I'm back from Thailand, and it was a fantastic trip as a vacation. It was disappointing as a samplemaking venture, however. The head of the shop and I tried very hard to come to an understanding, but there were issues, so it's back to the drawing board for the patterns, literally.
One of the things I've found fascinating about starting this business is that it teaches me that failing in one path is not necessarily a "failure", per se, but an opportunity to learn more about what to do differently in the future. For instance, I've learned that I know more about the patterns than I thought, and I know better how to guide the next patternmaker. I know that the control lost in working with another country, even if I'm standing there trying to explain it, is not the style of work that I've become accustomed to, and quality is lost, so don't try it that way. That second guessing myself is not good as a leadership model. Cool! I got schooled.
I also found a store in Chiang Rai in the north that sells only Plus Sizes, and has the cutest sign! It really is called "XXL", and the lady who owns it, Plooey, is super sweet.
I'm lucky that I have the resources of many friends already in the fashion business to draw upon, and most of them are in New York already. While in Bangkok, I did reconnect with an old college friend who's doing incredibly well with her own fashion brand, chain of stores, diffusion lines, restaurants attached to the retail stores, and soon, a boutique hotel! Her advice to me was indispensable, mostly because she showed me that it's possible to go the independent route and succeed wildly.
If you're in Bangkok, or now Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, please check out her stores called It's Happened To Be A Closet [sic]. They are a mainstream size line, but very easy to wear, and great design. Kind of like an Asian version of Anthropologie.
Finally, if you ever get to go to Thailand, north or south, you're sure to be inspired. The colors and beauty there are breathtaking, and definitely gave me a refreshing outlook on what's possible next for Cabiria!
Back to New York and back to work on Cabiria. It really is a fascinating process, and will come to fruition, I promise!