Van Journal: Why Vanjo nearly didn't get launched

I don’t usually divulge much personal goings on with this blog, I usually tend to write about aspects of becoming a lingerie designer, or ‘How to’s’ and tips in which I think can help you. But with the relaunch of the lingerie brand Vanjo, I’ve been writing a little bit behind the scenes (all with the header Van Journal if you want to go back and read any), and I was due to relaunch Vanjo in Sept as I’d been stating for the past year, but back in August I took a stark look at my timeline and realised that there was no chance that was going to happen.

And I was pissed. At myself - as this is my job, I help others launch their brand, all on time, all deadlines completed. No problem, but my little brand seemed to be having problems after problems. I had to face that professionally and personally that my work load and time had significantly changed since I announced the relaunch of Vanjo back in Sept 2017.

So my mind spiralled as it does when faced with big decisions, when things aren’t going to plan, and I made a decision that I would relaunch in a year, yup that would be better, I hadn’t built a website yet, not all of the grading was complete, I hadn’t taken any photos of the lingerie, some of the fabric from my supplier hadn’t arrived.

Yup I was relaunch next year when things were a bit more perfect, I could take pictures and get press before hand, complete all my grading, make sure I was ready to go, get the patterns that I wanted to sell to sit alongside the pieces, ahhhh maybe do a press launch? And so it went on. In my mind adding what I could do to make it better and stronger and decided I could sit and plan a new time scale.

I ran over in my mind all the problems I had encountered that had gotten me to this point.

Professionally, I had designed and made a soft bra, which had a detailed gap between the cups, and I had fitted the bra, re-made adjustments, and re-made it until I was happy with it. This had been done at the start of when I was re-launching Vanjo. However when returning to it, to grade it and re-make it a final time, I noticed that another company had launched a pattern pack and lingerie in a similar style, I would be unable to go ahead with mind as it was too alike. Back to the drawing board.

In one of my designs, I wanted fold-over elastic along the underarm and top wing, I ended up trying four different types of fold-over elastic and wasn't happy with any, it didn’t seem strong enough for the bigger cups to give support and to keep the boobs forward. (This style still hasn't been solved) back to the drawing board

I had bought a sample piece of some fabric with swallows on it, having sampled up my designs in it, I went to re-order and made the mistake of not acting before hand, they had run out. , I re-chose a completely different fabric but there was a delay in the delivery time of it. Back to the drawing board.

lingerie that didn't make the collection

I bought a new domain name especially for Vanjo, with the intention of building a new website especially for the lingerie, (currently it links to this one), I spent a further week planning out how I wanted it to look, but was yet to build it. I was having doubts that it would only have four items on it, and didn't know how I would link the pattern aspect to it all.

Back in Sept none of the patterns were graded, not one. I couldn't launch without patterns, yet to currently run with even four designs would mean that over seventy sizes would have to be graded.

At the start of the year I had committed to two new design briefs from clients, whilst finishing up another, and with all client work it comes before mine. There is not always enough time in the day to do everything.

On a personal note: I had just moved from an apartment that didn't need anything doing to it to a cottage in a small village that needed renovating, so as well as trying to work from home I had to put spare time to doing house things, working around floors being ripped up and general disorder.

Where we previously lived I use to get up at 5am a few times a week before anyone else woke, but becoming pregnant again meant energy was zapped and I spent most of the Summer being sick.

Even though we moved a couple hours up north from where we use to live, the husband still works down there and stays down there whilst he’s a work, so it’s now my sole job in the week to keep everyone alive!!

With all this and looking after two children in the day, I began to wonder if I could do it?

I don’t know how other people do it but it felt like I was sinking a bit under work. This is not by the way a blog to say ‘oh look at me and at all the things I have to do’, as there are plenty of people out there juggling harder things and times, it’s just a reflection of what I was thinking and feeling at the time.

It was whilst I was putting the youngest to bed, lying there with her whilst she fell asleep I ran through all that I had to do and all my perceived problems, and realised I didn’t have to launch Vanjo like I did before.

I had a choice.

It was my brand and fundamentally what was I launching for? I was launching a brand to help women find lingerie that fitted them well, and to give them the ability to have access to the pattern and make their own if they wanted. I also remembered the advice I usually give out to people who are wanting to start their lingerie brand.

“Start before you’re ready, and start small and strong”.

Previously when I ran Vanjo, I would work from 7am to 11pm most days, currently I don’t have that time, or inclination to work like that everyday. I know from in the past five years since I had my first child that routines change and the amount of time to work does as well.

I decided that putting it off for another year, was an excuse and that I would start from where I was with the resources I had. From making that decision and committing I began to see answers to the problems I thought I had.

That bra that was a similar design, would be shelved and it gave me a new opportunity to design a new one.

The fold-over elastic that wasn't working, worked well in a crop top design, so I would be able to have that design in my collection.

The fabric that was unavailable, probably wasn't as strong in looks as the other fabric and I wouldn't have to commit to buying more and hoping it would sell. I also noted that a company had released some baby leggings in the same fabric.

I didn’t need a separate website, I could put Vanjo on this website, and therefore that solved the amount of designs I had (when i thought I needed more) and all the patterns would be on here too. This meant less time updating two websites, concentrating on one website so would cut out the work that needed to upload garments and to blog about. There is still a separate Instagram handle, (@vanjolingerie) as I know that not everyone will be interested in the pattern and technical side of lingerie and just want beautiful lingerie, plus I often have photos of where I work and that co-insides with working from home with children.

My patterns that needed graded could be easily done on the computer, I just needed to block out some time to just get it done.

lingerie patterns

All the problems that I was facing personally, weren't really a problem, it was what is called life. And I could concentrate on the problems or realise that life ebbs and flows, and sometimes I would fly through work and sometimes I wouldn't’t. I was grateful to be busy.

So if you;’e finding yourself in a similar situation my advice: Start. Start before you’re ready before you’re ready. Start before you know the end result and as long as you’re moving forward you’re moving forward.

Vanjo is set to re-launch end of October.