Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Are you an organized fashion designer?

I don't know about you, but I have a really hard time keeping my work space neat and organized. I feel more creative when I have an uncluttered work area, but I rarely have one. When I do clean it, its right back to a mess within a week. Its weird how a disorganized or messy space can create "clutter" in your creativity.

My friend Amie is a feng shui guru. She is the Executive Director of Abundant Space, a feng shui and organizing service. Last summer she helped me organize my office and gave me some great tips for a creative studio. I asked if she would be a "guest blogger" today to share some organizing tips to help "creative types" work to their full potential.

Guest Writer: Amie Crouch, Abundant Space

If you are the creative type (which I m sure most of you are) getting organized is probably about as fun as getting a root canal. Try to change your perception of getting organized! Getting organized can be fun! Think of it as a creative outlet for self expression, instead of a task that has been hanging over your head for months. Also, it does make a difference. If I had a dollar for every time one of my clients has said “So that is where that is” I would be very rich. People spend a year of their lives looking for misplaced items!! Use your energy to create and design not to locate things you have misplaced.

Organizing can be a way to bring color, art and creative design into your office environment. Because you are designers you will have to think design when organizing. Remember the key is to get systems that work for you in place so you never return to an uncluttered state again. However, you want to keep visual stimulus to a minimum. This is what I call minimizing movie floor syndrome. If you go to see a movie, look at the floor and notice how carnival like it is and how it is hard to look at and keep your concentration. So, when you are organizing your like items together, select containers covered in neutrals. It will allow you to create without wasting energy looking at the contents of your storage bins. Martha Stewart claims she has to work in a completely neutral and white environment and gradually brings color in as she comes up with material for her show. That makes sense.

If you follow the Formula for Success below gaining and maintaining control of your space will be an easy task. So roll up your sleeves and move forward with enthusiasm. Keep a positive attitude, knowing you can accomplish this step by step. Empower yourself!
Formula for Success

S Space purpose

U Un-clutter all of the items that do not belong
C Clear out the items that do not belong
C Create systems using containers
E Each container is labeled
S Send unwanted items away: relocate, recycle, donate or toss
S Systems evaluation every quarter

Here is how to execute each step:

Space Purpose
Decide the purpose of your space. Most of the time this is obvious, but you will be surprised how many offices have become catch-all’s or multi-purpose spaces. If you have your studio or office in your home, do not to let other items clutter your creative energy. I remember consulting with one of my clients who was a financial advisor. She wanted to become a creative memories consultant. I looked at her space and 95% of it was financial materials and in a dark corner was a DUSTY stack of material for Creative Memories still in boxes. I asked her what % of business in the next year she wanted to be scrap booking and she said at least 80%. Her environment told another story! Be sure the message you are sending to the universe matches your intentions. (That is my feng shui certification coming through)

Un-clutter all of the items that do not belong
Start removing anything that does not belong in the designated room you are working on. Do this step quickly without thinking about where the items are going to be relocated. Do not get caught up in sentiment at this point~ just clear out what does not belong.

Clear out the items that do not belong
Start sorting like items together in another location. By sorting all of the like items together it will let you know what kind of organizational solutions you are going to need based on size. Find out what needs a home. For example, markers, stickers and scissors can all be placed in a large jar, small box or flat clear bin marked “Art Supplies”

Create systems using containers
A common mistake you can make is to purchase bins before you know what you are going to need. If possible wait until you get to this step before you buy anything. This step is critical because you want to evaluate what type of containers, pouches, crates, etc. you need to create usable solutions. Also, when you are deciding what you need think of growth. Pick solutions that will work for you at the stage you want to be! Organize for the future as if you are already there. For example, a client of mine I was working with showed me her client file. I could not have fit my pinkie in between any file it was so packed. The message she is sending to the universe is that she does not need any new opportunities or clients because she is already full. Plan for where you are going.

Each container is labeled
It is very important to label your containers and areas. Even if it is obvious at first what is supposed to be stored there, let the label clearly communicate your intent. Using a label maker especially for files really looks sharp and creates uniformity. The investment is small and the result is spectacular.

Send unwanted items on their way: relocate, recycle, donate or toss
One of the key components of the success model is to actually bring whatever items you are relocating, recycling or donating to the final destination. Having bags sitting in a pile in the corner or lined up in the garage is self-defeating and will create more stress. When you start each room have a plan that day to go to the recycling area or to the donation center. After you have completed a room-reward yourself! Self gratitude is extremely important because it will give you a sense of accomplishment! Live light!

