Isn't this beautiful? A customer sent me this pic. She's wore her dress while tracing her roots back to Corvo Island. Have you heard of this place? It's beautiful!!! I looked it up, it's part of Portugal.
Here is another customer having a lot of fun in her dress while in Maui.
Here is another customer who sent me this pic after he bought his new favorite hoodie.
He seems pretty happy with it. I think he's in Texas, but I can't remember. Anyway, he looks handsome.
This lovely customer sent me this pic enjoying her dress at a concert in Brooklyn, at the new Coney Island Boardwalk amphitheater. Another incredibly unique piece she just found in the collection. The other side is an amazing tree - I'll post the link of the actual dress here. She said so many people stopped and asked her about the dress.
Thanks so much for sending me this pic, Susan!!
And check out how much fun Rachael is having in her eco-fleece top. ❤︎
Here is her top from the site.
Here's a recent screencap from a very well received Facebook post shared to the Batikwalla fan page from Lana and her extremely talented mom, who made this amazing quilt with the batik fabric prints in the Art and Prints section.
From Heather, so happy with her blue leggings for a poolside yoga session. Amazing strength, Heather! Thank you for the photos.
Here's a pic from Leslie playing with Curley Taylor and the Zydeco Trouble from Sunset, Louisiana at the Gator By The Bay Festival. She's playing at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland soon and promises to get more pics of her performing on stage in her Batikwalla dress. Thank you Leslie! It's an honor 💗
Check out Sienna Rose sending her Batikwalla pic all the way from Ecuador! Looks like you are having tons of fun!!! I wanna go too!!
So if anyone else wants to send me your pics enjoying your new batik piece, please do! I'll post them here. And please tell me where you are as it adds to the fun and adventure.
I haven't written a blog post in a long time and I want to get this out before I get too distracted and put it off. There's a part of me that wants to show other inquisitive crafters how to break out of the booth vending scene and go completely online.
Every so often I get an email or message from a fellow crafter from the good ole vending days who asks if I would reveal my website "secrets". I don't really have secrets, but it's hard having thorough conversations about CPC, SEO, Shopify, or the FB Ad Manager with someone who isn't familiar with the terms. There are so many details and connecting factors, and it's an every day thing. There's a reason why I mostly use Shopify now and not Etsy (although Etsy still rocks), and there's a reason I do video on both Youtube and Facebook.
Yeah, I think this is the main problem I'm having with communicating my ideas. Concepts are so much easier to talk about.
First of all, I had to leave the craft vending scene COMPLETELY!! This was actually pretty important. Things didn't start rolling until I finally made the decision to put away the booth for good. True, I was barely making enough sales on Etsy to support us at the time, but it was enough if I super-budgeted and worked with what I knew back then. It wasn't much but it was enough that I could make the leap. I just couldn't go back to that life, and maybe one day I'll go into why I hated it so much. Maybe I'll do a video about it actually.
Okay, so I turned my back on booth life and basically treaded water for a couple months just bobbing along. But something changed. Suddenly I had time. Lots and lots of time to study. I was single, so there was no overbearing drama provoking boyfriend to distract me. I didn't have a festival to get ready for. Just me and my laptop and my family duties as a mom. So I studied. I joined a couple of "guru" groups about how to sell online, and although I was skeptical it was actually a smart decision as it open up a whole new world of information I wouldn't have found otherwise.
However, I didn't stop there. Youtube is basically a video library with - I mean, I can't even begin to describe the level knowledge I gained from Youtube tutorials. FREE!! Free information!! No groups. No paid gurus. But it's a matter of studying and applying. For example, it took me weeks to figure out how to set up the www.batikwalla.com website. I had to watch many how-to videos over and over again for weeks until I figured it out. I STILL have to do this when I run into a situation I can't figure out.
Yeah, wow, I'm getting overwhelmed just thinking about this. Writing is good. Writing is very good.
I will say this; online gurus promise a lot of things, and they want to sell you a lot of things, including templates to become "successful" but it's really smoke and mirrors. Every business is different and "proven" templates for whatever are no guarantee for anything. In fact, I think they're detrimental to a small business online. Gurus can point in the right direction, but when it comes down to it, you must figure out all the special nuances that make your craft business stand out - just like we did with our booths at a festival. The internet is one big festival basically, only in a different dimension.
