Sunday, April 30, 2006

Houston Chronicle article


ZoloWear is featured in the Style section of today's Houston Chronicle.

http://www.chron.com/life/style/

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/style/3827472.html

Julie Stibich tests a ZoloWear Sling ($79 at zolowear.com) with 3-month-old Lilia, while Mark Stibich totes twin sister Sophia in a SlingEZee ($51 at A Woman's Work).
Johnny Hanson: For the Chronicle

new fabric name submissions

Here I am wearing sleeping 2 year old Clark in the new tester sling, with Zoe in gorgeous Muir Woods (redwood forest).

Here are the names. See what I mean? Funny.

African sunset
Atom
Avalon
Bingo
Bring the funk!
Bullseye
Bullseye
Burst
Caribbean odyssey
Caribbean sunshineisland circles
Eccentric concentric
Echo
Eclipse
Eg-tacular
Electra
Electron
Eye candy
Eye of the storm
Flashback
Futura
Galaxy
Globus
Go-go dancer
Gotcha
Halo
Hard candy
Hedwig
Hot spot
Hypnotized
Infinity
Jawbreaker
Jewell
Jupiter
Lava love
Luminestic
Luna
Lux
Mesmerize
Mod lava
Mod mama
Mod oval
Mod pod
Mod squad
Mod squad
Mod world
Mondo
Moonbeam
Neo
Neon
Neutron
Nova
Odessey
Opto
Orb fantastic
Orbluminescence
Orbit
Oval bloom
Peacock glow
Peacock popsicle
Peacock swirls
Peacocks tail
Pluto
Pod
Red woozies
Retro daze
Retro hard candy
Retro o
Retro oh!
Ringo
Rings of saturn
Rosie
Saltwater taffy
Satellite
Saturn
Saturn
Sedona
Shazam
Solana
Solari
Space
Spaced out
Spherical future
Spherical glow
Spinner
Spotty pop
Stripey target
Sweet hypnosis
Swooning
Taffy
That seventies sling
Tiger eye
Tropical sunsetcalypso
Vibe
Vintage mod
Wild oval
Yummie circles
Zo-glo dots

I'm back!


We got back from San Francisco at 1 am on Wednesday morning. I have not stopped running since then. I am finally starting to feel a little bit caught up, or at least, just the normal amount of behind the 8 ball.

When I am on vacation, I am reminded of how important it is to go away, take mental breaks, and get out of my native habitat. I found some inspiring fashions and some inspiring packaging in San Francisco. I bought some purses in Chinatown because the shapes will be excellent for sling packaging.

The picture is of a fabulous store called H&M. In the front window - TEAL and brown (like my new custom silk). I bought a teal and brown skirt. I just LOVE H&M. Needless to say, we don't have one in Texas. Not even in Houston or Dallas.

I am still working on the sling shoulder redesign. There is ONE little thing on it that I just don't love, but otherwise I think it is going in the right direction.


I still have not named the new print. The name submissions are fun and funny. Funny because I'm surprised at how people perceive things so differently. Also funny when several people come up with the same name, which happens pretty often. The funniest ones are the names we already have used for other fabrics.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dallas, videos, wearing instructions, 4/22

Tonight I am in Dallas. Tomorrow I will get to visit with my fabulous friends, Kristen of Hotslings and Vesta of EllaRoo/Peppermint. Hanging out with them is so fun! The kids are all close in age and play well together while we moms talk shop and stuff. You know, stuff.

We combined the ring sling and pouch videos, put the new logo in the video, and they are in production right now. Unfortunately, we ran out of the old videos before the new ones will get here. So we have to ship the DVD's after the slings. Not ideal.

The good news is that we shouldn't need to make changes to the video for a long time, so we shouldn't be in this situation again, at least in the forseeable future. The new ones are pretty, too. It makes more sense to have just one video with both carriers on it. So that is one major load off my mind!

We've been limping along on wearing instructions for a while, too. I got the final proof on these last night, and the graphic designer will upload them to the printer as of today (hopefully). We should get them in about 10 days. I can't wait! They are going to be so pretty. They look very professional. I did the old layout, which was, um, informative and to the point. I'm no graphic designer. Wearing instructions - in progress - second major load off my mind!

Tomorrow we are off to San Francisco for my birthday (Saturday). Dark chocolate would be fine, thanks. :)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Finally!