Systems evaluation every quarter
Re-evaluating your systems you are currently using is really important. You want to find out what is working and what is not working. You might just need to tweak a storage solution or add another few files to your system but make sure you evaluate your progress. The best way to do this is to access the state of your office and find out what has fallen through the cracks. What can be better? What piles are starting to form again?

Here are a couple of Feng Shui Tips to use once you are organized:

1. In the SE corner of your desk (if possible) place a healthy, rounded leaf plant to symbolize prosperity and success.

2. On a red piece of construction paper create a prosperity board with images of what you want to attract for the year. You could have a picture of a fashion show or a great designers website.

3. The center of your desk should always remain clear so you can invite new opportunities in.

4. Add a water feature in your North corner of your office to represent career success!

Good luck and remember:

“Luck is the residue of design” Branch Rickley

Take care, Amie


Thank you Amie! BTW, she does online consulting if you are needing a little help getting yourself organized!

Have a fashionable day!


Monday, July 30, 2007

Research before jumping into a tradeshow!

A few years ago I wasted money on a tradeshow that I had no business exhibiting in. It was at the Women's Apparel and Accessories market at the Denver Merchandise Mart. Now, the DMM is not a bad place to sell goods, but the show was not right for what I was trying to accomplish...another example of my lack of research getting the best of me (and my wallet!). This was way back when I was still making the Denney bags myself out of fabric.

The show cost me $2400.00. I should have walked it beforehand or asked more questions before signing up. It was completely dead almost the whole three days. The only buyers that came in had appointments already set up with the few sales reps that were exhibiting. There were maybe 10-15 booths. I really just sat there for 3 days and tried not to be embarrased. There was a guy in the booth right across from me selling a women's line of clothing. He had several appointments during the three days, but they were clearly with buyers he had already been working with. Most of the time we just sat and stared at each other. I'm sure he was thinking "who is this girl, why is she here...obviously she's new at this".

I was pretty proud of my booth though. I bought a couple coat racks to hang my handbags. And then I bought a couple yards of purple fabric, putting shoe boxes underneath it on the table so I could create different levels for the bags to sit on. I also made little homemade "lookbooks". I made a TON of them. They were small, but I made each one by hand. Not sure what I was thinking there. I still have a HUGE box of them! But they were very cute. I used some textured paper that I bought at Hobby Lobby and then poked holes in all the pages and tied them together with a piece of raffeta. I was in tears trying to get them done the night before the show. Not sure I would use that type of marketing material at a New York show, but hey, I was still learning. The show wasn't a complete loss. I did get one sale. Only one sale. But it was a sale, right?

If you are thinking of doing a local show (especially if you're located outside of NY, LA, Atlanta, Dallas or Florida), try and walk it before signing up. Make sure there will be traffic, not just any traffic, but the right kind of traffic. If you do sign up, its nice if you can get a list of attendees ahead of time so you can send invitations and set appointments with buyers before the show. I don't think all shows provide that, but the some do. I did get a list of attendees for the Denver show ahead of time and it was useful. If nothing else, I had a list of buyers with their store name and address. If you're going to invest a good chunk of money in a show, I would suggest looking into the bigger shows in Atlanta, NY, LA or Dallas. Buyers usually flock to these cities to find lines to place in their store. Of course, then you add travel to your costs.

To do a New York City show, you're looking at $5000 at a minimum. That doesn't include travel costs. That is for 3 days. Three days to make an impression with your line. Personally, I spent several thousand dollars to get all my professional samples made. Once I had them, I could not afford to do a tradeshow without going into debt even further. That stopped me in my tracks. But you can't really stop there. If you want to sell wholesale, you have to get in front of the buyers and do shows. But who has this kind of money?

fashionCEO is setting out to solve this problem for emerging designers. Stay tuned to hear more about this later in the week (how is that for a teaser)!!

Have a fashionable day!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Taking your creative thinking outside the box

I love it when I see designs that surprise me. Its just so cool. I recently checked out the website of a fashionCEO member named Martha. She has a line of handbags called Unico. But these aren't just any bags. Each bag is an interesting combination of recyclable materials. I still can't figure out how she makes them, but I sure am impressed. Check them out...

