It has been over a month since I decided to close my store. It has been strange not doing much of what I once used to do. If I’m being honest, there have been some pros and cons. Much to what I expected, I guess.
First thing I need to make sure I say is THANK YOU from every part of my heart!!! I could not believe the amount of support myself along with all of our team of artisans were shown the last month in business. We sure went out with a bang. And if we could have ever been able to figure out the recipe to repeat that month, we may have been still in business.
This time has given me the start to a healing I desperately needed. I’ve started reading again. I’ve started working out again! I’ve been able to relax a little more with my family, which definitely has been a long time needed. With this little bit of time that has passed, it has given me time to think. Which, of course, any business owner would do. Questions that I look for answers to, arise constantly. And thoughts of ‘what’s next’ are an everyday occurrence. So far, as of today, I have found a place where I think I fit in, working part time. Helping someone else build their dreams and achieve their goals. I’m not doing anything I used to do, but the people seem pretty great and welcoming and it works for me and my family right now. We are getting used to a new way of doing things, and a new schedule. Behind the scenes, I still work on custom stuff that I just couldn’t find the time to finish before. And it has been gratifying. I still get to play with tools and create some pretty amazing stuff, for now. But soon, that too will be done. And I fear I will still be left with tons of questions, but the bigger one of ‘what’s next’.
One thing I know I have walked away with is knowing how I clearly failed. After the anger and hurt had left my heart, I began to peel back every single layer, decision, and move to figure out what got me to this point. What was it that got me to the point of failure and the ridiculous amount of overwhelming feelings? Why couldn’t I pull this together? Why couldn’t I find the balance? Back in December, the number one thing I walked away with after closing the store, was the insane amount of feeling of being ashamed. Ashamed that I failed. Ashamed that I could not pull off being a business owner. Ashamed that I thought I knew and had what it took to make this dream happen, but really didn’t.
But then I started wondering what that dream was in the beginning…….. And that’s when I started thinking differently. My husband, Jason, is my voice of reason and biggest supporter. And like many others, he continued to tell me I didn’t fail. It just didn’t work. He pointed out that I am NOT my business. My business is not me. But it was hard to explain to him that it’s different for us business owners, because we do feel very much like the business and me are one. We poured our heart, soul, blood, and tears into it all! We stayed up late, we watched it take off, we had to let it go at times to watch is grow, and then we watch it sometimes fail. Then we ask what we did wrong. And then I realized it felt like I was talking about one of my kids. But it’s not one of my kids, even though it felt like it, but it was just a business. Plain and simple. So I needed to start thinking of it that way. I didn’t fail, my business did and I NEED to figure out why for my own peace of mind. I need to compartmentalize why the business failed so I can separate myself from that failure.
I’ve been reading a lot of books by Simon Sinek. He puts it into prospective and breaks down the reasoning of a businesses failures and their growth. And what I had learned was I simply forgot my WHY and the very reasons I wanted to start this business. And with that, I was not offering what I really wanted to sell as my business. First problem, is I tried to do it all, by myself. Second problem, is I made it unclear to all of you, our customers, on what we did and what I wanted to create and what we were known for. One sign I should have seen this coming, was a majority of customers couldn’t even remember what our store’s name was. It was an unclear message. Hell, for the last month of the store closing, I couldn’t even tell what that message was supposed to be. And this is where the failure began. I can’t pinpoint when exactly, but the second I stopped understanding why I wanted to be in this business and what I really wanted to sell became unclear, everything else came crashing down. I put too much on my plate trying to figure out what worked, what didn’t work only to realize that what I had envisioned all along was already opening doors (extremely slowly) but that was the direction I wanted to go. But I panicked and forgot everything else.
Even more, I think I can relate this to my everyday life as well. I forgot why I became a mom and a wife. And I let that get sloppy as well. I felt a lot of shame in that as well. I let the business and my family fight for my attention. Not good. Ironically, my kiddos were pretty sad to see the store go and they are working through it as well. They loved being front and center, and my youngest started her own staging work at the end. But this move was a healthy one. It needed to be done. I needed to be forced to take that big step back and look at everything in a different angle. And I’m not done yet. I need a lot more time to sit back and repair the damage that had been done, and understand more of why I failed and where I can improve. I’m still trying to find my ‘what’s next’.
Here’s what I know right now. I still love our small town. I hope everyone in their life can experience this. I could have very easily moved our store into a bigger town, with more traffic and have probably had lots of easy success no matter what we sold. But that was NEVER the end goal for me. I believed in our surrounding small towns and I am proud to what I could bring to the table for a couple of years. Sure, we had push back being a new business from some other businesses and leaders of the community. But in whole, we have met so many of the great supporters and they came right from our small towns. The ultimate feeling of being a part of something, comes from small towns. It’s these wonderful people that have driven me here and never had the urge to leave. Some speculated that this was why I failed, but I’m sticking by it. Our small towns have so much to offer and I believe in them because of the way they made us feel when we moved here. They believe in a good hand shake is as good as a piece of paper. They believe in helping each other out and pitching in without a motive behind it. They ask you your name! They want to truly know you. In my entire life, I never knew half the people in the big city I grew up in compared to people I know here. You just cannot get that hometown feel anywhere else.
I still hope our community grows. I hope people find their place here and move here and enjoy this beautiful community as much as we have. I hope our community stays strong and holds to the small businesses that have created these small towns. My family and I have no intentions of moving anytime soon a