This is the fourth 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.

So here our company stands. Our partner in California has left due to geographical limitations and has started her own company sponsoring various designers, including Redwagon. It was definitely a sad parting, but the difficulties of maintaining a company where all but one are in the same city is a lot to manage.

As the holidays are approaching, we are making orders for some of the smaller boutiques and will be bringing out homemade earmuffs for the chilly winter season. Our jewelry line is improving with new quality materials pushing it into a higher-end costume genre. As our aesthetic is still for the fun and fancy free, we are making sure to balance the scales regarding our high quality status with materials that wont break the bank.

For the fall season, we somewhat lost focus, both financially and with our intended market. We chose all metallic leather skins, suede, and silk/satin for linings. Needless to say we were in over our heads, and without an industrial strength sewing machine, we had trouble in that end as well. Moving forward, we decided we like our metallic leather for our day to evening wear belts, but have nixed the pricey materials for bags and other attire, compensating with more animal friendly, pattern-printed materials. After all, we are not ready to invest in manufacturers at present and all have full-time jobs. We've learned to adjust both financially and in time management in effort to meet the demands of our accounts.

As the anniversary of Redwagon is approaching in the New Year, we are looking to do more business online. We are in the process of renewing our domain name and wondering if we should make the site more than an advertisement. Would Pay Pal and Web-based media/advertising be a more conducive way to both promote and stabilize sales revenue? Through using boutiques as way to promote and sell our merchandise, we are losing a significant portion of sales to consignment percentages. I find myself using the Web as a primary means of shopping, sourcing, etc., and would like to see the Redwagon website a more popular site for online shoppers. Afterall, that may be where most of our clientele is looking as well.

Read past diary entries: Making Sales, On the Road, Introducing Redwagon

Published on: Dec 1, 2004