July 27, 2015

bittersweet

Oh goodness. I've written this post so many times in my head and when it comes right down to it, it's hard to find the words. I've wanted to share my feelings about what I've gone through as a small business owner the past four years and so here goes. It's a long one! I'll try to start at the beginning.

I've been blogging here since - sheesh, a loooonnnnng time ago, it feels like - 2007. It wasn't always under A Fashionable Stitch. I went under the alias, the Cupcake Goddess for many years. Wow, that seems like forever ago. When I started blogging, back in the day, I had no idea what I was really doing, what I planned to do with it or what blogging would do for me. When I finally found a focus in sewing apparel, things started picking up for me.



I loved fabric. I still do. Fabric is big for me. I love fine fabric, unusual fabric, printed fabric, textured fabric, fabric from all of the different natural fibers, fabric in all different colors, knit, woven, you name it. I just love it so much and I feel I have a natural affinity for picking good stuff. Now, don't worry, I've picked my share of bad stuff, but overall there's been more good than bad. I also had connections for superb sewing notions and tools and since I wanted to live a creative life to it's fullest, aka making my creative passion my business I thought I would give selling notions and tools a try. Things that I use myself and I felt this would be a good thing to start with when it came to selling things under the umbrella of my magnificent obsession.

I've had an online store for quite a while, but I didn't make it truly official until March 2011 (meaning I filed my business name with state and federal institutions). I had quit my day job and decided to go whole hog. And things were good. I felt good about the niche that I was filling and generally I felt like I was adding something to the conversation and that I did people a favor by having these great sewing notions and tools all in one place.


I started receiving more press and my online store and my blog were affording me some pretty grand opportunities. I really did feel great about things for a solid 3 years. During that 3 years, I had the marvelous opportunity to become the teacher of whatever class I wanted to teach at a local fabric shop called Yellow Bird Fabrics. It was absolutely wonderful. I developed some classes that really took off and this along with working one day a week at this fabric shop gave me the opportunity to become acquainted with a whole new animal - the brick and mortar store model. I still had my online shop at that time, I was teaching full-time and I was bringing home really decent money and we were able to live off of this and what my husband was making too. Seriously, it was the life. I think about that snapshot now and it actually kind of makes me a little sad. Those were some really good times and I was feeling way on top of my game.

And then, life happened. The gal who owned and operated Yellow Bird Fabrics was going to have her second baby and she started looking around at things and felt like it would be too much to run a fabric shop, work a day job and have two kiddos (under the age of 2) running around (who can blame her, right?). So she started opening up negotiations with the girls who worked for her so that she could sell her store. She approached me and we started discussing possibilities.

When we started negotiating about purchasing her business, we went through a lot of ups and downs and when all was said and done, I truly did not feel great about the decision to purchase. I had a gut feeling (mind you a very soft spoken gut feeling) that this was wrong for both of us and yet, I decided to just forge ahead anyway. I mean, who am I to listen to crazy voices in my gut or my head for that matter?? "I can do this and I am going to be successful!" I told myself over and over. From the beginning of negotiations to now, I have had nothing but trouble come from the decision to purchase that fabric store. For me, it was the wrong decision. I really feel this way deep down. Sigh.... Some harsh words to face for me, but really, it was the wrong decision for me. I feel it opened up a pandora's box of a lot of hard, really hard problems that I've dealt with on both a professional and personal level that truly, almost did me in. I am amazed that I'm sitting here, writing something sane, having lived through it and come out the other side.


Once I took over possession of the brick and mortar shop, lots of things started going downhill. We had some ups, we did. But there were many more downs. Just when I thought I saw a little sunshine, BOOM! I was hit with one down thing after another and another and another.....and another. And the workload was unbelievable. I was working all the time! And for no take home pay!!! The business was barely sustaining itself. There were tears. I have never cried so many tears in my entire life as I did this last year. So many tears. SO MANY! And I don't cry. This is the thing. I DON'T CRY! The frustration was so unbelievable that tears were my only refuge - it seemed a daily ritual! By December of 2014, I had had enough. I tried giving it a go with the Sewing Room and that just didn't take. It was time to make more hard decisions and face some realities.

