In my previous blog post (read: The Ugly Truth), I began by describing how hard it was to maintain my business, keep up a personal life, AND be a single mom.

If you read it, you know one thing: it sucked.

But I learned a lot about my business and myself during that time. For example, I learned I need a clean working space in the morning and so I like things to be tidied up in a very specific way before I leave for the day. I learned I can impress myself with how many Sugar-Free Red Bulls I can house in less than 24 hours, and I learned I am totally 100% an introvert. (Crazy, right?!) I like to call myself an "outgoing introvert". Meaning I like to be social but it has to be on my own terms and after the fun is done, I like to go home and be left completely alone for an entire day to recoup. I LOVE being around people but I NEED to be by myself. But more importantly, I learned what worked and what didn't work for my business. I have tried a bunch of different avenues but the two main "failures" that stand out the most are the Children's Line and not watermarking my images as soon as I should have been.

Images of mothers and daughters in matching outfits
I started a children's line and men's line around the same time. It was about 3-4 years into the business. A lot of women wrote me and asked if I could make children's clothing. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The idea sold itself. I never thought I would be a mom that wanted to match her kids, but I wasn't thinking how cute it would be with matching graphic tees. (I dunno, something about matching floral rompers and bows didn't sound enticing to me, but graphic tees did.) So I started the Mommy + Me line, where you could choose the graphics and colors you wanted you and your littles to match with. We included mens too, because some families really went the extra mile.

The line went well, except a lot of people couldn't wrap their heads around spending the same amount on a child's shirt as an adults. But the cost of making the childs shirt was the same as making an adults shirt for us. The blank shirts were the same price, and the time it took to make and package them all took the same amount of time and effort.

It was also really difficult to get product photography. During the time this line ran, Quinnie was only 2 or 3 years old. You know how fun it is to get a toddler running rampant to take pictures on a regular basis? Imagine putting your hand down a garbage disposal. That's how much fun it was. I of course started to reach out to other mothers who would be interested in taking pictures for us. Only a few were successful in returning photos. Unfortunately in most cases we sent out product we never got photography back for. Then there was an added bonus of getting everyones signature for permission to use their photo as well as their childs' in any sort of advertisement the business may want to undergo. Ultimately, it was more work than enjoyment, and other areas of the business were soaring with much less hassle. We stopped selling the sets when stock go low. We now sell surprise kids tees from the leftover kids tees.
Image of Pebby with her daughter
The second failure (gosh it's so fun writing that word over and over again...NOT!) is the simple admission that I was ignorant when it came to how easily my hard work could get stolen. One graphic design can take hours to design, minimum. Then there is the actual making of the screen, making the emulsion, burning the image, screen printing it, and then taking product photography for it. That's just the beginning. There are listing descriptions, size charts, answering commonly asked questions per shirt. Then there is the uploading of content to every platform I sell on which can take additional hours per design. You guys, we sell a lot of tees. We also do most of the work ourselves. I love that we literally touch every item that gets sent out to you.

I get asked frequently if I would ever consider outsourcing to another screen company and let them handle our designs and packaging. My answer to that is a hard pass... I like dipping my hands into the process. I like the organic approach we have with each and every one of you when you place an order. That's why when companies like WISH or some random facebook page or some company on Amazon steal from me, they aren't just stealing my image and potential orders. They are stealing my blood sweat and tears and time away from my kid to make the process happen.

I take it personally because this business is personal to me.
Screenshot of Pebby's images being used on Amazon
More so, those companies are falsifying what they are sending to you. There is no way you will receive what they are picturing - because they didn't make it. They don't know the measurements of the tees, or about the color and softness of the fabric that we promise to our customers will be exceptional. They took the tale end of everything we worked so hard for and capitalized on it. (And for $5.57, you probably shouldn't expect anything even remotely wearable.) So after literally thousands of dollars got stolen and of course dozens of cease and desist letters sent, one way I have started to see a decline in our images getting stolen is to simply watermark them. That doesn't always stop the greedy assholes though, a lot of times if you see an image that looks like me you can see they have (poorly) photoshopped my company name out.

Unfortunately, unless I want to spend hundreds of thousands on attorneys fees for every time my intellectual property gets stolen, sometimes you just have to make it aware any way you can that these things sometimes happen and to educate current and potential customers about it. I can actually lose a lot of sleep over it- its absolutely enraging when I see it. I still send cease and desist letters, but I count my blessings and am thankful for the success Pebby Forevee has brought in. And I am thankful it's been successful enough to employ other American girls, and it's a business that allows them and myself the freedom in scheduling, and just having fun when we come to work. Even though it can make me upset, I try to focus on what hasn't brought me down.

Always count your blessings. ALWAYS.

xo, Pebby