Pattern Shift

#63 - Taking yourself seriously as a business owner, with Cal Patch

June 09, 2023 Cal Patch Season 3 Episode 63
Pattern Shift
#63 - Taking yourself seriously as a business owner, with Cal Patch
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Show Notes Transcript

Are you taking yourself seriously as a business owner, do you set boundaries, are you being professional,

It’s time to start owning the tasks that come with running your business, to stop feeling icky around business terms and accepting what you need to know about your needs and applying business strategies in order to balance and grow your personal and business life.

How business-y do you need to be?

In this episode, I'm talking to designer, maker, and teacher Cal Patch who's specialising in drafting your own patterns. Cal shares her journey from teaching for free to becoming an entrepreneur and how she still really doesn't use business terms, although she really IS an entrepreneur. 

FULL SHOW-NOTES WITH TAKEAWAYS

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BEST QUOTE FROM THE EPISODE

"We kind of organically flow into this business and pick some things up along the way.” -Cal Patch; Author, Designer, Teacher

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website www.calpatch.com 

CONNECT WITH SASKIA 

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​are you taking yourself seriously as a business owner? Do you set boundaries? Are you being professional? It's time to start owning the tasks that come with running your business and stop feeling icky around those business terms. Except what you need to know. Find your needs and start applying business strategies in order to balance and grow your business and personal life. Well, how business see, do you need to be. Welcome to pattern shifts. I'm so scared of fighter. And today I'm talking to multi craft, 10 chilis. The list, Cal patch. I know there should be a better word for that, but she can do a lot of things. For the first 15 minutes, we're going to learn about Cal her journey, who she is and what she's done. And then she's going to give us some insights into the different business models and strategies that she's applied. Although she wouldn't use those terms herself, she's actually never written a business plan. As most of you probably haven't and that's not a bad thing. Day-to-day life as a creative business owner can be very lonely and overwhelming leaving no time to actually grow your business. The pattern shift podcast gives you business insights and actionable tips to help you rise out of the day-to-day swamp. And start to become more visible and move your business forward. Find out how you can be part of helping graph this move away from fast fashion and become a value based business owner. Who's on top of things, running a business that's more sustainable for yourself, your family and our planet. in this 45 minute episode, we'll be demystifying some business concepts and terms. We'll be looking at some different business models and their pros and cons. Navigating the elephant in the room asking for fair pay and talking about the value of learning from experienced business owners. By the end of this episode, you'll hopefully learn that it's not about the business terms and what you call things. It's about what they can do for you. Start to think about how business models and strategy can bring you balance and feel more confident about making the next choice you'll want to make on your journey. And gain insights and inspiration without going to business school, but just from connecting to experienced business owners. Now before we start, don't forget to sign up for emails via pattern, shift.com and get regular and actionable business tips in your mailbox are alternatively find the link in the show notes.

Saskia:

welcome Cal. So happy to have you on my podcast. And how are you

Cal:

today? I'm good. Thank you so much for having me and I am thrilled to be

Saskia:

here. So Can you describe what you do by finishing this sentence? I help

Cal:

people. I help people learn how to make their own clothes would be the simplest thing because because it's so empowering and the ability to make their own clothes with your own measurements in mind is just like, I mean, it's everything. Because when we buy clothes, I mean, we know there's so many reasons that it's problematic to buy clothing, but maybe at the top of the list is that they usually don't fit you. And so to make your own clothes based on your body, because actually what I should elaborate and say, not just making clothes, but to draft your own patterns is really the special niche that I teach. And so drafting from your own measurements makes everything basically already fit from the start. And so it's a beautiful thing, even though I know it sounds very intimidating.

Saskia:

I've made some small steps into that new world, but I can, I could see if it's new to you that it might sound really, really hard, but it's so worth it, isn't it? It's like opening a door to Narnia.

Cal:

Exactly. also the way that I teach it makes it really doable and accessible I think, whereas, um, I don't imagine most people really even know how pattern drafting is usually taught. But like the way I learned in fashion school, it really didn't make sense to me. And I still hear from people in school and they still kind of learn that same way. So I've kind of made up a method that's very logical and practical and very accessible, and it's often easier than. Buying a pattern and trying to work with it when it's not drafted for you. So people tell me all the time that they actually now find the drafting easier.

