Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flying high with a Fashion Icon!

Last night, while working my 'real job' - on my return to New York as we were boarding the flight I immediately recognized a fashion icon! Tim Gunn was standing right in front of me with a gorgeous smile on his face. After saying hello, welcome aboard... I decided to just throw out there... "If you aren't planning on sleeping during the flight, I'd LOVE to chat with you." He was very nice and replied that he wasn't planning on sleeping and would love to chat with me. Seriously? I couldn't believe my luck! But... how to politely bring up that I'm starting up my own business, and the whole nine yards while still being professional and giving good service to the other 13 passengers in first class?

After my services were "mostly" complete I was able to chat with him and his seat mate, just making small talk at first, then I brought up curlyQdesign. I always carry a small photo album with pictures of several past special orders, and a few samples. He seemed very impressed! Actually said that he saw me selling my items in Bergdorf Goodman! {And here I am nervous just thinking about selling in craft shows in the Spring.}

I gave him a business card, and he wrote me a note, and gave me his email address. You just never know who you may cross paths with! Who knows where this will lead? But it sure is motivation to get my buisness plan complete and really start marketing myself.

I'll be framing this card to hang in my craft studio.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Using my community resources

This morning I met with an advisor at my local Small Business Development Center. I can't recommend doing this HIGHLY enough! My only regret? Not making the appointment several months ago!!! My scheduled appointment was for an hour and a half, but I was actually there a little longer getting all of my questions answered. I have a "follow up" appointment next month to make sure I'm on track with my business plan. For those of you out there with questions about starting up your own small business... make that call! It's a free service that is there to help you through this process! I'd been waiting to set up my EIN {Employee Identification Number} before talking it through with my advisor about if my company would be okay as a DBA for now, or if I should incorporate it into an LLC. For now, I've made the decision to stay at the DBA level, until my sales can justify the switch.

As soon as I got home, I filed for both my EIN, and Federal Tax ID # {my NY customers will now be paying sales tax... but everyone outside of NY will still enjoy tax free products!} Both forms were filed online and were very easy to complete. After my online filing for my EIN, I was able to go to my bank and open a business checking account. I will now be using QuickBooks Pro 2010 to keep all of my expenses and profits {???} organized!

Time to take a break and get dinner going... I've been going a mile a minute since I got out of bed this morning!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Labeling in action

I completed an order last night for a good friend, and this was the first time I got to use my fresh off the printer labels! Here's how they look, I even made one to iron directly onto the inside of the shirts {under the original label} that states "Applique By: curlyQdesign" and the rest of the CPSIA requirements.


Today we celebrated my sister-in-laws birthday! I thought I'd share the card I made for her... my father-in-law has saved every card I've ever made for him and keeps them in the living room on display, it's very sweet!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Printing my own labels

To comply with the CPSIA and FTC, there are several things that need to be included on any labeling tag for items marketed for children under the age of 12. This is what will now be on every item I produce... My company name, "curlyQdesign" ; my website,; my location, 11793 USA; and that my items are "Made in the USA of Imported Fabrics {because, seriously... just about every piece of fabric I have, with the exception of my "Central Park toile" is made outside the USA!} The bottom half of the label is flipped upside down, so that when the tag is folded in half, is will be right side up on the "back" - since just about everything I make is reversible, there really isn't a "true" front or back, so I should be in complete labeling compliance. The rest of my label has the "ingredients" or fabric which is usually 100% cotton on one side, and 100% polyester (minky) on the other, so this label reads 50% cotton, 50% polyester. The next 3 lines show care instructions for laundering. The last part of the back of the label is the system I'm using for Date of Manufacturing, 10JFMAMJJASOND11 - {idea from "FayeMaloneDesigns" on an ETSY Forum about labeling} I'm using a non toxic fabric marker to put a dot under the month and year for each item. That way each label design can be used for 2 years!

After developing the label on PhotoShop Elements 8, I then edited the image to be flipped horizontally, so that I could print it out onto iron-on transfer paper by June Taylor and then I ironed the label onto a 7/8" {Offray, CPSIA compliant} white satin ribbon that I will sew into my handiwork!

The finished image before printing onto the transfer sheet looks like this:

I have also read that you can use freezer paper and print directly onto twill tape, this may be another project to try out soon... I will let you know how that works out! But for now, I'm very happy with what I've come up with to satisify the FTC and CPSIA and a very low cost! The iron-on sheets were purchased at JoAnn Fabric {with a 50% off coupon} for less than $5.00 for a package of 3 sheets! I was able to print out 55 of my design labels on one sheet, and 45 of the labels with care instructions on another!

I also just came across this blog which has many suggestions and tips about labels, as well:;

*** Revised at 9:34 pm EST***

Thanks for the concern from the anonymous poster. To the best of my knowledge, I am okay with one label - as long as all of the bases are covered. I also do not "manufacture" my own clothing, I am simply applying an applique to purchased bodysuits, shirts, and other articles of clothing, which are all aready labeled for both the FTC and CPSIA. However for my blankets, bibs, and burp cloths... these labels should be fine.

It really is all so confusing, but here's the link directly from the FTC and their "frequently asked questions" section... hope I've deciphered this corrrectly! Asked Questions

Friday, February 19, 2010

curlyQdesign is official!

After several months of selling my handmade creations through ETSY and at my "real" job to other flight attendants, I've taken the leap into making my hobby a reality and filed for a DBA! I am now offically, Michelle Sherack, doing business as, curlyQdesign! Yea me! I will be meeting with a counselor the beginning of next week with my local SBA, Small Business Association, and I can't wait! I am now just hoping that I didn't bite the bullet and file the DBA either too late, or should have waited until after I decide between starting an LLC, or S-Corp... all of the acronyms were a foreign language to me only a few months ago... and continue to make my head hurt when trying to decide what the right thing is to do! This is why I'm so thrilled to finally be able to talk to a "pro" and get some honest advice! {No idea what took me sooo long to make the appointment}

I hope you enjoy following my journey of the highs and lows of starting my own small business!