That's my opinion.
All right, we've talked enough. It's been good. See you again soon.
Several people have written in and asked what kind of camera & editing app I use for my videos. It's pretty simple: I use my iPhone 6 and iMovie app. Anything more complicated and it will slow me down. I do have a much more sophisticated Canon Rebel T5i (I know...) but I struggle to use it. I regret buying it. At least it has a flip screen for vlogging, and if/when I do want to get more advanced, I'll be ready. I can grow into it. It does have a lot of cool features.
Anyway, keeping it simple with the iPhone for now. This thing is handy, and takes stellar photos. I'm seriously thinking of deactivating the phone service - oh wait, no I can't. I need the cellular for surfing when I'm not around wifi, and in Oregon the chance of that happening is pretty common. Hiking anyone? Make it the entire west coast for that matter.
Someone wrote in using the Contact tab, but didn't leave a valid email address to return my message to, so it bounced back. That's too bad, as I wrote whoever it was good advice about experimenting with batik in his or her apartment. You know, because it's messy... the person wanted to know the best preventative maintenance for such a craft. I said monitoring the beeswax was the trickiest mess to clean up. The dye is easy to clean up if it spills, but the wax is another story.
It'd be easier if folks wrote directly on my Facebook page or in a comment. I think I'll post directions on the page so people know the best way to ask me for batik advice, because I freaking love to talk about this stuff and I hate to see a good explanation email go to waste. Especially about batik. Yeah, they gotta know... Facebook directions in the description. What a great idea!
It's late right now, I'll have to do it in the morning. Don't let me forget!!
My house has become a leggings factory. I have everything calculated out, so it should go smoothly. It's funny how much you have to plan and strategize for an art based business.
I set the price for the leggings and I couldn't tell if people were upset by it, or not upset. I had one person ask me why some of the items were high priced and others were lower. It's possible she didn't read the descriptions. The print shirts, for example, are hardly the same work as the dresses. It's not even comparable. And the leggings only take about half the time and resources as the yoga pants. The pricing makes perfectly good sense to me.
If more people made batiks they would understand. Oh, and the hoodies!! You would not believe how much wax and dye these puppies soak up. Yeah, I don't know. The pricing makes sense to me.
For 2016 I might close out the prints. I like them, and I really liked the printing company, but... It's a lot to manage, all these different items. We'll see. Better organization and maybe slim down the overhead is what I'm thinking. Keep it simple, and focus on one style at a time.
I told my uncle not to message me old pictures of my father when he was a kid. I kinda feel bad, but given the context, I mean... c'mon. I didn't get it. I wonder about my entire family line. I'm the black sheep in a field of psychopaths. I'm a lion who thinks she's a sheep.
Am I? That would explain a lot of things, but I don't feel like a lion half the time. That also explains a lot of things.
I wish I never came out to Oregon. I wish I could've stayed in Virginia with my grandmother and lived there for a while. I wish moved to California instead. Someone on Facebook suggested the mountains of North Carolina. Seems intriguing. Gaia Conceptions is there. Politics. I sense politics. I might move to Portland because it's closer, and all that water runs through it. Plus mountains. And shops. Yes to shops. I miss shops. I remember when I showed up in Portland in the train station, I thought it was pretty cool. I would've been happy to stay there, but the destination was Eugene.
Fucking life, man. I don't even know.
I wished I moved away from this town a couple years ago, when I first realized I should. Now it seems impossible. Roots. Kids. I want us to stay close together.
I wonder if people will stop wanting batiks one day, like poof. The horrible experience in the stupid guru's Facebook group set me back a page, shaking my confidence. Not in my art, but in my self-worth. Ah, so fragile. I wish I had a better grip on that, thanks mom and dad for being such fucking psychos. I hope you're reading this. I know you are, which is just creeping me out.
I'm sure people will hate me for not loving my parents unconditionally, at least that's what they told me. Oddly, when I talk about it publicly, the animosity doesn't flourish (as much) (don't get your hopes up). Maybe I can win this battle after all.
I decided stay in the Guru group another couple days to see if my assessment of the bullshit level was accurate, and I can say with complete authority that it is. The last business review the Guru did was for a struggling MLM pyramid scheme seller. The guru was certain she could turn it into "a million dollar business in a year" if they joined her OTHER private mastermind VIP course. Omg... please. Yet, my art has "no potential"? Ha, what she meant was you can't be fooled so please leave my group.