Saskia:

So do you have to be super creative to do this?

Cal:

Not at all? It's a very useful skill to know if you have those inclinations, but, um, most of what I teach people to draft and what they end up doing are just the very simple basic garments that we all wear, like t-shirts and, simple tops and tunics and skirts. And I've been lured into teaching like a very simple pan, like a p on elastic pants, even though I don't really wear pants. But like the clothes, I always look around the room when, um, I'm teaching a live class to just to see, because somebody usually asks something like, isn't this gonna be really complicated and hard? And, you know, we're gonna have to learn about tons of darts and seams and all this stuff, but I'm like, look around. What we're all wearing is really so simple. We don't wear complicated garments with many, many pattern pieces and seams these days. so yeah. Really what I teach most people to make is just very basics. And then they, if they want, they can take those basics and spin them off into all sorts of like fantastical creations if that's what they're after. But for the most part, I see people just making simple things that they'll wear every day.

Saskia:

Yeah, that makes so much, much sense. Let me just tell you this small little story. I was traveling, I, I was taking a train to Basel to see my friends and there was a huge delay and I couldn't move from the platform, so I was just, Standing there watching all the people and because, making my own clothes at my wardrobe in a conscious way is just top of the head always. I was looking at all these people and thinking, okay, so what is the common demeanor in all of this? What are people actually wearing? And let's say that we, the cha the world would change dramatically and we would all start wearing, some sort of a uniform. Now, don't go mailing to me about my political views. That's not about that. It's just what I saw is that people wear white sneakers in the Netherlands in this, in 2023 white sneakers, black, straight-legged pants, more than jeans, which was amazing. And black bubble coats. So this is what we would look like, and this is what people, that would be the least complaining, if that was the, if that was the uniform. Now, I know that you and me, probably wouldn't choose to make a, a black bubble code because that's not the most, sustainable process. but if you do make your own basic outfits, t-shirts, skirts, leggings or, or pants, and they fit well, there's no reason to buy anything anymore. Could it be that simple?

Cal:

Totally. Like, I mean, really my uniform, although no one who looked at me every day would ever say I wore a uniform because it looks very different every day. But generally it's always. Some form of tunic or dress over leggings. That's pretty much what I wear every day because it's just the most comfortable, easy looking, good. Like, like it just has everything going for it, in my opinion. I mean, I guess partly I'm lucky that I don't have to go to work anywhere that has some kind of dress code or, you know, strict, um, well, I guess that's what a dress code is. I don't need to redefine it, but, um, you know, I can wear whatever I want, but to me it's just all about comfort and, um, comfort, but also looking good. Although that always like leads me down a weird path of like, what, you know, looking good is very subjective and mm-hmm. I just want to look sort of creative and colorful. Like that's what makes me happy and comfortable. I feel like often when you say comfort, you know, it just implies like sweatpants and baggy, baggy sweatshirt. Yeah. Everything baggy. Yeah. Yeah. And I might often be baggy, but like it's, I hope to, to think it's sort of a baggy with style kind of thing. Um, or like intentionally baggy, but I don't always wear a baggy anyway. That's also fit. Fit is another like, huge topic of like, what does fit mean? And fit is very subjective and you know, but I, we're not there yet.

Saskia:

How about if you, if you make your own wardrobe? I think people get overwhelmed by the idea of making a full wardrobe, but going into this, uh, journey myself, um, just making good quality stuff that you actually really like and don't need to, um, replace so often kind of makes it that you don't have to make very much like that. You don't have to make a lot of things Right. Um, right.