As you probably know by now, everything is all closed up. I never, ever thought I would close my online store. I had loved my online store so much (I still do), but after the sad fate of my brick and mortar shop, I've lacked the tenacity and passion to continue on with any of it, especially when it was barely making enough to cover itself. Once everything was over for the brick and mortar in March of this year, I went right into working full-time and found that the last thing I wanted to do when I got home from work was work more. I have no idea how I used to do this back when I worked a full-time job and was trying to get my online shop up and running (this was before March 2011). It was a hard decision to face, but in order to be fair to myself, then it was time to be real about closing up everything and letting the dream go.

I was fortunate, so very fortunate, to be able to go back to a job within the same company that I worked for previous to March 2011 - when I struck out to become a burgeoning entrepreneur. I knew when this job came back into my life, it was the right decision and I feel better about it than I have felt about anything in a really long time. I feel like I'm supposed to be there and while I know I'm still going to have my fair share of challenges from all angles and facets of life, this was the next right thing for me.

I don't plan to mention my stint as a business owner much more, if at all (though if I've made something from an old fabric from my shop days, I'll mention that). I'm not sure that I will ever dabble in owning a brick and mortar again - who knows what the future will bring. But right now, I'm not ready to even think about it. I thought I would put my experience out there, especially as someone who really tried to make it in this creative sewing field of business. Other business owners will have different, hopefully much more positive experiences, but I felt mine was also valid. I have felt so deeply about everything this last year (ahem, the crying thing again). It's been really hard to hold it back and not let the debbie downer part of my personality take over my life - though she's still won out a lot this last year. All in all, I'm so glad it's over. I'm so happy to be looking at the horizon of the future with a new perspective on life and a different and more exciting feeling of hope and happiness. I have so much to be grateful for and I'm so happy to be sewing - yup! That drive is not dead. I have some exciting new partnerships to mention and thrill you with and I'm sure there will be more fabric, more garments, more fitting fights and reveries and well the old suspects that were more present on this blog before all of this craziness went down. I'm just glad to still be around. Cheers!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement as all of this has unfolded. Thank you!

xx, Sunni
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69 comments

  1. Such an emotional roller coaster you've been on! Sorry your experience has been a difficult one and thanks for sharing! So glad you're now feeling "at ease". Peace and light.

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  2. Oh, I so know the flavor of these feelings! Of course they're valid! I went to architecture school, did the federally-monitored multi-year internship, passed the licensing exams, hung out my shingle...and realized it and I weren't a good fit. (That was 1992 - 2008. See the value in 'failing fast'?) Now I develop websites for large corporate America, and am MUCH happier, but the experiences I went through actively contribute to my outlook and skills, so I really can't regret them - and the web work I do didn't start existing until 2005, so I can't play 'why didn't I study CS at the awesome tech university'. It's a journey, right?

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  3. I am so sorry things did not work out for you with your shop, and hopefully now that it's gone, that will be the end of the bad feelings for a really long time to come. I am excited to see your latest sewing creations! Cheers to you and your new beginnings :)

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  4. Thank you for writting this. Your experience is more than valid even if it didn't end as a "success". The world is filled with success stories of people who sacrificed, worked hard and now live there lives happy, money in pocket doing exactly what they love to do. They're living the dream. And reading these stories are hopeful and encouraging, but we do need to hear of the other turnouts. We need to also see that if we give it full go and "lose" (although I don't think lose would be the right word) that it isn't because we didn't work or try hard enough like we're often thaught by society. That some things are out of our hands, and it can still have a good ending, just not the one you were aiming for. I personnally find stories of people putting themselves back on their feet after making the wrong decision much more impact full and inspiring. And from where I'm standing, you seem to be standing rather strong again (I hope). Good luck with everything and thank you for sharing this difficult part of your life.

