I didn’t have the heart to shut down my website after I closed up shop in 2016, and always told myself I’d maybe turn it into a blog, but the inspiration never hit. I really had no idea how or when I would start. I tried a few times, and even wrote a few posts about things I thought people wanted to read, but actually meant jack shit to me. Fashion, beauty, lifestyle.. How the hell do you write about lifestyle when you’re home all day? Maybe homebody-style, I can go on for days about that. I never published anything because it didn't feel organic, it wasn't me. Half the time I’m wearing stretch pants and a stained t-shirt, I still don’t know how to put on eyeliner, and in general I’m just not the kind of person you rely on for that sort of thing. But, I knew I had a lot to say, my brain is constantly cooking up ideas, and think I genuinely have good advice to give. So I’m going to try again with a different approach, a more sincere one, coming from the hot mess next door who is not internet-famous, doesn’t get free shit sent to her, isn’t super rich or super hot or super anything.. And also, I’ve been paying my host $16 for over 20 months to keep this thing alive… so here we are. The beginning! Of... something?
Let’s start off with a ~mega disclaimer~ that I am not a writer. I’m not eloquent with words, and I often insert “fuck” or “fucking” between other words, because well, I have a lot of feelings and not enough adjectives in the memory bank to describe them. I also had a solid average of 3.33 from freshman to senior year (only because I was unusually skilled at getting teachers to give me the grade I needed, not earned. Terrible, I know), and I also skipped a ton of classes in high school to smoke weed or to smoke weed and go to McDonalds down the street… so that may have something to do with the fact I continuously struggle with i before e, and sometimes y, and am also very bad at basic math skills (I still blame my third grade teacher, but whatever). I also tried to finish my Bachelors degree in a span of over 10 years, but turns out I really just don’t like school, and my unusual skill of getting teachers to feel bad for me does NOT work on college professors.
Anyway, I’m in a place where I needed an outlet. More than Instagram, more than Facebook, more than Snapchat, more than text messages… I kind of needed somewhere I could talk to myself publicly, if that makes any sense. Maybe I need this to hold myself accountable for all the things I keep telling myself I want to do. I’m also right in the heart of a major life shift, balancing important friendships slipping away, trying to understand what it is to be a good wife and life partner, a mom to two amazing fur-children that literally depend on me to stay alive... admist confronting pretty fucked up things that have happened to me, and closing doors on memories and situations that have really stunted my mental and emotional growth.
Now that I’m beginning a new (ad)venture, which I will share really really soon (no, I’m not pregnant), I thought before anything, a good place to start would be to get my most frequently asked question out in the open...
What happened to your business?
I'll try and keep this as short and to-the-point as possible, but to put it simply, I threw in the towel.
Once I realized that my overnight idea, turned full-time job was getting way bigger than I ever anticipated with no real plan, I had to make a decision. Did I see myself doing this long-term? Did I love it? The answer was always right in front of my face. No, I didn’t love it. I loved everyone I met along the way, but to be honest, after I released our third collection, it wasn’t exciting for me anymore. A few things contributed to that..
One— I was fucking exhausted trying to protect my work from other small businesses, and eventually big ones who basically ate me and all my designs alive. I was being ripped off faster than I could produce and sell them to my own clientele. Eventually, I was only designing new things because the last style I had just produced was already being sold elsewhere for 20% of my retail price. It was a pretty hopeless and lonely place to be, and I wasn't sure how to break the cycle without spending my life savings trying to get patents/trademarks, or fighting lawsuits I knew I would never win.
Two— with growth comes change. It’s inevitable. We got to a point where we weren’t able to keep up with orders (a pretty good problem to have if you have a plan), and at the peak, our backorder wait time was as long as 3 months. I should also mention that I refer to my business as "we" because I employed my mom and grandma who are master crocheters. They were only supposed to work part-time, but were actually putting in full-time hours. Towards the end, we were essentially all slaves to the business and I couldn't put myself and them through it anymore, so I had to consider my options. My customers deserved better than that, and I valued them too much to let it continue on this way. With limited funding and manpower available to me at the time, all roads seemed to lead to one place: Asia. Crocheted swimwear is a niche market, with niche production prices. Being a small business with a small budget, I didn’t have the luxury to just march my tiny ass into a giant factory in Los Angeles, and have our designs mass produced. Yes, I did need more bikinis, a lot more, but I also didn’t need a minimum order of 300 in each SKU either. I also wasn’t prepared to mess with anyone else’s money, especially since my heart wasn’t fully in it. The only real way I could grow/stay in business without spending every dime I had to my name was to outsource overseas, and that was one thing I was not willing to do. The biggest company who ever ripped me off was based in Hong Kong, and I knew legally there would be so many other hurdles I would have to face with a manufacturer so far away. So, after countless sleepless nights and a lot of tears, I closed up orders, finally filled 3 months of backorders, and closed the book. I was offered the chance to sell the business, but I didn’t want to sell out not knowing where the brand would go without my creative direction or input, so that wasn’t an option for me either, no matter the price.
And there you have it, nothing too juicy or complex about it. It is what is. This is actually the first time I’m realizing that it’s been 20 months since I was a business owner. And instead of feeling sorry for myself, I’m understanding that so much life has happened in between, that I really can’t have regrets or bad feelings about it. I got married, moved to a different country, added a fur baby to the Varona circus, and have mainly focused on taking care of myself. I've been trying to figure out how to lay my roots in this new place, and start fresh as I try to set a good foundation before heading into my 30’s. Holy shit, 30.
Speaking of wedding, here are some photos from our wedding that was actually cancelled by our venue 48 hours before the date, but ended up in someone's backyard and was fucking PERFECT-- but that's a whole other story I'll get into someday. Maybe.
I hope this blog will always be a place I can talk openly and freely to you and to myself, without judgement. I want to talk about all the shit that keeps you up at night, or how your life didn't turn out the way you imagined it would be when you were young. I’m not that interesting, but I have a few cool stories to tell, and lessons I’d love to to share... So I hope we can connect on a more meaningful level and navigate this pilgrimage of fuck-i’m-an-adult-now life together.
Mom, if you're reading— You really do need to move up here because I still can't cut fruits, am constantly setting off the kitchen fire alarm, and can't decipher clothing that should be washed with the whites or the colors (I'm sort of just chucking it all in there and hoping for the best). I refuse to give you grand-babies until we get this sorted out. Love you.