Cal:

Yeah. Um, like I don't really make a ton of things all the time. I mean, I, I do because I'm also making things. Custom for other people or things that I make to sell at markets and things. So I do make a lot of stuff, but for my own wardrobe, I'm not making tons of stuff all the time. And I've hear, heard a lot of, I listen to a lot of podcasts and um, I hear a lot of interviews with people who sew and they talk about like all the garments they've made and how and how they don't wear them like that I know is the whole premise behind me. Made May was getting people to wear their things that they make. And none of, I don't really relate to any of that cause, but I think it's because I am a clothing designer and I've been one for over 30 years. So like, I didn't come from the same direction that a lot of people are, are people who are learning to sew now. Um, but yeah, you don't need to make a lot of pieces. Um, you can just start. Small with some very simple practical things. And then usually when people make one thing and then it's successful, like, and maybe the first version is not so successful, it might need some tweaking, but once you get all the little, you know, fitting and details worked out the way you like them, then you can make it again so much easier the second time. So like, I think it makes sense to start with one pattern and you know it, I acknowledge that it, everyone doesn't need to draft their own patterns too. Like just learning to make clothes from, there's so many amazing indie pattern designers these days. So for most people I know that's, It's gonna be fine to use other people's patterns and you might tweak them a little to get them just how you want. But then once you've made something once and tweaked it a little bit, making two or three more is just so simple. Um, as opposed to like knitting where, I mean, you the first time is the hardest, but the second and third time are still gonna take as much time. Yeah. You know? But definitely I think with sewing, with sewing, I think it goes a lot quicker after you've worked out all the little kinks.

Saskia:

I don't think I've ever knits one pattern twice. Maybe a pair of socks, but no, no,

Cal:

not going. It usually feels like you've invested enough time and Yes. You're like ready to do something else. Yes.

Saskia:

That's amazing. Yeah. What I'm thinking is the process before the actual making of the clothes is so important to, to figure out what kind of clothes you need and, uh, what your life looks like so you don't end up with seven ball gowns when all you have that year is one barbecue. Um, um, and I think sometimes in, in the, in the process of slow fashion, sometimes we forget that it's so slow that we have to take in account the whole part before you even start sewing or drafting. but do You, do you have any feelings when it comes to that? How did you end up with your personal style? It, was it a process or was it just

Cal:

always there? I don't know that I really have a good answer to that. And I'm always drawn to, you know, these programs. I see like, um, I know Teamwork does something every year about like, you know, creating your own wardrobe and like figuring out exactly what you need and what your style is. And I've just always been sort of, I think because I started in it, well, yes, I, on the one hand I'm very fluid and like can flow wherever I want to. On the other hand, I think I'm also pretty consistent over time. Like, I, I don't really respond to trends. I think. A lot of the way I am is sort of like a backlash against coming out of the fashion industry as well. So, you know, like trends are, they kind of turned me off because I, I, I can see the end in sight because I know that they're created just to get people wanting a thing that then we're gonna be told is not the thing in six months. So I reject all of that,

Saskia:

like just saying what you don't want. Knowing what you don't want is also the

Cal:

answer to a question, right? Absolutely. That's true. That's a good point. I, yeah, I just, I know what I like at this point. I mean, it also comes with age, like definitely in my twenties and probably even my thirties, you know, I tried all the trends and like, you know, it's, we have different priorities usually when we're younger and we, you know, we love to dress up and try different things out, but then over time you just figure out the kinds of clothes you like to wear and, and I look for things like, I try to make things now that I know will last. I, I honestly don't even think about it anymore. Like I just, if I'm drawn to it, I go for it. Probably good. Yeah. But there's definitely like a, a typical, um, like a range of things I go for that would be. In my style, but I don't know how to define what my style is.

Saskia:

Right. And and also at this point, it's maybe not as much anymore about your style because you already kind of embodying it, but more about, I'm probably for some years now, um, sharing it with others and, and helping them find their way in, in everything. Cause we're, we're gonna talk about this. You, you've had some profession, like an amazing professional journey. Like I've got a list here. You've owned a store, a studio, you taught, you had a craft school, your designer, um, a crafty shop. You travel to teach, you do online teaching. Then, uh, there's, uh, all of that. But then in different skills, like a lot of crochet, sewing, pattern drafting, and much more. Those are some serious, uh, this is a serious list of business models. Do they feel like business models to you?