New site is up AND functional! People can check out and everything! Yahoo!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

new site...kinda

So the new site is up, and purdy. But no functionar. Checkout doesn't work. Part of the problem is that the web host folks are not around much on Good Friday and Easter weekend. And we should be headed out of town right now...but no checkout = no sales all weekend, if we don't fix it first. *sigh*

cappucino silk


cappucino silk, new custom made brocade

These colors were picked straight from the fashion forecast card for this fall. Forest teal and wood nymph. Of course, it's April right now, and I'll probably run out by fall, but people who get them this summer will be SO fashionable this fall!

Friday, April 14, 2006

NEW SITE!

Joe is launching the new site right now! YAHOO!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

new print


This is the new print next to my lovely new business card, to show the scale of the print (and to show off my business card).

This fabric is a stretch sateen and feels amazingly soft. I LOVE it!

Names we have thought of: Astro, glow, luna, odyssey. We are thinking "futuristic sunshine". Suggestions? I'll give a free sling to the person who comes up with the winning name.
Wow, I have had a frustrating week. My ZoloWear chi is not in flow.
  • Erica told me she's quitting. This is the 4th person in the shipping job since October. I feel like the worst boss in the world, but the last 3 people swore they loved ZoloWear and our office and even me. One left to go back to school and the other 2 left to get paid what they really deserve to earn, which is more than this small company can afford. Erica is just awesome and I am heartbroken that she's leaving. She says she will help out a little bit even after she goes, because her new job is working from home, so it will be flexible. Still, wah. :( My life is harder and much more stressful when I do not have enough help.
  • Solarveil sizing problems - major headache.
  • We are out of printed wearing instructions. Our graphic designer is working up a really gorgeous new version, but we're still working through final drafts, so it's not being printed yet. When it goes to the printer, it will probably be about 2 weeks before we get the finished product here. Meanwhile, we've gotten several small runs done at the local copy shop, and they are EXPENSIVE to get color copied. REALLY EXPENSIVE. So we keep trying to scrape by with what we have until we get the new design complete, and we keep running out and going to the copy shop and shelling out a fortune per piece.
  • We are also out of DVD's. Kind of the same story - we're combining the pouch and ring sling DVD into one, with a pretty new cover, and we're going to get them mass-produced. The guy who created the DVD just had a baby, I mean, his wife did, but he still managed to crank out 150 DVD's to tide us over until we get the mass-produced one. Not enough, by a long shot. We are already almost out.
  • We can't sell slings without wearing instructions or DVD's! The printed wearing instructions are at least something we can make locally. When we are out of DVD's, we're in big trouble.
  • We figured out that the 866-264-ZOLO number on all of our business cards is ringing to our old call center - that we stopped using in January. No idea how long that has been the case. Getting it back is MAJOR paperwork and many hours on the phone. Which we already did. In January. Shelly has the patience of the saint, after talking to no less than NINE people at SBC/ATT today. After talking to 9 people, the only information she had was that ATT does not own the #, so they can't give it back to us. Total nightmare.
  • Our telephone is dying.
  • Our persnickety printer is still dying. I have huge fabric, design and printing bills and no money to buy new office equipment this month. We gotta hang in there a little longer.
  • I found some packaging that I love, and the company is sold out of it, even though it is still on their website and they just sent me a sample of it. It was going to be my short-term solution.

The good news:

  • I have a long-term plan for packaging. An envelope style clutch, like a purse. Will have to get it custom made, but that's OK, now I have a plan.
  • Shelly has agreed to work full-time, and we're going to try to make a go of having one employee again, and outsourcing some stuff (quality control). I'm hopeful that it will work. It's a lot of work for one person, but not quite enough for two.
  • Came up with a new shoulder design, it's in production so I can start getting it tested.
  • New custom brocade came in. Still need dupioni to finish slings, but the brown brocade w/ turquoise floral is mighty fine.
  • The mass-produced DVD is at least well on the way to being made. I sent in the paperwork today, and Webb, the guy who has the original, is going to take it to the duplicator/replicator people tomorrow. We're going to get another batch duplicated to tide us over until the replicated ones are done. (duplication = under 1,000, different process, replication = 1,000+, glass master, REAL DVD - another one of the wacky things I've learned in this business!)
  • Awesome new mod print came in. Yay! I want to roll around in it.
  • Embroidred slings are on the way, still not constructed. Long story I can't get into on a public forum. But I'm actually happy with the results of this, as we can get crankin' on these soon. My local production guy is actually a little backed up these days - things are hopping.

