The new genre collection is set to launch in the shop on Monday, and it already feels like this new collection has been a long time in the making. I will readily admit, I am not an audiophile, I am not a music expert, I am a not even a super fan (except when I’m drunk and its Tracy Chapman). I’ve stumbled into this world of serious experts/hardcore music enthusiasts/musical classifiers… I just want to organize your shit so it’s easy to find, it’s accessible, and more enjoyable for more people. I sometimes wake up at night with a new genre idea in my head, or wake up worrying that I’ve forgotten a significant genre… (real serious worries, guys). I’ve been toting around a list of genre ideas for weeks, a crumpled paper full of ideas and genres. I’ve been talking to collectors and bartenders, browsing music stores and making prototypes. I’m up to about 50+ genres at this point, but its hard to be selective when hilarious ones pop up, like “80s Hair Bands” or someone requests “New Wave” or “Children’s Folk”. This process is a little different this time around-last November I was running around like a madwoman, getting ready for my first shop launch. It seems hard for me to believe that the shop has been live for less than a year… but when I let my mind wander to the actual number of panels I myself or my assistants have sanded and packaged in the last few months… then yes, it suddenly feels like I’ve been doing this for years, not 11 months.
I’ve been slowly adding new retailers in California and New York. This summer, Urban Outfitters started to carry a few of my products, and in early fall, I began working with a UK distributor, Sound Fowndations. Working with retailers is a different beast, packaging larger quantities for wholesale, versus my smaller-scale individual sales every week through the shop. I still love sending packages out of the shop or my office each week, I love getting emails from customers who are SO EXCITED to get my product in the mail, and spend an afternoon or evening reorganizing their collections. They send me photos, they tell me about their weird collections, and that is weirdly, really wonderful and unexpected. Wholesale accounts have allowed me to grow and invest in my business, hire assistants and buy more raw materials in larger quantities.
Wholesale is sometimes really horribly stressful. I get obsessive about every package before I send them off into the unknown. Maybe because I don’t know who the final customer will be? I want everything to be perfect, and I worry about not having any interaction with the people buying my products on the other end. What if they don’t understand that everything is made by hand, or they don’t know that the boxes are screen printed in a small shop? That kind of stuff winds me up, which is probably why I spend so much time responding to individual emails ( about when I’m going to start making genre sets for books (SOON) or answering questions about production wait lists or custom sets for bigger collectors. Up until my first retail order back in the spring, I knew, and remembered every single sale and individual product I made. Now though, I don’t know every customer, and I don’t remember every set that comes off the production line. I remember sets in new states or new cities, or specific interactions with particularly particular customers. I still feel like every product is the most important product as it moves through my humble assembly line, but that product is quickly replaced by a new most important set that follows it. I guess being my own boss is hard and funny and weird, that is what I am babbling on about. I didn’t intend to be here, but my thoughts and list-making tendencies are a few months ahead, thinking about where (and what) I am working towards next.