In the blink of an eye, a year has passed from our first collection launch - the Fall 2021 box!
So much, yet so little has changed in a year.
What's that "Wallflowers" song quote? I ain't changed, but I know I ain't the same.
I feel that deep. I've certainly learned a lot, grown as a wife, mom, business owner, pushed out of my comfort zone, and yet still remain in some comfort zones. I could wax poetic on how one can change and remain the same, but will spare you my philosophical insights for now.
I want to share what I've learned over this past year as a small business owner - personally and professionally. Some days are easy, fun, and exciting. Other days are very difficult and overwhelming, but I try my best to take these days in stride and continue with a smile on my face. On to my takeaways - in no particular order:
Shipping is expensive!
As a textbook Type-A personality, I like to believe I always have a plan and have thought of everything. Enter shipping large boxes of home decor to prove me otherwise.
Prior to our first box launch, I researched shipping costs, calculated box measurements and thought I knew what I was doing. Even with the preparation, the items I selected for the fall 2021 launch, were not at all selected for their ability to ship in a small box. They were pretty, I liked them, thought my customers would like them, and that was all that mattered (bye, bye everything I knew about cubic ship pricing!)
Then, I packaged up these orders, entered shipping and weight information into a neat, online third-party vendor, and was flabbergasted at the shipping cost. This was the first and last lesson I've had to learn on shipping.
My Mantra: if it don't fit, it don't ship! Would I love to ship beautiful wicker storage baskets? ABSOLUTELY? Can abode box afford it? absolutely not LOL So until the day comes where we profitable enough to take a hit on shipping, every abode item is diligenced for it's measurements, ability to fit in a certain size box, while still maintaining the abode standards for prettiness.
Show up on social media
Admittedly, I feel fairly comfortable being on social, sharing my world. However, it still took me time to warm up and feel like I could be myself in front of strangers.
I've learned when building a brand where social media is a sales component, you have to show your face. An old boss used to say, "You'll never regret showing up." And I feel this way 100% about social. Show your face, be yourself and build connections. Sometimes it definitely feels awkward and I question - does anyone even care about this? But, I continue to show up and share in the hopes I'm building connections and trust with our customers.
Speaking of social media, you will make friends on social!
I used to always think influencers were cheesy when they talked about their community and connections they make. SURPRISE! IT'S TRUE! I can confidently say I've built friendships and connections with women through social media. It sounds cliché, but it's the abode community who I lean on when making decisions, needing feedback, or just need to share a tough day. If you ever want to say hi in a DM or email - please don't think twice! I love chatting with my abode friends.
There will be days you want to pack up & close up shop
This happens on more days then I'd like to admit. When the feedback is great on a product, then you launch to zero orders. When weeks pass without a sale. When you just feel creatively and emotionally tapped and can't imagine sourcing another item or trying to sell something on an Instagram story.
What I've learned - you still have to show up & be consistent. Sometimes it's very, very hard. I tell myself the process of building something that's worth it takes time and energy. And I have to continue with the inputs to get the desired outputs. It could be my Capricorn stubbornness and determination, but I continue knowing there are bigger accomplishments ahead.
The woman I am now, is not the woman I was a year ago
I honestly believe I've become a better person because of abode. This brand has brought me so much joy over the last year. Joy that is reflected in my personal life and relationships. It has made me a better mom, hoping to raise my littles knowing they can take risk and succeed at anything. And it's made me a better wife - although I do tease Jake A LOT that I have more jobs than he does.
This year has also made me more confident as a small business owner. Just recently, when strangers ask me what I do for a living, my answer is "I own a small home decor business."
In the first months of abode, I could never fathom telling people this is my main career.
But, here we are : ) And let me tell you what, there is nothing more satisfying then being able to confidently deliver that information without batting an eye.
To the abode customers and abode cheerleaders, thank you for making this year possible.
I am humbled by every order and love helping your homes feel more beautiful.