I did the year to date sales data last night, partly to figure out how many DVD's to order.

Sage small and medium remain the best sellers by far. 11% of all slings sold are sage small or medium. Mocha is the second most popular color. Black is the third. Cornflower medium is very popular, but the smalls and larges are much less popular.

The most popular print in 2006 has been Lucky Blossoms. Second is posie pique. Sapphire paisley has been popular as well.

In pouches, black small is the best seller, with black medium close behind. 20% of pouch sales are black. Most popular pouch print was Jetson, second most popular pink/black stripe. Then posie.

We are selling mostly smalls and mediums in all colors. We are not selling very many larges. We used to cut 50% medium, 30% small, and 20% large, but that has shifted recently. The breakdown of sages sold is a good indication of the sizes we are selling now in general:
2% XL
5% XS
13% L
35% S
45% M
This is slightly skewed because fewer larges and virtually no XL sell in feminine prints. Gender neutral sage is the most popular large.

Cottons are much more popular than silks. The most popular silk is the black, but black medium silk was only 2% of total sling sales. Next most popular was green (just 1%), but that is not fair to compare because we were out of green for much of this year. I intend to carry less inventory in silks in the future, because it’s just too expensive to stock a variety of silks when they are nowhere near as popular as the cottons and solarveils.

Solarveil is difficult to report because we clearanced our inventory and were out for a while, then have new colors in. But in general, solarveil is very popular.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Yay! Shelly's computer is up and running again. New hard drive. All software re-installed. Yahoo! We can print!

Also, our taxes are paid. Joe spent 4 hours working on the Texas "franchise taxes", which ended up being $8. But they are done.

I put up some new pictures yesterday.
Hawaiian punch
the real green silk picture
burning love pouch (a dad photo)
black pouch (same dad)
cornflower blue play sling
sage play sling
scarlet play sling

I just have a few left to edit and put on the web in various sizes. Making progress!

We got a new fabric in this week. I am trying to figure out what to call it. It's a very modern print with brightly-colored nested squovals (square ovals) on white. It reminds me of a Kandinsky, but not exactly. Shelly and I LOVE it. We were so excited when we got the sample. I'm not sure when these will be ready. They are behind the bubbles.

We also have more solarveil fabric coming soon. I really don't want those to go backordered.

I have not heard from the embrodiery people in several weeks. That project will probably be almost a year old by the time it's done!

Saturday, April 08, 2006


My cutie Clark in the sage play sling with Lucky, his horse.

Why is this not on the website? Putting it up there is not as easy as it seems like it should be. I spent several hours working on this on a Saturday a few weeks ago. I think I posted 5 pictures. Then Joe was mad at me because they were not in the new version he's working on. So I was supposed to do MORE work than I did.

We got ANOTHER new hard drive for Shelly's computer yesterday. Hopefully this one will work.

Friday, April 07, 2006

rock. and. roll.



yeah, baby. green silk rules.
Joe spent all evening reformatting the new hard drive, and it did not work. We have to take it back in or something. We have had so much lost productivity this week because of the computer going down.

We also can't print, because Shelly's computer is the desktop (the other 2 are laptops). We've been able to scrape by without printing because we can get orders out with the label printer (e-mailing receipts instead of printing), but now we need to make gift certificates and press packets and we just can't. Hopefully Joe can reconfigure the printing set-up, at least for a few days, so we can print.

This sucks.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

technical difficulties

Shelly's computer totally went out this week. It's been acting weird for a while, giving ugly blue screens increasingly often. We talked about doing something, but it died before we did anything.

On Monday, the repair folks said they could have it back to us by Tuesdsay. We got it back late Thursday, with a brand new hard drive with nothing on it. So instead of working on our website, Joe has been installing the operating system on the new hard drive tonight. Lovely. Technical difficulties are a way of life.

We've done 2 more photo shoots this week. We shot Sara, James, Thomas and Charlotte in the bubbles reprint, some of our existing prints, and play slings.

I am sharing one of the best photos of me from this shoot, with adorable James in the green silk. Don't our new labels look great? Such a flattering view of me, too. OK, never mind, the blogger software won't let me post it. Something must be wrong with my technology chi these days. I will try to post the picture tomorrow. It is funny.

We also finally shot Revolution and Nathan today. They showed up about 10 minutes before I had to leave to get Clark, so it was a very quick shoot, to say the least. I think we still got some nice shots.

The solarveils have been really popular lately.