I lost who I was.. September 20 2017 1 Comment
I am a wife. I am a mom. I am a partner. I am a business owner. I am a creative. I am a designer.
All of these titles define me but somehow I lost who I was. 4 years ago the hubs and I decided that we wanted to create something that was ours and our style. We created dream living spaces for other people but they were not our dream space. We wanted to maintain the semblance that your space should define you, but in doing this, we were not fulfilling our creative desires and out of those desires came what most of you know us for and that is the "where reclaimed meets modern" JLWoodworx & Design. What started as a "tinkering in the garage" turned in to a full blown retail home goods business. At the time, we would never be able to foresee where we would be now. We are forever grateful and Blessed to have turned that tinkering in to the successful venture that is before you today. But let me tell you, a lot and I mean a lot happened in those 4 years. I would not take back any of them! However, I will take back my life for the sake of myself and my family!
One of the best and most amazing events that happened almost 4years ago was the birth of our little duder. He completed our already amazing family and with big sis in tow, we held hands and jumped in to the crazy train that is retail life! We rented a little booth in a boutique shopping mall and prayed that people would not laugh us out of there ;) We put our spin on the already classic "reclaimed" look and didn't look back. From there, we branched out to local stores and created a name for ourselves in this wonderful little community called OKC.
That name took us to places I never imagined we could go and we have met people that have forever changed who we are. But for me, that name also took a great toll. JLWoodworx was created over 10 years ago when my beautiful mastermind of a husband began his sole proprietorship as a carpenter/cabinet maker. After joining forces in 2011, we kept the "JLWoodworx" and added the "& Design". It made sense then. Why change the name when it was already well known? As I learned the business and added different aspects like interior styling and spacial layout, I was for sure that people would just recognize the change and "we" would become JLW. For the most part, that is true, but for some I was still "Jay's wife" not Jay's business partner. I 100% love being Jay's wife! But what I wanted and needed was for the outside world to see me as his equal and counterpart. I had high ambitions of bringing our business to the next level. As the retail side of JLW took off in 2013, I was for sure that this was my answer! They have to see it now! But sure enough, it wasn't enough. I was the wife of a master woodworker, I was a girl, how could I possibly be able to own a business that predominantly revolved around the manliest thing in the world, WOOD?! We would spend the next 2 years planting our feet in our community, building relationships, and pushing JLW farther than we ever thought we could.
As any company does, we were evolving and growing. Growing to a point to where the next logical step was a store front retail space. Right? Right? Well that pivotal turning point would lead us down a spiral of the last two years that pushed us both to our breaking point. Retail is hard! You hear it all the time. It is the thriving force of our economy but for many store owners, especially small business store owners, it is the dream that is sometimes not so dreamy. We would spend these two years making plans for a long haul of the future and creating our dream space and ideal situation for our family. Because lets get real honest, a family of four (read: two tiny dictators at the helm) in a 1400 square foot house where you are suppose to eat, sleep, play, create, work, and produce just doesn't work very well ;) You need an outside work area where two cute little hands cannot "help" you brand and tag 500 pieces of product, which should take about an hour or two but really turns in to all day!! You need to be in a creative space where you can collaborate and expand your goals. You need to have a place where the public can easily find your business and products and a space where you can have meetings with clients.
All of these "needs" are actually wants! That is the hardest thing I have ever learned! When you put your wants before your needs you are for sure to find yourself unraveling soon! It won't be pretty. It won't be exciting. It won't offer you any kind of real growth as person or a business. I should know because it happened to me! I lost myself because I put my wants before my needs. I wasn't the best wife because I was tired and stressed and life is demanding. I wasn't progressing a a designer/stylist. I was limiting myself to one style and not continuing my education because there was just too much to do. I wasn't a super fun mom anymore, I had a little guy that every single night asked "Mommy, who's coming in the morning?" He had only ever known an inconsistent schedule that confused his growing mind. I had a precious little daddy's girl who would cry when daddy needed to leave to "go to the shop" after he tucked her in. Her comfort of knowing he was in the next room was disrupted so we could achieve our dream retail scenario. We were out of OK on a Stick, how could we possibly be out of stock on something when we were such a new store!? We would let people down! But in reality, we were letting down two of the most important people in our world. They are our needs!!
After an unforeseen and unwarranted situation, we made a decision. We were leaving our beautiful new shop and headed for the somewhat unknown. We did not know what the next months would look like. We did not know how we would tell everyone. All we knew, was that something was breaking within us. We were burning out! We had given our everything to a space that was not giving back and a venture that was sucking the life right out of us. Retail is cut throat. It is a place where stealing ideas is just second nature because everyone has the right to try their hand at your idea. It is considered freedom of expression. It is a place where the big guy has no qualms about highjacking the little guy just to make a dollar. No, no. Before you all go thinking I am anti retail ;) let me tell you that I still believe in retail. I still believe in the good in people. I still know the Caleb Arters, Lindsay Zodrows, and Allison Baileys of the world. These people inspire the creative in me and I am Blessed to call them friends. Jay and I will continue our retail venture but have made many changes to the structure of our business and have learned to delegate and quite frankly say, No ;) We hope that as we change and become better people for ourselves and our family, you will still join us on our journey.
