How do you respond to setbacks? Me? I dust myself down, review what’s happened and go back to the drawing board. And that’s where I find myself today.
When I set up the +Black blog, I was hoping, and working in the background, to develop, and retail, products that I thought ‘my demographic’ of women with changing lifestyles, struggling with the aesthetics of that change, would be interested in buying.
Over the past several months, it has become obvious to me that I do not have the physical reserves to support such an endeavour, much as I would love to do it, and most of my friends, working in full time jobs, do not have the resources to fill in the gaps for me. This has not been an Ah-Ha moment revelation so much as an annoying process of attempting to ignore the reality of my life. I just hate to ‘give in’ to constraints, don’t you?
Being an adaptable person, I have been exploring a low-impact idea for product development but today, that proved to be a route going nowhere fast in the short term. So, I am back to square one and pondering my options and what I am hoping to get from continuing with ideas for retailing high quality, plus size product in black.
Feeling bruised as I am by my own failures, unsure that I am able to progress a business in a part-time manner – uncharted territory for me; it’s always been 100% or nothing to my mind – I do intend to continue with and expand the +Black blog as I enjoy the writing even though it sometimes feels like masturbation or self-flagellation (depending on whether I am having a good or bad day!) when I am so uninterested in the mechanics of increasing the numbers who read me here (I am as bad about my Stiletto Wheels site too). I always, maybe naively, think that if it’s good, people will somehow find, love and read it even though every media source says you have to promote furiously to build up interest in what you do.
I guess, also, that the past year(s) have indicated that there are not yet many people ‘like me’ out there right now …not meaning that in an egotistical way but a statistical one that probably applies to most of those who read me and whom I read. It still seems oxymoronic for most people to link disability, plus sizes, above average income and interests in style and design together. And yet, here we few are, meeting up online, with many more to join us in the next few years, I believe. I still think there is merit in the business idea of +Black based upon such a demographic but maybe 2013 is a just a bit ahead of the curve on it. Perhaps a slow, elongated, development of the idea over the next decade or two will be more apropos to an emerging future demographic of ageing, consumer-generation, baby-boomers who are used to getting what they want and have better financial resources than the mass of those who currently are ‘like me’ but about twenty years older!
I know that I am unwilling to risk major financial investment in this area as all the feedback I have had tells me there is not a huge demand for high price point product in plus sizes or from the existing disabled community right now. All the entrants into the high end, quality, product offer to either demographic seem to struggle for a wide support base. I have seen so many try and fail or limp on without ever achieving the market penetration they thought they would … and which, logically, should be possible based on the stats.
There may be a future but, for now, I shall put +Black Retail on the back burner, keep it simmering and try to find a workable mechanism to pull it together if I am able. Not abandoning my plans so much as de-prioritising and looking for the most realistic way to go forward, taking time to enjoy the journey as I go.
I have had a lot of fun to date with +Black, exploring, researching, playing and I’ve met some great people in the process – both online and not. I have found assistance and resources to supply all my own product requirements from shoes via clothes to hats, jewellery and even disability aids.
I love finding and sharing new inspirations in people, fashion, creative arts, writing, blogging, disability developments and so many other things. So, I hope those of you reading this will continue to drop by, comment, share with me your ‘finds’ as I re-group, redevelop and take some time to re-work my Plus Black ‘lookbook’.
Salut. Happy times ahead …