It's hard for me to believe that the end of this year completes the shop's third year in operation. It's been a wild ride since I opened this shop full-time at the end of 2019: first C*VID, then supply chain issues, now inflation, and potentially that dreaded "R" word that seems to be lurking around the corner.
Earlier this week, I was reading a story of a local Mississippi business that is closing its doors effective immediately. All 2700+ employees were laid off without any notice. It's absolutely heartbreaking, and the news comes at the worst time of the year. These stories seem to be more common lately as our economic forecast grows a bit more grim each day.
Even with COVID and supply chain issues in my first two years, it was fairly easy to sell my pillows. We all had money to spend, and we were all eager to freshen up our homes that had now become our offices. But something changed this summer. What should've been a big sales month in July turned into my first month of negative growth. That stung a bit, and it certainly brought about a bit of anxiety thinking this might be the new normal for a while.
In hard, slower seasons like this one, it would be reasonable for anyone to give up and close up shop. Something I hear a lot from people when I talk about my pillow shop? "At least you have something to fall back on if it doesn't work out!" Yes, I could walk away at any given point and go back to something more financially stable and less volatile. While this is all technically true, and I completely understand the sentiment, any entrepreneur that operates with this mentality is certainly doomed to fail. I'm also quick to note in a field that requires high-level skills and quick thinking, it's probably not a smart move to hire a nurse who has been out of practice for 3 years. Plus, something in my stubborn nature loves a good challenge, and although this season might be the toughest this shop has yet faced, I'm up for it. So, I press on believing this shop is the only thing that will keep me and (most importantly) Ruth fed.
You and your kind messages, your sharing of my pillow shop with your friends and family, and your orders have been the most encouraging through these 3 years. It's not lost on me that the only reason this shop has wind in its sails is because of you. My cup runneth over that you allow me this creative outlet and allow me to help make your house a home. It is with Thanksgiving that I wake up every morning and do this work that brings me so much joy.
I was explaining to a friend recently that 2023 will look a little different in the shop. I'm taking a few risks and modifying our product line a bit. I commented to her that this might be too risky in a slower season such as this. It would be safer and probably smarter to push the "best sellers" and keep inventory that is known to move. She kindly reminded me of that first "little" risk I took at the end of 2019. Maybe these changes to the shop will be a flop, but that same little "unsettled" feeling I had in 2019 that led me to opening this shop full-time is similar to this same "unsettled" feeling I have now. If I don't take this leap now, this door may never open again, so I hope you'll keep following along in anticipation of new patterns, styles, and shop updates to come!
I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with joy and laughter, surrounded by the ones you love. I hope that as we all may face new challenges in the seasons ahead, we'll remember to give thanks and count our blessings for each opportunity, each open door, and each person who helped carry us through.