…Building Series – Buildling a Business

If you are thinking about building a business or have started your own little business, you know it’s taken a good 20/30/40 years to prepare you for what you are embarking on. You have history and practice and observation on your side.

I grew up watching my dad design and hand-make jewelry. My sister and I would watch him put those funny magnifying jewelers glasses on, work with long, skinny tweezers twisting and molding metal wire. He’d sink the soldered piece in the acid that made a “szzzzz” sound, slosh it around in a mason jar of water and then heat the piece again with his jeweler’s torch. He worked with his hands to create amazing pieces and we wear them all the time. You have no idea the jewelry boxes and hat boxes and trunks my sister & mom have filled with his pieces.

(This is my daughter designing with Papa. Funny how it reminds me of me at his side.)

I went to college, majored in English and was going to write books. Unfortunately, that doesn’t pay the rent until you are actually published.

Then I got a job. Marketing. In a design firm and it was a perfect fit for me. Images, photo shoots, writing, graphics. Kinda what I find myself doing 50% of the time at Blue Egg Brown Nest. Who knew how handy my background would come in when I used to ride that metro into work day in and day out. Eating my lunch at Lafeyette Park, staring at the the White House from my park bench.

Then came a waiting period in my life when I started trying to have a baby. God said no for many years. And I said yes to my own pottery studio in my basement, with wheel & kiln & hand-made glazes. It always felt natural to work with my hands and get messy.

(1 month after Reid was born. I just couldn’t help myself!)

I don’t mean to sound self-indulgent. I recount my past to discuss my present. When I look back it really feels like I was building levels and layers to my story and to my current business. There are things that I will try and accomplish now (or at least take the risk of trying) that I would not have if I did not have that framework underneath me. The writing, the marketing, the designing, etc. I didn’t just happen on furniture painting and blogging. I had no budget for pieces and experimented on 8 kitchen chairs off Craigslist. The necessity of needing furniture turned into wanting it all around me! And as a sidebar, I never read a blog in my life before starting my own! (shhhhhhh)

That is my story.

Many of you have asked me how to grow a business or get started or how did I get started. It wasn’t one thing that led me here. It was many things and many more things and right now it works for me. In a few years it may not work. Who knows. If I were able to share any advice I would say reflect on the things you’ve done & built & may be good at or curious about. I don’t really believe the message that you can do anything you set your mind to. I find it misleading. Yes, perhaps you could physically and/or mentally do it. But, would it be right for you? Would it be organic and natural for you? Would you be happy or good at it? Would it be fruitful? Would it end up frustrating you in the end and be unsatisfying. I do believe God has a plan for all of us, but he doesn’t show us the full hand of cards all at once. He reveals it slowly over a lifetime and if we are diligent and listen close enough we will hear & understand…maybe.



…Building a Business – Derailed (slightly)

I wasn’t going to start on the Building a Business part of the series until I was done with the Building a Home, but as I learn & go along here, I am experiencing things/feelings/events that are worth talking about when starting and running a business and today it’s derailment.

We all have those moments where we are minding our own business (literally), working our hearts out, striving for a goal we’ve made for ourselves when BAM! out of the clear blue comes a comment, an email, an interaction that takes us so off guard that we find ourselves hitting the cold, hard pavement. Ouch!

How do we react? Do we respond? Do we swallow it? Use it? Ignore it? Judge it? Judge ourselves? Change our minds? God-forbid DOUBT ourselves? Or maybe just get in a warm bed with a cup of tea and turn on reruns of the Golden Girls until we fall asleep and can deal the next day?

“Take a pause. Take a breath.” So says my DT (Dear Therapist!)

This English major does not know anything about business, but I know what it means to love something so much that you want to do it well and you want to do it every day and you want to talk and write about it and share it. And as fun as that sounds it also takes a lot of faith in what you’ve decided to devote so much time into. You have to have faith that you are moving in the right direction for you. Especially when you are running a creative business where it’s all heart and most of the time just YOU working on EVERYTHING. In my case, when there is only me to answer to as I am the buyer, the painter, the mover, the marketer, the seller, the accountant, the blogger, etc. it’s a lot of gut, prayer, and the kind encouragement of so many of you.  Of course there’s freedom that comes with this kind of intentionality because you create it, you can shape it. It’s freedom to make your business into anything you want to because it is you whose doing all the work!

Take a pause. Take a breath.

That email, note, word, call was from somewhere from that person’s planet and experience and it doesn’t have to be about you, who you are, what you are doing and where you are going. For everyone 1,000 kind words, there’s one sour one. My DT would warn me not to fall into the rabbit hole. Needless to say any reference to Alice in Wonderland works for me.

And after that, if I still need a soft place to land, my tears normally fall onto the belly of one of these orange friends.