In all the craziness that is JLW, the one thing that has always remained is our passion to create beautiful spaces. It is where we started so many years ago, it evolved in to creating beautiful pieces for beautiful spaces, and it is evolving once again bringing with it our abilities and vision to contribute to the revitalization of our great city and continuing to make our world a better place. Joining our journey means joining us on our crazy family adventures, our rockin awesome renovations, our quirky beautiful love story, and all that lies in between!
So, I lost myself for a little while but am working on finding me again and all that that brings to the table.
"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire!"
Life, 10 Years Later... January 18 2016 2 Comments
Today is a seemingly normal day just like any other. But, like most others celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we are also celebrating the life of my other half! Some of you may know he was in a tragic and scary car accident when we were younger but not many keep up with how long ago it was. As you grow up and go through the many changes in your life, graduation of high school and college, job changes, etc., you will receive the question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? If someone would of asked me that question 10 years ago today, I would of never been able to see where I am today. January 18th will always hold a very special, yet somber place in my heart. As this day comes each year I am taken back to that crazy day and I cannot help but relive the moments. January 17th was no special day. I had been shopping with my mom and sister most of the day trying to find something to wear to a family members funeral and was quite frankly spent when J called to ask if I would like to join him and his buddies for a night out. I declined and wanted to just relax, so we just agreed to talk when he was on his way home that night. As I got ready for bed I texted him to say 'I love you and goodnight' and he could call me later. He was out with his friends so I didn't think much about him not texting me back. Hours later I awoke to the ringing of my phone. I groggily answered thinking I would hear his voice on the other end, to only be jarred awake as I heard his moms shaken voice. The connection was bad so a few attempts later I heard, "J has been in a serious accident and you need to get to OU Medical Center, now!" The very early hours and quite frankly the entire day of January 18th was a blur of time. Everything seemed to go by so slow as we waited on the dr.'s to confirm our hopes that J would live. He had been the passenger in a truck that hit a parked dump truck going in excess of 40 mph. When the ambulance arrived, he was in such a bad way that they decided not to call for the medevac helicopter. They were convinced he would not make the trip to the hospital. My beautiful, strong other half is a fighter and his belief in our God is what I truly believe saved his life. That fateful night as we rode the elevator with the hospital chaplain to the ICU surgical waiting room, she informed us that 1in 3 people survive the surgery he was about to receive and at this very moment there were two people (the other passenger in the truck) going in for this surgery. By the Grace of God J did not end up needing this surgery, and I am extremely happy to say that our friend that did receive the surgery, made it through!!
I am not sure anyone is ever prepared for these tragic events but Faith is what gets you through!!
This event in our life is what bonded us together and strengthened our love for each other! Over the years we have been asked "How do you work with your spouse?" "Don't you ever get sick of each other? Living and working together?" The answers are always we LOVE it and each other and could not imagine it any other way! I treasure every moment we spend together. When you are uncertain if those moments will exist in your future, you crave them and hold them tight. Life is precious and should never be taken for granted. I still to this day, 10 years later, have a minor panic attack when I text or call him and he does not respond or answer! I have learned how to handle my minor freak outs ;) a little better but am not sure if that will ever stop happening. To some, this might just give a little insight as to why you always see us together! ;) I am just slightly addicted!
Our life was forever changed by that fateful day and it is that day that has pushed us to achieve our hopes, dreams, and goals. We walk into this new year with grateful hearts for all the fun and exciting things that are to come. As I sit writing this, J is playing in the next room with our sweet B's who are out of school today. Had that day 10 years ago ended differently, I would most certainly be having a very different day.
You may not know the answer to the question posed to you at that time, but always hope for the best and make your dreams come true. Live every day to the fullest and thank God for all that you have!
Let me introduce you to.... January 02 2015 2 Comments
us. You may have read a little bit about our history on our 'Who We Are' page :) This accurately describes how we became JLWoodworx & Design but says little to who we are on the day to day. I hope to use this outlet to give you a glimpse into our beautiful little life with our two sweet babies and our one BIG baby, JLW & Design :) The BIG baby has gone through quite the change in the past year and we could not be more excited. Our entire life has gone through amazing changes this past year and we said goodbye to 2014 on a very good note. We are extremely Blessed by all that we have in our life and are so thankful for what is to come in 2015. When J and I met oh so long ago ;) neither one of us could have guessed that 2015 would bring 8 years of marriage, a beautiful almost 4 year old little girl, a ridiculously handsome one year old little boy, 2 fur babies, and a life full of happiness being exactly who we were meant to be. JLW & Design has allowed us to both pursue our dream of art and design and we LOVE that y'all love what we do. You might already have guessed that J is the man behind the woodworx and I am the lady behind the design but what you might not know is that we literally work almost 100% in collaboration with each other. I may not actually cut the wood ('cause let's be for real, thats kinda scary;)) and if you asked me to do it I would run and hide but I do know most of what is going on and how to do it. J has taught me to think like a carpenter but i definitely still have the dreamer status of a designer and need him to bring me back down to reality when i try to scheme up some idea that sounds great in my head but will not necessarily work in terms of wood. And then just like that we switch roles and J becomes the dreamer/schemer and I become the back to reality tamer. We play off each other's visions to bring the best product/installation we can possibly achieve. As we go in to this New Year our goals are to grow our company and grow as a family of four and to let God show us how to mesh the two together. Thank you for supporting us and I look forward to showing you a little bit about our life. Oh and of course showing you little pieces of what we are doing with JLW & Design.