Hey guys! So much has transpired in so many ways since I wrote my last blog post and I’ll be honest, at times it’s been hard for me to open up and be vulnerable about everything going on. Social media can be such a blessing (in my case my livelihood depends on it) but I think we can all agree on how easy it is to feel pressured into portraying a life that is exciting, put together and glamorous.
At the end of last year, I can’t say I was in the best place. The business was doing great, but I was working non-stop to support my family and in many ways felt as though I was swimming against my life’s current. My skin was always broken out, my energy levels were low and when I did stop working and tried to sleep at night, I’d lay there and worry about the future and all the unknowns. I have and had a lot to be thankful for, I’ve just always been one of those people who has a very strong sense of direction. My grandfather always refers to it as my "internal north star". If I don't feel like I’m heading the right way I tend to panic. This year has also brought on a ton of learning lessons for my business. If there's anything I know as a constant, it's that entrepreneurship has a way at challenging you every time you reach a place of comfort and stability. All of a sudden there were new hurdles to tackle like keeping our fabrics consistent as we grow, communicating from a distance with my business partner, and frankly just learning to keep up with a workload that exceeded the abilities of a single person (me).
Spring came, I decided to make some changes. As some of you know, I run jean and June and also manufacture for other companies. I’m still figuring out this balance, but I knew I wanted to get Jean and June on a track that allowed it to grow exponentially in a sustainable way. I signed on with an ad agency (that I’m still with) and to make that huge investment worth the risk I made sure that systems were in place to keep up with the growth I knew would happen. I found a fulfillment center from a really solid reference, that was huge. We shipped everything down to them and turned on ads. I noticed a difference that same day. It was exciting. My personal life however was a mess and had been for quite some time. As some of you know, I had been separated from the kid’s dad a few years back and we were back together trying to make things work. The one thing I’m thankful for is that when the day comes and my kids ask me if I think there’s any way things could have worked with their dad, I can give them a completely honest answer and know that I tried my hardest to make that happen. It just didn’t, it doesn’t. I’m starting to recognize more and more now how much pressure we put on ourselves as women, partners and parents. I'm also increasingly aware of other people's opinions about me, especially as a mother. Anyway, that pressure escalated to the point where I felt completely suffocated and ultimately our relationship ended after we cohabited for quite some time.
Single motherhood, man, it’s tough. I sometimes wonder if I didn’t get back together with the kids dad just to avoid how tough parenting alone really is. The juggle is so real, and so is the mom guilt. Without disclosing too much, I have my kids 100% of the time right now. I’m constantly seeking the balance between motherhood and work, and I'm so aware of where I am financially at all times. Lacking the security of a consistent paycheck makes me a little crazy at times, especially since I'm the sole provider for my little family. I work my butt off to provide the life I want for us, then feel guilty about working too much. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. It’s lonely too, not having someone to look at or laugh with when your kids do something adorable, or to tell you to take a deep breath when the day has been long and the bedtime routine seems never ending. It’s things like this that keep me off my Instagram stories. It feels messy, raw, and frankly I’m a little shameful. I'm always wondering if people will judge me and my choices, and I hate it when people feel bad for me. I will say, the kids seem to get it, on some level. The energy hadn't been good and we’ve now managed to find a good groove. Ultimately having happy parents is in my opinion the best thing a child can have, even if that means they aren’t happy together. I recently started posting on my personal account just because I can be a little more candid there, not always worried about the image I have as the brand owner. Ultimately the business is so important to me and our family that I tend to over think things and get a little in my head. Then I become a hermit. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can bridge that gap and share more behind the scenes. Most of my life is spent on the computer, making spreadsheets and working on emails or design. Posting stories on my laptop seems a little blazé, but I’ll figure it out. I always do. Staying engaged and authentic with all of you is so important to me. Feedback is always encouraged.
Now, back to the business, the fulfillment center crashed and burned. Really. It was a nightmare. I’ve never felt so frustrated and discouraged by any experience as a business owner. I lost money but also felt like I let my customers down. We had everything shipped back here pretty immediately after realizing things weren’t working. The same day that our two 600 pound palates of inventory arrived I lost my only employee. I rented a warehouse space and tried to get back on track, only to then place an order of 750 of the wrong sweatshirts. Whoops. Probably the lowest point of the year.
Since then, I’ve been trying to find the right pace as we’ve grown tremendously. I have gained the amazing support of my assistant Abbie who I honestly count my blessings for every day. Life is as nonstop as it was, but I also feel alive and full of purpose and opportunity. Visiting our facilities in LA is one of my absolute favorite things to do, I can honestly say there is no job I’d rather be doing. I’m hoping to relocate close to work sometime soon, it’s just about figuring out the details and making the right moves. In addition to all of this, I just signed on with a local fulfillment center that I’m really excited about, we also have a few huge orders coming in that should mean a full restock for the first time in forever. It feels like I’m finally catching up and getting my stride. It makes me truly believe that for every down there is an up, you just have to keep moving and not look back. Keep. Moving. Forward.
The thing I hear the most from people is that they don’t know how I do it. I think I mentioned that in my last post. Frankly, I don’t. Not always. I tend to throw myself into every situation and just learn as I go. I’m always failing at at least one aspect of my life, but I’m also always giving it my all and I’ve found a tremendous amount of strength that I didn’t realize I had by pushing myself through those moments of fear and doubt. Good things happen on the other side, typically.
I’m so thankful for all of you that have supported, encouraged, or just been here with me for this journey. I am certainly human, no matter how polished I try to appear, and I’ll always be willing to share as much of my story as I can. We’re all learning, right? I hope there’s a thing or two I’ve shared that you can relate to, or learn from, too.