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Do what you love...most of the time...on your terms.

Posted by Kirsten Tarman on

Going to be really honest here. When I began this little biz. 7 years ago I thought it would take a completely different direction than it has and I thought I would be doing completely different things in order to manage it.

I had big dreams, high hopes, visions of big orders, volume, lots of growth and new product lines, branding, Instagram crazy success, Shark Tank...you get the picture.  Then very suddenly my life drastically changed. I suffered a brain injury in 2013...just two months after I began selling my designs. It then triggered my very old brain injury from when I was 19 and fell out of a moving car (yes), so very complicated. Now as we near the end of 2019 my brain injury and all that goes with it are still with me, following me to sleep, to work, preventing me from driving for months at a time, reading a book, following a recipe, grocery shopping, talking with family, working, affecting everything from my speech, balance and eyesight to taste buds, smell and memory. There are many things I have now accepted I will never do, as they could ignite my nerves and set me back even further. I will never go boating, ride a ride at Disneyland, go to a loud concert or movie theatre, be in places with large crowds, watch fireworks, etc. Basically anything loud, bumpy, noisy, or where I could accidently get pushed, knocked down (it's happened) or injured. Quiet, smooth, calming things and places are my jam now.    

I realized very slowly, because I was in denial and also thought it would pass at some point, that my big dreams were simply put on hold. I have had weeks where I could not look at my computer screen or get my hands to work well enough to even stuff a pillow. Luckily during the worst of times, my business would slow down and when it seemed I was feeling better, the busy times would come back and keep us afloat. 

I just want to share a few things I have learned along the way about myself during this stage of my life...I do not want a boss! nope, been there, done that, never...I am too old for someone to tell me what to do and not do! I love filling every order, wrapping it just so, wondering who will open it and where it will end up. I like working when I feel like it...I am a workaholic but sometimes my brain prevents me from working when it's ideal. I like taking photographs and filling orders in my PJ's on a Sunday morning or working on my website at midnight when I can't sleep. If it's a beautiful day and I feel well enough to take my doggies out or spend time with a friend, then work will be here when I return.    

I have learned my business is going to stay small, homebased and manageable. It will never be a high volume business that can support us. I am contributing and creating in my own way, on my own terms, in the best way I can. 

I was asked to audition twice for Shark Tank, but had to cancel due to my head injury. I am good with that! I was asked to carry my products through Wayfair, Overstock, Birch Lane, etc. but when I found out the personalized boutique style approach I love would not be possible, I chose to stay small and not sell on such large platforms. 

None of the decisions I have made were easy, or apparent at the time, but my intuition keeps guiding me to a place where I can own and enjoy what I continue to cultivate around my limitations. In other words...do not ever think you need to perfect or in perfect health to create and do something you love and benefit from. Yes, it is stressful at times (Decembers are crazy) but I tell myself it's only pillows and I got this with a little help from my friends and family. People can be mean, especially on the internet, but I chose to always come from a place of kindness. If they want to overreact, lash out, leave a nasty review, say their package was stolen so they will get a free one...that is on them. I focus on my loyal clients who appreciate what I do and all the little details that go into the big picture of running a seven day a week business.  

As I fill orders on a Saturday morning on my dining room table, looking out at the pretty fall leaves outside my window, 7 years to the day of when I began this venture, I know within my soul that I am right where I am supposed to be in my life and business...bumps, bruises, scrapes, lessons learned, blessings and all.   


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