Reflections on 2015, Looking to 2016
This year was a big one, as I had spent nearly 2 cumulative months in travel. Additionally, I’ve been making Youtube videos for 5 years now, and have had the blog for 4 years. I admit that in the last two years my frequency in updating the blog has decreased considerably, but I do make an effort to post about the most important topics, some of which I’ll discuss below.
The first few months of this year were spent largely grinding with work, slowly recovering from my car accident from November 2014, and spending some time reading more about small business, productivity, and personal growth. I took a short course with Cathy Hay (of Foundations Revealed) on running a creative business which has revolutionized my perspective and given me the edge I needed to, say, hop on a plane heading halfway around the world with only a few days’ notice and follow my dreams.
Business and Website changes
Consultations had returned for the first half of the year, with the new Skype option being highly successful – but this was put on hiatus during the second half of the year due to my international travel and then going back to school. I hope to resume consultations next year on a limited basis during spring, and return to them full time after August with a new option for nutritional coaching once I pass my board exams.
In January the highly successful Before / After page was created, to showcase the success stories of corset wearers and waist trainers of many different shapes and sizes. Next year I plan to add even more stories, and update the success stories from the original contributors. It remains one of my most popular posts on my website today.
This year I also had my name and logo officially trademarked which was an exciting step forward for my business!
Other highlights of this year included making a case study of 3 Wasp Creations corsets, giving an interview with Kitty from girly-girl’s osteotomy blog, doing a walkthrough for a bespoke overbust corset from Dark Garden, and discussing this year’s findings of the anthropological study on how corsets affected the spine and ribcage of impoverished Victorian women.
As always, the Lace Base and the Corsetiere Map continue to grow and improve. The Lace Base has now become a more interactive and easily searchable table, and its corresponding corset dimensions calculator has had more corset brands and styles added to it over the year. The Corsetiere Map has seen some corset makers go out of business this year unfortunately, but the trend is still slowly upward with the total number of makers now at 325 and counting.
I admit that my Youtube channel has been relatively “meh” over 2015. With my accident recovery, my unexpected travelling schedule, and then school starting, videos fell on the back burner and that’s one regret I have this year. However, I completed my goal to upload at least 60 videos this year (in fact, I completed 67 public videos in 2015, for a grand total of 528 videos in the last 5 years!).
Included in this year’s videos were 22 corset reviews, 6 unboxings, and 7 interviews (if you include the written interviews with Rebecca Gibson and Kitty!)
Decluttering and confronting materialism
Over the past year and a half I have been indulging in a deep purge. Even though I had moved house 4 years ago, I had to admit that I hadn’t fully finished unpacking those last few “miscellaneous” boxes, and I probably didn’t miss what was in them! I was one of the many people who jumped the KonMarie bandwagon around February. I read it twice, six months apart – and today I still find items I can discard or donate. To say that I’ve purged at least 25% of my total belongings wouldn’t be an exaggeration!
It was interesting to confront my relationship with material things, and how I value items differently depending on whether I had purchased them vs whether I received them as gifts, regardless of their price. I would say that I reduced my corset collection by at least 25% as well – and I had to admit that my pride of having a very large corset collection was interfering with my mental well-being of being constantly surrounded by just too many corsets. I got rid of a lot of my fabric stash as well – coming to grips with the fact that I am simply no longer interested in finishing certain sewing projects or costumes for which that fabric was originally purchased. I also got rid of a lot of my paper clutter, including the notes of my least favourite courses from high school. By selling my clothing to local consignment shops, I ended up making a few hundred dollars – and when I have fewer items and I spend less on trivial items, I don’t feel bad about upgrading the few things I really do use on a daily basis (like finally getting a new cell phone, after using a broken old one for 3 years).
This year I did a huge amount of traveling. In March I went to NYC with Mina of L’atelier de LaFleur for the Grand Corset Ball. Getting to meet Melanie Talkington of Lace Embrace, Cathie and Bob Jung (the Guinness World Record holder of the smallest corseted waist on a living person) and model/ activist Kelly Lee Dekay was an amazing experience.
