Monday, 21 May 2007

Labels and regulations

Well, after the excitement of getting all the testers off it is down to a bit of admin, checking out the regulations for my products.

I already knew the nappies one, that care instructions need to be included but not attached, and that you have to have size labels. I have been trying to find out the nightwear regulations for ages, but keep getting the same information. I know I have to have flammability labels, but it doesn't say how to get it tested or what the categories are.

So I finally found the number and rang the ACCC. It was really funny. At first they thought I was already making nightwear, but when I explained that I wanted to find out the rules before I started they were so impressed they couldn't help me enough. They were really great and got me the info, and then told me where to go to get my other questions answered. Then the lady at the testing lab spent ages on the phone with me explaining things, and even gave me the names of some companies who do the labels I need.

I am going to have to change my pattern, and unfortunately I will lose what I think is one of the good points, but it won't make that much difference. Most people think (and I thought too) that if it fails the flammability test you can just stick a high fire danger label on it, but there are some things that will fail the regulations for this too and shouldn't be sold at all.

Then today I got a phone call from the business licensing people. Apparently they keep records when you register a new business and for a year they will contact you whenever there is a free upskilling course in your area. So I'm booked in for one next week, luckily it's in the evening so DH can look after the little one. All of the bureaucrats I have dealt with have been fantastic, there is so much help out there for small businesses. In fact my biggest problem is finding time to look at it all and working out which bits are important.

It is really weird not sewing nappies. I have run out of ProCare and until my order arrives that is it. I have heaps of other things to do, but I feel at a bit of a loose end. It doesn't help that DH is away and we are sick AGAIN, so she isn't sleeping well and I am exhausted. I have been painting some of the bamboo and am working on the velour. Again, some of that is going to have to wait on the Canadian order, but at least I have trialled it and know that it works. The solarveil has also arrived so I am trialling my patterns in this - you know how you can have a pattern that works really well and then you change the fabric and it goes funny. It's going to take a bit of tweaking to get used to sewing it, so it is good I have the time now to practice.

Several of the nappies have arrived at the testers, so I know it is going to take at least a week when I start sending things out. Now it is just a matter of waiting to see how they go!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Testers are ready!

These are the tester nappies ready to go. They are pocket nappies that close with a snappi. They are all OSFA, but have been done up differently to see how they photograph. They can fit at least 12 layers of hemp in the pocket but because the snappi pulls them tight you can get a trimmer fit by putting in less layers - it isn't baggy.

All of these have 100% cotton outers, although I plan to use poly cotton as well. The water resistant layer is ProCare and the inners are 100% polyester velour or suedecloth, I will be using Malden Mills PowerStretch and PowerDry as well when it arrives.

Fish with green velour, large fitting.

Shoes with white suedecloth, small fitting.

Red sunflowers with green velour, medium fitting.

Blue and green stripes with blue velour, large fitting.

Purple and gold with blue velour, large fitting.

Pastel flowers on black with blue velour, medium fitting.

Small squares with green velour, medium fitting.

Just call me the human roller coaster

OK, life does look better in the morning. Obviously I have emotional things going on that aren't really part of this blog, but in a way they are.

It's hard to find the words. You know when you are working you have to get up and go to work and you pretty much try to forget all the personal stuff. It goes in its own little box to be taken out again when you get home. At least that is the way I operate. When you are a SAHM it all sort of builds up and there never seems to be any me time, or you join online forums and talk to other mothers. Or you start a blog and tell your personal secrets to complete strangers all over the world :).