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  5. Hey Sunni, I have been following your blog for years now. So sorry for all your ups & downs of life lessons. But it sounds like you have learned many things about yourself through them. Good for you. I really liked your posts about fabric type: fiber & content. I'm glad to see you have kept those blogs on your blog. I teach sewing to girls in South Carolina and now that your online fabric shop has closed, can you give direction as to where we can purchase good quality fabrics online? I am most wanting some of the wool crepe (darn that I didn't buy some in every color when you had it available!). Thanks again for all your informational posts.
    Blessings to you!

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  6. Glad you're sorting out life in a way that works for you. Just wanted to say i LOVED your zipper class on craftsy. If you were to create more such classes i would be interested!

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  7. Thanks for your honesty, Sunni. I'm sorry that it didn't work out for you, but I truly admire your courage & the guts it took for you to go for this business & to share with us how it has gone. I'm glad that you're back on track & I look forward to continuing to follow your blog & to seeing what you have coming up.

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  8. I appreciate your honesty and admire your outlook. I can't wait to see what is next in your sewing adventures! xo

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  9. Sunni, I'm so sorry that this particular project didn't work out for you, it must feel so tough now but in time you'll be able to put it into perspective. I'm so happy to hear that you're feeling good in your new/old job. Owning a small business is HARD. I can't even imagine having the overheads and pressure of a bricks and mortar on top of everything else that a business owner has to deal with. The main thing is that you gave it a shot, and it didn't work out but you have learned so much, expanded your comfort zone and I bet you are now able to face any challenge face on :) xxx

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  10. That's capitalism for you. Round of applause and launch party when you start; kick in the teeth when it doesn't work out. There are more small business failures than successes, but only the minority of the latter are talked about, over and over and over again. No one seems to learn.

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  11. Thank you for all of it, Sunni! I'm sorry this has been so hard, you were very brave to even consider owning your own store. I have learned a lot from you, and hope that you will continue to blog about your sewing in the future. I miss the shop, but hopefully this can lift the fog surrounding you and you can be smiling from the inside out once again.xxx

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  12. Thank you for sharing your experience, it is definitely as valid as any other... I really enjoy your blog and there is no doubt you're talented!! Best of the luck with the new job :)

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  13. Thanks for being so honest. I'm really sorry that things didn't work out as you hoped. It must be a nice change to be paid a regular salary again after all of that stress. Can't wait to see what you have planned next x

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  14. Sunni, I'm not sure if I have written this to you before (maybe, I've definitely thought about it). A little while after you started down the road of purchasing your bricks and mortar shop, I had an opportunity to try something similar with an independent local shop. Reading about your experiences helped me to consider the cons along with the pros and I didn't do it, which I think was the right choice for me. You helped me to realize that it would take all of my energy and then some to own a shop, and that giving it one's all might not be enough to counter some very daunting economic trends for such shops.

    A year after making this decision, a Joanns joined the Hancock in my town, and three other independent fabric shops went out of business. I am so glad I didn't have to live through that experience. So, if I've said it before, I'll say it again: thank you so much for sharing what you've been through. It absolutely helped me.

    For you, I am truly sorry that the good early days of your sewing-related business didn't last longer. You are so gifted and you gave so much--you are the last person who deserved such stress and disappointment. But I am glad you are moving past it and that you are happy with where you are now. All the best!

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  15. Thanks for sharing your story and your emotions. Not everybody can do such a thing publicly. I think that each experience is positive, even though some of them may end up not very good for its protagonist. You have definitely learnt lots of new things, you've become a stronger person and you've discovered so much new things about yourself (I bet!). I wish you all the best with your office job and your free time, which you can dedicate for sewing and blogging!

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  16. Hi Sunni, you don't know me, but I follow your blog. My name is Anne. When I became a beginner sewer I found your blog and loved it. I have learned so much from you, and am very grateful. I love your style:) I look forward to seeing more makes in the future! Blessings, Anne.

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  17. So, so important to listen to this little voice inside! God, that's a good lesson. Best of luck with your new job!

