So part 1 of my news was that we are selling our house…and pretty much everything in it.
Part 2 of the news is that….
-ok….nervous to actually type it-
….by March 31st, the Lil Blue Boo clothing/handmade shop will be closed down.
I’m still going to be writing everyday but I’m heading down a different, more creative path. And one with a lot of uncertainty!
More living…more writing…more sharing…
There are a gazillion reasons why I’m making such a huge change, but mostly I can pinpoint to the fact that I’m not the same person I was when I started the handmade part of it all. When I was first diagnosed with cancer back in 2011 the business was just starting to take off, but getting sick pretty much halted any growth after that point. I was able to keep up with things as best I could but it lost a lot of momentum. And slowly, over time, my heart slowly distanced from the business. And, well, I don’t think you can do anything well if your heart isn’t in it. The thing is…hard times can turn out to be a blessing. It just takes a little time to realize it. I think the hard stuff can make you brave. And bold. The hard stuff can make you okay with uncertainty, and can make you relinquish control. And I think the hard stuff can un-attach you to things you never thought you’d un-attach from.
In a recent Bible study, it hit me that God uses the least likely of things to bring about something profound. And, yes, usually it’s the hard stuff. But we begin to realize that we are growing when we start to see that there is a huge shift in what impresses us. I’ve seen that huge shift in myself. I’ve seen that huge shift in my husband. I’ve seen that huge shift in my whole extended family.
Looking back, the Lil Blue Boo Clothing story really started back in 2009. I started out just sewing for my daughter Boo who was 2 years old at the time. I remember staying up in the late hours of the night sewing until I couldn’t see straight. I could make close to 8 dresses a day. Then, a year later, I had employees and industrial machines…..and we could make a dozens of dresses a day. I designed and drew every single pattern, picked every fabric for softness and made sure all the inks were the safest and most eco-friendly. It was truly a labor of love.
It wasn’t always easy. For a long time there was a small group that were relentless in trying to hurt the business using social media. Women in similar situations would email me asking for advice. My advice: Never engage the haters. Never stoop to their level. Kill them with kindness. If you don’t feed them, eventually, they just disappear over time. But what I found is that there are many more good people out there in the world than there are bad. Some people are misguided and take out their unhappiness on others and that’s why we just show them kindness. They are the “extra kindness needed” people. If they came out of the woodwork today I would thank them, because they lit a fire under me to create a successful business against all odds. But there are varying degrees of success….and for me today it’s not monetary.
Over the years, we put so much love into all of the pieces we made. Everything was always hand silk screened, sewn locally, packaged locally….truly handmade. We worked with some amazing photographers that are all just good people too. I think that’s important: work with good people. Everything that goes into your work should come from a good place. These photographers….I’ve seen their kiddos grow over the years, every so often I would have to adjust the dress sizes accordingly. They’ve become friends, almost like family:
Monika Mcsweeney Photography
Laura Winslow Photography
Tickled Pink Photo
Linda Pelk Photography
Paint the Moon Photography
One Memory at a Time
And all the fun collaborations with other artists over the years: Amy of Evy’s Tree, Mel of Melamoose, and Carly of Little Light Prints. And of course Stephanie Corfee. Her artwork is all over Lil Blue Boo. She’s so talented. And she’s a true friend. I know we’ll be working together again in the future. And thank you to all of you, my loyal customers, old and new, for supporting handmade. Thank you for all of your constant encouragement. It’s because of you that I’m taking another step.
So what does all this mean right now?
First, the hardest part, I won’t be able to keep Lisa and Gicela on. They are like family. They’ve been the best employees I could have ever asked for. They arrive early every day, work hard, and rarely need guidance. They also put up with all my crazy ideas and weird eccentric quirks. It’s hard to find people like that these days. I’m forever grateful to both of them.
Second, it means that I’m reducing a few thousand square feet of creative history down to hopefully a few boxes. Throughout March we will be liquidating all the bits and parts of a small clothing business. (We’ve begun a “Liquidation Sale” here. It’s going to take over a month to go through 2,000 sq ft of crafty/DIY/art etc so just check back periodically as we list things every few days.) I have an entire studio of industrial machines, rolls of fabric, cutters, mannequins, thread, patterns, work tables, silk screening equipment etc. If anyone is looking to start a clothing business in the area (Palm Desert, CA)…or add to one….email me.
Lastly, my family and I are stepping out into a very uncertain future. I’m closing down what has been a livelihood for our family up until now. Our lives will change completely. But at the same time it feels like a huge sigh. That’s the faith part. Some people we’ve already shared out plans with don’t fully understand, but honestly I know beyond words that we are making the right decision. I’ve been zapped by the mother ship*.