June 27th until September 21st 2008 - At 936 Mei Ling Way in LA's Chinatown

Friday, August 29, 2008

State of the smockshop

On August 28, 2008 the smockshop held an evening review for all local smockers. Present were Tiprin, Kenturah, Carole, Molly, Kate, Michelle, Vera, Peggy and Andrea.

We reviewed two amazing smocks by Kenturah, which will be available for purchase in the next two weeks, and two more ultra lovely smocks by Vera, which are also available as soon as they have been inventoried.

After the smock review Molly and Michelle and Peggy discussed our upcoming event schedule which is impressively full now that our smockers are now all back in town and in full swing – check the website for full listings

Finally Andrea presented the State of the smockshop address which was then followed by long discussion and dinner. All agreed to continue to work out these decisions over the upcoming weeks via email.

State of the smockshop address:
I love our shop in Chinatown. It is temporary and I wish it was permanent so that we could really fix it up, but it is great having all of the amazing smocks hanging on the racks and a public place where we can do performances and screenings and of course movement sessions. And on the days when fewer people come in (like on Wednesdays which are my shift) it is a good space to chill out and focus on a single project.

But the shop is in trouble. In two months we have only sold one smock –we are not only unable to support the space, but also to support the smockers. Originally the shop was intended to be revenue generating –each member of the project sacrifices time and energy in the hopes that there will be a return that will allow them to pay their own bills and buy time to do their other creative work. We are now running a deficit which means that we can’t afford to pursue another lease in a prime location when this one closes.

About a week ago things seemed pretty bleak until on Wednesday Kate called with an idea that we could rent the space next to Young Art in Highland Park for a cost that is actually affordable. The back of the space will be a movie theatre run by their friend Grant and he is offering us for the front for the smockshop.

If this works out it will solve half of the problem. The other half that we need to examine pertains to the distribution of our “product”. It is my feeling that people just can’t afford the cost of the smocks in this slowing economy. We need to focus on creating something with a range of prices (something for everyone), which can also be sold on line. Since the smocks look different in person then they do in photos, and also because they fit each person differently it has been almost impossible to sell them via the website.

At the meeting of smockers on Thursday November 28th we spoke about the following things:

1. Archiving the current smockshop project (including banner, desks, dress forms, changing rooms, signs, and two excellent smocks from each smocker)

2. Selling out the rest of the existing smocks (maybe even selling smocks until the end of the year?) And possibly releasing the pattern to the masses.

3. Changing our name: Andrea proposes “the group formerly known as smockshop” or just “formerly known as smockshop”

4. Changing the product: something textile related, Possibly variations of products sewn from rectangles or panels of fabric – (i.e. blankets, scarves, table clothes, rugs, towels, bookmarks). Each smocker would develop their own product based on the limitation of the panel format. However I think that we should cull through other options before settling on one so all suggestions are welcome.

5 Maintaining the new space as a “workshop” (places for performances, events, classes, social gatherings etc)