Indeed, we have learned and grown tremendously during these last ten years. Translating our patterns into English, participating in creative fairs in Paris, then moving to Toulouse and transitioning into a bigger company with the arrival of my business partner Camille. The team grew even more with the arrival of Meriem (followed by Sylvie) in customer service, and additional service providers who joined us: talented photographers, a foolproof logistics team, a translator, and finally our communications manager. On the product side, new things followed one after another with the redesign of our paper patterns, preparing and releasing all of our patterns in PDF format, the publication of our ebook Dressed, and the expansion of our size range into a second block . . . we have not been twiddling our thumbs!
During these 10 years, we are particularly proud to have always offered you well-drafted patterns and clear, easy-to-follow instructions. Some of our patterns have been a resounding success, like the Belladone dress, the Myosotis dress, and of course the Sirocco jumpsuit and the Magnolia dress!
Publishing our book was also a big accomplishment for us. Dressed was a huge amount of work, in part because we did it all ourselves. Although we had to push ourselves to get it to the finish line, we are proud of every aspect of the book—but especially the quantity and quality of information it contains.
Finally, our most ambitious project to date has been the development of our new size range. Even though we are still in the early days of this new offering, we are proud of our efforts and very happy to see the community create so many amazing projects up to a size 60.
Of course, there are also things that we regret . . . Camille and I are two perfectionists (our loved ones can confirm this!), and we have constantly pushed ourselves to provide the most flawless work possible. This has come at the expense of counting our hours, requiring us to draw ever more from our reserves and arrive at the launch of our patterns totally exhausted. Over time, it became increasingly difficult for us to find the energy to communicate about our daily lives, our work, and of course, our patterns . . . and we gradually lost our voice. There were no more personal creations, a lack of behind the scenes updates—all our time was spent and is still spent on the development of patterns and sewing of prototypes, collection after collection.
We both went through periods of severe burnout and depression.
It is under these circumstances that we both experienced periods of severe burnout. I’m on the autism spectrum and Camille suffers from clinical depression. The combination of our work pace, growing market expectations, and the pressures of mounting (and contradictory) demands on social media pushed us beyond our limits. We both spent weeks in survival mode, unable to get out of bed, and Camille was sent to in-patient psychiatric care. We became sick, exhausted by the rhythm of keeping up. We realized that we could no longer continue on this path without the risk of losing our physical and mental health.
To be honest, the start of 2022 has been particularly dark. The toll of the pace we were inflicting on ourselves, combined with our extreme fatigue, led us to reevaluate our work flow. We knew we had to let go of something, and after careful consideration, we decided to discontinue our paper patterns a few weeks before the release of our spring-summer collection.
This change allowed us to reorganize our production rhythm, gain flexibility, and regain the energy to take a step back from our operations. We’ve been able to find the time for some deep reflection about the future of Deer and Doe, and here are some of our goals for moving forward:
We have learned that everything is possible, but not everything at the same time!
As we come close to wrapping up our first ten years in business, we are so proud of what we have achieved. We feel grateful to all of you who have supported the beautiful project that is Deer and Doe, and are full of hope for the future. We will continue to strive to find the balance that will allow us to practice this profession for many years to come.