Reflections on 2013, and looking to 2014
Please forgive another somewhat “selfish” personal post. Exactly one year ago today, I wrote a blog entry summarizing my big milestones in 2012. Today, I would like to look back to the highlights that LucyCorsetry has seen in 2013, and give a preview of what’s to come in 2014.
2013 was without a doubt my busiest year in the corsetry world so far. Come January 5th, this website will be 2 years old, and I’ll have been on Youtube for a little over 3 years. If you had asked me 3 years ago what I’d accomplish and what I’d be doing today, I’d have never believed you. Read on for more:
Accomplishments of 2013
INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN FOR SIDNEY EILEEN – at the very end of 2012, Sidney Eileen announced that she was shutting down her business due to a debilitating illness. After many years of suffering, she had been initially diagnosed with Lyme disease (until it was later determined that it was an Anaplasma Phagocytophilum infection, which is just as dangerous but thankfully has more accessible treatment). Because Sidney was unable to work and could not qualify for medical coverage, I offered to help run an Indiegogo campaign to help raise money for her treatment. The campaign launched in February, and after a two-month blur, an incredible 467 people pooled together to raise over $20,000 to help partially cover Sidney Eileen’s long-term treatment. It was an incredible effort on everybody’s part (and leading a crowdfunding campaign was without a doubt the most exhausting thing and the most important thing I have done to date, in context of my work in the online corset community). With the money that was raised, Sidney Eileen was able to afford her immuno-supporting drugs and nutritional supplements to prepare her body for treatment. In August 2013, she was finally strong enough to begin her long-term antibiotic treatment. Due to the long-term damage to her nervous system, Sidney may not ever make a 100% recovery, but today she is still on the antibiotics and feeling better than before treatment.
YOUTUBE VIDEOS, CORSET REVIEWS – in 2012 I had published 111 videos, including 35 corset reviews. This year, 2013, I uploaded a total of 148 videos – almost 3 videos per week! (Although if you exclude re-uploads and multiple parts of a series, it’s closer to 125.) At the beginning of 2013 I had vowed to promote the work of custom corsetieres, giving one special review per month. Although my initial schedule (dedicating each month to a specific corsetiere) was later disrupted, I managed to review 29 corsets total this year, 13 of which were made by independent corset makers. I also completed two challenging mini-series this year, the first being “30 Days of Corsets” in which I uploaded a video every weekday for 6 weeks (barring the days that my computer had died), and the second being my “Season (Break-in) My Corset With Me” series in which I uploaded a video every weekday for 2 weeks (barring the weekend that my corset ripped). These challenges were tiring but fun, and I learned the importance of persevering even in the face of unexpected obstacles, like buying a new computer in a hurry, or mending a corset. I look back on those shortcomings and I’m able to smile because they provided an opportunity to rise to the occasion and think of quick solutions. I also have to thank two very special people for helping me during my 30 days of corsets series (you know who you are).
“CORSET BRANDS” RESEARCH TOOLS – over the course of 2013, the “Research Corset Brands” section of my site grew organically. It started unofficially with the corset consultations in October of 2012, but as demand quickly rose for consultations, general trends popped up showing how people like to shop for corsets. The corsetiere map was conceptualized by Jenni (Sparklewren) as a hypothetical solution to a previous issue. Once the idea was proffered, I quickly threw a crude map together, showing a dozen or so independent makers. Over time the map grew, and in February 2013 the crude map had moved over to its current location on BatchGeo. Today, the Corsetiere Map is a decent success and now shows over 230 corsetiere locations around the world! In May 2013, my list of “Corset Brands by Price Range” was created as a way to organize by budget all the pieces I had reviewed. And in November, as I was inundated with consultation requests, the “Guided Galleries” were created as an answer. The galleries serve to both promote the work of corsetieres in a fun, quick and organized way, but also to help shoppers choose a corset based on their desired silhouette, country of manufacture, style, or specific need (like cupped overbusts, asymmetric corsets, or corsets for gentlemen).
CORSET DESIGNER DOLL – after more than a year of work with my graphic designer and program developer, the Corset Designer dress-up doll game was finally launched in August of 2013. There were some interesting stumbling blocks, some of which we’re still trying to work through (such as having to switch webhosts and the fact that some people can no longer access LucyCorsetry.com at all). But because the Corset Designer doll is free for anyone to use, once the kinks are worked out, I have faith that it may revolutionize how corsetieres and clients communicate what they want in future commissions if neither party is familiar/ comfortable with making their own fashion croquis.
TRAVEL, NETWORKING – at the beginning of 2013, I vowed to travel. And I did travel (a bit). I was given the amazing opportunity to visit Orchard Corset headquarters twice this year (in February and again in June), and met with fellow Youtube creators in the corset community including Mmsnafaioopoofeeker/ The Steel Boned Baker, LadyTigerLily, RandomCorset and SilentSongByrd. Later in June I met with the owner of Versatile Corsets/ Corset Connection, and had new experiences, made new friends and came home with many stories. The generosity and friendship from all of these people have been integral to my happiness and the resulting success of my channel this year, and not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for these experiences.
