Monday, March 3, 2014

Open for Business: Week 1

Our Grand Opening was Saturday. I have to say the weeks leading up to it were some of the most stressful weeks I've ever had, but also amazing and totally worth it.

We were open from 12- 4:00 on Saturday and when we got home, Goose and I sat on the couch and both passed out at 7:30pm... and slept until 10 in the morning.  Pretty sure that is the most exhausted we have ever been in our almost 10 years of marriage (that is saying a lot with 4 little boys at home).  It is Monday now and I am just now coming out of the fog.

Saturday, I kinda felt in shock all day... I mean seriously, y'all. The entire store was pretty much put together in one night. I can not believe we actually had it ready for customers on Saturday. We had everything there, it was just in piles everywhere... and then some ah-mazing family and friends showed up, and it just came together.

It felt really similar to the stress leading up to our wedding... everyone asking, how do you want this? are your going to do this? what do you think about this?  Everyone did so much to help out, and I know I was such a pain because I have a hard time making one tiny decision (ie- what toothpaste should I buy?), much less the billions of decisions I had to make over the past few weeks.
I feel like I couldn't possibly repay everyone for all their time and energy and encouragement...  and I just want to say thank you all so much. Not only to family and friends, but to everyone who follows us online, and everyone around this community is so sweet and positive and we are just so excited to be a part of it.

At the beginning of February, after going over the finances from last year and calculating the rising material costs for my jewelry, I realized it was time to raise my prices... which is very hard for me to do. It is really scary... not knowing how it will affect sales. Anyone who has seen the time and work that goes into each piece told me the prices were too low, but it is still hard to bite the bullet and adjust.

Anyway, I told Goose, I would go ahead and raise across the board (not a huge jump, but enough to cover the material cost increases over the past few years). I was so nervous... Anyway, I raised them around 11pm. The next day, I started getting several orders more than what was normal and the traffic on my site was out of control. I finally tracked down the source, which was that one of my wraps was included in an Etsy email that goes out to thousands of Etsy users. I received almost 200 orders within a week. in January. It. was. crazy.  


I mean literally hours after I raised the prices, this email goes out. We were getting low on our start-up budget and that boost in orders made it possible for us to finish stocking inventory and supplies for the store opening and not have to put a single dime on a credit card. I sat there and looked at my computer and literally burst out on tears because the timing was just so incredible.

God is in the details, people.

I really can't take a bit of credit for the success of this business because without God and the people He has placed in my life, I would be a complete mess. He has blessed us in this endeavor and I don't want to take it for granted. Every bit of confidence I have comes from Him because knowing who I am in Christ frees me to take big chances and also recover quickly from the things that don't work out and change course if needed... to overcome criticism and negativity and focus on each new day as it comes. Because I know whatever happens, my life's purpose and my identity isn't wrapped up in having a thriving business.

I used to think what I did would define who I was and that could not be farther from the truth. Because whether I am at home raising babies, at an office 9 to 5, or traveling the world as a missionary... the goal is always the same. Love God, love people, and find ways to serve and share God's grace through my day to day actions and words.

Now don't get me wrong, I fail. A lot. I get frustrated and overwhelmed and there are many days I don't say or do or even think what I should.

But I am working on it. I pray for wisdom and grace every day and I desire to live a life that is pleasing to God.... moving past good intentions and following where He leads. When I am walking with Him everything just moves so much more fluidly and things fall into place in ways that truly are amazing. 

I am not sure what God has in store, but He has blessed us so much already and I want to make sure we don't lose sight of His plan. I believe blessings should be used to bless others and I want to run this shop with integrity, showing love and kindness to the folks we come in contact with everyday. 

I want our kids to learn how to treat people, how to be part of a community... to grow up in a hometown and a church where they feel accountable, where they have strong roots that will help them fly one day... something I never really felt like I had because we moved around so often. I believe they will have that here in Monroe. 

God bless this business and this town. Lead us in the way we should go. We trust you always.