Potato chip bags, candy wrappers, you name it and Martha has probably used it in one of her fabulous creations.

It just goes to show that its important to think outside the box and try different things. Who says a bag has to be made of pebbled leather or a necklace has to be made of your standard jewel. Let your mind go wild! Be creative. I think all of us designers are creative, but we often feel like we have to go with the standard, because that's what the industry expects of us. Raise the bar and push the envelope. I think anytime you do something a little different and unexpected...that's when people really take notice.

Make people take notice of YOUR work!


(photos by Unico)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Does location really matter in fashion?

Last May I walked the Designers and Agents show in NYC. I just wanted to see the space, how the booths were set up and the price points of the exhibitors. I picked up the little booklet that listed all the exhibitors and their contact information. I was surprised (well sort of) to see that about 95% of the exhibitors had either LA or NYC addresses. I started to wonder if it looked "better" to buyers if you had a California or New York address. Does the address matter? I live in Denver, part of the "flyover zone". Most famous designers probably only know Denver because they have to fly through DIA to get to Aspen.

I know alot of the exhibitors are showrooms or reps, so that would make sense that they would be on the coasts, but even the designers that were being represented were based in California or New York. Was that going to make a difference when I wanted a Bergdorf Goodman or Bendel's buyer to notice my line? At the time, I really thought yes. I even contemplated getting a PO Box in LA just so I could have the address on my marketing material. I wanted to fit in with the rest of the cool kids.

Since then I've met some really great designers (especially since launching fashionCEO) that live in the flyovers and I've changed my opinion. With the power of the internet and the increase in online stores out there, I don't really think it matters. The internet has opened so many doors to those of us not living in a fashion hub. Look at the beauty of Etsy and Stylebakery or Buss Buss. You can live anywhere and be successful with your line. Here in Denver we have some incredible designers such as Sara Gabriel, Alisa Benay, Ollie Sang, JP Lizzy and Laura Bella . In fact, that is one of the main reasons I launched fashionCEO. I wanted to bring inside fashion information to those designers not living near the fashion meccas. Talent exists in every state and every city, big or small.

While being successful outside a fashion hub is certainly possible, it will require more traveling to get to the tradeshows, suppliers, or industry events. But that can be part of the fun too. I always need an excuse to go to NYC. But I always love coming home to Colorado (I love my Broncos).

By the way, I applied to be an exhibitor at D&A twice and didn't get in either time. I had coffee with Lauren Chlebowski of Ollie Sang and she told me how hard it is to get into D&A, and not to give up.

Carve your own path and blaze your own trail!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Finding mistakes with your handbag designs ahead of time

They say hindsight is 20/20. For me, hindsight cost about $5K. But hey, learning can be expensive.

I've used two different sewing factories to make my handbag samples in the last year. One in LA and one in NYC. As I've mentioned before, it will save you alot of time and money if you fix any design errors in the sketching process, before having your pattern and sample made. It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out, but in the excitement of launching your own line, you can get carried away and move too fast. I'm not a patient person, which is my biggest weakness. I moved too fast.

First things first, before you hire a factory, make sure their quality is top notch. Don't subtle because they are cheaper or more conveniently located. Quality is the most important (well, and good labor practices). Below is a picture of one of my "Mini-Denney's"...really cute (if I say so myself) handbags I designed. I'll get to the design errors in a minute. First, look at the corner of this bag.

See how the corner is kind of bunched up? It's not smooth. Now look at the corner of one of my other bags made at a different factory.

This is a perfect corner. See the difference in the quality? Here's another picture below of the bad corner bag. It's probably hard to see in the picture, but the corners are not square. The right corner is slightly higher than the left because that horizontal seam isn't perfectly straight.

Inspect your samples carefully, whether its clothing or bags or whatever. Make sure it lives up to your expectations. You should have perfection.

If you sew bags or clothing yourself, then I assume you know how to sew and you don't need me (someone who sucks at sewing) to tell you how to do it. Just make sure its perfect or find someone who can do it perfectly for you.

Dale Lindholm with Pure Accessories showroom in NYC spoke with fashionCEO last month. He deals with buyers everyday from Henri Bendels, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and so on. He said that buyers look at EVERY little detail of a handbag, especially if its a new line. According to Dale, store buyers will inspect the seams, hardware, how the zippers move, everything. So don't skimp on quality if you want people to take your line seriously.

