with more decorum than I am sure the situation warranted as she had taken me out to lunch) that I should really try to at least wear CLEAN sweatpants when out and about. And, I have to admit that some nights, perhaps most nights, I fall into bed wearing these same sweatpants and t-shirt. So gross I know.
I started a blog a while back but didn't know what I wanted it to be. I finally decided that this blog shall be more of a personal diary focused on running a very small business, caring for a toddler and trying to learn how to be a better human (ideally, Mother Theresa, realistically just someone who thinks more about others.)
What this is not. This is not a business log. This will not have a business focus although I will discuss my beliefs about unionized labor and the trials and tribulations of trying to bring a union made shirt to market. I will probably rant about mishaps at work, truly trying customers and vendors who cause me grief. I will eulogize Kristin, my wonderful employee who has the word ACTIVIST tattooed on her arm and who not only runs the production end of things but polices (I am sure she would hate me using that verb) Baby Wit to ensure that we are conducting ourselves in an ethical and socially responsible manner, generates ideas like purchasing biodegradable mailers, recycling as much waste as possible, pushing for using union made shirts, using organics, checking the materials in our products for safety and much, much more.
I will also discuss my wunderkind Ava, my creative husband Jim, my faithful companion Igor, my new Portland friends, my old SF friends, the Internet, books and music. So, truthfully, this is my freakin' personal diary and my way of trying to humanize myself again. Over the past two years with having a baby and starting a new business I have had little time to feel myself. It occurred to me one morning upon waking that I don't dream much anymore. Literally. At night. No dreams. I work through much of the day in a numb state. I just act to get things done. All the many things on my endlessly long list.
So, this diary, this here is my little piece of sanity. If you feel like joining me in my search for it please feel free. Commentary is of course, welcome but if you have something negative to say, please expect to hear back from me as I was a rhetoric major in college.
Peace and Love but mostly Love,
ARF