What to Think About Thomas Pink

Before I share my thoughts on my Thomas Pink experiences, why don’t you give me your thoughts on the shirt below? Personally, I love it for its organza ruffle. But do you think I could wear it? Could you? Let me know in the survey that I’ve just added and in the comments section.

Now about Thomas Pink shirts in general. I thought I’d give them a try after someone commented about their fit on Corporette a while back. Unfortunately, they may fit that commenter, but they don’t fit me. In fact, when I stopped in this past Thursday, they didn’t even fit the saleswoman. She had been forced to choose between baggy fit or gappy bustline and had chosen gappy bustline. She was a perfect candidate to be my customer. I wanted to give her my card to tell her about my blog, but her co-worker was too close.

For me, the setup of a Thomas Pink store can be intimidating–the opposite of the Cego experience. I’m learning about quality features of shirts, and I admit that the shirts have them–French seams, for instance. But because of the store’s posh atmosphere, I expect amazing service if I’m serious about shelling out $190 for one of their shirts. I was hoping when I visited their store a few months ago that they would also offer alterations. As you can see from the only shirt that fit without gapping too much (a UK size 18), I definitely needed them:

I asked my saleswoman if alterations were an option. She simply told me it would probably fit better after it shrank a little bit in the wash. Yikes. Pay $190 and hope it fits better after washing it? I thanked her and went on my way.

For the record, here’s the size 16 I tried that day:

And here’s the size 14:

If you’ve had better luck with their shirts, please share.

Spring Cleaning

I seem to be in a get-organized phase of life rather than an inspired phase, so bear with me for the next few posts. Most of the reason is that I must put together a business plan. Mr. Campbell will feel better once I do, and I admit, so will I. It’ll be good to know where I’m headed and what needs to be done (and spent) to get there.

For the last three days, planning ahead has involved looking at where I’ve been. I have just finished working through and filing two years’ worth of notes from classes and conversations with people in the industry, lots of news clippings, and all sorts of other pieces of paper with information I knew I’d need someday. It looks like someday is now.

I’m also reading a great book called Do It Tomorrow by Mark Forster. I’ll write more about it soon, but there’s a thorough review of it on one of my favorite blogs, The Simple Dollar.

Business Briefing – Hearing "Yes"

My original plan for my starting own business was to have my own law firm, so in 2007 my friend Eva arranged for me to meet her friend Nance, a solo practitioner. When I told Nance that I was also thinking of developing a line of shirts, she told me that she was developing a line clothing as well! She pointed me to a book for beginning design entrepreneurs, and that gave me the courage to get started.

Other coincidences like this have happened since my lunch meeting with Nance. Last week, I wasn’t entirely sure why I was visiting Carl Goldberg at Cego. I just wanted to know more about custom shirts and felt I could learn something from him. While there, he suggested I contact Sally and Hope, two women who have been in the ladies’ shirt manufacturing business for many years, to see if they would take on a project management role for me (working with my sewing contractors on my behalf). As Carl put it, “You’ll lose more money making mistakes on your own than you ever would by paying someone who knows what they’re doing.”

Sally and Hope spent an hour and a half with me last Friday. They brought up points for me to consider that could only come from experience. When I left our meeting, I felt relief. My patternmaker Tina will be ready for our first fitting this Thursday, and as my first pattern becomes ready for production, I’ve been wondering how to approach the sewing contract stage of things. Now I have the courage to get started.

Good Reads

First, I found an encouraging article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. I’m not sure what attracted me to its mundane title (“Jeans, Healthy Snacks Draw Investors”) but I’m glad I read it. Venture capitalists are investing in certain consumer companies that “are well-suited to the recession because consumers will cut back less on clothes, eco-friendly products and food than other purchases. Such companies typically require capital in smaller bites than the information-technology and life-sciences concerns that have dominated venture investing in recent years.” Now if I can just put my business plan together.

Second, I discovered a little book in the library the other day called The Power of Less, by Leo Babauta of ZenHabits. In keeping with its title, here are just a few points from the book:

1. Only try to acquire one new habit at a time. Mr. Campbell and I did this when we first began cooking last September, and it really made a difference for us just to concentrate on one change in our lives. The only negative about this suggestion is that there are so many self-improvement ideas that I like in this book, it’s hard to decide on just one new habit.

2. The one new habit I’m most attracted to is managing my email in-box. Leo’s plan sounds very do-able: respond, make a note of an action required on a to-do list, and then delete or file. Whatever you do, don’t just leave the email there. I’m going to try this.

3. He makes a very good point about narrowing your commitments to give you time to do the things you most love to do. However, once you’ve cut back on obligations, be sure you’re using that time to do something you love–not just watching TV or surfing the internet. This is exactly where I break down in time management.