I couldn't get through the other videos. I saw what was going on. God, but I'm ticked off that I was even in there, taking things seriously at one time. Dammit, I feel dumb about it now. I actually left the group a year ago, then joined back in, thinking there still may be some redeeming value. Wrong, wrong.
Forgiveness, forgiveness! Let's bask in the forgiveness of making mistakes. I don't know if getting into the practice of it would alleviate the burden of my bad days, but maybe it would.
I noticed someone on Instagram questioned Gaia Conceptions 5% off coupon code. So it's not just me! Someone had the cajones to say something. I mean, if you're gonna do coupon codes.... You know? I'm not going to do coupon codes. I tend screw them up. The last time I emailed out a coupon code, only one person was able to redeem it. UHHH so embarrassing!! I haven't sent an eletter since.
Facebook is so much easier. Faster. More transparent.
So I've noticed people like to shop. The new idea of only having scheduled sales might be the right angle for this batik business. I like to express myself a lot, so I can still do video and this blog, but keep the page more focused on sales...
Or keep posting it on Facebook too? I think they like it, but I can't tell. I don't know. Food for thought.
Don't read this blog, people. I'm getting annoyed just writing it. All my east-coastness is coming out. I wonder if it's changed much since I've been there. I kinda miss it. I can kinda imagine it just fine too.
Every once in a while I take the batik business through a major overhaul. I have a strange feeling this is going to happen again.
I like making the different styles. But sometimes I don't like making all the different styles. Different styles, different sizes, different colors. Customers are frustrated that I don't have something in a certain size or color. I'm frustrated that I just sold that one out, but I have 3 others in this color, but not in the same size, or have that size, but not in the same color.
Do you see what I mean?
The best times I've ever had was when I - - actually, there were two times specifically. Once when I lost the place I was living because the lazy boyfriend claimed the house for himself and me and the kids had to completely relocate, and I lost all my stuff. His name was "Wilbur" and he was a self absorbed deadhead hippie who drank a lot and lived off my income. But he got the house. Somehow that was acceptable back then. Anyway, I had to relocate and I lost all my inventory too. Eventually it worked in my favor as I had to start from the beginning and recreate an entire new line of batiks for the upcoming markets. That was the best selling season I ever had up to that point. Dresses. I made dresses, one after another. I had the fabric, and I rebuilt the inventory, and it was pretty much dresses.
The second time was similar. Several years later, after another long and chaotic summer of doing the Saturday Market, I started over with a much simpler line batiks, and did really well during the Holiday Market.
I'm arriving to the conclusion that I must quit the Facebook group I recently found myself insulted in. I wrote an Instagram post about it.
I have to clear my mind. Blog. Vlog. Think things out. Because this can't be all there is. And if it is, then I might as well flame out doing what I want - AND NOT WHAT I THINK OTHER PEOPLE WANT ME TO DO
Fuck Shark Tank. () Fuck online gurus. Don't fall into the trap of expensive "mastermind" groups. There are plenty of fantastic free business support groups out there. Often these gurus will lure you in with a lot of good "free" info, and lead you to believe that there is even more where that came from if you pay them. But here is the trick!!! They are targeting novice businesses - intentionally. They know your weaknesses. They know how to manipulate it. And they know that if they give you a bit of advice, you'll apply the strategies to your business, which will prove to be slightly beneficial, and then you'll feel as if the guru has all this great power to help with your business even more. Nay, this is a trick. You were targeted. 90% of the people who buy these courses only apply a fraction of the knowledge they gain, but it is enough. Or they believe the copywriting, and dismiss their lack of results. They think if they keep buying more courses, it'll magically improve their situation.
Learn the basics and keep pushing your limits, because ultimately you have to figure it out for yourself. Don't listen to other people. Don't take unsolicited advice. Don't even take solicited advice! (after a certain point) Study what you admire, pay attention to your intuition, and use your own creativity to get where you want to go. Don't listen to the bullshit that "you get what you pay for" when it comes to business gurus. Free is more often better!! Don't pay for what you can learn on your own. Youtube is a veritable goldmine of information.
I will admit, a few paid classes did help me a lot at first. But after a certain point... I was paying for more of the same. And the results were the same.