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  18. While things have not turned out the way you envisioned them, I am so proud of you for taking the risks and following your dream! So many of us don't do that, and then we wonder, wonder, wonder... You don't have to do that. You gave it your best shot, and the Mr. helped you chase the dream, and in the current climate it just was not meant to be. With time, I think you will begin to realize how very much you learned during this experience. Your online store will be missed. I hope you find lots of peace and contentment with your decision. You have certainly helped me a lot, so keep showing us those makes! Thanks, Sunni!!!

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  19. Sunni - I so appreciate your honest reflection of this time in your life. And I'm so thrilled that you decided to listen to your intuition and change paths. I'm sure the future holds many wonderful, exciting - and maybe even entrepreneurial (in a long time!) things. The world takes us in some strange directions. But finding the main road again is the substance of life.

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  20. I've been reading your blog since 2010 Sunni, and following your business, too. The silver lining is that you made it happen, followed a dream and tried your best. At least you won't live with an " I should have..." , nagging at you. Trying something you want to do and having it not work out is better than never taking the risk at all.

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  21. Sorry that the brick and mortar turned out to be such an ordeal, you aren't the only one who has had those problems. Kudos to you for cutting loose and going back to your old job. It is important for people to hear that being in business foe oneself is very hard and stressful. Looking forward to seeing your creative output now that that is what it is and there isn't a price tag on every moment of your creativity. I think this is an important lesson for people- it's not always a good idea 'to do what you love' as a career. There is so much more in running a business than just what you love. For many people work a good paying job and let your creativity be just that- a creative activity on the side.

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  22. Thank you for writing this post and for being so open about everything. I'm sorry that it didn't work out for you, but I am glad that you have found/made your peace with it. You are amazing and I am sure that there are still so many great things ahead that will work out for you - and that you will feel are right for you. Wishing you nothing but the best!

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  23. Sunni, I feel for you, I really do. What a rollercoaster 4 years - the highest of the highs, the lowest of the lows. And you are brave enough to share your story, which I really appreciate, as we always hear about all these *marvelous* success stories but very little about the very real sweat, tears, pain, frustration, and plain ol' HARD WORK that goes into entrepreneurship, even if it's something that you love to death. I'm so glad you're now on a path that feels right and good for where you're at right now. I'm also glad that your love of sewing hasn't disappeared, even through all of this. So important!

    Also, thank you for posting this as I really resonated with a number of things that you said. I'm a hobby sewer and will likely never turn it into a business, even though people sometimes ask me about it - it's just never felt right, and sometimes it can be so hard to trust that little voice in you, even if, on some level and in some very quiet way, you really know that you should. SO thank you for sharing that.

    However, I have taken a step away from the 9-5 to write, and that's an area where I could really relate to so many things you said. I'm currently going through a period where I just flat out DO NOT want to write ANYTHING. And this is supposed to be my 'passion.' It is, but sometimes you just run dry on motivation, especially if you're a workaholic and now working for yourself (as you said in a prior post). It can be so hard to call 'enough'!! And sometimes there's a voice that says, "Ok you've done this for awhile, and now it's time for a change" - and it can be hard to listen to that voice, because this is your PASSION for crying out loud, and yet that voice is right, and you just gotta go with it and trust that the currents will change again, at some point, with regards to the things that you absolutely, to your core, love to do.

    So bravo to you, and thanks for sharing honestly and deeply.

    Here's to what comes next. And here's to this very moment :-).

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  24. The next big adventure awaits. Let go of the past and don't let it hold you back from something new! You have so much support in all you do!

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  25. Hi Sunni, thanks for sharing. I realise you probably don't want to write or even think any more about the shop, but when you say things went wrong/downhill, is there any chance of you being more specific? Any words of advice you might have for anyone, erm, trying to do something similar? Big pitfalls? Lessons learnt besides, hmm, don't do it?

