Geeks Run The World: The Force is Strong with this One
How’s it going, readers? Shubz here, presenting you with a new blog piece called “Geeks Run the World,” where we learn a little more about some of our geeky peers that operate their own business! Kicking it off is our very own Meg Humphrey, who is the owner, designer, and operator of The Force is Strong with this One.
1: Tell us about The Force is Strong with this One.
The Force is Strong with this One is an idea that spawned from too many people asking me if I have an Etsy store. I’ve been sewing my own nerdy/whatever-I-think-is-cute clothing since I was 13. I’ve always gotten compliments on my skirts and dresses whenever I wear them, especially at conventions. I’m really open about my obsessive and nerdy interests so it was only natural that I’d make myself Star Wars dresses, Disney skirts, or cupcake headbands.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed more and more people want to wear things that I’ve been sporting for over a decade. There is still a kitsch factor to the clothes and accessories, but it’s becoming more ordinary to see Chewbacca’s face on someone’s clothing or Iron Man on their handbag. At Emerald City Comicon 2012, I was so bombarded with questions about my clothes, if I have store, if I do commissions, etc., that I decided to take the plunge. I spent all of April and May making products and had my first show in June at VanConShow. Five months, a tumblr, five conventions as a vendor, and a BRAND NEW ETSY later, I feel like I’ve gotten the swing of things!
2: What separates your business from other online clothing stores out there?
I’m not sure it really separates me, but everything I make I would want to wear myself! Being a bigger girl (and much bigger when I started sewing), I make a wider range of sizes and try to only make things that I think would be comfortable and flattering. But really, I just think everything I make is cute! I think a lot about what colors work well (even down to the color of the thread I use), and I’m pretty careful when I choose patterns. Just because a fabric has Spider-Man or whoever on it, doesn’t mean I’ll automatically use it. I also try really hard not to overcharge. I understand what goes into sewing. So when I see a skirt of basically equal quality, material, and design going for $65 (mine are priced $20-30), I think it’s just ridiculous! I wouldn’t pay that much so I don’t charge that much. I’m want to support and be available for the everyday nerd!
3: What is your favorite piece you’ve created?
That would have to be my Empire Strikes Back Apron (Take 2)! At Rose City Comic Con, Tyler from A Wave Blue World bought it to wear while he cooks for his wife. When I saw him again at Jet City Comic Show, he told me she loves it! I’m also super happy with how my tote bags and drawstring backpacks have turned out. I get told by customers that they get a ton of compliments! It’s super important to me that everyone is happy with what they buy.
4: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a woman in business?
There are so many things! I think the most important lesson is that there will always be something you’ll forget. When I started this up, I was overwhelmed by everything I hadn’t thought about – a website, business cards, table displays, a cash box, etc. A business is never JUST the product, but that was the only thing I really knew about when I started. Plus, I think at every convention I’ve sold at I’ve forgotten SOMETHING – my swatch books, some price tags, once I even forgot to bring money for my cash box! Thankfully, my dad knows me well enough and had some fives and ones stashed away for such an occasion. You can’t freak out over this stuff – especially if you’re at a con out-of-town. You have to go with the flow and make it work. If you can, make sure you have friends and family who have been through the same experience or at least be willing to help you when you need it. I wouldn’t be in business at all if my friend Kami (TalisX on deviant art.) hadn’t really pushed me into it. I wouldn’t have business cards or a website if my boyfriend wasn’t much more savvy with computers than I am!
5: You are also on staff for GeekGirlCon, as well as holding it down with a day job WHILE running your business – how do balance it all?
I’m also the Panels Coordinator for Sakura-Con, and I’m planning on going to grad school soon. Thankfully, I’m one of those people who always needs something to work on, and I’m a chronic multitasker. If I’m chilling and watching some anime or crime shows, I’ll be pinning a garment, sketching patterns, or doing con work. Now I’m not saying that I’m spot on with my time tables – sometimes I take too long to respond to emails or I have to put projects on the back burner or stay up waaaay too late to finish my job. The key is that as much as I may complain about my workload and stress out about deadlines, I really love what I’m doing and the amazing folks I’ve met. Treating myself to a super amazing dinner every now and then as a reward for hard work doesn’t hurt either!
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share about your business, Meg! For more about The Force is Strong with this One, visit http://www.etsy.com/shop/ForceApparel. Readers, how do you manage your busy geeky lifestyle? Shoot us a comment below!
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