Cal:

No. No. And I, I think a lot of the things you listed, um, were they kind of overlapped. Like they might have been the, you might have said the same actual thing in a few different ways, so it sounded like more things, but, um, no, none of it. The term business model, a lot of the terms that you mentioned earlier, um, like branding and business model. Like I know, I know that they all apply, but I also can't like, directly feel like they, well, it's not that they don't apply to me, but I've just never thought of them that way and I, I've never done things. Um, Like, I've never started a business thinking like this is the business model or, or even, what's it called? A business plan. I think, like I tried, when I opened my store, I tried reading a few of those books about how to write a business plan cuz I wanted to do it the right way. Like I'm, and I'm very, you know, I could be very studious and, you know, I try to like follow the rules if I think it's going to, you know, be the smart way to do it. And I had no, I, I'd never even worked in a store before when I opened a store, so I felt like I should try to figure out how to do it. But everything I read in the books, like just felt like it didn't apply to me at all because it was all about like, You know, if you're planning to open a French fry store, find out where the nearest French Fry store is and make sure you're not, you know, too close to them. And like, I was like, well, I'm opening like a weird art clothing shop and I don't even know the product I'm gonna buy because like, this was before the internet. And I was like, I can't find the people that make these things. They're gonna have to find me. And like, none of none of what I was doing applied to anything they were saying in the book. So I just finally was like, I just have to wing it and make it up as I go. Yeah. Um, yeah. But, and

Saskia:

especially in the, on the indie side of things, I think

Cal:

this is how we

Saskia:

do it. Like most of us, I'm just gonna say us like, um, Businesses in the indie fiber and needle craft space. Um, we don't even have a name for that, you know, that I, I, I mean maybe you do, but I, I made up the, or made up. I just push them together. Fiber and needle craft, because if I Google for it, there's not even a real industry name that combines

Cal:

all of it. Yeah. Like, especially owing and let's just say yarn arts, they're all, they're completely separate. Ya,

Saskia:

that's a good business name. Write that down. No, it's, it's just, it's, we are kind of a different breed, aren't we? I think a a lot of us really get, get icky around those terms of branding and selling and all of that. But at the same time, we are making money by doing a thing, providing a service, selling a product, which doesn't make it that different. I think the thing that is sometimes missing is the way we talk about it and how we connect to it. Uh, because if you, um, let's talk about the fries and you open a business and, um, uh, you open a business in a street where there's another craft store and one is, about, uh, the more generic yarns and you're about, other types of yarns. And is that a good idea or is it a bad idea? Is it, it could go either way. Totally. And it could be totally really smart to know a little bit about that before you kind of roll into this whole thing. so with all the different things that you've done, What kind of feels like it feels comes the most natural to you?

Cal:

Yeah, definitely selling is not my forte and teaching is, but I only found that out by having a store where I was trying to sell things, and that's where I learned that. I'm not great at sales, but teach, like in the store was where I started teaching and because people would come in and be like, oh, I love all these clothes, but I don't have any money, but I wish I could learn how to make clothes. And, and then they'd say like, do you teach clothing or sewing or crochet? And so, you know, you don't have to be very smart to figure out that if, if your customers are asking you for something. and also like, ha, my store was in a very like, remote, corner of New York City, so. Didn't have a lot of foot traffic. And in the winter when it gets dark early, you know, like around four 30 I'd be open till eight o'clock and there would be hours and hours of darkness where people would, like the few people that walked by, I would look into my store and I could hear them outside talking about me. They would say like, how does she stay open? No one, I never see anyone go in there. So a big part of my incentive to start teaching was like, I just wanna get people in the store doing something because. New Yorkers and probably really, people in most cities are like this. Like if they walk by a place and no one's in there, they're not interested. But if they see something going on and people sitting around a circle, like playing with yarn or something, you know, they're just like, what's going on in there? I so it, it totally worked. But, so at first I actually had a free crochet class just to get people in the door. And then I quickly learned that having things for free has a lot of downsides to it, aside from the fact that you're not making any money, but people don't really respect it. They don't come back to the second class. So many issues. so I right away started charging after, I think I taught one class for free. and then, yeah, I just found that. Teaching felt so good to me. It felt like I'm giving people skills that they will have for a lifetime, whereas selling just always to this day, it still feels like slightly icky to me. I think it's just not my nature. Like even when someone is buying a dress that I made and I'm charging them, uh, you know, I, I charge what I think is like a high enough price to justify the labor, but it's still just not my favorite feeling. I, I love teaching. I love it.