Now let's look at my design mistakes (do we have to?). I'm swallowing my pride here! The picture below is a bird's eye view into a leather briefcase bag I designed. It's a larger bag designed to hold folders, laptop, pens, etc. It has a center divider and lots of interior pockets. Not a cheap design. Problem is I have a snap as the closure. The snap is attached to each side of the bag. That would normally be okay, but once you throw in a laptop, tons of folder, daytimer, etc, the bag doesn't close. If you have to slide that baby under an airplane seat (which I've done), your stuff could slide out with it. I spent about $750 for the pattern and sample for this bag. Then I went and had 15 made (couple grand)! All before realizing this little flaw.

Certainly this can be fairly easily fixed, but I should have fixed it a little earlier in the process. (I still love the bag and use it anyway). I had that same issue on another design. I took it to the factory and they fixed it by adding a flap with a snap.

Its still a tote, but now even if this bag is full, one end of the snap will reach the other.

And lastly, and this one hurt, because I really love this bag. I had a bunch of these made (oops) before realizing my design mistake here. This bag would be perfect (I've had tons of compliments on it), but can you guess what's wrong with it?

The zipper doesn't come down far enough on the sides...and since the top is shorter than the bottom, it makes it hard to get your hand in the bag. And the zipper I ordered (yes I'm guilty of this) was metal and cheap so it scratches your hand when you go to grab something in the bag! (don't get me started on zippers...you know how I now feel about cheap zippers). BTW, I have about 200 of those zippers. Would you like some? I'll give ya some. Don't buy cheap zippers.

Well, I hope this was helpful. It's always a learning process, so you can't beat yourself up with mistakes. I did it many times, but I had to stop. You learn and keep moving forward.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fashionpreneurs Willing to Share Startup Stories

Over the weekend I transcribed an interview we did with Wendy Barry, founder of JP Lizzy for fashionCEO. It was really refreshing to hear her story. In case you're not familiar with JP Lizzy, its a really cute line of fashionable baby bags. Wendy started the line when her twins were just months old. Can you imagine? She obviously has some serious time management skills. But she did it and the line has become a huge success. What I love about Wendy is her overall attitude about the business. She says she is mainly a stay-at-home mom. She doesn't live and breathe her business, yet it has been thriving since she launched the line over 5 years ago. She worked hard for it, don't get me wrong, but she worked at her own pace, developed business relationships and before long sales reps were seeking her out. Check out the rest of Wendy's interview on the main fashionCEO site.

Okay, one more tidbit from Wendy's interview and then you must go to the main site to read the rest! Working on Denney Bags, I often wanted to find unique fabric prints for my line that no one else had. I've always wondered how designers create their own fabrics. Well, Wendy shed a little light on that. She went to the Printsource show in NYC to find designs for her fabrics. Printsource is a tradeshow where textile designers exhibit their styles. You flip through their fabric designs and pick the ones you want. You pay for each design (I have no idea the price) and then its yours exclusively. The trick is then to find a manufacturer who can actually print the design on the fabric. She uses a factory in China that can make her fabric and her bags. That's one way to make sure no one else has the same fabric as you!

Here are a couple JP Lizzy baby bags...cute huh?

Its really nice to see successful designers share their startup stories with emerging designers. We've interviewed Rebecca Minkoff, Liz Lange and Wendy Barry now and every one of them have been incredibly open and honest about how they got started. Some people are so guarded, but I've been fortunate to find really great designers willing to share and help others. My goal is to continue that trend. I've got a few good ones coming up...so stay tuned!Is there a designer you'd like to read about? Let us know who it is and we'll track them down!

Have a fashionable day!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Nolcha Fashion Week Opportunity

If you are trying to get some exposure for your line to a good crowd of people, I suggest looking into this opportunity from Nolcha. Like fashionCEO, Nolcha caters to the needs of independent fashion designers. They are having their own NYC fashion week in September. This is a great event and I would encourage any designer looking to go big, to check it out. Here's the blurp on this particular opportunity:

"Have your company branding exposed to the movers and shakers of the fashion and media industry.

Opportunity to have logo placement on large screen (8ft x 6ft) strategically placed at the exclusive launch event of Metier Magazine hosted during Nolcha Fashion Week: NYC.