GIVEAWAYS/ HOW CORSETS HEAL – although there were fewer giveaways in 2013 (8 giveaways instead of 14 giveaways in 2012), I believe that the giveaways were generally of higher quality. Instead of giving away pre-made corsets in a fixed size, this year’s giveaways featured some corsets offered in the size and style of the winner’s choosing, custom-designed corsets, and even a corset-making kit for the artistically inclined. Continuing the tradition from last year, there was another giveaway in memory of PhoenixJodiRae – where three lucky recipients received specially-designed Serindë corsets to overcome their physical and emotional limitations and improve their quality of life. And through this, the list of “How Corsets Heal” continues to expand. This year “How Corsets Heal” earned its own permanent spot as a tab on my website so people can find it at a glance and understand how corsets can provide so many benefits to the wearer. Huge thanks to the Corset Angel Michael and his choir of cats for the incredible generosity in sponsoring this special giveaway.
PERSONAL WAIST TRAINING GOALS – after approximately 3 years of off-and-on training, I achieved my goal of closing my size 20″ corsets, from an initial starting natural waist of 28” – this is approximately a 29% reduction. Surprisingly, once I achieved this goal and kept it for approximately 3 months, I realized that I don’t actually prefer my waist at 20″! It felt too disproportionate with my own body, and I made the decision to ease off and instead maintain between 22-24″ in my corsets, which personally feels more attractive and more proportionate with my frame. It was a surprisingly difficult decision to make, as I felt that “the world was watching” and pressuring me to lace even smaller than 20″. However, this was the year that I promised to be true to myself. I already have documentation that I had achieved my goal, and I feel no need to hold onto that record for the sake of others’ titillation. This personal decision was an important turning point in my ‘relationship’ with corsetry.
Looking to 2014
REST, RELAXATION AND A FOCUS ON GOOD HEALTH – 2013 definitely the most successful year that LucyCorsetry has seen, but I did hit a series of burn-outs this year, and I don’t want to lose my passion for corsetry and for spreading information. Therefore this upcoming year I will be putting my health closer to the top of the list, as I am truly nothing without a healthy body. With some determination and good luck, the following will also happen:
A FOCUS ON YOUTUBE VIDEOS, MORE REVIEWS – for 2014, I plan to continue my trend of publishing over 100 Youtube videos. Creating Youtube videos is what I love to do most, and I would like to bring a focus back to this channel. I already have plans to review 18 more corsets, most of which are made by small businesses or independent corsetieres. I also have topics/ outlines for 53 other videos. On top of these videos, I hope that this will be the year that I finally get around to creating the updated sew-along mini series, as it had been a goal for last year but understandably life had other plans.
COMPLETING INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN PERKS – the vast majority of the “perks” or donation incentives from the Indiegogo campaign earlier this year have been completed, but I still have a handful of videos to complete, as well as a custom corset for a very special and generous contributor. It’s high on my priority list to follow through with these obligations and give back to the amazing people who had such a huge hand in Sidney Eileen’s recovery.
EXPAND THE CORSET RESEARCH TOOLS – there are still a few more “Guided Galleries” that I’m in the midst of creating in the new year, including articles on where to find fan-laced corsets, lattice corsets, corded corsets, corset dresses, and Elizabethan/ Tudor style stays. These may permanently replace my consultations, or my consultations may do some revamping of their own in late 2014. Updates to the Corsetiere Map will certainly be made in the new year, especially as I try new corsets from different independent makers and turn their markers from red to blue. :)
ADD NEW FEATURES TO THE CORSET DESIGNER DOLL – in the new year I am excited to add new features to the already existing doll, including real fabric underlays (for those who want a dupioni texture or patterned brocades), full lace overlay, limited lace appliqué, bone flossing, zipper front closure, and swinghook front closure. In the future, there may be the possibility of slightly different silhouettes, but this will require a considerable tweak to the program. Still, I’m excited about the possibility of having more options for people to play with!
MORE GIVEAWAYS, ON MORE MEDIA THAN EVER – this coming year I’m eager to give back to the community and share the love for corsetry. In 2013, there were giveaways on Youtube, Facebook and Tumblr. Next year I may expand this to include those who exclusively follow this blog, those on Pinterest, Twitter, and other places so nobody will have to feel left out, no matter what medium they use. Additionally, the giveaways may continue to be of higher quality, allowing winners to choose their own size and style, and possibly even brand of corsets.
MORE TRAVEL, MORE NETWORKING – without revealing too much, there will be more opportunities for travel in 2014. I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends, meeting new friends, and working to make the corset industry stronger!
2013 will be an extremely difficult year to beat in terms of productivity, but I am ready for what will come in 2014. Perhaps not all of the above will be accomplished, or perhaps all this and more will happen. Maybe new video ideas, new research tools, new apps and pages will come into creation organically. This is the great potential of a new year. Thank you, friends, for sticking beside LucyCorsetry.com for the past two years – may 2014 be the best year for us all.