THE STORY: a peek inside
I decided exactly one year ago to re-brand my business from Gift Shop Brooklyn to Annie Bukhman. When I started GSB I didn’t actually know what I was going to be selling, I just knew that I liked making things and I wanted to share that with the world.
Choosing a name like Gift Shop Brooklyn gave me the freedom to form the shop into whatever I wanted with a non-committal future. Whether it ventured into home goods, or jewelry, or baby wear, etc. I honestly didn’t know where it would lead me and I was 100% ok with that. I’ve dabbled in many different mediums over the years, some you have seen and some that never made it into the shop.
When I started to get more and more sales, I had less time to ‘play’ and had to really start making some decisions about my shop.
I decided in Summer 2015 that I wasn’t going to design ‘collections’ anymore.
To be honest, I actually loved doing collections– choosing colors and fabrics, creating mood boards, really ‘feeling’ the theme, gathering photographers and models to create the look book, taking product photography, editing all those images, then seeing it all come together in this orchestra that I had been building in my head for months… Its a hell of a lot of work to be done each season to say the least. Although I did always love the outcome, it just doesn’t make sense to operate this way as a small independent brand. I would do all this work, post my new masterpiece (collection) – then I would still have to make every single piece that sold, answer every email and pack and ship every order. I was on the fast track to burn out. I did get burned out- several times- and have been very open about that on social media. The bottom line is, I either had to change this operation dramatically or close up shop.
Everyone is different. Personally I like to have freedom in my schedule. I like having very few (but excellent) employees, I don’t like feeling chained to my computer, or my sewing machine. So to keep this brand operating, it made the most sense to 1. hire someone to do shipping. 2. take a good look at what was actually selling and elaborate on that: fewer styles, more colors, not trying to reinvent the wheel every few months (aka – according to fast fashion seasons). 3. hire some production help; not manufacturing at a factory, but a husband and wife team here in Brooklyn. I give them materials and patterns and they help sew quantity for orders.
I see many independent brands shifting into this concept of focusing on the solid foundation pieces we are known for. If we do decide to add a style, it’s not just for the sake of adding a style, but is well-thought out and important enough to add to our repertoire. It can be challenging as a designer to withhold executing every idea that comes into our heads, but every little item we bring to market takes an incredible amount of back-work. As my mom said to me, “You’re always going to have ideas, and someone else will most likely do them if you don’t, but that’s ok.”
After five years of nurturing this brand, it’s time to leave the ‘Gift Shop Brooklyn’ label behind. It’s not the vague idea it once was.
Welcome to AnnieBukhman.com!
To help celebrate, please enjoy 20% off your entire order with code: WELCOMETOAB now through Monday!