How could someone single me out of a group and say my business is the one business - in the entire world - that doesn't have any potential to grow. Zero. Zip. Instead I would have to switch industries and then "buy your course!!" "VIP could help."
I tried to close my website down today, but the Shopify plan won't let me. It'll keep the store up, but not allow checkout, which isn't what I wanted to show. I wanted an "On Vacation" sign, like they do with Etsy. Good ole' days of Etsy... Simpler times! But where they? Anyway, why let someone come all the way into the shop only to be shut down at the register at the time of purchase? I'd rather have a "Sorry, we're closed" sign up so people know what's going on up front.
I had a mini-meltdown today, frustrated with ecommerce as a whole. Frustrated with my site. Freaking out about Christmas, and how to keep up. Plus, seeing all the slimy marketing tactics marketers use, and watching good business going bad with terrible marketing directors. I'm really frustrated with Gaia Conceptions eletter campaign, and their incessant coupon codes for $5 and $10 off, which I wonder why even bother? And why so many, so often? What happened to all the magic they had when they first started? They were very against coupon codes! What changed? Oh, but here I am criticizing their marketing strategy, and I don't even send out eletters.
That's not right. Maybe I ought to send out an eletter or two and see what it's like. Then I'll have something to say.
It's been super slow online the past couple of days. Maybe not slow, but kind of. I can't complain since I've been very distracted the past few weeks with this investing research. I believe I have a firm grasp of the basic concept of investing now. Why? Right? Why on earth did I all the sudden get into this?? The weirdest thing, and I already made a video about it, and it's the second most viewed video on my Youtube channel the past 30 days, according to the analytics. It's nice to see that spellcheck has accepted "analytics" as a real word. Anyway, it was the voice of god that told me to get into investing ASAP, basically. Can't really explain it any other way. It was some kind of crazy message and it spoke to me in a dream and it was very powerful, so I took heed and learned my ass off about investing. I've been super absorbed in it the past few weeks as I've tried (and failed, and tried again, and succeeded) to open a set of investment accounts for the purpose of purchasing stocks and/or index funds. It's like a world I never knew existed!! And seriously, I didn't. I'm kinda late in the game to be getting into it, but not really. It's math. Math is never late, it's just numbers. Math don't care. Math is just gonna do its thing no matter when you show up. Kinda like dancing. Math is going to dance and when you show up, that's what math will be doing.
I thought I hired a new bookkeeper, but he hasn't followed up. I don't think I'll have him help me after all. I have no intention of growing this business into something that requires managing employees and inventory to such a huge degree, despite the allure of so many perceived riches, as one can imagine, being an entrepreneur. It's been quiet lately, but it comes with the online territory and the decision to be mellow. Like the stock market, you have ups and you have downs.
I woke up from a dream this morning. I was in love with someone I knew - someone I was actually in love with once. Sadly I think the person I was in love with wasn't the person I perceived, and my dream faded away before anything could come of it.
Pretty heartbreaking, now that I'm awake. But my dream was nice while it was still going. We were in New England, and it was fall and so beautiful outside. And I was so happy to be sitting next to him as he drove along the countryside. I really liked him. I liked him in real life too, or who I thought he was. At least, for a while.
He contacted me recently but I blocked him. And I lived in New England once and it wasn't like that at all.
I have some weird dreams, and they're usually pretty intense. I like them because they don't compel, they're just dreams.
It's been a couple of days since I posted this video, and I've already dealt with some of the local fallout, which I expected. Sadly enough, the women I referenced do not believe me. They are completely outraged, and now defending their poor, "victim" boyfriends, whose accountability suddenly vanished without a trace. I am not surprised at all.
But more importantly, why do I care? I'm not saying that sarcastically. Maybe I need to check where I'm putting my attention. Why do I care so much about a small group of people who do not care what I think? And probably never will.
I didn't want the video to focus too much on specific characters, but I did want to show my true colors in case anyone else felt I was a target for their mischief. I think I pulled this off successfully, and I don't expect to deal with this problem again. Otherwise I can reference this video and I'm sure it'll clear up any confusion.
