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Carol Perkins: On spending money

'Her Christmas Cards still bring in spending money. There was stumbles along the way, when she start to go big time, dispatched her husband to Louisville ill prepared for the interview she set up, and learned a valuable lesson about being prepared. Still she says, she was more naive than dumb.
Next previous Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: In a small town, it's not about money

By Carol Perkins

By Carol Perkins

Spending money. In this statement it means one thing: "He was spending his own money on the car." In this statement it is different: "I need some spending money." I want to talk about spending money where spending is an adjective.


Most of us have looked for extra jobs to do to make some spending money. Most of my extra undertakings made very little money but I kept going because I was enjoying myself. One of those was in the early 1980s when I decided I could design and paint Christmas sweatshirts to sell. This was when Christmas shirts were just beginning to be popular. I began with a few for myself; designs I would copy from Christmas cards. I am not an artist because I can only look at something simple and copy it; I can't draw anything.

Best design was a Christmas tree will all colors of decorations

My best design was a Christmas tree with all colors of decorations. Using fabric paints, I had my canvas in front of me, and in the middle of the dining room table I created. What I did, according to Guy, was make a mess out of the dining room, but his vision and mine were different. I was going to get rich!

I created so many shirts and was so happy with my designs that I thought they were worthy of selling to a department store. (What did I know). At this time the Fashion Shops in Louisville were the rage so I found the name and number of the buyer and reached out. "We would like to see your work," she said.

Guy is the salesman in the family

Guy is the salesman in the family, so I convinced him to take my shirts for the lady to look at and reluctantly, he agreed. I thought he would walk into the store, take them out of the bag, and if she had questions she would call me. I was teaching at the time and didn't need to take off a day.

I put my six shirt designs in a shopping bag and off he went. He was working in Louisville that day or he would never have done this. When he arrived at the address I gave him, this was not a store, but a cooperate office. A receptionist took him to the display room. By then he was thinking evil thoughts about the woman back home. "What has she gotten me into this time?"

The place was not a store, but a cooperative office

The lady told him to display his merchandise and the buyer would be in soon. He looked around and saw display boards and mannequins but took another route. "I laid the shirts out on the table and knew this was going to be embarrassing."

He was sort of correct.

Guy was there with no price points

The buyers came in and according to Guy, admired my designs but then they started talking about price points. "They were actually interested," Guy told me later surprised, "and I felt like a fool standing there with this bag of shirts and nothing else." I had not equipped him with prices. I assumed if they liked them, we would then talk.

How dumb was I? More naive than dumb. When he stumbled and did some mumbo-jumbo double-talking, they realized that he had no prices and no plan for distribution numbers or any of the information one might see today on Shark Tank. Ready to stick my head in the bag and tighten it around my neck, he left with the shirts and a "We'll get in touch if we are interested."

When he got back home he said, "You had no idea how embarrassed I was in front of those buyers." I was thinking, "I can't believe a group of buyers wanted to see my shirts and not just a store manager."

I never followed up with the Fashion Shop because they were out of my league, but I did continued making them for friends and family and sold enough to have a little spending money! - Carol Perkins


This story was posted on 2015-09-02 10:08:24
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