- Autonomy is empowering
I started Peach Fuzz because I wanted to know what it felt like to work on and execute the projects I wanted, make my own mistakes, and take my own risks. I opened the business in college when I had challenging class schedules, projects set by professors, and grades based on their standards. I was curious about how I would fare under my own set of standards on the projects I designed and chose for myself.
Now, I am in charge of choosing a product to sell, designing and building it, merchandising online, and marketing. I measure success based on sales and customer feedback. After that, I can analyze how efficient my process was: How can I sell the product quicker, is it priced appropriately, are there any improvements for the physical product, and how do I increase my customer base to sell more products and build brand awareness? Since experiencing this kind of autonomy, I have felt incredibly empowered. The projects I am passionate about and my strategies for executing them have proven successful.
- Not all hobbies should be side-hustles
Turning my one hobby into a side-hustle was an interesting adjustment for me—what once brought me calm and relaxation now offers an added layer of stress. Since starting Peach Fuzz, I have learned about more hobbies I enjoy and how hobbies don’t need to earn money in order to be worth my time. Simply enjoying going to an aerial yoga class or baking crème brûlée is worth my time. I don’t need to become a yoga instructor or open a bakery to enjoy myself because these new activities are intrinsically rewarding.
- Personal finance vs. business finance
After opening day for the season, it’s thrilling to see sales coming through my website. On the flip side, it can be discouraging at the end of the season when I have to use profits to purchase more business cards, renew my website membership, and pay registration fees.
It has helped me a lot over the past four years to keep Peach Fuzz’s finances completely separate from my own. I have a full-time job, so instead of paying myself a salary, I reinvest all earnings and profits back into the business. I’ve studied personal finance on my own, so now I’m much more comfortable managing the waves of profits and losses for my business.
I manage my personal money by:
- Budgeting, starting with the 50/30/20 rule
- Prioritizing paying down debt
- Building an emergency fund with 3-6 months worth of expenses
- Contributing to multiple retirement plans: Employer 401K and a personal IRA
- Savings for short-term big purchases
- Investing for long-term big purchases and retirement
- Coping skills as self-care
Even though it’s my business, I still have normal stresses that come with work. When I’m packaging and shipping 20 orders, I still get that feeling of “doing anything right now is impossible.” This is something I struggle with all the time—whether I need to make design choices for next season, send out current season shipments, or consistently curate content for my website and Instagram. It feels overwhelming on a regular basis. I haven’t fully mastered how to manage these feelings, and I’m working on figuring out what works best for me. Some coping skills I use are:
- Physical: Go for a run, take a shower, eat a nutritious meal, take a nap
- Emotional: Meditate, call a friend
- Purposeful: Water my plants, clean my apartment
I can do one or multiple until I feel better. That could take minutes, hours, days, or weeks, but it’s worth it.
- Take advice with a grain of salt
A huge lesson I learned when I started Peach Fuzz is that people are eager to share their feedback and advice. In the beginning, it can be hard to accept that they aren’t criticisms of my character, work ethic, or talent. Most of the time, the suggestions people offer are their way of showing interest and excitement for what I’m doing. Their feedback is well-intentioned and valued, but I know my business best. At the end of the day, it’s a great reminder that owning my own business means I get to make the final call. And ultimately, I know what’s best for Peach Fuzz.
Peach Fuzz Knitting
Winter Season: Opening Saturday, October 3rd, 2020