"...I put too much pressure on myself to be a version of “successful” that probably does not exist..."
At the beginning of 2022 and after two years of exponential growth, I’m sitting down to do our first ever financial planning session and yearly recap. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but I try not to pay too much attention to the financial ins and outs of Pamut… In the past, I’ve found this a stressful (and tearful) endeavor. I realize this is because I put too much pressure on myself to be a version of “successful” that probably does not exist, unless you are in tech. At Pamut, we make things…beautiful things. And rarely if ever does making beautiful things equate to a big chunk of money.
The Road We're On
We’ve decided to take the hard road, but one that I am completely positive is the right road: To make high-quality clothing to order in the US, with hardly any waste. To pay our employees enough so that they can live comfortably. To help our customers feel confident and joyful in their body and their clothes. Luckily, all of you reading this: You believe in us. Many of you have chosen to support us with your purchases, to tell your friends about us, and to speak out about ethical clothing and body positivity.
Your belief in us and your support is slowly but surely turning into real profit for Pamut. As you may know, Pamut is completely self-funded. Between 2017 and 2018, I sold 30k in stocks that had been gifted to me by my parents. This went directly into startup costs for Pamut (and to paying my bills while I had no income). As a person in my late twenties with no business degree, I made a lot of mistakes. I designed things that were impractical. I bought too many yards of the wrong fabrics. I put too much money into fixed costs like rent, and not enough into more valuable assets like employees and good equipment. Then 2019 arrived, and I was running out of money. I could have given up then, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided to start again from scratch. It was scary, but I scrapped ALL of our old designs. I drafted completely new garments that would be more wearable. I added plus sizes. I chose better fabrics. I started renting out a studio with no heat, A/C, or natural light for $400 a month. Things began to turn around. In 2020 and 2021, we experienced exponential growth. This positions us for a great year in 2022, and I’m so excited to see what we can do.
Our Goals for 2022.
I want to preface our 2022 goals by first saying that it’s strange writing about our modest success and growth. 2021 was a difficult year for me personally, and a tragic year for many. Our global political systems seem broken on many levels, and the pandemic has brought fear and instability into every home. I’m proud of the company’s growth and of how hard I’ve worked to get here, but I’m aware that in many ways, my success is due to luck and privilege. As the owner of an ethical company, I have a responsibility to share my success with our employees and to look for ways to get money directly into the pockets of the people who make our fabrics.
2022 will mark a new phase for Pamut. If our growth in revenue continues at even 20% (which, may I add, looks like a walk in the park after two years of a 65% increase), we’ll be positioned to increase our hourly pay for employees, invest more heavily in ethical artisan production abroad, and create so many more beautiful designs for our customers. Here’s how we’re going to get there:
- We’re moving our design timeline up 6 weeks to better position Pamut for wholesale. Stores typically place orders 2-6 months before the season, so we’ll be ready for them this year. We hope to spend the majority of February and March in wholesale production, transitioning back to made-to-order production for online sales during Q2.
- We’re investing in more customized fabrics. While we previously have differentiated the brand by printing fabrics in-house, we’re saving time and creating more value by designing prints and outsourcing the labor to ethical facilities in either Los Angeles or Bangalore, India. We hope these fabrics will be complete and ready for production in April, though it’s possible that our custom printed fabrics will be delayed to Summer or Fall.
- We’re starting off 2022 with two extremely talented and self-motivated employees. Both Mackenzie and Anne have shown initiative to take on more tasks. Mackenzie will begin to assist in design and pattern development, while Anne will focus on wholesale partner acquisition and social media.
As always, I am so grateful for our supportive customer base. You allow us to stay in business so that we can keep making ethical, inclusive clothes. I’m sure 2022 won’t be without it’s challenges, but I can sleep soundly knowing that the Pamut community is as strong as ever.
Kat + The Pamut Team