The Event: On September 8th 2007, 7pm, entertainment elite, chic fashionista’s and fashion insiders will gather together to celebrate the launch of Nolcha Métier Magazine at the prime Times Square location – Top of the Times rooftop and terrace. (43rd & 8th Ave) Through the course of a shopping boutique, fashion photography exhibit by Lynn Furge and cocktail party, guests will come together to shop, network and celebrate the launch of the fashion industry business publication. The 16 hottest emerging designers that won the StyleBakery.com ‘On the Rise’ Competition will exhibit their collections exclusively for attendee’s.

The Magazine: With an international business scope and informative demeanor, Nolcha Métier is the way forward for fashion industry insiders wishing to reach and inspire their consciousness and brand goals. Nolcha Métier writes for those fashion individuals who have the strength, drive and determination ‘To Be’ business savvy, financially secure and accomplished. The online publication supplies marketing, pr, trends, financial, legal and career articles catering to the professional needs of the fashion industry, specifically designers.

The Guests: There are two primary group demographics:

Group 1

o Chic cutting edge individuals of the fashion and media world
o The industry trendsetting population and sophisticated professionals who possess a substantial amount of spending power and influence
o A highly sought after audience of 21– 35 year olds, primarily single, living in cosmopolitan cities, educated, interested in the trendiest and hippest that fashion, entertainment, beauty and lifestyle brands have to offer, with disposable income and frequent travel
o Adding eclectic flavor to this audience is our loyal enthusiasts of emerging designers and talent within the industry; the young, edgy graduate with imaginative flow looking to share their creativity

Group 2

o Active online consumers: 70% shop online at least once a month, 93% shop online several times per year
o Fashionable women “in the know” as well as those seeking style guidance from head to toe
o Everyone from students and working women to stay-at-home moms; chic Fashionista’s to the fashion-challenged
o Tweens to retirees, with 85% between the ages of 21 and 49
o Strong domestic audience (83.7%), as well as a growing international following
o All income levels seeking affordable to mid-priced clothing, accessories, beauty items and gift ideas with frequent bargains and discounts included

You receive:
·Company Logo placement showcasing for 4 hours on screen dedicated to brand exposure

·One time email blast with logo placement to Nolcha Fashion Week: NYC and partners subscription newsletter; 230,000 circulation

Contact info@nolchafashionweek.com for cost
Deadline: Monday 23rd July 2007
There is limited availability in order to offer exclusivity to brands."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hollywood or Bust?

When you are developing your own fashion line with little money or help, there are so many things to think about. Some days my head would spin thinking about all the things I needed to focus on. I often would get so overwhelmed it stopped me in my tracks. I'm still learning to make lists and prioritize. Something I'm not great at. Looking back at the last few years, I've realized there were so many things I could have done to help promote my Denney handbag line, but at the time, couldn't see the forest for the trees.

My dad has been a director on the show "The Young & the Restless" for over 20 years. I know many people on the show from my years of visiting dad in the summer (my parents divorced when I was very young). I also spent a year in Los Angeles working at CBS with dad. I did body makeup on a couple soap operas and nighttime specials (that experience is worthy a long post of its own). With this type of connection, wouldn't you think I could get some great "in's" in Hollywood for my bag line? I would say YES! Did I leverage my connections to create some valuable celebrity buzz for my bags. NO! Learn from this. I had connections at my fingertips, but never used them. I tried a few things...like meeting with the wardrobe person on Y&R (I've known her since I was a kid). I took her a Denney bag to feature on the show. She indicated they could use it at a pool party scene. I was pretty excited about that...but I never found out if they actually did use it. My dad retired in April of this year and moved back to our home state of Oklahoma. I am now kicking myself for not taking full advantage of what I had available to me. Even one of the actresses, Patti Weaver, who plays Gina (she is awesome by the way) , told me to bring in bags because the actresses on the show hang out in the makeup room and have money to buy! Did I ever do it? No! I didn't quite have the confidence in the product yet. Again, that confidence is key. You need to believe in your product. If I had that confidence then, I would have been able to shoot for the starts (literally!).

Another opportunity that I did take advantage of was participating in the Catwalk for Cancer fashion show in Denver last year. If you have the opportunity to show your line in a local fashion show (especially one for charity), its a great learning experience. I showed Denney Bags with about 4 other designers. Lourdes Rios organized the event. I felt like quite the designer, especially since my most treasured girlfriends came to support and cheer me on! It was kind of humorous because at the end of my show, I walked out on the runway and a little boy gave me a bouquet of flowers. All the models who modeled my bags lined the catwalk while I walked down and accepted my flowers. I felt so special! I look at pictures and kind of chuckle though. Here's a picture of my girlie friends after the show and one of me with all the bags before the show.

