Thursday, February 21, 2008

Let's get busy!

Running your own business is hard and you sometimes feel isolated. It's so good to have a fabulous network of other craftspeople and business people around, and online, as it gives you the boost to get going when you find it tough.

I was feeling very down about trying to find someone to help me sew. After spending most of yesterday talking to the Tax Office, Industrial Relations and other government bodies, I felt completely frustrated and that I cannot possibly get someone to help! There was one lovely lady at the Tax Office who helped me through their website to determine if someone casually sews for me if they would be an 'employee' or a 'contractor'. 

Guess which one it is.... yes, employee. Which then makes it impossible for me to do this and no wonder most places turn overseas! 

Australia does need a kick up the a$% for killing its industries twenty odd years ago. I'm so afraid it will all die out and everything will be sourced overseas. But, I am unable to do much as I am but a drop in the ocean... it makes me mad.

Anyway, back to this lady from the Tax Office. I discussed my business and what I intended to do. She was fantastic and kept saying 'good on you' and 'we need to see more young people striking it out and going for it'. This is terrific feedback, no matter how hard it all is.

I then had a long yarn to Kathleen on the phone - and again, such positivity and helpfulness! Steven came home in the evening to me laying on the couch with a very large glass of red in one hand, the other flung against my brow (very Bronte/Austen) as some sort of damsel in distress, though with a red wine joker smile. He said to me, 'So what if you don't get anyone to sew, why can't you put your head down, keep sewing, and it will come about somehow.' 

And that is what I am going to do. So, there will be 2 new bags uploaded by the end of the day - I promise. No more faffing about on the phone to Work Place Relations and so forth!

This is a really fun idea that gavinandlilly had posted on flickr. These handbags are by Ashley Watson and are made from recycled leather jackets. What a fabulous idea for daggy old jackets that are no longer fashionable! Handbags! Yay!


Bec said...

That is SO disappointing, and yes, angering too! For what it's worth, I would like to add my voice to those who are encouraging you. I am still a very new sewer, but now make my own bags and have a very small etsy shop. I find what you do to be very inspirational, and I hope that one day I might be making bags that are even half as beautiful, well made, and well designed, as yours. I have been getting very excited for you as I've seen your business grow, and gain more and more exposure. So please don't give up. I'm sure something will turn up (things always do).

Anna Laura said...

I did the same thing as you, I put up and ad and I found someone. It was when I was teaching and I got busy, but didn't think it would be classes as an employee. That makes me really sad that it is the case because I wanted to employ people to help me sew that were maybe older ladies who didn't always have the option to earn more money.

I know some people take stuff to organisations that will sew the stuff for you, there are some in Richmond in Melbourne, so there is that option, but I liked my idea and it is a shame it isn't the case.

I also think it might be worth emailing your local member of paliament and see what they can do to change this, because it isn't really fair I don't think.

Anna Laura said...

If they people you are getting to do the work for you, have their own ABN could you still subcontact them, the same way you would pay anyone for a service you might use for your business? When they do the work, they invoice you for it, the same as if you got someone to make labels for you, or stamps or anything that I know I have paid someone to do that is not one of my "employees".

Kara said...

Thanks guys, you have lifted my spirits!

I have looked into it.. but because I am supplying fabric, patterns, all materials - they are classified as an employee.

If they were supplying everything to me - it would be a contract. Sort of like if I went to a wholesale store and bought 20 of each design - everything is from them.

It is ridiculous and frustrating and no wonder Australian Small Business suffers. The sewing industry has gone to the dogs with it all being shipped overseas and if ever I get big enough, it looks like I would have to go that way too!


Arthur's Circus said...

I have just read your blog and feel frustrated for you. Surely there must be some Nana's or Aunts out there who would love to sew, but without all that other 'stuff'.... On a brighter note what a fabulous couch.

Kara said...

Thanks! Yes, the couch does cheer me up. It would be wonderful to be able to support local people and industry, but so hard for us 'smallies'... should be a government initiative!