Though I have friends, family and fans lined up at their local TJMaxx and Sally Beauty store to buy our newest and freshest collection our Plant Inspired Beauty Care, most don’t know the failures I’ve overcome to get products out the door and in the hands of these major retailers. I get to boast that our all natural beauty line is in 7000 retail stores now, but when we got started and opened our own factory just to keep products on shelves I bet most people wouldn’t believe the failures I went through to get there. I’ll never forget being 34 weeks or so pregnant when the contract manufacturer that I used to make my newest All Natural line of sugar scrubs finally answered my ignored phone calls and emails. They answered to say, I know we made this deal for my then 3,000 retailers over a year ago, but they were going out of business and my rep was losing his job that same day I was being made aware of the order cancellation. Already pregnant, hot, bothered and ready to deliver my own baby. I dragged my sweaty self to drive an hour to their actual factory to do my very best to convince them that our brand would suffer its very lively hood with major stores like Ross, TJMaxx, and Burlington. I was so sad to learn that no matter how hard I tried, they wouldn’t budge. They wouldn’t even try as one of their last runs to add or being making my line. I had 4 weeks to intended delivery and I had a choice to make. I could be another statistic and close my women-owned business doors just as fast as they opened or I could pull up my skirt just high enough to free my legs to run the uphill battle I was about to face. I decided, with a 35-week old baby bump and all to call my retailers and barter a deal – I would open my own factory – baby in tow – with just 2 employees and they’d give me 4 more weeks to complete my order delivery. I remember how heartily they laughed at me, advising me not to do the unthinkable. Looking back, maybe I should have listened. Maybe I would not have later wanted to take my own life, be found crouched in corners on several occasions balling my mascaraed eyes out. I would not have tripped in and out of my big wheeled SUV trying to move too fast to drop off kids and meet another warehouse facility manager to find a new space – only if I would have just taken the easier route and given up. I did everything but give up. I pushed right along, finding a warehouse, finding suppliers of sugar, salt, glycerin, and fragrance. I couldn’t believe it. I was about to be a mom of 3, under 40 and opening my very own 40 man, 2 shift factory just 5 miles from my home only to appease the pride of not wanting to fail and close my all natural skin care business. It worked. I delivered my baby and I delivered my order. I found staff from my church and I found suppliers and a warehouse that was willing to give me the benefit of the doubt and go out on a limb with me. I did it! I opened a factory. Almost 3 years later we are now in 7,000 stores with 2 additional lines and nearly 20 new styles and fragrances! We’ve since closed our factory (after I dropped barrels of glycerin and tons of salt on my poor toes) but we still have the story to tell of inspiration and simply not giving up! I made several mistakes along the way but the very first one that mattered the most was nearly giving up. I had it all figured out and the minute I couldn’t see my way through the desperate end I wanted to give up. After hearing the news that our manufacturing contract was voided we cried together and decided that maybe we had it all wrong and we weren’t bound for success after all. We were in a state of depression and disbelief. We were in a pit but we had to get out. We took 4 steps to get out the pit:
Stepping back together to meditate on the issue itself. We decided the magnitude from a step back actually isn’t as big as they appear in the mirror. We stepped back and could really analyze who we could call for help.
Call for help
We called our spiritual counselor and mentor – friend. He told us to believe in ourselves and get the job done on our own. He believed for us when we had no energy to believe.
Believe in yourself + Make A Plan
Once we dried our tears we could actually see a way out of the despair. We plotted and planned 3 ways we could get out of our rut. We tested all three options and the one that made the most sense was the one that we stuck with and made a move on.
JFDI – Just Focus & Do It
We are firm believers as entrepreneurs that you can’t just speak about it, you have to be about it. Once we had our plan we didn’t allow financial resources or lack thereof to stand in our way. We believed that people were out there just waiting to help us. We just needed to get in contact with the right people that were there to help us make it happen.