What goes up...(the messy side of running a small business).

Just last month, we quietly celebrated Elworthy Studio’s 3rd birthday!  It has been a wild ride, perhaps even more so this year with me combining motherhood and running a small business.  

It has also been a year of significant growth - many new clients, and many more sales.  So much good comes with the growth, but I’ve also learned that with more sales, there is more that can go wrong.  In the world of social media where there is so much perceived perfection “out there” , I thought I’d share a few recent mishaps:


MISHAP #1: For the first time in three years, one of my shipments was lost by UPS.  Or maybe damaged…UPS couldn’t tell me for sure.  Either way, the package wasn’t getting to the client.   I did my best to channel my stress by problem solving.  First priority was ensuring the client get the product without further delays.  We reprinted the order and overnighted it.  Then, filed a claim for compensation from UPS.  Many dark chocolate covered cashews were consumed throughout the process.

MISHAP #2: My production partner printed a large order then realized the color was slightly different from our approved standard.  We’d used up an entire bolt of fabric that we now couldn’t send, and the customer was expecting their order in a weeks time!   My production partner acted quickly, did some color matching tests, and overnighted the color samples for my approval…then had employees come in over the weekend to get the order reprinted and shipped.  We expedited the shipment and the client received it on the same day we’d promised.  Whew! 

The perfect match: color matching tests on fabric

The perfect match: color matching tests on fabric

MISHAP #3: A colleague discovered that a major retailer introduced a design strongly resembling one of my own original designs.  Somewhat flattering, but mostly frustrating that they took inspiration from my work without permission.  Unfortunately, I had not taken the time to copyright the designs…meaning a cease and desist letter would have very little leverage, or could even backfire with them claiming they designed it first.  My lawyer and I agreed that the best course of action was to let it go, and focus my energy on creating new work.  I have since caught up on copyrighting all my designs, and will be better informed and prepared if there is a next time. Designers - please copyright your designs right away! Don’t put it off like yours truly did.

Like I said…growth means lots of good things, but with the good inevitably comes a little bit of bad.  I’m learning from the bad, fixing what I can, and trying to make the best of what I can’t.  But running a business is most definitely NOT all pretty all the time.