Sunday, May 31, 2009

May is a tough month personally

Some who have been following me since the beginning already know why May is extremely tough for me so I apologize if this seems like I am repeated myself every year! :)

I lost my first son years ago on May 17th and some birthdays are tougher than others. I have a routine on that day, which is to pick out flowers for the cemetery. I pick out 2 hanging plants, and I pick out flats of flowers (typically pansies) to plant in his planter near the stone. I always get too many, so I started planting the extras outside my window every year. In a crazy way, it just feels nice to have some connection with him.

Last year, as you can read from my old blog, I was at peace with everything that had happened because I know have a new tradition of celebrating life.

2 years ago, while delivering Evan, I stopped breathing. I had an "amniotic fluid embolism" which caused me to go into DIC and cardiac arrest. They performed an emergency c-section while trying to resuscitate me. After nearly 45 mins. later and about 25 units of blood, I was back. They didn't think I would make it through the night. After making through the night, they thought I would never recover and may suffer from major brain damage.

I was in the ICU for some time in a drug induced coma (so my body could heal). Every day they would wake me and see where I was at. Finally, after a couple weeks, I started talking although I could not remember anything. I was soon moved back to the maternity floor and they kept Evan in the hospital so he could be near me. Eventually I started remembering who everyone was and I received some physical therapy that got me up and walking. Needless to say, I had tons of doctors stop by to see how I could possibly be still alive, and walking and talking!

So, May 21st is Evan's birthday and the day I celebrate being alive. Last year I was more at peace with it, but this year was difficult for some reason. I am very thankful to still be here, but I often question why I was saved and not the mother before me?

Anyways, I am working through it. I keep busy with work and the kids. I wanted to share this with my new readers, not because I am fishing for sympathy, but because I want to share my story and hopefully may inspire you to enjoy life more :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The diapers are coming!

YAY! The diapers are in and they are on their sweet way to me and will be here in just a few short days! I am so excited to sell off these 550 while my beautiful new production is under way. Think luxurious micro fleece in Bubele's colors chocolate and sage! I am also introducing an AIO diaper and matching minky prints with Bubele leg warmers! I promise to post a preview of what's to come very soon. In the meantime, stay tuned because I am going to be giving away some more Bubele Bums right here!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Business Ethics... Who Needs 'Em Anyways?

We know we all need them. We all feel strongly about being fair in business, don't we? Of course we do. I'm going to share some of my experiences with business ethics over the years in the clothing production business.

About 5 years ago, I started High Style Productions, Inc. where I would work with medium sized clothing companies and source their clothing productions with overseas factories. At first, I loved it. It was new and fascinating to work with other companies on their designs! But, it quickly become a big game in racing to get the cheapest price, not the best price, but rather the cheapest price. I was a small business owner making very small commissions while competing with larger companies who sourced at cheaper prices.

Needless to say, it was too competitive to work with larger companies who wanted me to constantly drive down the prices at factories while they maintain their prices and the factories make less. Oh, the first to suffer are the actual labor workers who sew. Larger companies will often hire someone to source their goods for them who then will give the order to the cheapest and fastest factory. I am beginning to wonder if these large companies even know how their goods are being sourced or if they are turning their heads because they don't want to know.

A couple years ago, after working with a few smaller, private clothing labels who demanded high quality, I secured a production unit in India that works with us on smaller minimums while maintaining high quality. I was then motivated to focus on these customers! This was at the same time I started designing Bubele.

I have come in contact with so many other great small companies since starting Bubele, especially other momprenuers who have created their own items to sell! But unfortunately, I see a lack of business ethics on this side as well. Recently, when working with a customer who was actually referred by another customer, they ended up cutting out HSP from their orders and going straight to my sources. How did this happen? Well, it was a freight forwarder we used for these particular shipments who we believe put them in contact. The first step was making sure we never use that forwarder again.

I need to vent a little bit about this one because this company who was started by a mom who took on a partner to expand her business keep driving down the prices and also was very concerned about how workers were paid and treated so much that I had signed a Ethics Statement for them. I had no problem doing this because 1. We check all factories we use to make sure they comply with all environmental and labor laws and 2. We had a contact do a private inspection of this specific factory.

I guess that's part of the reason I feel so burned. That and the fact they had guaranteed future orders with us, so we cut our commissions and pre purchased some of the sourced fabrics in bulk. I have spent countless hours sourcing that fabric!! Not to mention that after they had gone behind my back, they had the audacity to say that they had their eye on the Bubele line for the future! I immediately looked in the mirror looking for "stupid" on my forehead!

To them, I am sure they thought it was better for their business to get cheaper prices without considering the implications on my company who sources all of their materials (which is not known to the actual factory for this reason) and spends a lot of time perfecting their productions. I was thinking it would be the right thing to do to tell them that the way they are pushing low prices with the factory is going to affect their quality, but I think I need to completely step away from this.

So, lots of lessons learned in business. Especially this past year with Bubele!

Even though my trust has been tested time and time again, I still do think it's possible to have trust in business relationships, but with caution! I am making some more changes to my business practices that will get us more organized and better protected.

I think we all need to remember that we need to have a certain level of respect for other businesses and treat them as you would want your own business to be treated! Simple, huh?