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  26. I am retired and I travel throughout the country all of the time. I can tell you that your experience is not unique as evidence by the fact that it is virtually impossible to find an independent fabric store that carries beautiful fabric for clothing construction. Most towns have at least one quilting fabric shop but they carry ONLY quilting fabric. It is a sad day for those of us who still like to support local businesses and to actually see and touch our fabric before purchase. I have always loved your blog and look forward to seeing what the future has to hold for you. I wish you all the best.

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  27. Thank you so much for sharing. You are so honest and brave - it takes real strength to be vulnerable. You've learned so much from this painful experience and you are a greater person because of the so called wrong decisions you have made. All my love goes to you.

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  28. What a heartfelt letter! I've been following your blog for a LONG time, I think right after you started as A Fashionable Stitch, so I've been following your ups and downs. I still looking forward to your blog posts, and am definitely looking forward to what you have to share in the future.

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  29. I'm sure this has been a truly trying time(s) for you. Retail can be a very vicious animal. I've resisted it all my life from 40 years ago when I did a pro-forma and discovered I would have to pull in thousands of dollars just to meet regulations, fees, taxes, salaries, and basic monthly expenses before I could ever take home a dime. It scared me then and still does even when people say I need a storefront. I'm an artist and I work uneven hours and they aren't like retail hours.

    If nothing else hopefully that little voice in you has a platform now. There's nothing like it and listening to it is the best thing you can do for yourself no matter how many well-meaning friends and family tell you otherwise. Some of my family told me not to go into the custom clothing business and 40 years later I'm still seeing clients. The little voice does not lie!!!

    Follow that dream inside. It never dies and can lead you to some glorious directions.

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  30. Thanks Sunni. Gosh I am so glad for you that you're out of it. My situation is a bit different but I can relate to some of it. Especially the tyre-kickers! It's so often the 'customers' who are neediest who buy the least (or nothing at all). But it sounds like you dealt with some doozies. Wow. And the no takehome pay? Yeah, we've been addressing that, with some success. I just hope you, poor thing, can still find joy in sewing after all that! - Jane xx

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  31. Hi Sunni, I always browse over your blog and always felt your struggles. I am so sorry about the feelings, tears and overall process you have had to go through. As time goes on you will heal and hopefully accept this as a path you had to take. On top of all that you should be proud of doing what you did. It was hard but you did it, you gave it a go and gave your best. For that in itself you are a winner. You had a dream and you tried to make it work, so hats off to you. How many people have the 'if only I did ...'syndrome. Well you don't, you get out there, gave it a go, and unfortunately it didn't work out the way it should have. However you did it, and on top of all that had the courage to let go of this dream. Don't knock yourself down, and thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Now that takes courage.

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  32. I know they're nearly meaningless, but big big BIG Internet hugs. I once read that when you make a bad decision, "bad" is actually an abbreviation for "Best Available Data" -- you did what you could with the information you had at the time. I am sorry your dream ran aground, and I am much sorrier you worked yourself into the ground.

    I hope something wonderful happens to you soon.

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  33. Hi Sunni. I've been following you for awhile now - from at least the 2010-2011 era, and it makes me happy to feel like I can hear a smile in your voice again. I know the past year must have been so frustrating, and I'm sorry things didn't take a better path, but I'm glad you're still sewing and enjoying your new job. Best of luck!

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  34. Thanks for sharing - it gives really good balance to all the I-quit-my-day-job-and-now-earns-25k-a-month. And I have to say, it was brave of you to get in it, and brave of you to get out of it. I wish you all the best in the future, and really hope that it hasn't put you off sewing and crafting - at least not in the long run! :)

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  35. It's such a shame Sunni!
    You have such talent that it deserves to fly!
    I've seen those with far less talent than you maintain establishments that teach sewing so I am confident that's a dream that can come round again for you.
    Please don't forget that sine of the biggest entrepreneurs have gone through what you have.
    Most of us, including myself, never have the guts to ever try

    I am proud of you!

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  36. I am sorry that your business didn't work out for you Sunni! I'm sure if I lived anywhere near close, I would have bought some of your luscious fabrics! Glad you are settled in your full time job now, and wish you all the luck for the future.

