The new Bending Line Designs – shifting the business model


Mistakes are tricky. They can really make you feel like crap or you can learn from them and move on. I made a ton of mistakes with the first go at BLD. One of the major ones was the business model of printing the shirts myself and managing my inventory.

I taught myself how to screen print, hand printed every shirt in my garage, bought my own inventory of blank shirts, and was super proud of what I accomplished. But it meant I was left with several wasted shirts while I was learning how to print. I spent a ton of time preparing and coating the screens and then cleaning them. Many times I would have to make a screen twice because the image wouldn’t come out right the first time. Adding new designs was a slow and tedious process.

This was our previous screen printing process
Our “Less Talking – More Trotting” Screen

Inventory was a constant nightmare. I wanted to offer as many colors and sizes as possible, but it meant we were also forced to keep inventory and print shirts for each color, size and design option. This model resulted in too much overhead and too many expenses.

This time around, we are working with other screen printers to handle the printing. This change has allowed us to focus more on our designs, offering more colors in our prints (both in shirt colors and design colors).

BLD also added home decor prints and stationery into the product lineup, featuring my own original artwork (usually animal portraits). We purchased a professional large format digital scanner and professional printer to ensure we can print high quality cards and prints (up to 11″x14″) on our own. Larger sizes and canvas options are still available – they are simply printed by our POD suppliers.

We have added printable downloads and are excited to announce the arrival of our new EQ Journals, which are already available for download at our BLD Etsy shop. These journals are just the tip of the iceberg, and we can’t wait to add more printable products.

Finally, we are exploring some tech options for making a wide variety of new products ourselves with a focus on customization. Stay tuned for this one – it is going to be fun!

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to share what was driving some of the changes here at BLD and give you an idea of what is in store for the future.

Yellow Lab and Bullmastiff on the porch

Where did BLD go?


We had to step away and close up shop for a number of reasons back in the summer of 2017. I wanted to share a little bit of what was going on, and why running Bending Line Designs at that time was not feasible. Two of them were horse related, one was dog related, and the other reason was business related.

First – the horse reasons

I had two horses at the time, Mario (retired) and Ray.  I’d only had Ray a year, but we were simply not a good fit. Don’t get me wrong.  He was a lovely horse, but way too green for me and too forward.  I made the tough decision to sell him, but wasn’t aware at the time just how involved selling a horse could be. Or how expensive, as it takes time and you’re still paying for board, vaccines, etc.

While in the process of listing Ray, I found my next horse – Ellie Mae. As soon as I saw her ad, I knew this was the horse for me. My better sense should have chimed in and said “wait a minute you fool – you haven’t sold Ray yet”, but of course it kept quiet. I went down to Charleston, South Carolina with my poor dad (who knows nothing about horses but was super sweet and came along for support). I tried her out and fell in love. Fast forward to Ellie’s arrival at the barn.  Off the trailer steps a draft cross with severe separation anxiety (totally missing her best friend named Carrot – haha I love that name) and a lack of manners. From Day 1 she was. rearing on a lead line, barging out of her stall and pasture, scaring the barn workers, and trying to boss everyone around with her size. I was terrified of her. 

So there I was, 3 horses and not a single 1 to ride.  One with too much arthritis and thin feet, another that was too green and gave me constant ride anxiety, and a third that scared me to death just from the ground. Fun times!!

Second – the dog reason

While all of this was going on, we also unexpectedly received a new lab puppy, an adorable little yellow lab named Kippy.  This brought our dog total up to four! Two chihuahuas, a bullmastiff, and a 10 week-old lab. When I wasn’t waiting for people to show up to try out Ray, crying that Ellie was terrifying, or taking care of Mar’s never ending abscesses – I was waking up at 5am to take out Kip. Add BLD and my standard day job – and something had to give.  There was simply not enough of me to go around. My animals always come first, so I had to make the tough decision to close BLD. 

Fast forward to today

Since then, I was able to sell Ray to a wonderful home in November of 2017. That same week, Ellie Mae was moved to a trainer specializing in behavioral issues and we also started treating her for ulcers. It has taken over a year to become comfortable with Ellie and now I love her to pieces, but that discussion is for another time.

Our lab, Kippy, is now almost two.  He has calmed down considerably and the dogs are somewhat in balance. I am finally at a point where reopening Bending Line Designs is an option.

So let’s get back to it!

Oh wait – I mentioned a business reason. Check out the new BLD business model for more details.

Yellow Lab and Bullmastiff on the porchj
Who can resist that face?
And Esther Sue in the background just doing her own thing LOL