Heart & Soul

Hi there...it's me MOMI.  I always think to myself..if for some reason I was blessed with another baby..would I name her Momi? haha Probably not!

To say my blog has been neglected is an understatment, I feel like facebook has just taken over the reigns....it works alot better than sitting here typing up a novel! However, at times there are issues that need to be addressed in regards to this brand that take up more than 420 characters..especially when you are as wordy as me!
If you are a MOMI follower I am sure you are well aware that I have different limited edition days of the week and some are posted and purchased on facebook, one in particular is auctioned off on facebook...MOMI's Melting pot Monday...dun dun dun...

I hate being the bearer of bad news, I would much rather blog about something lighthearted & upbeat...however, when things are just fine and dandy I'm usually working on orders or trying to spend 10 seconds with my family...which I am sure all of you moms out there can understand.

Now onto the root of the topic...you may want to close your ears because as my mom gets shocked when she reads my blog posts saying that I am brutally honest..this post will be no different! Call my the Taylor Swift of the blog world...if something happens you better believe there is going to be a blog post about it!  I have nothing to hide, ever.

MOMI boutique has been in business for 4 years..it was not started because of my love for sewing, or because everyone in my neighborhood wanted to purchase my items, it was also not started completely out of boredom or to make me feel good about myself.  MOMI boutique was started as a means of survival. Yes, granted I LOVE what I do, I had always wanted to go to Philadelphia college of textile & design but, even the grant that I had received was not enough to make it affordable for my family and I ended up going to a state university for Marketing. Call it a miracle or a simple twist of fate that I am actually living out my dream! I feel blessed and thankful but, trust me...it did not just all fall in my lap. There has been ALOT of blood, sweat, and tears in this journey of building this business from the ground up.

Here is my rags to ridiculousness story since I know you all love a good story! ......Dave bought me a sewing machine for christmas, a month after Lily was born. When I was pregnant I wanted a $200 crib bedding set that we could not afford so I would sit in my bedroom at night and hand stitch ugly little pillows, I even painted circles on crib sheets..PAINTED...WHO paints on crib sheets!!?? Me who had no idea what she was doing! Here's the set and now it's on Sale..4 years too late!.. http://www.blanketmybaby.com/bubble-gum-4-piece-baby-bedding-set ...Darn it! Trust me, I won't have another baby even though it seems tempting :)

