Though I've worked solo the majority of these past 5 years, I've never been alone. My family, my friends, my repeat customers/biggest cheerleaders, and my other small business friends have all been there right alongside me. Cultivating a community of strong, women business owners has been one of the most paramount things I've done for both my mental health and the success of my business. I can't tell you how many times I've lamented to a creative friend about this thing or the other, and I immediately hear a "omg, me too!" What a blessing to know that we aren't expected to do this alone.
I doubt you will ever meet a single soul who says "Yep, this is it. I've reached all my goals in life; I have nothing left to accomplish. My work is finished." Okay, maybe you will, but as an enneagram 3, this will never be my reality - and I'm okay with it. I've always thought that once I reach that milestone, land that wholesale account, make that much money a month, that I'll be satisfied and finished. But, no. Even if or when I do reach those accomplishments, I'm always eager for the next thing. Or, I don't reach that thing I wanted, and I'm presented with a new fun challenge of figuring out what I want to do instead. I guess what I'm saying is that I find comfort in knowing that we're all on a journey. Even the most successful entrepreneurs in the world still have days (or months) when they don't feel like they've "made it." They're still struggling and solving problems day in and day out just like the rest of us. So even when I'm 50 years into this deal, I hope I'll still be curious about what's next and how I can improve.
I started this business with a grand idea of what I wanted it to be. I mean, truthfully, I had NO idea what I was doing but as I watched other businesses kill it from afar, I thought, "hey, how hard can this really be?" HA! and again HA! Hilarious what my little 24 year old ignorant brain thought. But anyway, my "idea" of what I thought MFF would be five years from the day it started was absolutely NOWHERE what it is today, and I'm really okay with it. When I started, I wanted to be in every single store across America, I wanted to be traveling all over the place, and making buckets of money. While I'd still love to be making buckets of money, my reality is very different than what I'd dreamt about. I'm doing so much more custom work (and finding incredible fulfillment from it), very few wholesale accounts, and well, let's just say the money part - it's not buckets, but I am able to sleep a little better at night. (just a little, it's still very much a work in progress) So, although change from my original plan has been unexpected, I'm grateful to have embraced this new direction you guys (my dear, amazing customers) have taken MFF into! Turns out, it's better than I imagined - I get to work from home and snuggle my dog like 85% of the time while also working, and when I travel, I more often do it for fun than business, which I love.
I don't have a 9-5 job. I don't even have a Monday-Friday job. I love that. I can do a midday yoga class (though I rarely do) or go visit a friend for a long weekend just because I want to (and because I worked my tail off the days leading up to it), and it's taken me a long time not to feel guilty about it. But, I'm learning to give myself grace and see the bigger picture. I'm grateful my husband has a similar work situation as I do because he gets it, and we often remind each other to put the laptop away and just relax. I've learned especially over the past year how important self-care and relaxation time are to my mental health and sometimes if I'm working a trunk show all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I give myself a lazy Monday. I'm probably still responding to emails or packaging up orders, but I'm doing it from the comfort of my couch with a guilty pleasure tv show in the background. I'll be honest, I'm not an early riser. I'm doing well if I'm up and in my office by 8:30 most days (and that means I woke up at 8:15, poured coffee, and walked the ten steps from my bedroom to my office). But, more often than not, I work well into the night. Stopping around 6 to walk the dog and eat some dinner, and then I bring my laptop into the living room to continue working next to my husband until we both fall asleep. It might sound like a crazy schedule, but those long days allow for me to have calmer days or off days without guilt, and I'm really, really grateful for that.
I've had my fair-share of reality check days where I wonder "gosh, do I even love what I'm doing? I'm not making any money! Why am I even doing this?" (yeah, for real, I think these thoughts) And then one of you emails me - raving about the new pair of earrings I made you from your grandmother's diamonds that give you all the feels - and my little heart does a quiet leap. Or, you comment on an instagram post how much you love a design or want to work with me - and it makes me giddy. Seeing your pictures, hearing your stories that's why I do this. Whenever I'm doubting myself, my husband is usually the first to remind me - you're making a difference, Fran. And when I get all hung-up on "oh yeah? but I just make jewelry. I mean how much difference can I really be making?" He reminds me I'm not just making jewelry - I'm making memories and relationships and connections. I'm bringing families together, creating heirlooms, and bringing joy into people's lives. And yall, there's just nothing better than when you invite me in to do that. I really don't feel worthy, but damn, I'm grateful for your trust and confidence in me and my designs. It truly means the world. So although sometimes I have to be reminded of what I'm doing here, I know that no matter what, if yall don't love it, I don't love it. And if I don't love it, then what the heck am I doing? Life's too short to waste time doing something you don't love. When I stop loving it, I guess I'll just find something else to do.
Planner: Alston Events
Invitations & Table Decor: Surcie
Placecard Menus: Champagne Maker
Signature Cocktail Details: Peyton's Post
Custom Monogrammed Linens: Simply Sandra Monograms
Food: Rocky Top Catering
Chair Rentals: Party Reflections
Congratulations on five years!! I had to send you a message after I read your five years of what you have learned! First of all, I’m not even sure how I came across your Instagram page but when I did I just smiled! Finally, a young person sees how incredibly special it is to have, wear and honor something from our past generations! Iam a designer and basically Encourage my clients to pull out special and meaningful things out of the attic / storage that remind them of their childhood and positive experiences that we can repurpose / redesign and display in their new modern homes all the time! They often seemed baffled but then quickly think of items that bring them a smile and all the feels:)) I love that you are doing this with jewelry!! I recently had a ring made for my daughter’s 21st birthday with One of my mothers stones from her wedding ring. It truly was the most special and meaningful thing to her and it is incredibly heartwarming that my daughter gets to look at it every day and wear a smile. My mother Is no longer with us on this earth but We have touches of her all around us!! Iam also a business owner the blossomed from a hobby! I quit my corporate job 18 years ago after I had my third child to stay home. Best decision I ever made!! Stay strong, faithful and encouraged!
I love this so much, and was “YES, ME TOO”ing all of the five. Glad to know you, MF.