Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Story of The Scarlet Thread Part Two

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1

Throughout the winter and spring of 2005 we busily sewed in anticipation of the LEAH (loving education at home) convention in Syracuse, New York. For years we had attended the convention. In fact my two sisters and I graduated at the LEAH convention.
We were somewhat apprehensive; would people be interested in purchasing clothing? Or were they simply there to purchase curriculum?
Upon our arrival we were directed to our booth space. Much to our amazement we were located at the front of the vendor hall! As each person entered the convention our booth was the first to be seen. Another unexpected blessing was the fact that one of the main themes of the 2005 convention was purity and modesty. Two virtues we certainly try to uphold with our sewing.
The convention proved to be an amazing blessing and encouragement to us all. We sold almost everything, met wonderful people, and were given the idea of creating a website for our business.
The remainder of 2005 was very busy for my sisters and me in a way we had never expected. Through the recommendation of a friend we were hired as temporary help at a local bridal shop. Our business, The Scarlet Thread, was put on hold throughout the summer and fall of 2005.
While working at the bridal shop we were taught how to alter bridal wear, which in turn was a great way to learn how to sew bridal wear. When looking back I realized that our time at the bridal shop was just another step. The LORD used that time to teach us an entirely new aspect of sewing.
Throughout the fall my mother did receive orders from customers we had met at the LEAH convention. As we all settled down for the winter of 2006 we began working towards having enough merchandise for the 2006 convention.
When spring arrived we began photographing our merchandise with the intent of launching our website. We had the pleasure of spending a day that spring with one of the lovely families we met at the convention. Their two daughters were our original models for the girls’ page of our website. Our site was completed shortly before the convention.

My concept of the internet was very limited at that time. Never having really shopped or used the internet I could not grasp the vast audience that a website could draw. My hope was to hand out enough business cards during the convention in order that those living in New York would be familiar with our business, and would perhaps visit our website throughout the year. The thought of people in other states or even different countries finding our website never even crossed my mind. I thought potential customers would not even know about The Scarlet Thread unless I personally told them or they heard about us from a friend.
The 2006 convention was just as wonderful as that of 2005. We were all quite excited to see what the LORD had planned next for The Scarlet Thread.
The first order we received through our website was for a girls slip from a town called Taylorsville in North Carolina. I was delighted, Taylorsville. : )
Throughout the late summer of 2006 my mother, sisters and I experienced a major change in our family. It was a very difficult time, emotionally and financially. It seemed that the LORD had planned the perfect time for our website to begin. It not only began to provide for us financially, but the busyness and interaction with customers at the time was so necessary for us!
Much to my surprise we were receiving orders from all over the country. Many other businesses linked with our site, which brought people to our website that never would have known about us.
That Christmas was wonderful, by that time we were receiving a consistent flow of orders, and we just loved sewing all the little nightgowns for different customers. We could just imagine all the little girls in different states waking up Christmas morning wearing the nightgowns we had sewn.
I began keeping track of all the states and countries we sold to, and as of today we have sent orders to 48 of the 50 states. The two states we are waiting for are Wyoming and Nevada. We have also sold to 9 countries-- Belgium, Australia, France, and Germany to name a few.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe just 7 years ago we were selling our merchandise at Hanna Junction, never in our wildest imagination could we have dreamed of selling our clothing around the world. God is so faithful!!
Both photos above are of our booth at the LEAH convention.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Story of The Scarlet Thread Part One

"Who despises the day of small things?" Zechariah 4:10a

Earlier this week my mother and I were reminiscing about the year we began our business The Scarlet Thread. With such small beginnings, we marveled at how God has blessed us and taken us to places we never imagined possible!
In the spring of 2003 I graduated from high school. The winter preceding my completion of home schooling I was very concerned with what I should do next in life. Everywhere I went people were asking me, “Are you going to college?”. I did not feel that the LORD was leading me to attend college, but at the same time I was unsure of His plan for me. About that time through the verse 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependant on anybody.” my family felt directed to open a small booth at a local farmers’/craft market, Hanna Junction.
Hanna Junction had been a very popular indoor market through out my childhood. Opened one day of the week, it was always a special treat to visit and purchase a homemade pretzel. With high hopes we furnished our booth with all our handmade doll dresses, baby dresses and purses. At the beginning of the season I had very carefully sewn several doll dresses, all the same style just in different fabric. I remember our first day of business I sold two doll dresses to a mother; I was delighted that someone liked what I had sewn.
At the same time we were sewing for our booth at Hanna Junction, I was beginning a correspondence dress making course. I now felt sure that the LORD was directing me to further my skills in sewing. Through out the years I was home schooled I had always enjoyed handicrafts, especially embroidery, but up until this point I had never considered this the beginning of a possible “career”.
As the summer progressed our sales rather than growing decreased, this was very discouraging! However this problem was not unique to our business, it seemed that Hanna’s Junction was reaching the end of it’s popularity. Our first year of business would mark their last year. It was at this time that a fellow vendor directed us to another farmers’ market. This was an outdoor market, and our first day to set up at the Geneva farmers’ market was very hot and sunny! Even then the LORD provided. Our friend from Hanna’s Junction had an extra tent which she gave to us. For the next few years to follow we used that tent many times.
The Geneva farmers’ market was positioned in a parking lot across from Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes and the traffic was great. We were so blessed and surprised. The following two summers we would set up our tent piece by piece by the light of street lamps at 6 am. We even spread out to other markets, at one point we were attending three markets a week.
During the Christmas season we would attend craft shows. My favorite show was located at the Granger Homestead. The Granger Homestead is a large Civil War era home originally owned by Gideon Granger the first United States Post Master General. We were privileged to display our merchandise in one of the lovely Victorian bedrooms in which was decorated with a beautiful pink floral wallpaper. I was thrilled! Our line of merchandise had greatly increased by this time. We were now knitting shawls, scarves and hats, sewing several styles of doll dresses, sewing nightgowns, girls’ dresses of various styles and many different style purses.
Photos above: top photo- our booth at Hanna's Junction, middle The Granger Homestead and bottom photo is our tent at the Geneva Farmers' Market