An Indie Biz: Welcoming the New Year

2013 Pierogi Picnic Annual Business Review final

It’s been quite a fruitful year here at Pierogi Picnic – and there’s much to reflect on. Whether perusing through my Etsy sales, looking back at the conjuring of new designs, or basking in the warm glow of gleaming customer reviews, 2013 was the year where my business shined.

Thinking back over the last five years, and the endless toiling to build Pierogi Picnic’s strong foundation, this was the year where the pay offs became clear and tangible. What more could a biz owner wish for?!

So to send off 2013, while joyfully welcoming 2014, I’ve drafted up a visual graphic that looks back on this year’s achievements. Because, after all, what’s the fun of running a small indie biz if I don’t get to celebrate milestones, breakthroughs, and all the success nuggets in between!

And if you’re wondering how in the world I was able to achieve, let alone set my sight on these goals in the first place, consider giving my yearly business planning worksheet a try. Download my customizable, and totally adorable, planning worksheet below to help you get your goals on paper for the year.

Here’s to a fruitful New Year to all the indie handmade business owners out there!

2014 Business Planning Worksheet Graphic from pierogi picnic

An Indie Biz: Design Process

Pierogi Picnic: Design Process

Designing a new garment or revamped vintage clothing item is always an adventure!

I’ve used many methods over the years. Some involved intricate illustrations prior to creation. Others were more stream-of-consciousness, just cutting and sewing and making things up along the way. Still, in other situations I’d find myself with some general ideas of what I was looking to present and forming the vision in my mind before take scissors to fabric. No matter what the method – coming up with a new design can be the most exciting, and conversely, flabbergasting thing! Continue reading

An Indie Biz: Making a Look Book

Pierogi Picnic Look Book shoot

This past Saturday I embarked on my first look book adventure!

Gathering together a group of talented creatives and the Pierogi Picnic modeling gang, we orchestrated a fun-filled shoot in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. With loads of brightly colored designs and props in hand – we snapped and shot hundreds of photos to show off the latest Pierogi Picnic creations – orchestrating an urban picnic in one of the most vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods in Chicago.

Pierogi Picnic look book teaser

Now that the actual shoot date is behind us, all that’s left to do is sift through the shots and do some fine tuning! We’ll keep you posted on when the final product is ready for it’s debut to the world. But in the meantime – here’s a peek into the planning that went into making the shoot a success. Continue reading

An Indie Biz: Making a List

The holidays are just around the corner and I don’t want the busyness of the spirited season to distract me from business or pleasure this year. So what’s the best way to keep myself focused? Why – making a list of course!

Sitting down and ‘planning’ your holiday approach for your indie biz is intimidating, daunting, and for some, down-right unpleasant. But without a plan you can only go so far. To trick yourself into concocting a strategy, sit down and first answer these questions.  Continue reading

An Indie Biz: Holidays on my Mind

I remember when I used to quip how ridiculous retailers were about their premature holiday roll outs. Now that I’m nearing my fourth winter season with Pierogi Picnic I hang my head in shame for my previous judgements. Retail is all about pre-planning – especially in the digital realm.

I should have started my holiday prepping over the summer – but how could I possibly tear myself away from the allure of the outdoors to sit inside for business planning?! But it’s not too late to get my approach for this season set and you can too with these four steps: Continue reading

Planning Ahead: Fall Fashion 2011

I was reading through the Etsy Blog and came across an article about uber entrepreneur Melissa Helmbrecht and was instantly floored.

The post chronicles Melissa’s diverse array of achievements and shares her 3 piece of advice for small indie businesses. Her very first tip has haunted me since I read the article: 1. Do what you don’t feel like doing.

When I read this I had to stop, go back, and read it again. At first I had thought it said “do what you feel like doing” and thought to myself, “yeah!” Boy was I bummed when I processed it again. “What do you mean do what you don’t want to? That’s not what I want to hear!”

The article continues by reviewing the need for a business plan and forward thinking – none of which I’m against – but to be reminded of this on a warm lazy summer day hit a nerve.

I was suddenly overwhelmed – the fall season was just a mere 3 months away and I hadn’t even stopped one moment to dream up my cool weather designs. The business plan is intact – but what about the core of my brand – the clothing!?

So after ordering up some steaming sweet and sour tofu takeout I sat down to plot, draw, and dream my Fall 2011 collection. And if you think I’m stalling (don’t fashion designers figure this out year’s in advance!?) then remember that I’m not your typical clothing designer and that at times spontaneity and procrastination can lead to high pressure thinking and fabulous results!

And in case you’re just itching to see some of my thoughts I’ve included a page from my business journal above. Which leads me to wonder – have you planned out your ideas for the coming season? When did you get started? Share your insights below!