Continued from PART ONE...
During our trip to Red River in September 2015, I spent the mornings while Kevin was still asleep (early riser here) working on Freckles. Really working on a legit business finally - making goals, plans, ideas for growth and sustainability. This was my "getting my shit together" period as I now like to call it.
I established a relationship with a WONDERFUL printer in California so that I could begin outsourcing printing. This would now allow me to create the bright, vibrant and super saturated designs I had dreamed of at a price point that was competitive in the stationery industry.
I stopped thinking of myself as "an Etsy shop" owner and started viewing Freckles as a brand, a business and my job. I was now the owner of a company... a girl who had her shit together and was going places.
I dropped my name from the business and Freckles Creative Studio became just that. A brand that yes, I am heavily involved in, but it's not about me. It's about you... the paper, color, gift- giving lover.
Freckles started to become more of a way of life rather than a thing that I did with my days. I started thinking of a time where Freckles would be a team - more than just me and my new printer in California. A team of people who were as invested in this business as I was, who worked along side me to make bigger things happen.
I started to realize that I couldn't achieve the life I dreamed of in my head without help, specifically help of other people.
During the next few months, I stopped ignoring my past in the wholesale industry. I knew SO much about wholesale and retail home furnishings and started applying that knowledge towards Freckles.
I pitched to my dream wholesale showroom in Dallas, The Portico Collection, and got a "not right now" response. At that time, that was hard to hear, a blow to my motivation... but if you've been following Freckles, you know that I got the yes the next year! I wasn't about to give up that easily.
Kellie, the owner of Modern Whimsy, and I had a long chat over coffee about how my position with her was no longer where my passion lied. I had always admired her passion for her work and the life she created for herself and until this time I thought I had to be on the same path. We chatted about how I could establish a similar path of my own... so we parted ways as great friends. She was my biggest supporter in pitching to Portico.
(A stack of the first ever Freckles wholesale catalog)
I was on my own, just me and my business baby Freckles. In my mind, I was DOING THIS SHIT. Let's grow a damn business.
2016 was a wonderful year for Freckles, finally. I continued to be involved in retail shows in Oklahoma City, grew our retailer family from 3 to 23 stores and grew the product line into office supplies.
My dreams were coming true! West Elm (freaking West Elm y'all) added Freckles to their Local program in OKC and Tulsa, I made awesome connections with other women small business owners, collaborated on ideas and products, hired an independent sales rep and a wholesale coach - I focused down the Freckles branding and selling strategy and more and more people started taking notice.
I started teaching others about my knowledge and previous experience in wholesale and visual merchandising and realized I had an enormous passion in this as well. Part of me started chasing after goals in my business so that I could pass along thoughts and ideas to the next person behind me.
In September 2016 (why have all my important times started in this month?), I got an unexpected yes from Portico AND a sales group in the Northeast. This team grew from 1 (me) to 27 virtually overnight (even though I worked toward this for 6 long months).
The end of 2016 was all about getting set up for an AMAZING 2017. I knew I'd need more hands so I took a leap to hire help in the studio, even though I wasn't QUITE prepared to do so, I did it anyways.
Enter the perfect employee, Mica, that I coincidentally met earlier in the year. She had just been laid off from another product based company and I knew I would have been insane not to scoop her and her experiences up. This Chief Color Officer now had a Chief Envelope Officer counterpart!
I ended 2016 feeling legit and finally feeling and working like a business owner...
Continue reading in PART THREE...