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Diary of a Start-Up: Redwagon

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This is the first in an series of weblogs from one of the owners of redwagon, a business that makes and sells hand-crafted fashion accessories and clothing. Check back often for more from-the-trenches viewpoints on starting and building a business.

This week's entry: Where Do We Go Next?

We are a company made up of four gals, three in NYC and one in LA. We started this company with the idea that a girl doesn't have to get knee deep in debt to have some quality hand-crafted clothing and accessories. So we founded redwagon in January 2004, specializing in accessories, jewelry, and clothing. We ventured from boutique to boutique, offering our line in a fully stuffed vanity suitcase. Luckily both our idea and our products began to take notice.

Hear we are nine months later, with orders, a website, and our line of merchandise in boutiques spanning LA, NYC, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Needless to say, we are a little overwhelmed and in over our heads with the business aspects of the company: Do we incorporate? Do we copyright? Do we enlist manufacturers and investors? We bought Incorporate Your Business for Dummies, and got a vendor's license and retail certificate, and that's as far as we've gotten at the moment.

With the company growing as it has, it seems that now the four of us have slightly--and not so slightly--different views of what the company should be. What began as randomly creating excellent pieces from moderately priced fabrics and scrap leather for appliqués has turned into a highly tailored line of all leather. This has put redwagon in a position of losing lead-time to get the merchandise into the boutiques as well as losing our value prices.

What happened to that idea that we started this company for? Instead we are emulating a high-end fashion house with absolutely no budget or time to make the items we have designed. So now the customers we intended to sell our fashions to cannot afford our line. At this point we need to figure out where we're headed and what steps will be right for our company's success--and what kind of success we're actually looking for!

Last updated: Oct 13, 2004




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