Saskia:

I've written down four things that can be connected directly to all those icky words, which is interesting because, uh, when your customers are asking you for something and you provide it, what you're doing is customer

Cal:

research, right?

Saskia:

So you could do that as you go, or you could do it upfront. It's not as sexy upfront. You'd rather be doing something else, but it could be very helpful. And, um, when you say, um, yeah, you're in a remote area with not a lot of food traffic. I had the same thing. Um, I, my first studio was in a, in a. In a space that used to be, uh, the fire department. And it was in between two streets. Like you couldn't get in there unless you was, you, you went under like, uh, a gate and so you had to go under the gate around the building, through two doors before you even got to the studio area. I was like, nobody was there, but it was cheap.

Cal:

Yes. That's, that's always that, that's why I was where I was Cuz it was affordable. Yeah. Yes. And

Saskia:

so that's maybe where you start and then you make some money and then you put a little bit of money aside. And then I moved into the street where there was a lot more food traffic and of course it was more expensive, but I was also selling more. Right. So this is also business. Then you said, So if you're teaching for free, a lot of downsizes people are not paying, are not respecting the gift that you're giving them, and that makes you not feel comfortable about what you're doing. Um, and something like that is obviously perfect as a marketing stunt. I'm, I'm gonna just tease you with this like

Cal:

the whole time. I love it. I love it.

Saskia:

Um, so it was a genius marketing stunt, but not a good business model. Yeah. And um, and then what you say is you love teaching and, uh, I think, if I may be so bold, I think that has to do with your values. You think you pro, you know, and I know that you provide them with so much value that it doesn't feel icky to ask for money. Right. Yep. And so that balance is right for you and that helps you to love what you're doing and not feel weird about asking

Cal:

for money. Yep. Yeah. So what you're saying is like, I had a business plan all along, I just didn't know it, and I could only identify it in retrospect. Exactly. And I'm a genius. You're a genius. You're

Saskia:

definitely a genius. And also you are teaching now as well to whoever's learning now listening can hear this. And it's like, yeah, okay. But there's no, I mean, I did it exactly like you did. Um, I, I did have a marketing education and an art education, but I wasn't

Cal:

a business owner.

Saskia:

I, I just build it from the ground up, just grassroot all. I, I had 300 euros and that's how I built my business. I didn't go to a bank. Um, did it all. Like one step at a time, one step forward, three steps back, two steps forward, five steps back. And, uh, yes, in retrospect things, I know things now that I love to share with people to make the process a little bit more, a little less bumpy and a little bit more, connecting to their values and their needs because yeah, sometimes it's really, it's really hard. It can be

Cal:

hard. Yeah. It, it sounds like we both went to the business school of having a business and learning from it as opposed to going to actual business school, which. You know, I'm sure is useful in some ways too, but maybe I don't think

Saskia:

actual business school is that useful for our

Cal:

breed. No, no, no, no, no. Agree.

Saskia:

Yeah, I do think there's a lot to be learned from people who are experienced in our, uh, industry. I do

Cal:

believe that.

Saskia:

I do have a lot of conversations with people. About, Instagram and how useful that may or may not be and how, how that will help our business forward for some people. Absolutely. And other people just feel really uncomfortable in the social media space. And I think, yeah, what's important is to, to know what you need and make decisions accordingly. And from there, uh, you can build a much healthier business that's more sustainable for yourself as well. So, what did you learn, the hard way that you wish you, you could have learned a different