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  37. Hi Sunni, thanks for sharing this really honest post with us. I know that feeling of having the tiny voice of your gut feeling speaking, but sometimes it takes a long time to recognise it and properly hear it. And also, trying hard to make a job work, when you wonder 'is this really for me?'. And also, all the crying and emotion - so bloody tiring! A lot of hard lessons to learn there and pretty emotionally draining. Very best of luck of luck in your new job and for the future x

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  38. it cannot have been easy, I have worked in retail and golly-gee, you really get to meet all sorts the other side of the counter -Years ago, I had tried self employment, didnt work out for me and then I worked full time to get cash together, since I now work part-time and which leaves me a fair amount of time to work on my own projects without worrying about money. I look forward to your future posts - the very best of luck also with your future adventures and projects

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  39. Sunni, I just want to leave a comment to let you know I am a big fan of yours, and even more so for writing this post. I'm a religious (Muslim) person, so this may or may not resonate with you, but I believe God tests us at the same time as He grows us. We cannot become patient people unless we are put through trying times. We cannot be emotionally strong unless we are put through emotionally taxing situations. And so on and so forth. You probably don't even realise it yet, but you would have gained a lot through this. Time will show that to you. You also would have learnt a lot about yourself in the process.
    In the meantime, I'm so happy that I have your tailors hams, pin cushion and fabric. In the most uncreepiest of ways, I think of you whenever I use them :)

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  40. I'm glad you've come through your bad experiences, to find more settled times. Good luck in the future.

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  41. Sunni, thank you for trusting in your readers. Best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors.

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  42. And so we shall never speak of this again. ;-)

    I know exactly how you feel. My spouse and I started up a small business that we really loved and believed in (it had an environmental/social impact). The reality was that it wasn't profitable enough to raise our very young family on, and we were at a point where, like you, it was starting to damage our physical health and our relationships, not to mention our wallets, so we sold it after three years.

    It appears to be doing fantastically now, I check in on their website a couple times a year or so and almost always shed a tear over it because I do miss certain aspects of it. I wouldn't change anything about it though, including the sale, and you'll feel the same in time if you don't already. No regrets!

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  43. Sunni, I can't even imagine how stressful the past few years have been for you! My parents are also small business owners, so I have an inkling - but a creative business is a whole nother beast of it's own right, and takes SO MUCH out of you. I'm so happy to hear that you were able to make the decision based on what was right for you, and that you're doing better with your new path. It's so sad when something like that sucks the joy out of your passion, and I'm glad you got it back! Here's hoping the next few years will make up for all the crap you've just been through!

    Also - I think you're a badass, not only for taking on such a crazy endeavor and actually living through to see the other side, but also just for having the strength to openly talk about it on your blog. I don't think most of us (myself included) would have the guts to admit the downside of things, and I really respect you for it. I think you're awesome.

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  44. Sunni, thank you SO much for sharing your story. I can't imagine how hard it was to write - it sounds like you've had a truly hellish year but I am so happy for you that you've righted your course and are on a new path that feels good. We're all here for you no matter what is in store! xo

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  45. It felt good to read about your experience and try to understand what you've been through. I hope it'll only get better for you from now on! And that we'll see more of the awesome stuff you sew here on the blog :)

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  46. So sorry to hear this....this chapter has closed and it sound like a nice run with ups and downs. Wish you the best at your new chapter. Hope you keep your blog up so we can keep in touch with you.

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  47. I can only echo what so many other commenters have already said: you are a winner because you took on a huge challenge and saw it through to the end. There's a saying that sometimes NOT getting what you want turns out to be the greatest gift. You don't know what doors this experience may have opened or will open for you in the future. You have so much life ahead of you and have learned so much in a short, albeit highly stressful, period. Your talents, grace, and ingenuity will continue to take you far. Thank you for sharing this experience as you have your sewing experiences for the 5+ years I've been following you -- since your Cupcake Goddess days!

