OH BOY .... what just happened ??? Last month got a little crazy.
I am sorry if any of you found my customer service to be a little slow, all of a sudden things exploded - boutiques were madly re-ordering and we were suddenly selling out of things! Happy chaos. I am guessing spring has sprung in the USA!!
You may think we are this big bustling corporate fashion house, but actually that couldn't be further from the truth ! Our team is teeny tiny... there is no receptionist wearing one of those headsets, there is no "design team", there is no "production team". I don't even have a PA, but I sure do need one.... I think I need 4 actually !
Ok so now you know I live in Australia... and I know you Americans call that "Down Under" and it really is down under. It's SO FAR AWAY, it takes me 24 ++ hours to fly to Florida. It's winter here when its summer there and every day I wake up at about 3pm EST your time. I open my eyes, pick up my phone and scan through the emails to see if there is anything needed URGENTLY before the close of business USA East Coast.
I get up, pack lunches, feed a bunch of hungry creatures (kids, cat, dog & myself) get my kids off to school and then come upstairs to my studio office, that my husband built for me. Here I am at my desk.... it's always messy, because the airy-fairy creative designer in me is just MESSY.... ask my mum, I was messy at 15 and I still am at 45.
By this time of my day, I am having my morning cup of tea, while my USA customers and island friends are all sipping your 'after work cocktails". I have 6 different time zones programmed into my phone, so that I can try to figure out who is doing what - between me in Australia, customers from Maine to Hawaii, and my amazing factories in India and China, who patiently turn my crazy ideas into pure cotton bliss.
Aside from me, there is Lauren Buchanan, my AWESOME right hand lady. Lauren lives in Florida. She is National Sales Manager, Warehouse Manager & Miracle Worker. She builds booths at trade shows, takes your orders at trade shows, she keeps the warehouse amazing, she packs your orders, she collects the mail, banks the checks, fixes problems and is just basically my SUPER HERO. Here she is at Surf Expo with her son Jack (who also ALWAYS jumps in to be our super hero at a moments notice - like when 200 cartons arrive at once). Lauren has a new warehouse assistant just started, her name is Jodi, and I am looking forward to meeting her on my next visit to Florida in July.
Then my little sister Cristi, she is in Australia with me. She lives just down the road, and comes into my office a few times a week. She tries to tame my crazy "designer" accounting system, luckily she is the organized sister ! Thank goodness ! Here she is on vacation in stunning Vanuatu.
Then there is my much younger baby sister AMY. Well you all know Amy, right? In recent years, she has become the "face" of West Indies Wear. She has featured in all our photoshoots, she has been in Vogue & Coastal Living magazine. These days she has also moved "off-island" and is living in Oregon, where she is still involved, she is doing all the social media for me now... in between taking care of a new husband and her 4 dogs.... her babies. She is a crazy dog lady ! Here she is on island time.
Here she is dreaming of island sunshine in the Oregon snow.... with her dog Aussie.
The one other person I call on for help, is Sally Deacon. Sally also lives in Australia and is also a designer. Each season for the last 10 years, Sally has turned my scribble sketches and bad handwriting into a computer generated sketch and worksheet, with all the style requirements (labelling, hang tags, embroideries, print information) making it easy to understand for the factories. Here is an example of her work - when she drew up the now sold out SHELL TEE for me last year.
Here is a photo of Sally and her gorgeous blonde surfer boys last summer.
So that's it, our super small family clothing company. As you can see we are not quite yet at the fancy schmancy glass office design-room stage, (ala "The Devil Wears Prada"). We are just a bunch of "island girls" spread out all over the world, doing our best.
Next blog post I would like to introduce you to our sales reps, they are the ones you see or speak to regularly and do a great job showing the line all over USA, they are not always forthcoming with photos of themselves though, so lets see how I go!