I also wanted to offer a resource for anyone else out there who understands where I'm coming from. Maybe it helped someone. Maybe it will be part of a series of signs that happen on the journey towards freedom from a lifetime of abuse. That's what happened to me. It came to me in a series of signs, and then I started researching. This book was one of many, but I remember how it stood out. It was the kind of book that freaked me out as I read it because the author described my relationship exactly!! It was almost spooky, to see it written down in a book that was published some years ago, by someone I had never heard of. Seriously, that freaked me out. I saw my friends' relationships described to a tee as well, although they always prided themselves with claims that their situation "wasn't as bad" as mine. We would hang out together, confiding in our troubles, so I know. But somehow my role was to take their terrible advice while being "pitied" behind my back, for pretty much the same circumstances they were living in (if not worse, in reality). So, it's no wonder I cut ties. God, what horrible mistakes I was making, and what terrible pain I was in most of the time.
Abusive relationships are often products of the societies they breed in, and I had to leave an entire social circle behind in order to escape, and keep my mind clear. "He's only like that sometimes" is STILL abusive!!! A partner is either abusive, or not. This can be emotional or physical. More often than not, if there is emotional abuse there is also physical, only most people in these types of relationships don't recognize it. For me, this was the case. Blocking exits, slamming doors, damaging or being rough with objects, being rough with you or the children, driving recklessly while angry - these are methods of intimidation used to assert control. This is the root of physical abuse. My friends' relationships had these problems too, on top of myriads of emotional manipulations. Since it was so common and tolerated in my familiar surroundings, I did not know know it was abuse, or how severe the situation actually was.
Posting this video has been a challenge. It was way out of my comfort zone, and I'm uneasy about all the drama certain local peeps continue to perpetuate. The whole, entire entanglement has grossed me out. And it's been intense holding onto my courage to speak my truth, especially considering what I've come out of, and how conditioned I was to stay silent whenever I saw blatant grievances.
I am not concerned about losing "friends" over this. Their situation is unhealthy, and anyone who is temporarily charmed by the lies used to hold their front together is not someone I want to associate with. Huge regrets getting so involved in the past, but I do know what to avoid in the future.
And I also learned a lesson about hiring help. If you want a successful outcome: always work with people who already have their act together. More together!! The more together, the better. DO NOT GO CHEAP!
Below is a picture of me with my ex-husband and 10yo little sister, who was visiting at the time. I was 22, and had just given birth to our second baby, literally earlier that day or the day before. My ex-husband had just cut off another round of his dreadlocks, but he kept his beard dreads. Those were "sacred" or something... I have very few pictures from this era of my life, and the babies' lives. He was very against anything "materialistic" which included a camera or anything that had to do with too much vanity, outside of his dreads. Cutting them off was his display of shunning vanity, yet somehow how it was a big topic.
Move forward 2 1/2 years from this picture, and you will find me trying to figure out how to file for divorce from this man, and file for a restraining order. My mind was so clouded I wasn't even totally sure I would be allowed to leave him. He contested the order, demanding that I return to him. He literally wanted the judge to order me to return to my place in the marriage, and believed that it would happen. He never even mentioned the kids. Fortunately, the judge threw him out of the court with no contact allowed, not even visitation, but that didn't stop him from intimidating me for many years after.
So at age 25, I began raising all 3 babies on my own - and my first independent income came by selling batik clothing at the local Eugene Saturday Market, which was something I had started doing as a teenager (the ex-husband joined in after we met). This is the real story of how I started my batik clothing business.
These times were so hard and the disadvantages so unfair, I had a lot of difficulty talking about my past. I was burdened by shame and confusion, and felt like a complete outcast. Who else had that kind of a background by the age of 25? I was so out of touch with mainstream society, I couldn't relate to anything my peers were doing at my age, not even in the hippie/crafts community. I silenced my identity and tried to fit in the best I could.
Unfortunately, with this level of low self esteem, I continued to surround myself with misguided people who had very high tolerances for abuse, and/or people who knew nothing better but to capitalize on my weaknesses. Life was a constant battle for many, many years. And only recently I was miraculously able to wrangle free from this horrible plight. About 3 years ago, I made it out completely, and decided to transition Batikwalla to selling online. Largely for my emotional safety (that tells you something right there), and also because I believe the internet is an amazing place. So many online resources contributed to changing my life around, and I've met some seriously cool people I've had the honor to do business with. It's one of the only things I miss about doing festivals, but the same people are here too, so I have a good feeling I am going to continue to meet even more awesome people as our stories unfold.