Cal:

way? I think it's, it always comes down to the money stuff is always the really awkward, uh, subject because it's often so awkward to bring up. Um, but so one lesson that I've learned, The hard way is that as, as awkward as it is, and as much as I'd like to procrastinate and not talk about money in the beginning phases of making some kind of deal or, you know, getting hired to teach somewhere or any of that, um, it only gets more awkward the further down the line you are. So bringing it up right off the bat and saying, you know, either this is what I charge, or how much do you wanna pay? Or, you know, somehow broaching the topic of payment and, uh, price. The earlier the better, like in the very first, you know, or at least second email because you know, too often it, it just seems like, oh, she's just casually asking, you know, if I'm available for something or describing what she wants me to, you know, teach for and. Like, I'll bring it up later, and then the farther down the line we go and the more details we've worked out without talking about it, it only gets worse and worse. And when it finally comes up later, which usually I find it has to be me to bring up, which I always think is weird, um, then suddenly it's like, oh, wait. Like I, I remember having a situation where I'd been talking to a shop for months about teaching for them, and we had never talked about payment. And when they finally, um, I finally brought it up, they were like, oh, we were planning to pay our teachers$12 an hour. And I was like, oh no, that is not, and I mean, this was years ago, but still, I, like, my plan has, well, it doesn't matter, but, um, yeah, no, like, Even hourly at all. Like a teaching for a class is not an hourly wage. The two hours of the class is not what, you know, what you're literally gonna pay me for at an hourly wage. So anyway, yeah, I've learned that lesson. No, that's, that's

Saskia:

really, I, if, if this is very, very great valuable information, like you teach for two hours, but what else happens before you can teach that? Can you give us a little bit of insight in the process? What are they paying

Cal:

for? Well, so there's all the, well there's the lifetime of skill development in order to be a teacher of anything. And then there's this, the lifetime of making samples. I bring samples to my classes from 10 years ago or, there's the, all the preparation, literally for the specific class and the marketing and the writing, the class description in a juicy, enticing way. And the photographs, like there's Yeah. So many details

Saskia:

Yeah. So there's definitely, it's very important if you take yourself seriously as a business to set some boundaries to keep yourself happy and healthy. And also, um, you are an expert in your fields and it's very important to, to own that and to, uh, sell yourself as such. And this is, this is great. This is a great tip. Just get it out there just right away. Get that money thing out, out the email box and yeah, take care

Cal:

of it because otherwise all your time is wasted in, you know, if you do. Lots of communication and emails before you talk about it. And then it's, you can't come to an agreement. Um, you're either gonna be working for not enough pay or the whole thing is gonna be scrapped and therefore all your time was wasted in communicating up till that point. So that's why Yeah, it just seems like Absolutely. Get it out there.

Saskia:

Yeah. And that has nothing to do with you being, you as an entrepreneur. I'm not necessarily talking to you Cal, but Right to, it has nothing to do with being kind or not kind. You're just being professional and that helps everybody in the end so, most of your time now, how do you spend it? What do you do mostly? Well,

Cal:

um, I mean, most of my time in general is geared toward teaching even if I'm not literally teaching most of my time. Um, but I am doing the background support stuff, the sample making, the, um, brushing up on skills for the specific class. I'm gonna teach. Like I'm, lately I've been into teaching a lot of kind of longer format classes. Like I have a year long class and right now I'm doing a 16 week class, um, on hand. And is that local or online? They're both virtual. Yeah. The longer formats seem to work Well, virtual, because I live in a very remote area, so I don't have a huge pool of people to pull, pull from. in my immediate local area. So yeah, so often with a longer class, I just need to like, you know, do a little research or practicing or developing of new skills and samples for the topic that's coming up this month or this week. so I do a lot of that here in, I'm in my studio which is not in my house,

Saskia:

how do you kind of balance that where you don't travel enough? Like what's a good balance for you?

Cal:

So yeah, finding balance in the traveling and teaching is a tricky thing and I'm not sure that I've really figured it out. I would say just before the pandemic, I was starting to feel like I was traveling a little bit too much because, it's really hard to say no to things that they all sound so fun. And retreats, like you mentioned, they're my favorite way to teach because. I just love going to a, a beautiful place and, meeting a bunch of new people who all, they're interested in making clothes or they already make clothes. So we have a lot in common right off the bat. And, we're gonna go to a fun place where we're escaping from our normal lives. We don't have to wash any dishes or prepare any food. Everything's gonna be, set up in advance and we just get to think about the fun stuff of learning and making. And I mean, what's better than that? So, that's my favorite way to teach, but it does mean traveling and disrupting your life and, at the same time as the beautiful thing of. Ignoring regular life. It also means when you come back, all that stuff has been ignored and you still have to go back and do it, catch up on the emails and pay the bills and stuff. I think when I hit that peak of like, this might be a little too much, I was traveling about twice a month, um, sometimes for a week, sometimes maybe just for three days or so, but, and then teaching, locally in between. But now I'm trying not to travel more than once a month, although, like in July, I'm gonna be gone for three weeks straight. So it's hard to really control because a lot of events are fixed in time and, you know, I have, there's no flexibility. So I either can do it or not do it. And I, I try to spread things out as much as I can, but sometimes they just all land at the same time. But the virtual teaching now, since the pandemic, has been, I mean, it's a mixed bag for sure, and there are things that I love and things that I don't love about it, but the fact that I can come to my studio, which is about a 10 minute drive from my house and teach 45 people who are all over the world, I mean, it, it still blows my mind when I think about it. Like, it's amazing. Yeah. And not just teach those people, but like in the way it's, it's a very, it could be a very personal connection. I mean, definitely a lot of people. Kind of keep their camera off and don't connect a lot. But a lot of the people, you know, it's like I'm seeing into their house, you know, I feel like, you know, their pets are walking around and if they do choose. If they choose to really engage, which I try to encourage people to do in my classes because I like it so much better. If we really connect, you know, there really can be a very meaningful personal connection. Absolutely. In some ways, more than in a live class. And for the students often too, it's so much less distracting. Like a live class with eight or 12 people who are all interested in things you're interested in. It's really fun, but it's also really distracting and it can be hard to focus cuz you're like, oh, oh, you know, look at what are you doing? What are you doing? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And that, I love that about classes and I think people, the students do too, but it's not always the best atmosphere for the learning and absorbing. Mm-hmm. So, so in so many ways, the virtual classes have been really amazing. So now that I can sprinkle those in between my traveling, it's, it's kind of really amazing because it's just a lot less time and effort because I don't have to travel. Yeah.

Saskia:

Yeah. I think virtual learning sometimes gets a bad rap in, in the area of, Analog making because, people are scared of the screen sometimes or they say, yeah, but I'm behind the screen the rest of the day too. And then I go, yeah, like I use my eyes the whole day. so I think it's just a, again, like a pattern shift. It's a way to, to look differently at things. And what you're saying about being, uh, the distractions are less and it's also less disrupting from your day. So all you need to do is move in front of the camera and set up your own space that's probably already kind of set up. And, and you don't have to go anywhere. You can wear the same clothes if you don't wanna wear deodorant. I mean, you don't have to any case where you, what if, even if you need a queen, whatever you like. But, um, but, you know, I think we, um, it's, it's important to, to look at the positive effects of what that means. That you can teach. A whole new group of people all over the world. And there's also still the option to meet people in person, which is just another different thing. but they're both equally, uh, wonderful in their own rights. Yeah. And, and I th it sounds like a great balance. And, um, I was just wondering, one, one thing, you have a lot of contact with, people that you teach students. Um, do you have a lot of connections to other business owners? Do you, um, no. And do you feel like that's perfect? I'm okay. Or do you sometimes feel like you wanna find out how other people are doing things or are you curious or.

Cal:

Yeah. No, I, I definitely crave more., I do have a small circle of friends that, you know, do related things, but, um, We all often talk about how we wish we had more connection or more of a community of, business crafty business people. You know, when it comes to, like, I recently taught at a retreat where, another friend was teaching also, and then someone I know is going to be teaching at it next year. And so we've all been like in touch about like, well, how much, what rate, you know, just our teaching rates in general and like w like just that topic is always, you know, every time someone asks me a teacher rate, I'm like, I'll tell them what mine is, but I am always like, how does this compare to everyone else? Like if they're asking five teachers, am I at the top? Am I at the bottom? Yeah. I have no idea. Should we be raising it every year? Like, who knows? And I'm terrible about. You know, being that person, like that role where I'm advocating for myself as, you know, even though I said bring up the money early, I'm not actually good about how to handle the bringing