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  48. Thankyou for such openness and honesty. Sometimes I think the economic reality of a job within the sewing world is romanticised and glossed over when the truth is it is incredibly hard work for designers, shop owners, businesses with a small income and often very little time to pursue the very thing you love in the first place. You scratched all your itches and took risks and you survived for future adventures whatever then may be. Now you can enjoy your free sewing time again totally guilt free.

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  49. Thanks for sharing your experience! It takes a really amazing person to share a difficult experience with the rest of us, especially when things don't turn out the way you had expected them too. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next in your sewing queue!
    xo

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  50. Oh Sunni, this is such a brave, honest post, I really feel for you. I'm so sorry your business didn't work out, but at least you gave it a shot. You've come out the other side and the only way is up from now on my friend. Wishing you all the luck and happiness in the world. xx

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  51. Thanks for sharing your experience, you should be proud of your endeavors, you step out and tried, and you learn from your experience, most of us are scared to try their passion as a business, no wonders for you, you can say been their done that, and you really can appreicate where you are today, and move forward to new endeavors, with no regrets.

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  52. I've worked closely with a handful local fabrics stores and seen the struggles those owners have gone through first hand. It's tough. You can only carry so much stock and not everyone is going to want/need/like what you carry. It's impossible to appeal to everyone. I've seen three stores close in my city in the past year and a half.

    In the end, though, you got to go with what your heart is telling you and move on. I'm glad you've got a new job now and hopefully have more time for fun sewing!

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  53. Dear Sunni,

    I'm not much of a commenter but I have been reading your blog(s) probably since the beginning. I never missed one of your post about your business because they were so honest and enlightening. I am sorry you went through such a hard time but at the same time grateful that you keep sharing with all of us so that we can all grow and learn with you. Congratulations on re-entering the job market successfully!

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  54. You're an absolute star for posting this! How brave. I hold my hands up in total admiration and awe. Good on you xxxxx

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  55. Life does throw us a few curve balls, but I've learned that things happen for a reason and new doors open that you never imagined. I look forward to following along on your blog and your sewing adventures!

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  56. I can see now why you are so done. Thanks for sharing the details. What a horrible experience. You must feel such a sense of freedom right now. But whatever you are doing now I think your old job must be lucky to get you back, it seems like you have a fantastic work ethic.

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  57. Hey Sunni- It's so hard, isn't it? So hard to spend every waking moment pouring your life and soul into this thing, to keep on telling yourself if you could just push a little further, work a little harder, eventually everything will work out right. And for no pay. Sure, it's not all about making money, but when the work is so hard that it's grinding you down that way for *nothing,* it gets harder and harder to justify the work to other people... And to oneself.... (So hear you about the tears... And not being a crying person...And pretty much all of what you wrote.)

    I'm glad that you're on a better track for you, I'm trying to find mine... I've always been a fan of your work, your ethic, and your vision and I wish only the best for you in the future, whatever that may be. :) *internet hugs*

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  58. Hi Sunny, I SO admire your courage. Not only to speak about your troubles over the last few years, but also the fact that you did try in the first place. I have made a carreer-switch in the past that caused me a lot of problems, not to mention money and (mental) health. But I still believe I did the right thing at the time. As the french say: Il faut mieux vivre avec des revors qu'avec des regrets. Which translates to something like: It's better to regret something you've done than to regret not doing something...
    I've learned a lot about myself in that period, and believe I've come out stronger. I hope you will get to look back at this period of your life with the same feeling (after you've given it some time...)
    Good luck!

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  59. Sunni, I am so happy to hear that you are doing better, feeling more hopeful and happy and looking ahead to better days. Please do not consider yourself a failure, you were courageous and brave to give it a try. I enjoy your blog and hope you will continue to share your knowledge of sewing with us. Hugs and prayers for a joyful future.

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  60. This is quite a bitter pill to swallow and I champion you honesty.
    You tried, you failed and you will come through.
    You are and will remain totally awesome and ahead of you game.
    Yeaaah! Sunni!

