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!"