Just as quickly as the seasons change from summer to fall, so do the seasons in our lives and, for me, in business.
As I write this, we are preparing to move out of our existing retail location, The Loft Marketplace.
There are times when I get “all in my feelings.” This is one of those times. This is a bittersweet moment, filled with gratitude and love.
Back to the beginning.
The Loft Marketplace was my second retail location in Wichita Falls, Texas. And truly, it was a dream come true.
I had been working out of a 600 square foot space. Yep, it was only 600 square feet. My tiny shop was exactly what I needed when I started my business. But that season changed when my business started to grow.
My first Christmas season in my tiny shop showed me the possibilities. I saw what my business could be. As I watched people line up down the sidewalk in front of my store, I realized I had something special.
In 2015, my kids were 7 and 10. All I wanted was to provide an income for the little family I loved so much and to share my talents with others.
I had big dreams. I couldn’t have imagined what would come of those dreams, but they drove me. My dreams helped push me through the tough days. They helped me see that the hard work I was putting in would pay off… someday.
The Loft Marketplace is born.
The next year, The Loft Marketplace was born. I had 4,000 beautiful square feet to fill with so many things. Gifts, apparel, decor, accessories… and it came with a giant studio I could teach from.
Walking into that space, I saw the possibilities of what could be. It fed my creativity and allowed me to dream even bigger.
I filled that studio with hundreds of ladies. They came to paint together, build friendships, and just do something for themselves. Coming to the studio meant they could put life’s worries away for a few hours and just enjoy painting with me.
I loved every minute of it.
Changing seasons means making changes.
We enjoyed painting in that studio for years… and then my season of motherhood started to change.
My kids were getting older and were involved in sports and other activities. I loved my work. Loved my work. But I love my kids more.
I’ll never forget one night when my daughter was playing in a soccer tournament. Her team made the finals.
It was the championship game. My daughter was the goalkeeper. The game ended in a tie and went to penalty kicks.
My daughter had never faced penalty kicks before. She blocked every one of those shots and her team ended up winning.
I missed it.
I was teaching a paint night that had been on my schedule and sold out for months. I couldn’t cancel it.
But I missed my daughter’s game.
I knew then the season of my business had to change to fit the season of my life. I had to work fewer evenings and weekends. And that meant giving up my paint nights.
The decision to end those wonderful nights with all those ladies who had become friends was hard. Really hard. It wasn’t that I didn’t love them. It wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful for them.
It was that I didn’t want to miss those championship games anymore. I wanted to be there for my kids – for the big moments and for the small ones, too.
Letting go of paint parties freed me up to grow my business in different ways. My little subscription box was growing at a speed I couldn’t keep up with. By taking something off my plate, I was able to focus on this new connection I was creating with my subscribers.
I had new dreams. Different dreams. And a new journey was about to begin.
A new season brings new growth and new challenges.
By 2019, my subscribers had grown into the thousands. My studio turned into a fulfillment center. We packed and shipped boxes all over the country from that little studio.
I saw the shift in my customer base and in what they wanted from me. All good business owners shift WITH their customers. If they had a need, I was filling it. By the end of that year, another new season was upon us. What had seemed like such a big space was now too small. I needed more room to keep up with the current subscriber base and to even consider growing.
Then 2020 hit us all like a ton of bricks. The uncertainty, the unknowns, the worry. What was going to happen to my business?
I held on. I held on for dear life wondering what would happen to this dream I had built. And what about my new dreams? Were they even possible now?
When our physical location was shut down for 45 days, I reevaluated everything. My business, my life, my family, and who I was.
You see, my customers didn’t stop shopping with me while my shop was closed. In fact, it was the opposite. My sales and customer base grew like crazy. All the items in my physical location that were in the online shop were selling better than they ever had in the store.
My customers wanted to shop online. But I was only offering a little bit of online shopping. My customers showed me I didn’t need to fill this big building up with inventory just so it would look pretty. I didn’t need to work six days a week to keep the doors open.
I could manage my inventory levels, my work schedule, and be so much more efficient… if I went online.
But that meant letting go of that big, beautiful building.
It’s hard to make these decisions. I loved that store. I loved the connections I made with people at that store. I loved the business that I built in that building. But it was time for a new season. A new season of life and a new season of business.
Some things change, others remain the same.
At the end of 2020, we moved into our new warehouse. It gave us the space we needed so badly. The backroom in the old store didn’t have enough space to house the inventory for our online shop.
We didn’t have enough room to pack subscription boxes. The lack of space made us inefficient and we felt defeated each month.
As the online store continued to grow and the physical location didn’t, the right decision became clear.
Our lease is up this month for The Loft Marketplace. We won’t be renewing.
Moving all our things out has been bittersweet. The Loft Marketplace is a big part of what got me here. But, we still get to see customers regularly. They stop by the warehouse to pick up orders, shop in the warehouse storefront, or just to bring us treats and tell us we’re doing a good job. I love our customers!
In this new season, I have teenagers. My kids are 13 and 15. Things aren’t the same as when they were younger. And that’s okay. Life changes and business changes along the way.
Sometimes we have to let something go in order to open space for something new. For me, it’s the new warehouse and new employees we keep adding as my business grows in lots of different directions.
The dreams I have now are not the dreams I had then. Dreams change over time.
What hasn’t changed is my mission. Helping women feel inspired and good about themselves. Whether we did that with painting parties or t-shirts, monogrammed subscription boxes or the perfect gift for themselves, we helped women. We continue to help women.
I also get to show up every day and help thousands of women build their own businesses. Something I never saw on my path, but something I love.
It’s okay to let things go. You can’t open yourself up to new possibilities if you keep holding on to what used to be or what could have been.
Dream big, listen to your heart, and live each day to fulfill your purpose.
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