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  61. Oh no, that is terrible. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. Thank you for your honesty here. I love how positive the blogging community it is, but sometimes it's good to hear about failures so we can see not everything is roses and cupcakes. I'm glad you managed to come out the other end and hope that maybe, just maybe, you'll get your online shop back on its feet!

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  62. Oh, Sunni! I feel for you. I have no inkling of personally the challenges of running a brick and mortar shop, but I can imagine it's incredibly hard--even for those shops that are successful. I really salute you for hanging in there like you did, and also for knowing when it was time to call it quits--that takes A LOT of guts! Having gone through some really difficult times--personally and "professionally" (namely, loosing my EM url)--the past few years, I can sympathize with the huge amount of stress that it puts on your life. Sending lots of well wishes your way as you embark on the next chapter of life. :) I am convinced, even though some seasons are incredibly painful and fraught with more sorrow than joy, they are not completely without purpose in our lives. *hugs*

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  63. I am so sorry that you went through all this stress and disappointment. But I'm glad to hear that you're feeling confident in your decision to take a full-time job again, and I hope that having some extra time for rest and relationships leaves you feeling more like yourself very soon. I'm sure it's a weight lifted off your shoulders to come home at the end of the day without a pile of work staring at you!

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  64. Thank you for sharing what must have been a very complex process for you. As someone who owns a small sewing business, I go through "stay-or-go" on a regular basis. It helps to have insight from someone else. I wish you all the best on all your future endeavors and hope you can still share your sewing projects with all of us!

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  65. Your story is definitely valid! Whilst a lot of people's experiences will be of fabric/sewing/dressmaking or other businesses which have worked, it is crucial to hear about people's stories like this one. I, along with I'm sure many other people, dream of owning my own business own day and am in doubt that I see it through rose-tinted glasses which I know it's not but cannot help but put it on a pedestal anyway. So it's incredibly worthwhile to hear from those people whose experiences were not as positive so people are informed and someone avoids similar situations. I'm sorry it wasn't what you hoped it would be and made you unhappy despite the mountain of effort and work! Glad to see things are looking up.

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  66. Now that you no longer have your shop, will you have time to change some of your links? I recently checked out your advice on some of your products, wanted to see what they looked like, and the link is gone. If you could at least link to a photo of the product you were referring to, that could be helpful in the future.

    Having dealt with people who demanded something of me then didn't bother when I made the effort to comply, I really understand that aspect of your business. Hurtful comments when you yourself meant no harm is also very difficult to handle emotionally.

    One day you'll look back on this time and feel proud that you took on a challenge and succeeded for a time. You could have succeeded even more possibly in a different era, timing seems to be everything in today's market.

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  67. I'll try Barbara, but that's going to be a lot of links! Is there a specific post you're looking at? Just so that I can reference the time frame of when I posted vs. now. Sometimes the links are so old that they just don't work or even go to anything anymore. The products are no longer available. But I'll definitely try! Thanks for letting me know!

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  68. I'm so late reading, but I just wanted to say that you have done such an amazing job these last few years! So inspiring, even if it didn't work out as you hoped. It makes perfect sense that you feel burned out and exhausted, and I hope you can take it easy on yourself and enjoy your new "freedom" in a 9-5. :)

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  69. I commend your courage in realizing that you made a mistake. It takes a great deal of self-knowledge to reach the conclusion that you and your chosen job were not a good match. Thank goodness that you were able to find work again so (relatively) quickly!

    Don't think of your retail venture as a failure. Think of it as an adventure that had an ending you were not expecting. Every ending causes us grief and remorse, even when though that ending may also bring relief and/or elation. Let yourself grieve. The pain lessens as time goes by: it was a lovely thing, that shop, while it lasted.

    Now you are free to look outward, and forward, and walk new paths, and conquer new heights. Know that you are loved, by more folk than you may ever meet in person. You are of great worth to us as a mentor and as a very good writer. We're pulling for you.

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