Tuesday, January 31, 2012

From There to Here: Creativity…the early years

    Creative people were all around me growing up.  I was surrounded by a mother who could sew with her eyes closed, a neighbor who constantly created new things, an aunt who whipped up new outfits for her children weekly, and a father who created amazing art with his hands.  It was simply a matter of time before I followed suit. 
      The earliest memory I have of my creativeness was a day when I was 4 or 5 and I was sitting at the dining room table.  I looked over and I saw a stylus (aka a paperclip) and in front of me a blank slate (aka the dining room table).  I sketched (rather deeply) a landscape (house, sidewalk and complete with chimney and smoke) into the extra leaf of the table.  I saw it as a great improvement to the smooth surface of an otherwise, boring tabletop.  However, my mother saw my masterpiece quite differently…which I think was stifling on her part. 
      A few years went by and then BAM…it finally happened!  I became a creative genius.  The year was 1970 and I received a Velvet doll for Christmas.  She came with only one outfit.  Now obviously, as a modern girl of the 70’s, her minimalist wardrobe simply would not do.  We couldn’t afford to buy more clothes for her, so I took matters into my own hands.  I found a piece of fabric and figured out how to make her a new dress.  I wanted to use my mom’s sewing machine but at the age of 9 she didn’t think allowing me to sew my own fingers together was a great idea…so I taught myself to hand sew (I went through a somewhat stubborn streak).  I laid the original dress on the piece of fabric and then cut it a bit larger so that I could hem the neck and armholes.  I even made “buttonholes” and sewed buttons on; details are vitally important.  To top it off, I drew a flower on the front of the dress; prints were all the rage in the 70s.  Personally, I thought I was the next Coco Chanel.  That ladies and gentleman, is the day that I just knew I was destined to spend my life creating beautiful things.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

From There to Here - It's in the DNA

As I sit contemplating what to write for my second installment I realize that I have come from a family of “business owners”.  Now I never really thought of my dad or my uncles as business owners...after all it was a dairy farm where we all learned how to work and take on responsibility at a young age.  However, they were business owners as they owned and managed a large dairy farm and a fertilizer sales business, just as their father and their grandfather did before them.  Without even realizing it I learned many lessons during that time in my life.  Multitasking…because anyone that knows anything about a dairy farm it’s this…when it is time for the cows to be milked it did not matter what else you were involved in you had to figure out how to get it done.   Flexibility…you may have planned to work in the fields but if it was raining you had to quickly readjust and do some indoor tasks.  Staff management….in this case the staff was my brothers, sister, cousins and me.  Talk about an unruly bunch!  There were many times we didn’t want to do the work or had better things to do but somehow they managed to get us to get the work done and still have time to have some fun.  Looking back there are many fond memories. 
My first foray into my own business adventure was when I saw an advertisement in a magazine.  It was for a “seed kit”.  You order this seed kit and then you sell the seeds at a profit to your unsuspecting neighbors!  Genius!!  However, my mother did not think so…no mom +no money of my own to back my business = on to the next great idea!  The next grand plan also had a magazine and a television advertisement behind it.  If you could draw the turtle or pirate pictured then you could have a career as an artist.  Guess what…my turtle kind of looked like the pirate so that dream ended quickly.  Good thing I have faith and dreams because I never gave up.  But as I said before…it has been quite the journey!

Monday, January 23, 2012

How we got from There to Here…Our Story (and the lessons we’ve learned along the way)

Recently I read an article that recommended that we should tell our story.  Not just a brief note on the about us page but our story….who we are, what is our motivation, what makes us tick.  At first I balked, I am not one to talk about myself, I am much more comfortable sitting behind a sewing machine, but then after much thought I decided that maybe it would help others to see our passion for our products and how we arrived here.  As one can see from our "About Us" page, family is important to us.  Our business name comes from Courtney’s (my daughter and partner) maternal and paternal grandmother’s maiden names.  Our family has always been there for us, no matter what.  My family has always been very supportive especially my husband, Chip who still after 25 years continues to support my crazy endeavors without judgment -- now that is a great husband!  My two girls, Courtney, my eldest and my business partner, Ashley who is in college and is our biggest promoter (give her half a chance and you will have our business card in your hand) and my new son-in-law, Erik all share my passion for enteprenuerism.  My niece, Sarah (Rejoice Designs), is always willing to do photo shoots, business cards, website design, etc. and is an incredible talent herself!  My sister, Cindy is always only a phone call away to offer advice and support.  To all of our family we say thank you!  Friends are also very important, my friends are the best!  They are always there providing support and comic relief!  Finally, faith is very important to me.   Faith has gotten me through many moves and ups and downs in my life.  Through this blog we hope to give you a glimpse into our lives, what we’ve learned and how we arrived here.