Thank you for visiting my blog; it is an exciting venture for me and I hope this will become a forum for moms and homemakers of all types to share stories, frustrations, and triumphs. There will be recipes, pictures of my latest and greatest soap creations, and anything I think will be interesting to Enthusiastic Homemakers.....

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Going Big and Going Home


Seven years ago this month, a stay-at-home mom of five pressed "submit" on her first Etsy listing. I look back on my then nearly ten years of being what I affectionately referred to as a "housewife" almost as if it were a dream. I was great at it. Really, really, great. My house was orderly and tastefully decorated. My children were in coordinated clothes. I myself never left the house without full makeup and often wore clothes I made myself. Oh, how I loved it. Baking a pie in the afternoon while listening to AM radio. Scrubbing the kitchen floor with a scrub brush and a bucket of soapy water. I was a relic.

And then I went through the looking glass. A twisting, winding path that would lead me to the picture above. On the floor of Nasdaq as confetti rained down. Yes, I was nearly 7 months pregnant at the time and my lower back was killing me, but I had traveled to NYC. I rode the subway! I visited Etsy HQ and sold my soap in Times Square. And if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere (as the saying goes).

But did I make it? I'm still not sure.

This year I closed my shop. It was a painful decision. I had more than 30,000 sales on Etsy by that time. I should be proud, I worked really hard at it for a long time. For a brief shining moment, it was my dream and I imagined myself turning it into an empire. And then it turned into something else. By the end, it stung.

The beginning of the end started just a few months after that moment on the Nasdaq floor. That July, had given birth to my sixth child but something wasn't right with me. I was suffering from postpartum depression that caused crippling anxiety. I could hardly bear to open my emails in the morning. I started to avoid them, going longer and longer before responding to customers. I had handed over the day-to-day operations to my husband and teenage son while I recovered. But when I had imagined going back to handling everything, I found that I wasn't ready. So my husband (who worked full-time) was burning the midnight oil every night making products while I ordered supplies and printed labels and answered emails and our son shipped orders. Things started to slip through the cracks. I remember clearly sitting on my bed with my laptop open to convos, holding the baby, with tears streaming down my face because I was dreading opening my messages. I started to get complaints about the slow response time and the slower shipping time. They were legitimate complaints but I felt powerless to address them. My mental state was not good and I simply couldn't handle being back at work yet. But I felt obligated to stay open because by this time, I had taken out loans for operating expenses and these loans required me to be open, making daily sales. At this point, I was also responsible for making a good portion of our family income. With a new baby and new expenses, I couldn't do anything else but keep plodding along.

Then one day, I opened my shop and realized I had lost my five star rating. I was devastated. It was then that I realized something had to change. I ended up going on vacation mode in order to catch up and started to do that whenever I felt the need. During the times that I was closed to catch my breath, I noticed that I felt happier, freer. I knew that my focus had changed and that my business was no longer bringing me joy. And wasn't that the point in the first place? To make our lives better?

By the beginning of 2016, the seed was planted in my head that my shop had an expiration date. In August 2016, I started college at Northwest Nazarene University as a 36 year old freshmen. It was time to move on to my next stage. I also found out I was pregnant with my seventh child, my only daughter. I felt like the universe was telling me I was making the right choice. But I knew I had to keep my business going until I could wrap it up in an organized fashion and after I had paid off all my loans. I also wanted to get to 30,000 sales just because. After my daughter was born, I had learned my lesson about overextending myself and I took a lengthy maternity leave. No more returning convos from my hospital bed as I had in 2015.

I closed my shop for good in October, after making my final payment to the bank that loaned me operating capital. It was over. For the first time in seven years, I was able to decorate my house for Christmas, set up my Christmas village, bake cookies and watch movies with my kids. As sad as I was (and am) about the end of PuurBody it was 100% the right decision. I am so grateful for every customer that believed in me and took a chance on my business when it was so new. I feel guilty sometimes that I was not able to "go big" but instead chose to "go home" but I know in my heart it was the right step.

I am not sure what I will do about my product formulas, which were all painstakingly developed by me and were hard for me to even share with my husband when he started learning to make products. I have received many emails from former customers who want to order my natural deodorant. I thought of just giving them the formula but I don't feel ready to give up my "babies" and am not sure what I will do with my proprietary information in the future. Sometimes I'm tempted just to whip up a batch of deodorant and gift it to those who have asked but I feel that would start me down the road to another business and I really don't want to go there! I definitely have the entrepreneurial spirit and often think of ideas for other business ventures and have to mentally slap myself to prevent me from doing them.

Now I am a stay-at-home-mom again and a Sophomore in college, pursuing my Master's degree. Life is good. I have come home.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Finding my Joy

Since I wrote last, I have been in homebody mode, in my winter break for college and stuck under a historic winter storm that has dumped unprecedented amounts of snow and meant that we have been hovering around zero degrees farenheit.

I've been thinking a lot about what I want for this year, as people are apt to do after New Year's and I'm finding myself gravitating to many of the same hobbies that I have not had time for in years. Meal planning, couponing and crocheting have all been happening. I have crocheted a soft pink lacy blanket for the expected baby girl and started another. I am anxious to get back to my studies as I find that I really enjoy being a college student. This upcoming semester I will be studying some subjects that I really enjoy, like Literature and Christian Theology.

I dyed my hair platinum blonde with rose quartz ombre in what is left of my bright red hair that I had months ago. I am still feeling unsettled and sometimes like I'm not accomplishing enough but I am thankful that I am adapting well to my new reality. Gone are the coffee-fueled all-nighters and the pressure to meet sales goals. Now I am taking my sales as they come and spending more time working on the things that are truly "Important to Me". I also watched the documentary, "For Joey" about Joey Feek and her cancer battle. It is really hard to feel sorry for oneself when presented with a story like that, and that's a good thing.