December 19, 2015
During the summer of 2014 I was talking with mom about starting a new business for apparel. By this time I had been working on my shop (Messies Munchkins) for a little over 2 years and I had reached well over 2,000 sales. I made and sold hair accessories but I was taking a break to spend time with my family and to raise my daughter. Within minutes after looking at apparel on etsy and pinterest…I decided that I could do this, I could make custom apparel. I was so ecstatic to get started and as usual, I had to do my research. When I started Messies Munchkins I was constantly learning, constantly researching. I remember working through all hours of the night just to figure out how to make sales, how to make a better shop, how to improve customer service.. all of those sorts. It’s a lot of work, but I felt that it was worth it. I thought that being able to stay home with my daughter and have a small business on the side was a dream! And so it was, for a short while.
By November of 2014 I made my first T-Shirt deal with Jane and I sold 23 shirts. I was super happy! By the end of the year I ended up selling 73 shirts. By March of 2015 I knew that this is where I wanted to take my shop and I decided to re-brand. Messies Munchkins was now Cactus Flower Apparel. As I continued my research I began to keep tabs on certain shops that sold apparel completely different than mine. I noticed that they were selling WAY more than I could ever imagine to sell but I wanted to see if I could take my business to a new level. I wanted to see if I could DO MORE. It took me several attempts to figure out what worked for my shop and my items but the more I tweaked my listings, the more I sold. I learned a lot about building a brand and working hard.
From November of 2014 to November 2015 I made 1,486 sales and I couldn’t have been more thrilled! but… I was exhausted. Although I had so much fun creating custom orders, when the same style would sell 100 times over it made everything less enjoyable and more stressful. Then with all of these sales, came limited family time. Fewer time spent having fun and enjoying the day with my loved ones. I wanted my business to thrive but I never imagined the toll it would take on me or my family.
During that year, we decided we wanted our family to grow, and it began to. A little before Mother’s day, we found out we were expecting. Our new addition would come late December/ early January. Between being pregnant and my orders, my body began to slow down. After working myself so hard that even Doctors were telling me to rest… I realized that I was throwing away precious moments, precious memories. I have such an amazing privilege to stay home with my daughter, soon to be two daughters, and I was seeing her less and less because I had hundreds of orders to fulfill. I realized that I was losing valuable time with her that I didn’t have to lose. I have been blessed with the opportunity to stay home and raise my children, why was I abusing that blessing? I originally wanted to just “see if I could do it” see if I could become successful and then I got sucked in to wanting more… Can I do more? Of course! Is it worth it? No. There were days when I had my WHOLE family helping me with orders. It was no longer fun… it was extremely stressful. Along with that stress came fear, fear of not making items up to my standards.. up to my customers standards.
Out of all my orders I received maybe 10 horrible, ugly messages and approx. 20 refunds. Not bad… but I was constantly worrying about receiving more. I was scared to fail myself and the customers. After a while, my work never seemed to leave my mind. I thought about it from the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep…. then it started to creep into my dreams! In the back of my mind, I knew this wasn’t right but I kept telling myself I had to keep working to help my family, to help my husband. But I believe that through those lies was Satan… Satan whispering those things to me. Putting worry and fear into my heart and mind. Why would he want me spending time creating a home, raising a Godly family? Doing exactly what I’m meant to do. Doing what God created me to do.
When I was in High School I decided I wanted to become an Elementary School teacher, specifically for the second grade. Once I got into college I immediately began taking courses for that degree and as I completed my sophomore year of school, I realized that I no longer wanted to be on that path. I vividly remember feeling like I was done, God gave me such a strong energy (for lack of a better word) to stop. My family didn’t exactly agree with this decision but I did quit school and I decided to pursue art. At this time I didn’t know where I was meant to be but art is what felt most natural. Due to budget cuts, I was laid off from a great job (the only “real” job I’ve had, to this day) and that is when I started looking more into Etsy. With time I became successful with Etsy and I decided to try out Jane (Very Jane back then) and I worked my butt off to get on their site. By this time I was 20 and married! For some crazy reason, my husband let me continue my little shop stuff (we didn’t have kids yet) and I never looked for another “real” job again. I made a little over $400 each month and that was enough to pay my car. My husband paid for everything else.
We had our first baby when we were 21 and now we will have our second at 23. When my first daughter was born I wanted to spend every second of every day with her but I remember having 73 orders to fulfill when she was just a couple of weeks old! Not how I wanted to start out motherhood. After that I closed my shop (Messies Munchkins) so I could raise my baby and spend time with my family.
Somewhere along the line I re-branded and I was working on shop stuff while pregnant again. I completely forgot about how I felt with my newborn daughter and having to work that I took on more orders than I should have. Crazy me, I wanted to keep my shop open during the birth of my second child! I seriously went in a complete circle. But once again, God has shown me the path I’m meant for and I’m SO completely ready to stop fighting it.
We are in the process of building a new home and I am currently 37 weeks pregnant. I am beyond ready to settle down and enjoy my family. I am at peace with where I’m at and I’m not afraid of the future. I’m ready to teach my babies about God and raise them through him. I know that someday they will be homeschooled, by me. Because THAT’S where God was directing my heart when I felt I wanted to be a teacher. I can’t imagine anything better than being able to teach my own children in the beauty of our own home.
My shop has taught me things I never imagined, and I know that God was helping me through it the whole time. I know that he is the reason I had sales and was successful. I’m so thankful I was given that opportunity and I’m grateful for every single order I received and was able to complete.
Cheers to a new year and a new adventure –