Saskia:

up the money, but you found a solution to deal with it because you don't feel comfortable about it, which makes it so professional. And that is the reason that you are probably where you are right now because you're talented, you know what you're doing and you've found ways to, to do things your way and it, and it works. So, yeah. Yeah. And then probably you could, uh, teach another, one of your friends a little bit about that and they could teach you something else. And it's just really. Really valuable to, to know what's going on behind the scenes. But I think a lot of business owners are scared to share, um, their quote unquote secrets with each other because they feel it's, a little bit competitive or somebody might steal my ideas. And that was, I talked about that with, Pilar from, uh, Chile. we had that conversation about, stealing ideas and stuff, but at the same time, you kind of really meet support in different ways because we kind of, all, this is our whole conversation. We kind of, not making it up as we go along, but we kind of organically flowing into this business journey and pick some things up along the way. And how wonderful would it be if we could like support each other in this, in the areas where we feel uncomfortable and maybe not. So, um, Confident. Like even if we are, we've managed to make a name for ourselves, we're still human. We still don't feel comfortable about all the aspects of what we

Cal:

do. Yeah. Yeah. I, I absolutely agree and definitely see that. it would be useful to have a lot more people to talk to about call me any day.

Saskia:

Great. Thank you so much for this conversation. I hope I didn't you on the spot too much. I know it was a different angle than usually, we didn't even talk about specific, um, designs or anything. We really went into the backside of what it's like to own a business for you, and you've been so open and so generous. Thank you so much.

Cal:

I love talking about all of this stuff and I am, I am. Very honored to have been invited, and I'd be happy to do it again

amazing.

Saskia:

So let's wrap things up with some thoughts. Here's the deal. Cal learned a ton by taking action and figuring out what actually worked for her. She tried different business models, make mistakes and learn from them. And you know what. That's exactly how I did it too. Sometimes trial and error is the best teacher. Even if it sounds cliche. Now let's talk about running a business. It's a whole different thing. Compared to being a creative, an artist, a teacher, or a designer. We often cringe at terms like marketing, selling, and branding, but guess what? We'd need them. We need the strategies plans and have a clue about what we're doing. And most importantly, we need to learn from our mistakes grow and keep on building on top of them. But here's the thing. We don't make the most of what's available to us. Being a small business owner can be a lonely journey and it's natural to be hesitant about sharing our thoughts and ideas. You think it's tough enough to grow your business and you don't want to spill your secrets, but let me tell you one. You don't have to spell them off. We can still learn so much from each other. Believe me. Take a moment to think about what Cal said about setting an hourly rate for teaching. It shouldn't be a brain teasing puzzle every single time. It should be simple to figure out your price and increase it as you gain more experience. And you know, where you can learn all these things. By talking to fellow folks in the fiber and needle craft industry, connect with them at shows, festivals, or hop on a call to discuss your experiences. It's like a goal of mine of knowledge. Oh, and there's a really Otter easy way to do it too. You can join the devil community. Um, we've got a free space for everyone that just wants to join and get in touch with other people. And if you're serious, you can also join our business program. The level business circle. It's psych having a support system tailored just for entrepreneurs. Like you. So. Do you really need a business plan? Nah, not really. Unless you need it for official things. Uh, like leases and all that kind of boring stuff. No very important stuff. Uh, but even then you don't have to make the whole thing. Sometimes just a one page business model is all you need. So I do believe that a little prep work and making smart decisions can save you loads of times and money on your business journey. There are some shortcuts, my friends and, um, I didn't take them, but I know which ones to take now. So I'm sharing it with you on this podcast. So here's what I do and how I do it. This is my three-step process that I deeply believe in. First figure out what lights you up and what you need as a person, secondly, understand your customer, their needs and who they are. And finally provide a product or a surface that fulfills both your needs and theirs. It's a win-win. So remember this, you can only make money if you offer something people want and you can only keep going. If it fits into your life, the best way to navigate all of this is to learn from experienced business owners. You don't have to reinvent the wheel every single time we can do all the learning, growing and thriving together. If you want to connect go-to Patson shifts. Dot FM and sign up for our emails. Or link through to our community. Hope to see you there.