Queue up and play Rhianna’s ‘Bitch better have my money’ while you read this. Nothing makes my blood boil more than unpaid invoices, a freelancer’s nightmare.
After my blog post ‘Running away and moving to Australia’ I received such a positive response, but one of the common themes in my comments, which really upsets me, is fellow freelancers experiencing the same problem of unpaid invoices. You create a business relationship and do your part, you send the invoice and then you wait for them to do their part… pay you!
I am currently chasing an invoice for 9 months, yes, 9 months. Though I can’t go into the details, I can share a sentence from a response via email after requesting payment for the overdue invoice.
“I am not avoiding paying you and as I said you will get the money, I cannot give it to you if I haven’t received money myself.” – received January 2018. My products were sold in April 2017 and the invoice was sent in May 2017. The client received payment for my garments when the products were purchased. Yet 8 months down the line, now 9, I am still waiting to receive my money.
Could you imagine if we all went through life with this excuse?
I know my rent is due and you will receive your payment, I don’t know when, but you will get it when I get money myself.
How do you think that would go over? Pretty sure I would receive an eviction notice.
I make my clothing by hand. Every piece you see by Sasha Louise is made by me, Sasha Louise, and no one else.
This is a quick run down of my process from nothing to finished garment.
My process starts with a few sketches. I then move on to measurements and drawing the flat paper pattern. Everything starts flat, and this will be just the first one. It can take a few flat patterns to get that perfect final fit.
When the paper pattern is ready I start preparing to make my latex net fabric. My net fabric is made by hand and takes a minimum of 6 hours to make, this is the average time for a pencil skirt for example. Once the net fabric is made it is then ready to be prepared for construction. I do this by using the flat paper pattern I made ready for it to be cut. Each seam needs to be cleaned at which then glue is applied. The seams are then fitted together so it eventually starts to look like a garment. The construction of each piece will vary depending on the requirements of each garment. For example, a plain pull on pencil skirt will take less time than a Men’s shirt which requires buttons, cuffs, collars etc.
The next step is to clean the whole garment, label and do the last check before the item is chlorinated. Chlorination is a chemical treatment that makes my net latex soft and beautiful. Next step is to polish the finished piece to give it that latex shine. Overall the whole process from start to finish can take days depending on the design. This is not a fast process and can take longer when working on new or one-off pieces as numerous patterns will need to be tried and tested in the final fabric. There isn’t a machine out the back that I can push a button to speed it up, it’s a labour of love. Hand made garments are a pure labour of love.
You can see that it is not a quick process to create one of my garments and this is something I hold close to my heart and I am so passionate about. My process and original garments is something that is very special with my business and through this I have built a beautiful connection with my customers.
This is just to give you an idea of how much goes in to making a piece of clothing. Unpaid invoices have a serious effect on business. Not just with cash flow, but it delays other business agreements with other clients, delays orders, takes time away from normal business to chase emails and not to mention the effect on you, despite all your attempts to keep business and personal life separate. It will affect you. I’ve cried head in hands, it fucking sucks. You hand over this labour of love, handmade piece of clothing that has taken days to make and put your trust and faith in to your client and to not be treated with the same level of consideration is extremely disheartening.
This isn’t to say that being freelance is negative, there are some incredible positives and not all clients are not going to pay you on time. It is just a shame that the 1% who are and choose not to pay invoices on time have such a domino effect on your business. Sometimes, when incidents like this happen, it can be very hard to not allow yourself to become pessimistic and negative towards clients when you are a freelancer.
If your reading this and have invoices to pay, please just pay them. Rethink how you deal with small businesses. If we all respect each other, we can create more, expand more, we will help each other GROW! #supportsmallbusinesses