I don't do New Year resolutions because they mostly don't work. If you're trying to change your life, the way to do it is incremental small steps that you find a way to make them habitual and easy, not anything that relies on huge amounts of "willpower". Also, weight-loss diets and "detoxing are just complete bullshit. That said - I have some plans for the year, of course!
Long, long overdue is shifting our website to Shopify. Having already done it with sister-site Hepburn and Leigh it's now more likely, but a decade's worth of content is a massive move. Inevitably, we will lose your account history in the switch. The other main bugbear is the blog, as at this point the only way to shift is is to literally cut and paste each entry and manually redirect the URL. Yep. Painful!
After some thought over Christmas, I'm going to find a way to shift customer service to a ticketing system like GrooveHQ. This is because customer service can feel a bit like whack-a-mole, with two websites, an ebay store, the Kickstarter, questions coming in from various social media platforms, and the inevitable back-and-forth with the warehouse (as the vast bulk of queries are "where are my pants?). The aim is to try and get a unified stream of queries that create tickets so that Lydia, me (on days when I'm not being horribly sarcastic to people), the warehouse staff and whoever else we have around can easily see where we're up to with all the separate things in one place. I'm hoping this will improve speed, especially at busy times of the year.
3) Lou goes for her Technical Diploma in pattern cutting
You may not be aware that things are pretty rough in the lingerie industry for the last couple of years. At least one medium-to-large sized UK brand appears to be dead in the water, another appears to have survived only by dint of survived by crowdfunding investment, AP is being "restructured" and potentially sold or part-sold, and I'm expecting to see more brands and stores close over 2017.
I can't even tell you the tapdancing I've been doing the last couple of years to skedaddle through this; and one of the things I've been working on was finding someone reliable to work on patterns (so we can do new styles and move factories easily) and make our own short runs or made to order pieces. This year kicks off with Lou going on the Technical Diploma for pattern-cutting and grading. Hopefully even if things don't work out with her and KMD, that will at least mean one more person with solid skills in the UK industry!
I'm very grateful to David, who runs IA Technical, for negotiating with me to make this feasible for a tiny brand. Unofficially, he's known as the "British Godfather Of Bras".
OK, we keep failing to make this, and ironically I spend more time in KMD swimwear than I do in anything else, courtesy of swimming being the only exercise I can do! This year I'm hoping we can crack it by making a new small collection in Latvia. But, I'd like to make the Leopard Deluxe swimsuit as you all seemed to love it, so hopefully that's still the case? If could reliably spell Leopard, that would be great, too.
5) Vargas Girdles
So overdue a return, no?
Following a factory move, which meant we lost the lace /components etc, I'm thinking we might as well revamp the ivory styles. I've a choice of using the finer version of the dance/swim/athletics wear fabric we use for the black Van Doren, or we could go fancy and use Boselli satin. I think the latter is probably the way forward, as I don't think many people buy ivory to wear to work every day the way they do the black. That athletics fabric is why that range lasts FOREVER, by the way.
If I don't get this sorted out this year I'll run amok with a cleaver. the block on it is because unlike other overwire designs, it's a 3d shape overwire (most use an underwire the wrong way up and then do a heavy seam/bone straight down). Which we can't 3D print because you don't get any bounce/tensile strength in 3D printed metal. Gah!
8) Working with other brands
In the last few years I've switched from spending time on working with retailers to working with other small brands and I think that still makes sense. If nothing else, there are now more small brands out there than indie retailers! From Secret Santa, Lovebomb, pop-ups, sample sales, Scanty Cartel talks . . . . if you have an idea for something or you're another small brand that wants to see what if anything, we could do together, say hello. I do bite, but not at work - the worst that will happen is I say something doesn't seem likely to work out so I won't do it.
5 days in a small space with Playful and Ayten at fashion week and we're all still friends.
9) Events and photography
You're the best thing about KMD. I should get my proverbial together and run more events and competitions and get some pictures of you. This would also help broaden our imagery, which by financial necessity has been simplified in the last 12 months or so.
Vikki wearing her Blue Deville corset, bra and pantygirdle, shot by J Macey. Doing aerial. In a corset. Yeah, Deadlies never cease to amaze me, too!
I've been doing better at writing here, but worse at writing everywhere else, which isn't ideal in terms of growing. I've a list of stuff I should have written for The Lingerie Addict, not to mention various other none-lingerie places. Meanwhile, Maz has started the epic task of writing a bilingual blog on Hepburn and Leigh, because sod Brexit; we're going to write in French and no-one can stop us!
(French speaking countries are still one of the biggest lingerie markets there is, and often don't buy from UK areas because of our general level of ineptitude at languages).
11) I'm going to stop being polite about Bravangelism
I'd been awake for an hour on 2017 when someone had a pop at me about bra fit because of their deeply held belief that if you wore a bra that didn't sit exactly right . . . the world would explode? I'm not really sure what people think will happen if you wear a bra that doesn't fit in exactly the way the bravangelists say is perfect. Thus far I have yet to see any serious injuries inflicted by a bra.
If you've found a change in bra makes a huge difference to your life, that is great. I am pleased for you. Go forth and tell us what worked for you and why.
You finding a bra that works for you doesn't, however, mean that:
a) lingerie is all about bras. Bras are not the be all and end all of lingerie, and I say this as someone who enjoys them enough to own more than 100.
b) bra fit is crucial to your health (seriously, no good evidence for this at all. Fight me in the comments with your peer-reviewed evidence, but everything I've seen is small samples, terrible methodology, and dubious funding sources)
c) bra sizes are real or absolute. They aren't, any more than clothing sizes or shoe sizes are really standardised, and various brands are using systems that look the same but aren't, just to confuse matters. They are inherently variable for all sorts of reasons, including that even if you pick up a bra from the same brand in the same style in the same size, if it just happens to be one that was made a bit differently (by an actual human person) or from a different dye batch or box of elastics, it'll be within the boundaries of difference that we allow (5mm on each seam, if you're interested), but could be different to your previous one. The difference between some sizes . . . is currently running at 5mm on just a few seams. Can you see the problem with getting focused on a size?
d) that you should be randomly commenting on the choices women make about bras when you see a picture online. I mean, I don't let random men wander by and start complaining about the choices women make ("If she was showing more leg that would be much hotter" or "she should smile more!"), nor do I give into my own urge to carp about hosiery issues or upside-down-back-to-front corsets, so why the heck do you think I am going to let a woman who has chosen prioritising a bras colour or style or fabric or cleavage-effect over its fit get picked on?
On the other hand, if you want to ask me where we get our 36K bras from for some shoots, go right ahead.
Got any suggestions for goals and plans I should get onto for 2017? Or do you have some personal lingerie aims for the year? Add them in the comments :)