A new way forward.
As we’ve reached the see-the-light portion of the pandemic, it’s strange to say the least. It feels like everyone we know is emerging from a cocoon and taking stock. People are deciding to leave jobs, move in new directions, and follow their dreams. We were all scared to make big shifts this last year. Surviving was enough. We’ve had a white knuckle grip on our world, and ever so slowly we’re starting to let go.
Here at STATE it's been no different. We put our heads down and barreled through - just wanting to come out on the other end healthy, employed, and with our team by our side. And we did it. We hustled like every other business and worked ourselves thin. And now, just like everyone else, we’re emerging and taking an inventory.
We survived 2020, and I’m so proud of the way our team hustled, pivoted, and grew. But, once we really checked in, we didn’t quite feel like ourselves. So we’re evolving. We’re shifting the parts that don’t feel quite right, and leaning into the parts that do.
As you may know, we’re taking an experimental break from Instagram. It was a move to feel more present in our lives and, so far, it’s working. Our collective screen time decreases each week, and creativity is flowing. Sure, sales are slower. But we’re ok with that. Our minds are more clear, and we’re loving connecting with you through our emails.
We also took a massive stock of our team, our process, our stress levels. And after deep reflection, we decided to try a totally different approach to how we do things.
In the past we’ve made a few huge collections each year. They ranged from 13-18 pieces and over time most everything was Made to Order. This was great for a lot of reasons. The collections were beautiful, creative expressions, and told the stories we wanted to tell. Launch days were wild and we’d make a large portion of our annual revenue from a handful of days. But then, the sewing team was buried for weeks, stress levels were high, and we felt the pressure of wanting to get your orders made as quickly as possible.
The MTO approach can be wonderful. It conserves waste by only producing what’s ordered, and it allows us to pivot to what’s selling best. But it also has its downsides. It’s hard to predict accurate lead times because the volume of orders can fluctuate so much. Our workflow has so many variables (hand painting on fabric is not a predictable process!) and from time to time we'd cut, sew, paint, wash, and prep a piece, only to realize there was a rogue splatter of paint where it shouldn't be. We'd be devastated when this happened, and have to go back to square one and rush to make it so it arrives on time! And the worst part of our MTO system: we know you hate waiting. And we hate that for you!
So. Just like our IG experiment we’re trying something completely new with hopes that a new way forward will be just the refresh we’re craving. And we’re so excited about it. It’s a change we’ve considered for a long time.
Starting at the end of May, when we’d normally have a large seasonal collection, we’ll be launching a new piece or look every 2-3 weeks. It’s the same collection, more or less, just broken up, spaced out, and totally IN STOCK. No more waiting weeks and weeks! Our team will make a small amount of each style (based off data from last sales), we’ll launch when it’s ready, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Not only does this make our production team way happier as they can complete one item and move on, it also gives us a lot of creative freedom! In the past we'd make a collection that all meshed together - which left little room for one-off ideas that didn't fit in with the collection (like the UFO dress I've been dying to make). With our new staggered launch approach, we can toss in styles that we love, anytime - regardless of them fitting in with the larger story.
Don’t worry. We know you like to plan and know what’s launching! We love a plan too. We’ve developed a system to keep you fully up to date on what’s coming down the line so you can strategize. Our weekly STATE Lately emails will have previews of what’s launching next, and this new page on our site will show the next handful of launches. Navigating this without social media is no small feat - especially because we don’t want to blow up your inboxes with too many emails - but we’re taking a stab at it and know you’ll let us know how it’s working.
We hope you’re excited about this new shift. As with the IG move, it’s not necessarily forever, but we kind of hope it is..... If things go sideways, we can always change it back. But we’ve wanted to test this out for a while and there’s no time like the present to take a leap. Or two.
As always, thanks for being here.