Since my last writing, there has been so much activity going on that I’m not sure I can explain it in a few pages of writing. But, the website finally launched and I couldn't be more proud. It looks amazing and I’m so excited how it turned out.
The pressure of creating a new website was unbelievable. I didn't know it would be so intense. Laura and Jillian did an amazing job preparing and reviewing all the photos and text that went into the site. The site builder, Sean, worked relentlessly for several weeks and I must admit, the pressure mounted and finally exploded. But I couldn't be happier with the results and everyone’s hard work is really reflected on our new site. I can’t thank everyone enough for the time and effort that they put into it.
I also want to introduce Devon Beckwith to our Downs Designs family. Devon is a photography major at Purdue University. She is helping us out this summer with new photos for the site. I can’t believe the pictures she has been taking and how great they look. I hope by the end of summer, she will have improved our site photos completely.
We actually did a photo shoot recently with two of our models, Emily and Michael, and it turned out to be so much fun. We shot them in our shorts, capris and short sleeve tees in Emily’s beautiful back yard. We have more models yet to photograph, so stay tuned to see how they turn out.
We also ran a Facebook campaign which brought our “likes” to over 15,500 as of this writing. In about a month we added over 10,000 people to our page. Now I’m hoping to see an increase in sales as a result of these efforts.
Our next big event is just around the corner - The National Down Syndrome Congress Conference. It’s coming up in mid-July and will be here before we know it. We have some really big plans for this year’s event. Laura and Jillian are really going all out to make this year’s event our best ever. What would I do without those gals; they continue to amaze me with their hard work and love of their jobs and what they do to help build this business.
With the introduction of shorts and short-sleeve t-shirts, Doris, our seamstress, has been working extra hard as well. Her idea to shorten the sleeves on our shirts and hem our pants into shorts was brilliant. It’s an opportunity to offer a little more variety for the summer. I love how the shirts look in short sleeves and the pants make great shorts or capris.
We’re also trying to prepare a small catalog as well. It’s another project Jill has been working on. We hope to have it completed by the conference and put it on the site as a downloadable item, just like our brochure. With everything else going, I hope we get it done in time.
Here’s the latest update on what is in production. The ladies black jeans had some design problems. So, we are only going to have two styles coming out in black. Since we redesigned our ladies patterns, there were some problems with the “dip down” style. It just wasn't possible to make it like we wanted. Since we added larger sizes, it created some difficulty in the pattern. With these problems at hand, we decided to just go with the Diva and Sheryl styles in black. We’ll have to see how our new styles work out once we start selling them.
The youth girl style continues to be a problem. We are now having our other factory attempt to make the samples. We cannot explain the problems we've had with the youth girl pattern. One problem after another has plagued us. The factory has finished the youth boy styles and they will ship with the two ladies styles that are in production now. We hope to have the youth boy styles and the two new ladies styles available in the next 6 weeks or so. But with regret, the youth girl styles will not be ready by then. Our other factory is also preparing the Jacob and Danny styles in black denim. We hope that they will arrive in about 6 weeks as well.
We finished shooting our new video. It should be finished by the conference. It was way more work than I would have expected and I’m anxious to see the final results. How do you fit your entire story in a 3-minute video…challenging to say the least.
The last big item that I’m working on is preparing to seek out an investment company or even a private investor. It’s time! I hope to find more funding to help grow Downs Designs to another level. I think I've reached a point that I've done all I can do at this level and if I want to expand this business and build our sales, I need help.