As promised I am going to share a bit about hiring studio help today…well, other than this past holiday season when I had to scramble and get 12 “elves” here whenever I could to help get orders out. Please keep in mind that I am not an expert on this subject, I am just sharing what I learn as I go along.
I have been facing some major decisions with Manic Trout recently regarding the growth of the business and how to keep up. I have looked into manufacturing but would prefer at this time to have people help me locally rather than lose all that I love about owning an indie business which creates handmade products. I decided it was time to hire studio help.
When it came to whom I would hire, the decision basically was made for me as my sister needed a summer job that could be flexible around her erratic schedule and a friend asked if her cousin could intern with Manic Trout for the summer. I figured that it worked well having a publicist handle the press for me, which saves a great amount of time, so why not have these girls handle the other tasks that I can easily delegate and will free up my time for design…both jewelry and the website.
My sister Thea is my Girl Friday, she is extremely familiar with Manic Trout and has proved to be fantastic in keeping in touch with bloggers and the indie community for me when I cannot. She also lists jewelry on all of the sites I have shops on, such as Etsy and DaWanda. At this point, she is now able to come into the studio, take the pile of orders I have processed, package them all up and ship them out. The amount of time this saves me is immense! Jaqueline, my intern has just started this week but has been great for doing inventory, labels and other busy work as she learns how the studio runs.
I found that all of the little tasks being accomplished to be so useful that I am keeping the summer girls on through fall, and have hired three part-time helpers (whom I found via my Facebook friends) to help out this fall and all five will be trained and ready for the rush of the holidays to prevent the chaos that happened last year.
Its amazing when you sit down and think about how much of what an indie designer does in a day can easily be accomplished by other people for not much money, freeing the designer to focus on the tasks only they can do Even people with little experience or knowledge of the company and sometimes doing tasks unrelated to the company can be a tremendous help… for example, simply having someone come in and clean my studio and apartment every other week for a few hours has made an enormous impact on my life and my schedule for a minimal fee. I am understanding now that my time is a valuable commodity of Manic Trout and to waste it doing tasks that can be easily delegated is in fact a waste of money.
I have also realized in the past two days how many of my friends would love to work a few hours a week doing Manic Trout work, even if they work at home by putting labels together. I am giving back to the community a bit this way by providing flexible side work that is hard to find for students, single mothers and those with demanding full-time jobs, and that in itself is incredibly important to me.