Well, friends, Sarah here, and it’s been a hot minute. The last update Velvet Sweatpants made, I had just turned 40, and now I’m looking at 41 in the mirror, every single day. I’m happy to say, that Velvet Sweatpants is ready to re-emerge into the digital world, and it all starts with an update!
So…a pandemic, you say? For me, that meant 3 kids home with me starting in March, which made my work computer a hot commodity, and my time veeeery stretched. Supporting three different learning levels was not conducive to productivity for me.
I will admit, I am not a good teacher, but I tried so hard, and we all made it through. Not surprisingly, VS had some online office job requests at the beginning of the pandemic, and we delighted in working from afar to make your home workspaces more functional, comfortable and beautiful. This was also a great realization at how much I love online jobs!
During this lull in life, Laura and I had to have some hard conversations about the company, and the differences of our current seasons in life were made apparent. Last year, I still had my youngest home with me half the day. I wasn’t able to launch myself completely into business development, as my primary goal was to get the kids to school age with me at home. The pandemic eliminated afternoons to Grandma’s, and I felt pretty much like I needed to just accept that life had taken a U-turn, and to try and push forward with the business during all of that wasn’t going to be good for my mental health, and frankly, my isolated kids needed me.
While I’m in the last-of-the-babies-at-home stage, Laura, on the other hand, is in the building season of life, and having a business partner not available to really go for it probably wasn’t ideal for her. The time with Laura by my side was invaluable. She taught me so much and working with her raised my confidence to the point where doing this by myself seems entirely possible. We are so excited for each other, and support each other entirely as we go for different things at this moment in time.
Ah, life. Timing, seasons and stages.
We decided in September that I would continue Velvet Sweatpants, while Laura would go out and find consistent, steady employment. I have been working solo on a few jobs since then, and really focusing on what fills me up and gives me energy. The projects I’ve been working on have been fun, rewarding, and beautiful! These have given me that sense of self that sometimes goes on a holiday in the child rearing years. I’ve been patiently waiting for her to return from wherever she was vacationing, and with my youngest in full time school this year, I welcomed her back! (She gained weight and has grey hair now…I still like her…honestly, I like her more).
I realized through all of this, that ultimately, for me, it’s family first, and then whatever I can handle work-wise on top of that. My hours are dependent on my kids’ school hours and PD days and admitting this has made me more comfortable about when and what I can do. It’s easier to navigate this on my own, as I always felt guilty about the limitations my life put on Laura.
I’ve reflected so much on where I want this company to go, and it all comes down to providing accessible, affordable design to ordinary people. I was never meant to be a high-end designer. I find myself in those situations getting stressed about the financial grandeur of some of the suggestions, and then pulling back because it just doesn’t make sense in my mind. It isn’t wrong, by any means, and if you’ve got it, awesome, but that represents such a small percentage of the population. I’ve realized my niche is people like me...where every dollar is precious, and investing in an hour or two of professional design advice will make the design decisions less scary, and ultimately more rewarding. My clients maybe aren’t going to hire me for project management, and on-call advice, but I can help them make the best choices for their spaces, and allow the DIY to happen. I look forward to making the most of people’s homes and budgets through some of the tricks I’ve developed over the years, with creative thinking, and giving sound advice on where to splurge and where to save. As a designer, I’m happy to work with box store products, pass on my trade discounts, and give reasonable hourly design fees. I can offer online packages, 2 hour initial consults which offer great value, and hourly design services. Design within limits is my jam.
When we were deciding on our name, way back when, we loved what Velvet Sweatpants meant. Our tag line, “Beauty, Comfortably”, means so much. Comfort is not only elastic waistbands and plush fabrics, but also the idea of staying within budget, and developing your dreams for your home with someone who gets you.
My plan for the next while is to focus on the projects I have on the go, gather photos of projects past, make connections with accessible and affordable vendors, and continue to update my website and Instagram with some new content. Thanks so much for sticking with Velvet Sweatpants during our hiatus. I hope you’ll stay around for the next (velvet-clad) leg of this journey!