Coming into 2023, I was exhausted. After launching Anna Gray Collection in September of 2022 and shipping out our first delivery (while still working full-time), I was completely tapped out of energy. At first, I thought that sitting down to write out my goals for this year would help alleviate the overwhelming feelings, but instead of feeling motivated, I felt weighed down. I didn’t want to quit, but I had nothing left to give to my business at that point.
I’ve learned that one of the many cool things about running your own business is that you don’t have to operate the same way every other business does. Once I realized that, my decision to take a break felt like the right move.
While I was on my break, I rested a lot – hung out with friends, slept, and did things I hadn’t had time for in a while. After a few weeks, though, I started working on a couple of very fun projects that I’m excited to tell you about.
First up, a dear friend asked me to make her reception/get-away dress for her wedding, which was an honor and a great way for me to continue to be creative, while not being directly related to my business. To be clear, this is not my way of announcing that I’m pivoting away from coats to custom dresses! This is one project that helped me through my break and to remember why I enjoy designing and creating so much. If you’re experiencing a similar kind of burnout, finding a project that is related, but unrelated might something that would also help you. See below for a peak at the final piece!
The second project was with a textile designer/alpaca farmer, NASURICO, who’s created an alternative to faux fur. It’s made from natural alpaca fur, but instead of being a pelt, the backing is woven – more like a carpet backing, and is tufted, so it looks like fur. She was looking to work with a designer to test out adding her samples to a coat. The alpaca samples look great on the camel Patsy and I’m excited to see how this fabric develops. It’s a little heavy for apparel right now, but I’m sure that in a few iterations, it will be a great option for trims. It’s so exciting to have a natural alternative to faux fur and a non-harmful alternative to fur on the horizon!
I’m very thankful for the time I had to rest and recuperate after launching, as well as to work on these other projects. This journey of entrepreneurship has taught me so much, one of the most important lessons being protect and prioritize time to rest. It’s not always easy to do, but I don’t know if I’d still be in business if I hadn’t taken the time for a break. Another important lesson is how important it is to continue to foster creativity in the midst of your business.
Now let’s get ready for a great Fall!