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On a Break

02/01/18

Alesya Bags is officially on a break.  But first – please hear this loud and clear:

Thank you for being a client.  For following me along on this journey.  For your likes on social media.  For your high fives in airport.  You made it all worth it.  Your support is the very best part.

To hear the behind-the-scenes dirty details please continue.

THE STRAW

Last summer while on a family trip, I received a note from partner who’d never charged me more than $400.  “We found some extra invoices, should we send them to the same address?”  Seemed innocent enough, “Just email them,” I replied.

Eight attachments and over $10,000 later I locked myself in the bathroom to dial the east coast factory.  “Susan, what is this?”  The accountant on the other end of the phone was sympathetic.

Yes, she knew the invoices were a year and half old.  They’d been ‘sitting on the owner’s desk.’  The business was closing after the founder – the current owner’s father – had passed away.

Listening to her excuses I could feel the heat rise from my stomach and pour out of my face.  With purposeful budgeting, Alesya Bags was in the black.  You can’t plan for everything while running a business.  But as my father would say, it hit me where it really counted – in my bank account.

After a ranting call to a colleague he talked me off the ledge.  “How much is this vacation you’re on costing you?  And you aren’t upset about that number right?  And you have enough money to pay this bill and be done with it?  Alesya.  Pull it together.”

He was right.  Over the next six months I negotiated the bill to half.  But I wondered – why did this bother me so much?

 

MANUFACTURING

This final straw highlighted my dislike of the manufacturing process.  It’s a big, expensive risk every time.  It’s best to be in the factory often.  If I lived in Boston this would be a different discussion.

To be fair, as a small company placing small orders it’s a risk for the factory as well.  They spend just as much time and expense setting up your process and training employee as they would for any order.  Rather than this fixed cost amortized over  tens of thousands of pieces, its spread over a smaller amount.  There’s also a greater chance that a smaller company will go out of business.

To really run an excellent bag company alone the making of the product should be my favorite thing.  But it’s not.  Instead I love hearing from clients, marketing, sales, negotiating and working with creative partners.  My interests are backwards as a solo entrepreneur.

 

SOLO VENTURE

A huge part of the fun of work for me are the people.  Seeing them succeed or celebrating wins together.  Getting over the collective hump as a group.  I’m yearning to work on a kick ass team again.

MY DAD

It’s hard for me to include my father on this list. He would certainly be unhappy to see it. While reading “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg I had a light bulb moment. One I wish I’d had years ago.

Sheryl says when you have a traumatic event, you lose confidence at work. Fighting pancreatic cancer and grieving my dad’s death took away my stable footing.  Making decisions felt uneasy and joyless. Then I beat myself up for feeling this way.

Read Sheryl’s book.  Dealing with grief and building up resiliency is a skill we can all use.  Give yourself a pass or five.  You’ve earned them. You’ll be feeling better about yourself and your work faster when you do.

 

FAQ’S ABOUT WHAT’S NEXT

Are there any Alesya Bags left in stock?

No.  If you want a card case I can rustle one up, but otherwise I’m sold out. But thank you for asking. I get requests weekly and always appreciate them.

Will Alesya Bags ever be made again?

I hope so.

I had a Taylor Swift moment of “No – NEVER EVER will I do this again” but with space I feel differently.  If I had the right team including someone with a deep leather background, someone to invest and someone(s) to work with daily I’d be launching a new collection.

In fact I may be working on something now.  (Ahem – any relevant updates will be found here.)

Also I’d considering selling the company.  Both laptop bags have a market and I’d love to see them on talented women again.  There have been offers to buy Alesya Bags and to invest but none of them have been right for me.

 

 

What have you doing? 

This post is the last step in closing this chapter of Alesya Bags.  I’ve ended relationships with much appreciation, sold remaining stock and literally picked up the leather pieces.

While thinking about my own career I worked with Leigh Webber Photography, Distil Union and Mason Hosker.   Also I’ve had a lot of fun working with Erika Firm on the rebranding for this site, The Power Lunch.  Each experience taught me more while deepening my relationships with these entrepreneurs.  You’ll hear about each one in the coming months here on the blog.

I also took some time to be with my family.  My girls are 8 and 5 and most days it’s a pleasure to soak in their interests and concerns.   Also I’ve been able to travel with my husband Josh without taking my laptop.  Truly a revelation.

However, after much discussion and a thrown pot or two (yes seriously, I will tell you the full story at some point after you buy me a drink) I figured out some people are meant to be stay at home parents and I’m not one of them.  Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman’s character in ‘Big Little Lies’ sum it up well:

 

 

What’s next for you?  The billion dollar question.

Today The Power Lunch relaunches as a marketing blog.  One marketing idea each weekday and how you can use it.  It will be a space for business owners and marketers to be inspired.  Start here to learn more.

Also I continue to take project work helping business owners, marketing teams and other awesome people.  It’s time and I’m anxious to be back in the game.  Shoot me a note or check out my resume if you’d like to talk further.

Please, if I can help you – with your career, with your business, with anything – please reach out.  I’d be delighted to hear from you.

 

 

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2 Responses to “On a Break”

  1. I wish you all the best in what you do next. And my condolences on losing your Dad. I know what you’re going through. I have one of your original bags, and I have to say, it is still my favorite. You are a truly talented person and wish you the best in whatever your next is.

  2. Miss you so much. I I’m happy you took a break. There is a lot of women that support you and know you are an Amazing woman. Following your work and all you do. Have a blessed Power Lunch re-launched. Can’t wait to read more from you. You inspire me

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