Kissing 2020 goodbye, don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!

What a complete shit show this year has been, am I right? But out of all weird, bad, sad things something beautiful will come of it…... we will all wait for that!

 As I sit in my office and type this- its 1016 on NYE. I woke up this morning thinking back on the year. Thinking of the blessings, lessons, friendships, goals, growth, pivoting, smiles, tears, and basically every other emotion that I know every single one of us have felt over the past year. When we bought our new planners last December, we were all excited for the new year. Little did we know that we were all about to be put to a test we didn’t sign up to take. This year taught us how to slow down and be thankful for things that we have probably had been taking for granted for many years.

 “A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink”

-Gina Carey

 January was exciting and full of growth at the antler. We were really settling into our new store and gaining so many new customers each day!

 February brought even more growth. We struggled with inventory, which was a good problem to have and we worked through it. Our sales continued to grow!

 March came and we were super excited to drop our small line of St. Patty’s Day graphic tees for the biggest drinking day of the year…... then all of a sudden COVID-19 got really real. We woke up one day to hear that we would need to close our stores and stay in our homes. Fear set in and panic started. Grocery stores were empty, forget finding TP, and stay 6 feet away. Our sales were still amazing but I started to panic.

 April shows up. By now I have moved my mobile boutique to my driveway and converted it into my shipping area with so much inventory everywhere. My staff was off. They couldn’t work, we couldn’t be open, and I was terrified. April was supposed to be our biggest sales month ever and now my store is closed, and I am back to a one man show. WELL- you all showed up. STILL. You supported me more than ever, more than I could have ever imagined. On the last day of the month, I told you all if we hit my sales goal then I would jump in the freezing cold pool. My goal was to have my first 100k month in sales. Well…we hit it and in the pool I went!

 I knew everything was now different and we had to figure out how to pivot to keep you guys engaged. Our lines went from date night styles to comfy on the couch styles. We started carrying items that would be helpful to have at home, and then we started selling masks! Never in a million years did I think we would be in this situation. Super weird what we compliment strangers on these days. It’s not “I like your shirt” its “I love your mask”.

 Fast forward a few weeks…we did our one-day delivery of about 200 packages. Ash and I set up to play UPS- that was a shit show and I will NEVER do that again. Our store had pretty much been turned into a warehouse and where you all once shopped was covered in tables, bins, masks, packing slips, trash from packing… It no longer looked like my normal store.

 Eventually we were able to bring staff back and re-open our doors.

I like a good challenge, but damn. #everythingsfine

 I’m going to get really deep with the business side of things with you guys. I had a sales goal set for the year. I wanted to do 1 million in sales in 2020. I wanted to be able to give my staff raises. I wanted to spoil my staff at our holiday party. I wanted to know I could do it.

 Well guys- I did it! We hit 1 million in sales around July. When we hit it, I was so excited and then I was like…. Well shit what’s next? I’m still figuring out that part! We are however super pumped to be in the position to open a brand-new location in spring of 2021. I haven’t figured out my sales goals for 2021, but I will not be afraid of failure and I will not be afraid of growth! We will figure it out…we always do!

 “She’s a badass with a good heart, soft but strong, unapologetic and honest. She’s the type of woman you go to war beside- not against”

 Lessons learned-

Everyone is not your friend, and you do not have to be everyone’s friend.

 I used to try to please everyone. I used to answer smart ass comments with something that was super nice and always lead them to believe they were right. Ummm hello… why?! I no longer play nice when someone comes at me with an opinion about my business. Who I target, what I sell, how I sell it, where I sell it, and how much I sell it for. Guess what? It is not worth the negative energy that it causes. People will always have something to say about what you are doing. Good, bad, or indifferent. I did learn that most of the people who felt like they needed to share their opinion were people who don’t actually shop with me. They have never shared a post, they have never been to my store, they don’t know me- they know what someone told them about me. Why on earth people feel as if it’s their right to tell you what you are doing wrong, what’s fair and what’s not, is beyond me. I always try to educate myself on a subject before just jumping in and saying something. That would make me look or sound stupid because I actually have no idea what I’m talking about. I am here to tell you- they don’t go away, and they also don’t matter.

 No matter how many good deeds you do, someone is waiting for you to slip up and point it out.

Do it anyway. We are human, and they mess up too.

 Sharing knowledge with someone who wants to run a business and is just starting out is the kindest thing I feel as if I could do, but it’s not necessary.

 This year I probably spent a total of… I’d say around 40 hours either helping someone, giving advice, sharing brands, sharing tips, telling them things that took me 2 years to learn, and mostly just being the friend I wish I had when I started. I don’t have to do these kinds of things, Bryan always gets on me for it, but that’s the type of person I am. I am not threatened by someone wanting to come in and start a boutique, I’m flattered when they come to me for advice. I have to remind myself this year that no matter who I help, someone is going to be unhappy with me, or talk badly because of who knows what. My success is my responsibility, and yours is yours.

 “She would rather walk alone in darkness than follow anyone else’s shadow”

                                                                   r.g. Moon

 This year was the year for people to figure out how to generate income from home. Many people were laid off and lost jobs permanently. It was the year to get creative, and many did. I think that somewhere around the number 11 is how many of my past customers (some still current) started an online boutique, or boutique. GOOD FOR THEM! I mean that, I have probably purchased from each of them at least one time. I’m happy for you, I’m proud of you, and I’m rooting for you.

 I made some really good friends this year, even some boutique owners in my same town. We don’t compete with each other, we support each other. Now, I am not a “community over competition” person. I think getting along is important, but getting along doesn’t pay my bills, my staff, or buy new inventory. So, I’ll support you best I can, but I am still going to do what’s best for my business.

 So, to Shelby- I am so thankful you and I took the time to have a face-to-face conversation about ourselves, our business, issues that were really just a miscommunication, and we were able to build a friendship. I can come to your boutique and shop, I can vent to you, you always answer my text, and we always have each other to bounce ideas off of. You walk in my store and it just feels like your part of the team here and we all love you.

 To the people I lost- it’s not goodbye, it’s something we all have to work through. Learning to trust people after someone has tarnished your name for no reason is the hardest thing to overcome. Remember when you speak badly about someone it reflects your character too. Your thoughts on something shouldn’t be pushed upon anyone else. Learn from it and move on.

 Business, friendships, family, peace, happiness, success, love- these are all things I worked on in 2020. My goals weren’t only business oriented. I had family goals that I worked at and have made improvements (thanks to my fabulous SIL Jennifer for working at it with me). I wanted to feel peace, and I have that. I wanted to love deeper, and I have. I wanted to be successful, and I am. I wanted to grow my business, and I am.

 So- this year wasn’t all that bad after all. I encourage you to find the good. Grab a piece of paper and write down all the things that went right this year. I bet you find that it’s a longer list than you think! If we only focus on the bad, it’s hard to think anything good will ever come.

I wish you all a Happy New Year! Here’s to hoping we get to use those 2021 planners and take that fabulous vacation we all need. I wish you lots of love, lots of happiness, and the ability to find the positive moments to use them as fuel! We can always be better, but we have to decide that’s what we want.

 Be kind, friends.