You know what they say... "Tough times don't last but tough people do."
I have been putting the toughest decision on my mind for the longest time ever - should I give EV up? A few days ago, I have finally decided... Yes. I am going to give it up. Probably permanently, or at least for a long time or so.
At this point of my life, it is one of the liabilities that's holding me back, rather than driving me forward. Don't get me wrong. EV's my baby. In a little less than half a year's time, it would have turned 3. It would have reached a milestone. The thing is, could I sustain the business before it reaches 3 years old?
Trust me, I have been through a lot, and I mean, a lot of considerations, deliberations and hesitations before arriving at this (unfortunate) decision.
For those who are here, and have shopped with EV - the shop has received a lot of complaints in recent times. It's evident in my personal ask.fm account, too.
I do have a severe lack of efficiency when it comes to answering emails and orders. I am admitting it. My answering speed is slow, my mailing speed is worse, refunds could take from few working days to a week to process, so on and so forth. Backorders are often delayed because I sent the orders in late (or even wrongly, sometimes) to my supplier. Because of this delay, my suppliers will often run out of stocks or give me the wrong ones.
Some customers have even resorted to some unknown means to get my personal mobile number and contact me (Which I do not appreciate at all, thank you! Unless I initiated to give you my number, else it's a little intrusive imo). Some others has taken to other crude measures such as calling me out with personal attacks and accusatory remarks.
In any case, this is a vicious cycle.
There's really a lot of things going on right now in my life. I don't expect my customers to have a full understanding of what I am going through, and I mean, hey, it's not part of their responsibility to find out and understand my point-of-view either. Besides, it's a business after all. Not a charity nor sympathy transactions that we're dealing with here.
But you see, because of school, I barely have time for myself. I barely have time to sleep. I barely have time to spend with my friends outside of school. One of the most brought-up statements whenever people meet me up is... "Oh god, where have you been?! I haven't seen you in weeks/months". This isn't an exaggeration of any sorts, because yeah, I really haven't seen them in THAT long.
On normal school days, I will head to school in the morning or early afternoon, and only head back home at around 10-11pm or so. Many nights, I have "tonned" and overnighted because of my submissions. The submissions come in like tsunami - any design student would be well aware of that fact. There were even a few consecutive days where I didn't sleep at all, except for the 20 minutes power naps here and there. Submissions after submissions - they just continued to snowball into this current abomination that you see here. I am constantly fighting against time and deadlines. My physical health and immune system has became like shit. Overwhelming amounts of tension and stress has finally taken to overtake my brain and polluted my health.
I could get a fever again within 2 weeks (which has unfortunately, just happened). People often asked me "How do you manage school and a business?". Well, the truth is, this is all an balancing act. And this balancing act is one that I failed terribly at. Both school and the business isn't going very well.
Negligence of the e-mails will happen whenever my submissions/deadlines are creeping nearby. I have had very understanding customers who would give me their well-wishes whenever they hear why I am unable to attend to the emails (Thank you so much, you have no idea how much it means to me!) but there are also other customers who could barely give a fuck about whatever I am going through, and just literally throw the worst kind of accusatory remarks at me. Could you imagine rushing against time, and still having to answer customers' enquiries, else you would be called names? Trust me, I have received all sorts of remarks from my customers. I understand that one is bound to receive negative comments in this business, but, it still hurts, you know?
People will say "Evil Valentine is horrible.", "Please work on your customer service.", "I am never shopping here again."... or even things like "Fuck you and your fucking irresponsibility". I understand their frustrations, I really do, and I am indeed the one responsible for not bringing them the most optimal shopping experience. But, tell me, who would feel good upon hearing those words?
Besides "chionging" these submissions, I will also have to answer customers' emails, check on stocks arrivals, pack the parcels, try to mail them on time, and I do them single-handedly. My parents has noted that it is starting to take a severe psychological and physical stress on me. I have became increasingly short-tempered in the household, and towards my friends as well.
I can't concentrate on my schoolwork without worrying so much about EV... because honestly, it is taking a VERY severe toll on me. Both mentally, and physically. I find it a dread to open my inbox. I find it a dread to pack the mails. I find it a complete dread to do all of that on a daily basis. Could you imagine being dead tired from a very long day at school, and still having to shoulder those responsibilities? I am only human, and there's only so much I can take in at one go. On some days, I just want to relax without those thoughts about the business and unfulfilled orders bugging my mind.
On some days, I even have to take time on-the-go to reply and refund.
Yes, I understood that there is always an option for a helper. But how much can a helper help at this point of time? I do not have the appropriate resources to host a helper, and neither do I have the time to even coach her about the ropes. It could possibly take more of me to coach her first before settling everything and getting them done by myself.
One sentence to summarize everything - I have completely lost the drive and resources necessary to sustain EV.
EV started off as a pastime. I loved fashion, and making a business out of a passion was one of the best things one could have done. Or at least, that was what I thought.
It was a business that I set up back in 2011, right after my O Levels. I started it with a mindset of "Hey, if it takes off, good. If it flops, then so be it". With that mentality, somehow, it managed to flourish and reached its peak back in mid-late 2012. I was very grateful for its growth, but...
I would love to continue with it, but I could no longer find the motivation nor resources to maintain the business. I love what I do, or at least I used to believe so, but EV is seriously holding me back in so many ways that I can't imagine. The extent of this dread is so horrible... I would have nightmares about not answering emails, and having customers yelling at me in real life. As you can see, this is already starting to create a negative impact on my daily life. I personally feel that it's about time that I stop it, before I cause more unnecessary stress on myself.
I also recognize that ending the business is a decision that I am potentially going to regret, and I know it very well. I am still very attached to EV, and am still interested in having a business related to my primary passions, fashion. It is also one of the livelihood that sustains my spending habits (my spending habits are horrible, and I am trying to change that), so asking me to give up on it is just... well, yeah. This is a very horrible feeling.
Many blogshops are able to update a new collection every fortnight, which was my initial plans for EV. Unfortunately, my last launched collection was in mid May. It is currently the 1st of September, which is an awful three and a half months. I don't think that is a healthy growth. Not at all.
Therefore, ceasing it seems to be the best decision at this point in my life.
I am gonna regret it so bad in due time. But for now, it is sincerely something I need to keep my personal life afloat too.
I will post up an official announcement on the shop in due time, so that I may clear all unfulfilled orders.
Until then, I have two more collections to go, so let's end it with a bang, shall we?