Back to the beginning...I had been working as a substitute teacher and a full time waitress up until the day before Lily was born. We lived in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in Hawaii and someone managed to gamble all of their money away on sunday afternoon football games the week before Lily was born leaving me to pay all of the rent and in a terrible situation since I was about to go on maternity leave. I felt like we were in dire straights. Yes, we both have solid family foundations but, it's not something you call home to your parents about! My luck at the time, I ended up on extended maternity leave because my doctor cut me like a thanksgiving turkey and it was painful to walk for more than 5 minutes straight for about 6 months! TMI :)  I had to do something, I was scared to death of the sewing machine and it sat in its box for almost 2 months. My mom sewed as a hobby my whole life and I would always stand over her shoulder and watch so one day I thought..why not! I broke that baby out and went to town. In between Lily's colic crying I was teaching myself how to sew. Eventually I went back to my "real jobs" and I slowly I started selling on ebay.  My first dress sold for $5.25. I was over the moon. I thought it was the greatest thing in all of the world.  My heart was in it and I kept at it non stop.  I had alot of outward support and motivation from friends and some who thought I was crazy.  That christmas season I sold a "fancy" dress on ebay and it ended for $250. I think I walked into the restaurant to work that night on cloud nine & wore a smile the whole night, not because of the $, even though it was a nice motivation but, because I knew this was real, it was happening, my hard work was being noticed by many. I had no idea I was building a business or any idea what was to be in the future. As time went on I got better and I had repeat customers who would buy oodles of items from me. I really couldn't have been more lucky and fortunate. MOMI kept growing and 1.5 years later after Leah was born I quit my day jobs since we were moving off the island and half way across the world.  Dave got a good job when we moved home and I decided to put every ounce of my energy into MOMI. It was at that point that I pulled of ebay because I was tired of the weekly bidding. I streamlined alot and offered a larger variety of items. That is when things really started to boom.  The growth of MOMI has become exciting, yet scarey to me. It is not something that I asked for but, definately something that I hoped for & it is a reflection of my dedication and hard work toward my business. I do not just sit back and delegate duties to employees, I am in my sewing room, away from my children for the majority of the day, slaving away.  I do not have a factory overseas or even down the street. I wish I did! I do not have a customer service rep that sits and anwsers all of my emails..I wish I did, I am at the front line of EVERYTHING that happens with MOMI. In spite of that, I tend to keep my personal emotions out of it and try not to take anything personally. I have always tried to keep myself very seperated from other designers and their personal lives because I feel that I would rather not be involved in drama of any sort & it seems like the "boutique world" can become just that, drama. When people knock off my work, then it does become my business, and my problem, and you better believe I am going to say something diplomatically about it.
Regardless of that...the point of this post...it has/had become apparent to me that there is a situation that needs to be addressed in regards to the amount of money that people are willing to pay for my work. It seems as though my Melting pot designs have become a breeding ground for drama and unnecessary comments.  I have realized this for a few weeks now on chat forums where people are making comments about the "ridiculously high amounts" that people are bidding on my melting pot tops. I have deleted multiple comments over the past weeks on my fan page after the auctions ends such as... "are you ladies crazy?" "WOW", "don't you think that is a little high?".   I realize some people may say it all with a grain of salt and really put no thought into it or think that it will have an effect on anyone. If you don't think that I am blown away by the bids or sometimes feel half way guilty, your wrong because I do. However, I do also know the dynamics of supply and demand. From the outside looking in, there is no telling how many "followers"/"buyers" I have, how many different countries I ship to every week, or the magnitude of items MOMI sells on a weekly basis. There is more to all of this than what meets the eye. If my items were all made in a factory or I had multiple sewers, that would be a different story. Yes, there is a supply/demand factor and my prices are reflective of that. If I priced my items differently I would burn out and put myself out of business because I would NOT be able to keep up.  I am pretty sure that is has already all become too much because just the other day I had a 2 hour "fit" about how I'm not sure that this is even fun anymore for me and that I feel like a caged animal everyday shackled to a sewing chair with someone standing behind my back with a whip in their hand. haha I may have become melodramatic at some point in my life but, that is just how I felt at that moment. Trust me, I am not going anywhere but forward..regardless if I need a 2 day vacation from my sewing chair or not.  The reason I felt this way is becasue this business has once again become my means of survival after my emotions were thrown to the edge of the earth and I had to make my husband quick his job and work for me because of scanadlous situations at his work. Yes, I went through h*ll and back to earn my first employee. If some people consider me lucky because I get to spend 24 hours a day with my husband or because I have a "helper"..trust me, I would rather be in YOUR shoes. Yes, I love him to the end of the earth and back and he has the patience of a saint but, working with your husband is not all sunshine and rainbows.
When MOMI says it is a OOAK, it is not a joke. They are truly just that, One of a Kind. Sure, if I was really all in this for the money I could cut off my whole website and just sit here and sew melting pot swing tops and auction them off everyday. Obviously that is not happening and because of that, there is a high demand and a low supply. Now, granted I am not the inventor of a patchwork dress, nor did I EVER think/say I was but, for my OOAK spin offs of a patchwork dress there is a low supply & a high demand...people want what they want...and good luck changing their mind.  The fact is, unneccessary comments do have an effect on the bidders and it also is a slap to my business and degrading knowing in my mind how hard I have worked.  Maybe I do sew them with golden thread while my golden geese that lay golden eggs watch me sew!  Maybe I don't.  However, I am not worried about someone hurting my feelings but, it does matter when people are making MOMI customers, who buy from me on a weekly basis, the heart and soul of my brand,  feel like they need to feel that they are doing something wrong. It is not ok when I receive an email from a very loyal customer of mine saying that she has been awake since 2 am because she has received many emails from multiple people who have personally attacked her because of her high bid. Nor would it have been ok with me if it was ANY of my customers who said they have been attacked because of the amount they were willing to spend on this brand.  Everyone spends their money on something and everyone is entitled to do just that.  It is not something out of this world for people to have designer brands that they are "hooked" on or have a restaurant that they love and eat at every week. Some people have lavish homes, some have fancy cars, some gamble (AHHH!), some vacation, some throw amazing parties, some do it all, regardless...to each is own! I truly believe that everyone that follows MOMI comes from something great, I believe that you are all educated and smart women so please just use caution when commenting in regards to what people choose to spend their money on.  Everyone in this world is in a different financial situation and regardless if you have the money to spend on MOMI boutique or you buy your kids play clothes at Target like me, that shouldn't matter to anyone else.  I would personally never comment on someone elses spending unless it was my best friend who tried her hand at extreme couponing and spent a couple hundred dollars on cat food for a cat that she doesn't even have! Yeah, then I may voice my 2 sense!  Whether someone is bidding $500 dollars on a One of a Kind design from MOMI, a resell item of MJ's on ebay, or on a doll from Bambo over in her corner...it is no one else's business and so maybe this all swings back to being my own fault.  However, it took ebay how many years and probably 20 million complaints to realize that they need to disquise the usernames of bidders on their site, so I don't think that I have failed completely considering it has only taken me a few months!  I hadn't realized that it was going to come down to any of this so, maybe in the next weeks, if I can find 10 seconds to figure out how to set up a hyena cart account the melting pot auctions will be moved there. This will protect the identity of bidders.
On a lighter note, my in laws, who I adore, are in town for a week and my sister is moving home from Hawaii on Saturday!! ...and I just found my 3 year old who somehow lost her very last "paci" last night, laying in her room sucking on her toes. HAHA are we still in dire straights?....that is debatable!  I hope you all are enjoying your first bursts of summer and making alot of memories!


carmicheal said...

Thank you so much Rachel for sharing your heart and truth with us all! It could not have been said any better and the comment you made about a "slap" to your business, well that is exactly what it was and no less! And for people who copy your work and hustle your fans, it is simply becuase they can't do it on their own which means they should find another career! I have never found another designer who even comes close to matching your workmanship, quality, and value and just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the person you are!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you have gotten so many negative comments. WE just got our first MOMI set (pink lemonade) and it's amazing quality. Your work really speaks for itself!