Let's flashback to 2014. I was 23 years old with an 8 month old baby. It was August, and I was in the final stages of hell.. AKA wedding planning. My job with Urban Decay Cosmetics had just ended abruptly after what at the time, I thought was tragic, but in retrospect was all part of the grand scheme. Financially, we were doing OK, not struggling, but not thriving. My Fiance, baby daddy, now hubby was working two jobs to support us and was burning the candle at both ends MAJORLY. The poor guy was never ever home which caused some serious drift between us. Between being a new young mom and navigating the chaos that came with that, him working so much, and struggling myself with finding my place as a new mom, without a "job", a change needed to be made. The concept of not having a "job" for me, was extremely challenging. (I put Job in quotation because I was at the time, a stay-at-home-mom and that is certainly a job. There is just no monetary compensation associated with it, and that is what I am referring to when I say "Job")
I had worked since I was 14. I always had a way to make my own money, I never had down time, and frankly was not fond of feeling reliant on someone else for financial support. I was desperate to contribute. Not only financially but I wanted to take some burden off of my Husband. Aside from that, I needed a creative outlet. From there, KLSD stemmed! It started with listing bridal + bachelorette items I created for my own bachelorette party and wedding. I listed about 5 items, with absolutely terrible photo quality. ( Like literally people, why anyone bought from me in those early days, is still BEYOND my comprehension) And from there started gaining slow traction.
Fast forward to January 2015... I had about 5-10 orders a week and was enjoying the small amount of money it provided, along with the creative outlet it provided for me during the day aside from taking care of my son. I remember thinking.. "What if I really tried to make this a thing? What do I have to lose?.." So, I dedicated about 3 days to new designs. I designed approximately 10 new products and listed them immediately. Product photography was still a mere 3, so sales are still a mystery to me at this point, but in they came! We went from having 25 total orders in January, to 175 orders in February, and nearly 300 in March.
I was absolutely shocked....
I decided the key factor to this growth was the fresh product, so I invested some more time and money into 10-15 more designs.. From there we just took off. I moved the "office" from my Spare bedroom out to our garage and bought my first heat press off of a woman on Craigslist. In April of 2015, we hired our first employee to help us keep up with the incoming orders. By June we had two more!
You guys, this entire concept was INSANE to me. The fact that people from all over the world were buying my items, blew my mind! I started it with such insecurity. Such a fear of rejection, so for it to be accepted with such open arms was such an amazing feeling. I believe that is what fuels me. The feeling that people are loving the product I have designed, that they are choosing to spend their hard earned money to support me and my dream. To walk around wearing something I made them with my hands. The concept blew my mind, and still does to this day, 4 years later.
By March 2016 we were selling about 450 orders a month and only growing. I knew that I couldn't stay in my house forever if I wanted KLSD to be something bigger than what it was. So we started looking for office space to house our little business. This idea TERRIFIED me. I was overwhelmed with fear that we would fail. I thought for sure one day sales would drop off and we would be stuck with this overhead I wouldn't be able to afford. I thought this whole thing was for sure fluke and people would stop buying eventually, right? You see the trend here, right? My mind was working so hard against me. Throwing every possible scenario at me to fuel the insecurity. But, through many hours of conversation with my amazingly supportive husband, many hours crunching numbers and seeking advice from other business owners, I pushed through that fear and made the leap. April 1, 2016 I received the keys to my very first KLSD HQ and DAMN did that feel good. 750 glorious sq ft of space to call my own! As terrified as I was, I knew this was only opening up doors for us. I knew that without this step, we would not grow. And, I was right! ( My hubby would say he was too)
It is now June 7th, 2018 and I am sitting on my couch typing my very first blog post for our very own website that is set to launch tomorrow. This website is a direct representation of KLSD and all that the brand is, and will be! We are currently shipping more than 1,200 orders a month, we just moved into our second office location of nearly 1500 sq ft and employ 5 women other than myself.
I am still absolutely shocked....
I still think about the fact that people are STILL buying from me. People STILL like what I am making. People are STILL choosing to spend their hard earned money on KLSD items, made right here in Fresno, CA. Mind.Boggling. Today, my role in KLSD looks much different than the earlier days. I spend more of my time now managing production, and ensuring quality product. I design, I dream and I scheme. I execute my ideas and plan for future growth. With no background of business, how I am doing it, and doing it successfully, is a mystery to me, but I don't plan on stopping soon.
Recently, I really honed in on my "Why" for KLSD. I asked myself why I am doing what I am doing. What does it mean to me? Why should it matter to other people?What makes me stand out from the rest of the market? Through that internal dialogue I knew I needed to finally push forward with my dreams of making KLSD more of a brand and less of an Etsy seller site. While my gratitude for Etsy and all that it is, is immeasurable, I know that Etsy is not the platform KLSD can live on forever to evolve into what it is dreamed to be. Etsy has provided me with a platform to fuel what I love. It gave me the power to create and share my passion with my peers and the world. It held my hand through e-commerce and paved the way for me to drop the crutches and run fast towards my ultimate goals for this company.
KLSD, in my mind is so much more than product line. While Etsy has been amazing, its platform is not created for you to be able to showcase your brand thoroughly. It is strictly for selling product. And we have much bigger dreams than just selling product!
With that, I will leave you.... hopefully thirsty for more. If so, stay tuned for what we have up our sleeves!