For those who haven't followed us from the beginning, I'd love to take a little trip down memory lane with you. You may want to grab a cup of coffee... this could take awhile. Every small business has a story. Welcome to ours!
Where it all began...
It was 2010, the year our first baby was born. My husband, Wes, and I were five years into our marriage; I was working as a school counselor and Wes was a full-time RN. We were living a good, safe life. But, we had an itch. We found ourselves trying to dream up business ideas or inventions. There was something inside of us that felt like maybe there was a business waiting to be born through us... but we had NO idea what that was. I did journal about it in my prayer journal at the time, asking God to show us what our business was, if that really was something that was in the cards for us. After praying over it a few times, I cast that dream aside and life went on.
(Us, in the early years :) )
Fast forward to January of 2016. I was pregnant with our third child (my sixth pregnancy, three of which had ended in miscarriage). I was still working as a middle school counselor 4 days a week. I enjoyed my work at the school, but there was a part of me that truly never felt like I was a perfect fit for the role. I doubted myself a lot, and questioned why I never could feel quite confident in my counseling ability. I didn't doubt that it was the path God had led me down in college, and then later in grad school, but at 9 months pregnant with baby #3, God began to shift some things around in our lives in some unexpected ways. I didn't realize it at the time, but God was about to shake things up in the best of ways.
(Feeling VERY ready to welcome baby #3!)
Shake It Up!
The first shift occurred when my husband Wes, an RN by profession, got an unexpected job opportunity in medical device sales. This had been what we thought was his dream job- the perfect combo of his medical background and interest in sales. Wes gets to know new people easily and LOVES it. The way that this job seemingly landed in his lap, we felt sure that it was from God. In fact, it was randomly one of my student's fathers who offered him the job just before I was getting ready to take maternity leave. Plus, Wes would be making more money than he ever had in the past. Surely this was a blessing we had to jump on. This opportunity is what then led us to the second shift.
During the third trimester of my pregnancy I had started honing my sign-making craft. First it started as a way to have my own giant wooden sign in my home- something I had wanted for a long time. I chose the lyrics of "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan because, admittedly, the show Parenthood had just come to an end and I was maybe just a little attached to the Braverman's (yeah.. I just admitted that).
(My first sign!)
But before I knew it, I was taking orders from friends on Facebook and crafting several custom signs a week. The potential business opportunity was hard to ignore. This craft was a perfect mesh of my love for home decorating and my belief in the power of words/thoughts. After all, I was a counselor! Besides, I had always had an entrepreneurial spirit... as a kid I was always either crafting something to sell or putting together events for my friends and neighbors. I once even created a library in my backyard with my large book collection and passed out homemade cardboard library cards to all the neighborhood kids. I couldn't help myself... I was always creating something, always building something. Looking back on it, I see how I sort of stuffed that part of my personality away in favor of the safe route as I stepped into adulthood. Getting a college degree and later a master's, working in education, and essentially following in the footsteps of my mom seemed like the responsible thing to do. Exploring other possibilities just wasn't on my radar at that time. But with Wes's new job opportunity and the reality of a third little one to care for, I began to allow myself to ask, "what if?" What if I could turn this new found love for sign making, and ultimately my love for growing a business, into something real and sustainable? I started finding that creating signs not only filled my drive to grow a business, but the signs themselves also had the power to impact homes. As I mentioned earlier, I strongly believe that words hold power, and the words we feed ourselves with in turn feed our spirits, our perspective, our relationships... everything. It felt clear that God was blessing this path as the orders continued to roll in faster than I could fill them. Could it be that this door had been divinely opened, and my school counseling assignment was coming to an end? With the business growing and Wes pursuing a higher paying job that also required A LOT of travel, we agreed that it was time to take a leap of faith and for me to pursue this business full speed ahead. Besides, at this point I was able to run it completely from home and therefore be at home with my baby boy (who was born in February of that year) and two young daughters. But as we would soon discover, things don't always turn out the way we expect.
(Right after baby C was born, shown with one of our very early signs!)
To be continued...
Read Part 2 here!
Read Part 3 here!