Thursday, June 1, 2006

Learning to Breathe Again

I was talking with a friend the other day at Ladies' Bible Study. She asked me what kind of things I was into these days, and I responded "A little bit of everything...May seems to have been such a busy month!" And then I realized that I can't remember a month in the past year where I HAVEN'T been busy as all get out!! It seems like every time I have almost gotten ahead, I've had to take 3 steps back. What's kept me so busy? Well, there have been things that haven't taken a lot of time: Joseph coming home from Afghanistan; keeping Bella for a week; friends getting married-which means lots of showers; vacations weekends to Inman, SC, Atl for Wicked (still loving every minute of that show!!), Seagrove Beach FL with the Brasstown Crew, girls' weekend in Pigeon Forge, etc, etc, etc. But the thing that is consuming my every waking, and sometimes sleeping, moment, has been the Mountain Homecoming Craft Festival at Haywood Community College on June 3rd.

Most of you know that about a year and a half ago, I started organizing people's homes for a job. Well, I quickly found out that it's not such a booming business. Most people need to have their homes organized, but they don't have the time/money/energy/want to for it. So after about 13 months, and only 5 jobs, I decided it was time to give it up. I didn't feel passionate about it, as I once had. I REALLY like organizing my home, and it's always gonna be here and always need organizing modifications, so I'll just stick with it!!

About a year into my organization business saga, I realized the income flow wasn't cutting it. So, I heard that Tupperware had a service that they were offering to help people use their Modular Mates containers to organize pantries. So, I started in October 2005 as a Tupperware Consultant. It was a lot of fun getting all that set up...making business cards...getting LOTS of free stuff...planning parties...it was fun. It still is fun! It's kinda slow right now because of summer vacations and end of school plans. But that's ok, because summers are (believe it or not) REALLY busy for me. In the beginning, the Tupperware business took off. I couldn't believe how busy I was with it. Then, about 3 months later, the "usual" month occurred...about 4 parties a month...about $1500 in sales...trying my hardest to get more bookings at every party. Now, I am NOT one to beg people to do something that they may or may not want to do. So, begging people to buy something or have a party was NOT my idea of a good time. Even without begging, I have been the top seller in WNC/East TN for 7 months straight, and now the only person ahead of me is my recruit! So, Tupperware, while not always booming, is a pretty decent constant. I can pretty much bet that I'll have a few parties a month, and parties = money.
After about 3 months in Tupperware, I realized that it was taking time, but not taking enough time. I felt like I was working until noon every day and then was bored out of my mind until Marty came home at 5. As anyone who has ever breathed knows, being a newlywed is NOT easy, financially. Money ways tight, and I felt like I wasn't doing all I could do to add to our household income. After praying about this, and discussing options with Marty, God sent some very special people into my life...3 ladies from church who were selling their crafts in local WNC stores. I had been making purses off and on since April 2005, and thought that might be a good way to earn a little extra money here and there. So, I immediately began the "let's start a new business" drama for the THIRD TIME IN 15 MONTHS!!!! Thankfully, God gave me the excitement, and AWESOME support from family and friends to get my started. Once I started telling people what I was doing, I started getting contacts at local gift stores and contacts in the Craft Festival Industry. It was like an outpouring that was so great, I couldn't even wrap my mind around it! Those ladies from church were very helpful with ideas to make my products better, and even gave me the idea to start a baby gift line of products, which have turned out to be my best sellers! Once lady, Lanise even spent an entire day taking me to local shops where owners could see my product and place orders of their favorites to sell. I got 2 HUGE orders and several more contacts that were interested. I couldn't believe it! During this time, I had been accepted to the festival at HCC and was busily working to get my stock built up for that. I felt like I was sewing non-stop for about 2 months straight...every day for 4+ hours, I sat at the sewing machine (thank goodness for TiVo-ed Oprah episodes to help me along!) sewing and sewing and sewing to the point where I really didn't even know what I was making anymore. It really surprised me that I didn't get burnt out with it all. But the strangest thing happened. After every product was completed, I immediately fell in love with it and thought that it was the cutest things I had ever made, and then I couldn't wait to make another!! These past few weeks I felt like I was being pushed to the max. I am only one person. I don't have the money to hire someone to help. It was ALL UP TO ME. Yeah, that stressed me out just a little. Throw in a weekend to Atl and a 5 day trip to FL (which were both anti-stressors!!!) and I really thought that I might die from all the work that had to be done. The hardest thing was that I had never done a festival before and didn't know what kind of stuff I would need or how many of each product to make. AND...what if I failed miserably? These were all things that were weighing VERY heavily on my mind...every minute of every day. Then, today came...ahhh...today...when I realized that my to-list would be easily completed, I only had 10 more items to make before my stock was complete, and I could breath. *sigh* The festival still hasn't happened, and I don't know how many products I will be able to sell on Saturday (Please be praying for LOTS of buyers!!!!), but I know that I'm at peace with it all. I feel as though I have reached a place, both in my business progress, and my trusting in God to provide, that I can breath...again.

1 comment:

betney said...

hey, precious! i am so proud of you & your beatiful work! for me, your bags and cutesie things could not be a bigger blessing. your love, creativity, and so much of your personality are sewn into every one. i think of you everytime i sling one on my shoulder! i pray that as people meet you and take a look at your work, they will see how special they are too. i will be thinking of and praying for you tomorrow! i love you!