I was sitting here, watching the Season Finale of Project Runway, which btw, is my most favorite show! Yes, it is not much of suprise, but I feel like I have gained a ton of knowledge and inspiration from this show. It was exciting to see the designers backstage watching their first Runway show. I could feel the excitement they were feeling because that is exactly how I felt at our first Market, when stores starting seeing and ordering our line for the first time and the first time I saw one of my designs coming down that Runway....
I still get those same exciting chills seeing this pic and how gorgeous this outfit was all put together on the little model.
So, that was August of 2011, and we have had many twists and turns in our venture, which is now just my venture! :) Our first Wholesale Season was a HUGE success along with being a huge learning process. Years of selling on EBAY, ETSY and Two Monkeys Designs website, definitely helped, but did not prepare me for how much work we all put into this first season. Unfortunately before the season was over, my Business Parnter and Photographer, decided to leave the company to go back to her true passion of photography, so a huge twist and I had to do a major stop, turn and major adjusting to being the Sole Owner of my company again. So, I did what my mother taught me to do when the going gets tough, work harder! We spent all summer at Canton, TX, selling our Spring/Summer Line, meeting our customers in person (I love seeing new, old and sometimes the same faces every month), growing my circle of help and suppport and prepping and learning the part of production that I did not know yet. I can honestly say I feel so blessed for my circle of friends and customers. You have rallied behind me, helped and supported me in soooooooo many ways. I am tearing up even thinking about the number of hours and offers of help that I have received these past 6 months.
This is a pic of Lisa and I from our first month in Canton, where we stayed up late tagging and watching crazy old movies all night and then worked our little tails off all weekend! Lisa and I went to college together and I could not be more grateful for her. Lately, she has spent all of her free-time, when her kids are in Pre-school, packaging all of our Fall Lacey Legs! Thank you so much for all of your hard work Lisa!!!!
And, then I have to thank Kelly! Kelly is not only the biggest CiCi & Ryann & Two Monkeys Fan, (she told me once that her daughter had over 2o Two Monkeys outfits in her closet and now it is full of CiCi & Ryann), but she is our number one Saleperson in Canton! We love her and her positive attitude. If you have been to Canton, you have most likely met, Miss Kelly! Lately, she has spent her two days off from her Pre-school Teaching job to help me make bows for all of our fall dresses and organize our Headquarters! Kelly, I adore you!!!
Okay, then there is Liz. Liz is like my big sister, even though she is MUCH younger than me.... Her and her family are fiercly protective of me and her daughter, Cheyanne, has been Caroline "CiCi's" best friend since they were 3 years old. Since Liz has a full-time job, she doesn't really work for us, per say....but she sure does help me out so much....like...laying in the pool with my kids all summer, so I could run to the sewing house. Picking up boxes of clothing on the way to Canton from one of our Sewing houses, making Fuzzy Navels for me this summer and then just being a great friend, so I would not loose my mind with how busy I was. Baking cupcakes and gooey pumpkin bars for our Fall Shopping Event, learning how to make rolled flowers. Finding the ONE place in Canton that serves wine after a hard day!!! And just sharing in it all with me! We are going to make her retire from teaching one day soon to come hang out with us FULL-TIME! We love you Liz!!!
Sheryl, my Awesome Assitant and so much more! She comes over and endures bad music choices, which if anyone knows me, they know I cannot work without noise, so I try to have different stations on for Sheryl everyday!!!! I don't know what I would do without her shipping all of your packages out and helping me do things I don't have the hours in the day to do! You rock Sheryl! Wish I had pics of everyone!!! We must work on that!
Shari, our bookkeeper, who not only admits to me that my accounting haunts her dreams!!! Ha! Ha! She has also fallen in love with Buster and is helping me with the part of my Company that makes me want to pull my hair out!!!!
Susan Stroud, our awesome new Photographer, who stepped in and re-shot our Fall Line for us and did an amazing job capturing the spirit of the line and really getting and believing in my vision for it! I LOVE all the images and the fun, cool vibe Susan has brought to our Website and for making me crack up!!!
Amy, our newest team member, for coming to my aid and sewing all of our Halloween outfits for Canton, making us laugh hysterically while making bows with the bow police (me) in Canton, running to deliver goodies and go on Production outtings with me on her one day of of her full-time job! Calming me down when I think my head my pop off from thinking about all I have to get done and making me yummy low carb snacks to keep me going through my day!
Melissa Darst, I adore you! Thanks so much for always sharing my line with your clients and taking the most beautiful pics of Ms. Maren in our clothing!
Shaye Mercer, a big thanks for being there for my special projects and being so go with the flow and amazingly fast even when I tell you an hour before the shoot I need a black cat with a purple bow and a leash! :)
Did I mention my husband and kids who have put up with me working 24 hours a day and giving up their mom when I am in Canton once a month... I love these sweeties more than anything!!!
So, I have had a lot of twists, trauma, turns, but it goes with that saying and Kelly Clarkson song, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!" And it is true! I feel like CiCi & Ryann is stronger than ever! Our Fall Line has taken a lot longer in Production than expected as we have had to expand to two sewing house, but as we have been picking up the styles one by one, I fall in love with them all over again and what got me into this business in the first place! The dresses are truely little works of art, they are already looking amazing on all of your girls and seeing the pics you guys send in just makes my heart smile and I know that the struggles and hard work, making sure this fall line did not die, was worth it!!! We ARE stronger and our Spring designs are going to blow you away. We are going with the twists and changing things along the way, but only to make things better and make the future of CiCi & Ryann more exciting.
So, lastly thank you, my customers, for your continued support, for believing in this company, for letting me in such a small way be part of your family memories. I cannot tell you how honored I am when I see a CiCi & Ryann outfit in your family pics, for telling all your friends about us and for dressing your precious girls in our clothes!!!
And now off to bed....cuz it is now 12:30 am, I have a garage sale and we have lots more shipping to do in the morning.