Let the great cottage industry rumpus begin….

Recently, three of us spent a couple of hours in a vejibag construction training session…our first! For a cottage industry, this was a turning point. What a sweet time that was!twowomen

As we took turns sewing our way through the process and trouble-shooting tricky spots as they arose, we talked about how many tiny details have gone into the evolution of this bag and this cottage industry.

“Was it a year ago it all started?” we wondered?  I dug through the Vejibag basket on one of my four very messy desks and found, miraculously, the folder marked “history.” Inside was the newsprint and magic marker “agenda” for the first “sack sisters” meeting.  It was dated July 15, 2012. That’s way less than a year ago.  (I’ll write at another time about how unconventional are the meetings of sack sisters, but for now let’s just say we are doing “business” a little differently.)

As I write this I’m a little stunned that its been less than a year we’ve been at this.  I was feeling like it had taken FOREVER to get this all going.  But it really hasn’t been forever. It’s only been a little over six months. And, for what we have accomplished, that’s not long at all.

Right now we enter the “build up inventory” stage of the business.

I’m laughing. As I read that last sentence it sounds hilarious to me. It sounds like business-speak, like this is a language I am fluent in,  that I know what “stage” this business is in.  As if there is some laid-out, formalized, rational, knowable process for building a green, socially responsible cottage industry comprised of really sweet, funny, non-business, creative types like us.  Like there are some rules to follow and procedures in place and we’re doing a bang-up job of adhering to those. Sorry to disappoint.  We are making it up as we go along. We’ve had help from an open-hearted, and quite savvy local women’s business counselor, and a second mentor-friend who happens to be a retired business consultant. But the truth is, we are flying by the hems of our skirts!

Embroidered on those hems is some intuitive and wonderful wisdom: “Stick to the vision: produce something of real value, something that harms no one including that one we call Gaia, be “as green as it gets,” and support some people, often women, in this tiny town of Eastport Maine, to live wholesome, balanced lives. That is the path of no regrets. That is the path that leads home to bring into being the kind of world we want to live in, a world grounded in the heart not in balance sheets or the stock holders’ earnings reports.

So to reiterate, in a playful way, we are now officially in the “build up inventory” stage of this business. As we build up inventory we can approach larger outlets for our beautiful creation and see if we can have a positive impact in the wholesale market rather than selling only  directly on the internet. And if we can do that, if we can get some major retailers to buy from us, then eventually, maybe, there will be more pods of sack sisters in many places. How cool would that be?

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