As a hobby sewing is great, it gives me something creative to concentrate on. It is almost like a form of meditation, focusing my thoughts and energies and I feel relaxed and excited when I achieve something. What this week has taught me is that as a WAHM you have to push yourself and be disciplined. Of course I already knew that and it is easy to say, but it has been interesting to actually experience what it is like. There was no deadline except what I set for myself, there is no expectation that I be at my sewing machine the way there is in an outside job. When you don't feel like sewing there is always something else to do, and the nature of being a work at home mother is that they are all legitimate and even vital so it is easy to procrastinate. Deciding where your priorities lie can just become an exercise in guilt because there are so many demands on you.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that even in a job you really love there are times that you just don't feel like it. I think as a WAHM (or anyone self-employed) you really have to have the discipline or the motivation to keep going and get through those times. If it ever takes longer than a couple of days I think that will be my signal to leave. And think really hard about which priorities you will be moving down the list to fit WAHMing in, because it is long term and you can't necessarily pick them up easily.

Although personally, I don't care how far down cleaning goes ;).

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

They're fixed

Well they're fixed, and if you didn't know you probably wouldn't notice. And no, it's not really the sort of detail I want out there publicly.

So why did I put it in?

This is supposed to be to help other Wannabe WAHMs, and if I only tell about the good bits then it won't give a real picture.

Now all Mums know that it doesn't matter how sick you feel you just have to keep going, so that won't be news to anyone. I suppose it is good news that my 19 month old can blow the snot out of her nose and now likes the taste of the medicine, so it isn't a hysterical kicking and screaming fight to get it into her. And the testers will be ready to go out this week, even if it isn't as soon as I wanted.

But I'm sitting here writing this rather than sewing because I feel like ****, I've just gone through the budget with DH, she still doesn't talk, and I'm not pregnant. This is probably called an emotional low point.

G'night all, hope it looks better in the morning.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Arrrgh! I don't believe it!

In spite of us all coming down with some flu type thing, I was feeling pretty good about how the testers were going. I was just about to get some finished while the little one has a nap when I realised I have put the snaps on the wrong place ON EVERY SINGLE TESTER!!! I can't believe it, the instructions I've made even SAY where to put them WITH A DIAGRAM and it isn't as if I haven't done it before. I obviously just got into a rhythm and did them all that way. The sensible thing would be to keep them as seconds and start again, but this is my last fabric until the rest arrives from Canada!
I think I can fix it but I don't know what it will look like. If I drill them out it might look sloppy, but if I leave them there it could be confusing and obvious there is a mistake. Of course I really wanted the testers to be perfect - I mean this is what I am offering to sell. It is purely aesthetic, it can't affect the function of the nappy, and it will be covered up so not even visible when it is on, but you know what I mean.
Sighhh, fingers crossed this works.

Monday, 7 May 2007


Woohoo! I got back and my logos and some more fabric is here. Here are the fabulous logos, with different ones for different occasions. I have always loved dragons and Kristie has done a fantastic job, making it look cute without being dopey. It is also a bit cute and fairy style and a bit funky, which is good because I can go either way depending on my mood.

And that is the name of the business - Waggle-Wee Kids. It actually comes from my husband, and our daughter's habit of waggling her little bum when she walks. It should really be Waggle-Wee Wear, but there are things other than wearables included, so that will have to be a product line. Every name I chose was either too specific, too broad, too similar or already taken. At least I know no-one else will have anything like this one!

Looking at my to-do list, there is still lots to go. I have got a quote on insurance that seems awfully high to me, although DH thought it was reasonable compared with a business he was involved in. I am off to register the domain name and business now, but the shop will have to wait a bit because I really need to get the testers sewn. I am making a couple of modifications based on the feedback from the one I sent off before, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.
This is the big test for me as well - how long does it take me to sew them. It is certainly going to be challenging as DD has a fever and hasn't slept well for the last 3 nights, we started driving at 4.30am to get home, and the last of the furniture arrived so the boxes that had been waiting on it have all been pulled out to be unpacked. There is now a narrow winding path to the change table and everything else piled up in that room. Add to that the usual post-trip chores, washing, unloading 7 weeks worth of shopping (we bulk shop when we are in the city) and several days worth of nappies (You too can use cloth while you fly and drive around the country, staying in 3 different places!). I suppose this is what WAHMing is about - running a business while being a mother. Hopefully it is a good test run for the real thing.