In June I flew to Thailand to work with Timeless Trends on their new hourglass corset line, and to prepare for some future corset styles. Taking in the food and culture in Bangkok was incredibly eye-opening and humbling. It was two weeks of extremely hard work but I loved every moment of it, partially because of Sarah’s wit! Even when absolutely exhausted, everyday was full of laughter. I’m very grateful for Jim and Black’s hospitality and we’re already talking of planning another work trip in the future, and perhaps spend a bit more time to appreciate more of what the beautiful country has to offer.
In July I spent three weeks in Texas, partially filming videos for TT, partially catching up with old school friends and partially spending time with Amber Welch of Lovely Rats Corsetry. During the couple of weeks with Amber, we filmed an interview, made a corset together and shared our corset construction techniques, and she introduced me to Steven Universe – after which point I became a barnacle on her couch and watched all the available episodes. Amber and I flew straight from Texas to the North American Corsetry and Lingerie Symposium in California, where we met so many amazing corsetieres from across the US, including Sidney Eileen (and did an interview with her here), Jasmine of Sin & Satin, Alisha of The Bad Button, and I saw many friends again including Jessica of Ties that Bynde, and Heidi of Strait-Laced Dame.
After the Symposium, I spent a few more days in Los Angeles with model-photographer Zessinna, taking in a few of the things LA had to offer. We spent a day with Puimond (his interview can be found here), we went to Venice beach another day, and we went shopping in Burbank, known as being the shopping area for corsets and pin-up attire. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to Disneyland, but I resolve to go one day!
I returned home for about three weeks in August. During this time I was able to squeeze in a corset commission and register to go back to school. During this time period there were also a few losses – including one of my oldest school friends who passed away after a long battle with cancer. It was a highly emotional time, but I had to push forward.
Later in August I travelled to England to attend the Oxford Conference of Corsetry (for my second year, and their third year running). Highlights of the trip included meeting Mr. Pearl and Immodesty Blaize amongst all the other wonderful corsetieres who attended this year for the first time, and seeing some wonderful people again like Lowana of Vanyanis, Cora of The Lingerie Addict, and Autumn Adamme of Dark Garden (the keynote speaker from the previous year).
After the conference was over, I spent a few days with Katie of What Katie Did which was a joy (see our interview here), and then spent my last few days in England down in Portsmouth with Ian and Corina Voller of Voller’s Corsets where I got to see their factory and interview them as well.
Returning to School
Only 4 days after returning home from my England trip in September, school started where I’m studying to become a registered Holistic Nutritionist – and have been studying ever since with a standing average of 98.9 % for the first quarter. While it’s prohibited to give away any specific details about the curriculum, I’ve been absolutely loving the material and coursework and I can’t wait to graduate and combine my new knowledge with my previous skills in this industry.
Looking to 2016: upcoming projects
In late 2015 I announced my upcoming corset benefits compilation book, which I hope will be ready by spring 2016 (so far, corresponding with 100+ contributors have been like herding cats!).
In 2016 I would again like to create at least 60 Youtube videos, although the majority of my time and energy will be in getting my book out and studying for the first few months this year.
I’m also creating another curvier design for Timeless Trends, which I hope will be in production by May (there’s a special reason that I want it completed by May!) and have ideas for at least 4 other corset designs, and depending on which are approved, some may be produced by the end of 2016.
Later in 2016 I will also be graduating from nutrition school, and I hope to travel more once my studies are completed.
I also hope to have more giveaway contests in 2016 compared to 2015; I’ve missed giving back so much and I want my followers to feel appreciated for their incredible support over this past half a decade.
Thank you all for sticking by my side – I am thrilled for what 2016 will bring. Do you have any exciting plans for 2016? Let me know in a comment below! <3