Money Love Story: Free Association on Financial Shame

Freewriting on things I spent money on that I’ve ashamed of. I’ve made quite a few questionable financial decisions in my life, but most of I can let go. But one that sticks out like a sore thumb is… my purchases on raw materials for Figment. The PU leathers, the zip sliders, the zip tape. When I look at it now, I still feel embarrassed.

I don’t even know where to start. So many emotions, words, thoughts.

I started sewing with this thin PU leather that I bought from Etsy. I successfully made 2 pouches. Then I made box cases for Maryam. Then I had an idea to sell and start a business, and the next thing I did was buy 3 x 10 feet rolls of PU leather, 3000 zip sliders in 3 colours and 100m of zip tape.

I had dreamt big. I really went all in. And this was in 2017. I’ve made some wristlets, sold a few at bazaars. Then I couldn’t make more.

  1. First I blamed the sewing machine. Granted, it wasn’t suitable to sew the leather.
  2. Second I blamed the leather, for being too thick and hard to work with
  3. Third, space.
  4. Then I had space, MCO happened. Had to work from home, my sewing desk became my computer desk.

And yep. It seems like I’m just finding excuses not to work on it. It seems like legit reasons though.

I’m ashamed of it because, I had so much excitement, energy in the buying process and sourcing. I remember not having enough money and almost maxing out my already-reaching-limit credit card. Or I was in the process of clearing credit card debt then I had to pay the second instalment of the zips and I felt really… bad. Like, I can’t do this, but I have to. It was really heavy. Especially when I’ve already stopped producing the wristlets at that time. I honestly regretted ordering the zippers and having to pay the balance.

It wasn’t making money, I wasn’t motivated to sew. I forgot how to assemble it, so on and so forth. Whenever I look at the leathers, I feel ashamed.

And in 2019 I was going to start Figment back again. I did a new batch of bags, 2 sizes. Had the acrylic cutting templates made. Wrote down the materials, costs. Finished the first batch. Was planning to take pictures, but never did.

Had the second batch of pockets and linings to outsource the sewing to Aunty. She didn’t do it. I even gave her a manual with pictures. Threw my production line out of track. Totally disappointed. Utterly disappointed. I guess sort of crushed my hopes and dreams to speed up manufacturing and produce more volume. And was really bumped and felt used because she said she wanted money, and I was willing to pay here. Unreliable. Seriously. Anak dia yang sorang tu pun sama.

But come to think of it, I think it’s sort of like a blessing. Because she wasn’t that attentive to detail. She’s more of an asal boleh kind. I can’t have that because I’m selling for a quality price. And I didn’t like the progress she made, too slow and she’s leaving needle marks.

Plus she’s family, and they’re not the type to separate business and personal. It’s dumb. But she ded nau anyway. Ok. Felt a tinge of guilt typing that.

I dont mind the debts now, I’m ok with it. But I guess I should be grateful that I bought the stuff and went through all that. I did sell, I learned how to work with different materials, I wrote notes so I don’t forget when I come back to it. I know how process these orders now.

While it is still shameful for me whenever I see the items, I’m grateful for the learning.

I haven’t even touched the bags I made earlier. Didn’t take photos, didn’t work on the marketing or website.

I realise I like the process of making the items, I like the idea of it. I just don’t know why I can’t translate that to selling it.

Because it’ll be a direct representation of me. If people don’t like it, it’s because of me. I remember putting the prices lower because I wanted people to buy, so I can feel good about myself. Validation. When people buy, it gives me confidence. Because I’m scared. Of rejection. Of putting a lot of effort and heart and soul and getting rejected.

I do believe my bags can sell. I truly do. But I… Or maybe not. I don’t believe it enough for me to keep making even if it won’t sell as much.

The buying, the making, is 100% me. But the selling… I’ll be putting myself out. For people to judge and see.

What do you think?

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