We are down to the final 2 days of this blogging challenge and I just wanted to share with you some of my observations.
I am not a fan of having to blog daily. I find it is very cumbersome and takes away from time I could be doing other things like creating bath products, hanging out with my family, or sleeping. Doing a blog once a week is more feasible with my schedule.
I find it difficult to find things to write about. Sure, I can ramble on about my goats, my kids, or my day, but do my readers really want to know about all of that? Maybe you could care not care less about what we did a certain day. Maybe you want to know that yes, we are real people who make real products, and live a real farm life.
I prefer to talk about my products without sounding like I'm just trying to make a sale. I like being able to showcase my ingredients so you know what you are getting. Case in point, I stopped in a bath shop yesterday in Houston. The lady working there made sure to tell me that their soaps were handmade in a factory not far from Houston and talked about the ingredients being natural. When I turned over the bar of "natural goat milk soap" the first ingredients were glycerin, palm kernel, sodium laureth sulfate(bubbling agent), and sodium lauryl sulfate (another bubbling agent). Since there is not an industry standard on the term "natural" some people take advantage of the term. I found that about half of the ingredients in the soap were not my definition of natural, but as a maker, I hold myself to a certain standard.
While blogging has certainly increased the traffic to my website, I know that it will not continue to be a daily occurrence for me. Tomorrow will be the last day of the challenge and I will be very glad that it is over. I will go back to blogging about once ever week to 10 days.
I've been a Dixie Chicks fan for many years...like since the late 90's, so when the opporitunity presented itself for me to be able to go to Houston and see them, I jumped on the chance. I've always admired their musical talent and had always hoped that one day I would be able to see them in concert. Of course there was the if big fiasco 10 years ago that lost them a lot of fans and being banned by country radio, which I found to be a bit ridiculous, but I digress.
My sister-in-law, Shelley, found tickets for a great price on the lawn at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands so 9 long months ago, we purchased them. It seemed like forever for the day to arrive, but it was so worth the wait. The pavilion was packed, including the hill where we had tickets to sit. Fortunately for us, Shelley's cousin had some extra tickets down in the reserved seating area, so we were able to move to that area and have a better view a little closer to the stage.
When they stepped on the stage, the crowd went wild! My ears are still ringing from the screams of the fans as they performed a lot of their hits. They were incredible! It has been so worth the 20 year wait to be able to see these talented musicians live. The entire crowd sang along with nearly every song they sang. I know that they have to feel vindicated after what they were put through. If you like the Dixie Chicks and they are coming to a venue near you, I encourage you to go. It was such an awesome experience. One concert I will never forget!
I'm one of those people who absolutely hates asking for help. It's not in my nature to ask for help as I am a natural born helper. I struggle with this, so when someone offers to help me, I'm about 50-50 when I accept the help. Lately, I've needed more help than normal. I have so much to get done and my husband's work schedule changed so he doesn't have as much time at home as he has had in the past. I've been getting a bit overwhelmed with everything I need to get done...cue my friends!
I really don't know what I would do without my friend Janet. If you have come to my booth within the last year at a festival, you may have met Janet. She's my boot wearing, spunky little Cajun friend. We met about 4 years ago, through Facebook, because we both bought gots from the same couple. She sent a message to me and we started chatting. She invited me and the boys to come over and pick pecans at her house, and we became instant friends. Our friendship has continued to grow over the last few years and I consider her one of my closest friends. She is always there to lend a hand, and jumped right on board when I asked if she would help me at festivals. She is the best sugar scrub sales lady ever! 😊
Today, she came to my house extra early (around 7:15) to hang out with my boys so I could go stock the new store carrying my products and drive another 40 minutes down the road to pick up my raw sugar to make some more scrub. While I was gone, she (with the boys help) washed the dishes in my soap shop, emptied the dishwasher in my house, and watched the boys. Once I made it back, she and I got in the soap shop and cranked out 120lbs of soap. We got a lot of things organized and got a better handle on what needs to be made and what supplies need to be ordered. She stayed at my house until after 6:00pm helping out. Did she have to? Not at all, but she did it because of her kind heart. I love that lady! I was truly blessed when she came into our lives 4 years ago!
She and my husband's Aunt Mindy, who I also consider another one of my closest friends, came here on Tuesday and we got a lot accomplished then too. I really don't know what I would do without either of them! They are helping me keep my sanity and keep me on track. I need them so much right now and they are there offering help every time I turn around. It's amazing to have those types of friends and I cherish them immensely!
Late yesterday evening, I received an email from the Lafayette Junior League saying that they ended up with an opening for a booth space and I was first on the waiting list and if I wanted a spot, it was available. After a lot of thought and consideration, I decided to go ahead and take the booth. We are excited to get another show in during the fall. I can tell you this, I'm starting to feel a bit of stress knowing that I have a lot more inventory to build up.
I have been ramping up my soap production, but we are going to be putting it into overdrive this month. The soap has to have plenty of time to cure, so I need to produce as much as I can so it can have the proper cure time before each show. We are booked a lot of weekends in a row, so I will have to have enough inventory ready that I can just come home after each show and restock and not have to be pressed for time to produce.
