Campaign Update Summer 2016
Dearest Kickstarter Project Supporters,
I hope you and your loved ones are happy and healthy! I am doing much better thanks in big part to your kindness, patience and support. I have been reluctant to tell you that despite my best intentions and efforts, I have made very little progress on the corset making tutorials. I am dissatisfied with what I have made so far, and feel compelled to start over.
My husband, and partner on this project has been working very hard to save money for a down payment on a house. He works about 12-16 hours a day, 6 days a week. I have been reluctant to accept his long-standing offer to help me film tutorials after working such long, hard hours on a job that is already a challenge and great source of stress and frustration for him. Rodney has Multiple Sclerosis. We are buying a house because we don’t know if or when he may begin to lose functionality. He now struggles with bouts of fatigue and other symptoms. His body gets very hot, so the summer time is especially brutal for him. We are happy that we are currently in the process of buying a house. If all goes to plan, we will be moving next month. :)
Over the past years I have felt stuck in a kind of limbo. I have been unable to accept very many corset orders, because I want to focus all of my efforts on the kickstarter project, however, as soon as I am caught up on orders and free to work on tutorials, I find myself with an empty bank account and bills to pay, which forces me to take on a few orders, which in turn sets me back on the project. It’s an ongoing cycle that I have been unable to break. No matter what I am working on, I don't feel like I am getting anywhere because this project is still looming. I have been treading water and finding myself exhausted with seemingly nothing to show for it. My business has suffered tremendously and I have suffered as an artist because I must stifle every creative idea I have because the Kickstarter project must take precedence. Even though I have been declining corset orders, neglecting my business and abstaining from personal creative endeavors, it seems like there is always something that needs doing. As a result, our Kickstarter project has also suffered.
With a corset commission, I can work for a couple of hours at a time, in between preparing meals, working online, cleaning, yoga, therapy, and managing my life. As a result of my disabilities, I am only able to work a few hours at a time before exhaustion sets in. Due to physical limitations, I have to vary my activities so I am not doing any one task for too long. In contrast to making a corset for a client, filming tutorials requires me to dedicate long, full, uninterrupted blocks of time during which my studio must be set up in a very exact way, with cameras, lights, wardrobe, etc. With Rodney working so much, and me working on corset orders in an effort to keep my business alive and pay my bills, I have found it very challenging to carve out enough time and resources to get everything set up and maintained long enough to successfully film an entire tutorial to my satisfaction. When Rodney and I finally do have a day off together, we spend it running errands, shopping, doing housework and resting.
I have come to the conclusion that what I need is a fresh start, and a small, reliable team of assistants to ease the burden of trying to juggle every single aspect of the project by myself. I require helpers to assist me with lighting, camera angles, and monitoring several cameras so I can focus on demonstrating my corset making techniques. Over the past few years, many people have volunteered their time and talent, but I have turned them down because the prospect of working in front of an audience made me feel anxious and overwhelmed. I felt bad because I couldn’t pay them, and I worried that I would embarrass myself or disappoint them if I failed to live up to their expectations. I worried that my house wouldn’t be clean enough, that I might have a panic attack, or that they might just be pretending to help so they could take advantage of me (the mind runs wild in isolation). Due to my condition, I have chosen to work for myself and by myself, but I really miss the classroom/work environment from FIDM in which we were all there at a certain time to do a certain job. I dropped out of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising soon before graduating because I started having panic attacks (I didn’t know what they were at the time). I went from being the star of my class to being a drop-out. After that, I fell into a major downward spiral of health problems. Ever since that last day at FIDM, I have felt like a failure, and have been working in solitude. My mind and body have recovered a great deal since my years at FIDM, but I have still been sheltering myself from the world for fear I would stumble again.
Working for myself, from home, is both a blessing and a curse. I have the luxury of accommodating my disabilities, creating a predictable, tranquil atmosphere, determining my own schedule, working when I have the energy and resting when I need to. I can wear yoga clothes all day, wake up late and work well into the night if I feel like it. The down side is that I am by myself most of the time. I become lonely. Every day feels exactly like the last, and before I know it, another year has gone by and I am left wondering what happened. What have I to show for myself? I have labored in isolation too long. I realize now that I need people around me, to help me get out of my head and stay focussed on making instructional materials. I want clever, enthusiastic, creative humans around to assist, encourage, inspire and motivate me.
Before I started this campaign, even despite crippling carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and bouts of debilitating depression, I was very productive. Every day since the campaign, I have been stuck. I have all but abandoned my corset making business. I have rejected hundreds of commissions out of a sense of obligation to this project, which, because I am working alone, has yet to come to fruition. I am shocked, embarrassed, and humiliated that years have passed, and I have yet to fulfill my obligation to you and to myself. I have always been one to over-achieve and exceed expectation. This has been a very humbling experience for me.
I have not given up! I know a lot of people run kickstarter campaigns with every intention to make something amazing, then nothing ever happens. That’s not going to be my story. This is going to happen! I just had to accept that I cannot do it alone, embrace the help that has been offered, let go of my desire to control everything, and just let it happen organically. I have been afraid to fail, which, I think has hindered my ability to really, truly start. I will begin again in September.
Rodney and I must spend the next few weeks preparing to move on August 15th. I expect it will take a full month to get fully settled with my studio up and running again (it’s so hot here!). I may be able to get it going faster if I can get some help from some friendly volunteers. I have always worked alone, so asking for and accepting assistance has always been a challenge for me, but I realize I cannot rely upon myself to do everything, and I feel like my husband already does so much, I don’t want to place the burden upon him.
Once I have re-established everything at the new place, I will be asking for volunteers to help me film the first tutorial again. I will be working from my home workshop in Manor, TX, which is just outside of Austin, Texas. I plan to post a request for volunteers on my facebook group, “Learn How to Make Corsets Like a Pro”. If you are local, good at filming, and are interested in volunteering your time to help shoot tutorials, please contact me directly in September. I will not be able to offer financial compensation, but I think the experience will be valuable to anyone who is interested in learning how to make corsets as well as anyone who is interested in gaining experience filming tutorials.
As always, I thank you for your ongoing patience, help and understanding. I know you gave me your money and your trust. I do not take it lightly. I’m sorry this is taking so long. ))corset hugs((