Here is a picture of my logo up on the big screen. I have to say, that gave me goosebumps to see my logo up there in front of everyone. It was so cool!

Here's one of the models carrying a Denney Bag down the runway.

The turnout wasn't as great as the organizers were hoping for (as you can see by the empty chairs in the audience), but it was still a great thing to do for a good cause. I think it cost me $200 to participate. Not bad, especially for a charity cause. I did sell a bag to one of the models too!

Get involved and look for opportunities everywhere you can. Obviously I didn't take full advantage of my opportunities, but then maybe I wasn't ready? If you are ready, go for it!! They say lucky people are just people who are prepared when the opportunity comes along.

Have a fashionable day!


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Are you passionate for your designs?

I recently returned from vacation in Tulsa, so I apologize for the lack of activity! But I'm back, refreshed and ready to roll!

When I look back at my journey to start a handbag line, I often question my motivation for doing it. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. ALWAYS. It's not money that motivates me, although yes, that is a big part of it. I think I can make more working for myself than for someone else. But my main motivator is freedom. I hate being depressed on Sunday because I have to go back to work the next day. I hate that 50 hours of my time each week is dictated by this job that I don't feel passionate about. I've always been blessed with incredible bosses. But I could have the best boss & job in the world, making alot of money, and yet I don't think I would be truly happy inside. I just want to own my day. I want to wake up and be excited that I am in control of my schedule.

I started working on a handbag business because I love handbags and because I wanted my own business. I love merchandising. I love walking through a department store and looking at all the different brands. I love the idea of branding a product. I find it fascinating that some brands don't necessarily have the most stylish products, but the brand recognition and reputation it has established still can sell the product. I want to build a brand. That's why I decided that the challenge of creating a handbag line would be fun and exciting. And it has been...although I have not yet established my Denney brand...it's still in the works. But the journey is fun. I just wish I had made some smarter decisions in the beginning. Decisions such as spending way too much money(debt money) on things I didn't need. Industrial sewing machine, expensive leather not cost-effective for a handbag business, PR services that I wasn't ready for and samples before my sketches were good enough are just a few examples. One thing I wish I had had early on was a mentor. Someone who had been there and could help me strategize and avoid dumb mistakes. Mistakes are going to happen. That's how you grow and learn. But my mistakes cost me alot of money. Precisely why I founded fashionCEO. I like to think of it as a mentor for independent designers.

Last year, while I was having my official leather bag samples made, I started to wonder if I really liked designing handbags. Deep down I felt a bit like an imposter. Like I didn't really know what I was doing, but I was just forging ahead trying to make something of it because I had already invested so much time and money. I had to really sit down and take a real look at what I was doing and why I was doing it. I've been disappointed with a couple of my designs. I had to be honest with myself. Do I like designing bags? Do I want to travel around the country and sell bags at tradeshows? Do I want to hit the pavement and sell my bags to boutiques myself. Can I do that? Can I afford to do this? The answer to some of these questions was no. Did I like the fashion business and handbags...definitely yes! But was I willing to do what it takes to get it off the ground? I wasn't sure. I was starting to feel a little burnout and I hadn't even gotten started yet! So I set the bags aside, just for the time being, to start fashionCEO. I've sinced realized that I'm not a designer imposter. I design cute bags! And I will sell them eventually. But I needed to take an honest look at myself and find out what motivates me. As soon as I started fashionCEO I could feel my energy boost. I can work 12-15 hours a day on it and still not want to put my computer down. I'm doing something that fits my personality. It feels right. I'm helping others do something they feel passionate about, and that makes me feel good. And I'm interacting with designers who are accomplishing things that I haven't yet, so I'm learning how to be a better designer in the process. It's very cool.

If you have a nagging feeling in the back of your mind, don't ignore it. Sit down and take an honest look at yourself. Don't force something on yourself if its not feeling right. Maybe you've always wanted to design a baby bag, but you've invested too much in evening bag designs, or maybe you've been dreaming of making wedding dresses, but thought handbags would be easier. Whatever it is, its never too late to change direction. Listen to your inner voice. Mine gets ignored sometimes, but I find when I listen to it, I'm much happier and when I'm happier, I'm much more creative. :)