The good thing is my hubby will be home some of the time, so he can help out by making certain products for me if there is something we will need in a pinch. We will have a lot of new products for the shows, but soap and bath bombs are always our biggest sellers. I'm so glad that we purchased our bath bomb press at the end of last year because we will be working overtime in September making all kinds of bath bombs.
i know that my stress level will gradually increase the closer we get to the shows, but I will make it! It's exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. I know that the coming weeks are going to fly by and before I know it, September will be here. I kind of feel guilty for going out of town this weekend when I should be making, but I have a concert ticket that I bought 9 months ago and I need a little reprieve before we kick it into overdrive. Say a little prayer that we get through these next few weeks and get everything made that we need to! If you happen to be local to one of our many fall shows, we hope you can come out and say hi to us!
There is so much negativity floating around right now that sometimes it is hard to find the good and beauty around you. Every day we all make choices- what to wear, eat, drink. We also choose what our attitude is going to be. We all have those days when we wake up and we just feel aggravated or worried. It can feel like a dark cloud just hanging over your head. It's at that point that you have a big choice to make. Do you let that cloud follow you or do you bring your own sunshine?
There is so much beauty around us. From a gorgeous sunset to a simple leaf on a tree, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are people all around us who choose to be a light in the midst of a lot of darkness. A simple smile and hello as you walk past someone may be just enough to show there are still good people. It can be something small that can help turn around a person's day.
I have a shirt I wear a lot that has the phrase "choose joy". I get lots of compliments and comments about that shirt when I wear it. It is a great reminder that we do have the choice to be happy. We control our happiness. We dictate our own moods by how we act and react to negative people and situations. Yes, there are times when the choice will be hard or even feel impossible, but it is still a choice. When I'm feeling aggravated or overwhelmed, I try to take a 5 minute (or sometimes more) break from things. Put away the phone. Turn off the tv. Disconnect from social media. Meditate. Pray. Walk outside and take a look around. Find the beauty in your surroundings. Breathe in deeply and exhale out the negative thoughts. Be happy. Be joyous.
I know that it's easier said than done. Believe me. Taking care of a home, 4 kids, and a farm with a husband who works away from home 3 out of every 4 weeks of the month is very taxing. It's easy to feel like life is not fair. I get overwhelmed. I have the choice to be angry and aggravated or to let it go and be happy. Some days, I am aggravated, and that's ok too. The key is to not get stuck there. Don't play the part of a victim in the story of your life. Be the hero, the superstar! We only get one chance to live this life. There is no dress rehearsal and we can't go back in time. Make each moment count. Go seek beauty in the world. Make the world a better place with your beauty.
Fears...we all have them. Whether they are rational or slightly irrational, there are things we all fear. Being a business owner and maker of products, I have lots of fears. I worry that my products won't be liked by my customers. I fear failing at my business. I have doubts and worries about taking the plunge and establishing a storefront. I am so afraid that if I open a store and it doesn't succeed, my business will suffer. All of these fears are unfounded. I have wonderful, supportive customers who love my products and are some of my biggest cheerleaders. On one hand, I know in my heart that having a storefront would only help extend my products to people who may not know about my company. On the other hand, what happens if the customers don't come?
So, what do you do to help face and overcome fears? Personally, I like to make a list of pros and cons. Writing out your fears and worries helps to externalize them so they are not stuck in your mind. It also helps you to look at the positives and weigh out your options. Let's break down one of my fears.
Opening a storefront
*broadening customer base
*becoming more involved with the community
*more potential sales
*forming relationships with more customers
*possibility of more wholesale clients as brand builds
*ability to increase our charitable donations
*being able to employ people in our community
*higher overhead costs
*potential of lower sales than projected
*potentially less time with my family due to obligations at the store front
*higher risk of theft and product damage
*keeping up with higher product production demands
As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons. As I continue to think of other pros and cons (aka worries), I can add them to my list. At the end of the day, I can go back and look at these lists and help myself overcome the fears. If we don't try, we will never know the answer. Is there a chance we could fail? Most certainly! But what if we succeed? What if we go beyond our wildest dreams? What if it is so successful that we decide to open a second store in another area? What if it fails after a few months? What if...
"Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will."-Suzy Kassem
It's time to let go of our doubts and go for our dreams! Don't be afraid. There is another quote that I love and it's "if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life". I am doing what I love. You should too!
I encourage you to write down your dreams. After you write each one, write down the things that are holding you back from attempting them. After you have that list, write a list of all of the wonderful things that can happen if you succeed at your dream. Do the great things outweigh the things that are holding you back? What can you do to start implementing your dream? Write down steps you can take to start making your dream your reality. We can do anything we set our minds to. Failure is a stepping stone. From failures come self discovery. Every successful person has had many failures. The reason they are successful is because they learn from these failures and persevere. Surround yourself with people who can see your potential, who can help you facilitate your dream. Step away from the doubters and naysayers. Block out the negativity and go for it! Make short term and long term goals. Where do you want to be in a year? 5 years? 10 years? Plan it out. If you fail at something, at least you tried! Move on to another plan. Time will pass whether you are thinking about your dream or actually working on accomplishing it.
What are your dreams? Let's start a discussion and give each other advice on how to achieve them! If you would like to comment below, I'd love to help you brainstorm on how to make your dream a reality.