Where does the time go?
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was an 18 year old moving out to Los Angeles, a city I had never been to before, to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Fast forward nearly 2 years and I was moving back to Arizona to start a t-shirt line. Entrepreneurship, let alone fashion, was something I never saw myself working in, but looking back, it is overwhelming to see how everything in my life worked together perfectly to equip me to start this company. I consider it one of the greatest privileges and blessings of my life!
As I reflect on these past four years there are incredible peaks and valleys. The peaks you often see, the valleys you most likely don't. The peaks being incredible partnerships with women who believe in and even better, live out our mission. To spread that good words inspire. The companies and relationships in the manufacturing business, in which I was telling my dad recently over a Five Guys Burger, that I feel like I am finally in a spot that I have struck gold with my manufacturing team. Unfortunately many of my lows these past four years were due to issues in this same department. Stolen money, faulty product, late deadlines, just to name a few, so to have the team I have is something I am incredibly thankful for. It's not perfect, but considering the business, it's pretty darn close.
Something I always have prided myself on with this company is the heart in which we put into every product we sell. It is my personal goal that if someone spends their hard earned money with us, that they will get the best product possible. This aways starts with the quote or saying on the shirt. To me, this will always trump style, fabric, color and so on, as the good words are the point of this thing. To me, the shirts and hats have always been the vehicle in which we can spread some sort of goodness in a world that can often feel like it lacks just that. To put a smile on the cashier's face, the grandpa in line for his flight, or you, the customer wearing the product. That you would be inspired to not just wear the good words, but to live out. Because as we say often, Good Words Inspire. Once I pick a quote or a Bee saying, we move on to production. What style, color, fabric, font, etc. goes with that quote. This is a process that can come to me quickly or can take months. I go back and forth with my graphic designer, manufacturers, print house, embroidery shop, college students that work for me, my family and firends, just to name a few. When a product arrives at your door, it is seen and worked on by a minimum of 5 warehouses (ex: fabric mill, cut/sew/dye house, print house, tagging, off to our warehouse). I say all this as my hope is you will know how thankful we are for your support. That when you buy a hat or a shirt, we have worked hard to give you exactly what we would want to receive. I was interviewed about a year ago for a podcast and one of the women said to me, "It's like everything is made with so much heart." And my response to that was, "Sometimes something may seem like it was made with heart because it actually was." I will leave it at that.
Before I wrap this up, I could never write a post about another year in the books without mentioning my family. As I mentioned, one of the greatest privileges and blessings in my life is running this company, yet something that far surpasses that are the people that have been there for the good and the bad. First, my Dad. My lawyer, advice giver, friend and the person I look up to most. I simply couldn't do it without him. Quite literally. He has supported me while we have been on top and dug the company out of the trenches in the lowest times. And honestly, if I am ever lacking motivation, I tell myself, if anything, do it for Dad. My Mom. Lisa knows no stranger and when someone compliments her when she is wearing Soul Honey, you betcha she is making them follow our instagram account and proceeds to tell them all about what we stand for. She is a far better saleswoman than I am and I love her enthusiasm for what we have grown (and an occasional pick me up tea on long work days)! My Sisters, Sarah and Katie. They model for me, answer daily questions on whether or not they like a quote, a color, a style and so on. Katie is one of the models on our website currently and Sarah, along with her precious babes, are all over our instagram. Sarah is actually on her way over as I write this as I need a photo for the anniversary tomorrow and I put it off, shocker! They are my built in best friends and have been there for me in practically every way possible. My Brother, Matthew. I always laugh because I used to think he didn't think Soul Honey was cool, but then I talk to his girlfriends and they tell me how he talks about the company all the time. For some reason, I am so proud that he is proud of me. He is the baby of the family and will probably be a more successful entrepreneur than me one day, but for now, I will soak in being "better" than him (only reason I am better is because he doesn't have a company, HA!). Also, he is a killer photographer and helps me out all the time. Lastly, my Brothers in Law. Kendall and David. They support their wives, so it's basically like supporting me, right? HA! Just kidding. They are so kind and always so interested. I actually recall not to long ago after David and Katie got married, they moved to Arizona and David asked me, "So, like, what do you even do in a day?". It is actually a hard question to answer David! All in all, those are my people, and what they mean to me and in turn, the company, is more than I could ever express.
Lastly, to you, the customer. I wish I could give you the biggest hug. To say thank you and chat about life. To ask why the quote you chose means something to you or why you connect with that bee saying. I am still young (24 to be exact), but as I get older, one thing I am learning more and more is to live with great empathy towards others. I have found more often than not, the reason why someone connects with the words on our shirts goes much deeper than the fact that they just like the quote or saying. They have experienced those words in life already and want to continue to spread that message. Unfortunately, this can stem from a tragic life event or life lesson learned the hard way, which has led them to believing the words to be true. Or, maybe they are just altogether a happy person, so "Bee Happy" on a bright orange beanie just makes sense! It can go either way, but to me, that is just so cool! Thank you for letting us be a small part of your lives. Even if it is just in wearing our hat on your favorite hike, a sweatshirt on a morning coffee shop run, or in our cozy t-shirts to do mundane things like going to the dentist (sorry to any dentist who is reading this, just came to mind!), you are helping us spread good words and letting me live out my dream, to run this company. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Truly, I hope I can meet you one day and express my gratitude in person.
That's it for this year, friends! God is good and I have a feeling year 5 is going to my most favorite yet, as what we have coming in 2020 we have never done before and I can not wait!
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Happy shopping! Now go spread Honey for your Soul.
Founder and CEO