Birthdays are the perfect time to both reflect, and to drink Rosè. So I invited a few of my best customers to join me in a business birthday lunch to thank them for their ongoing support...ie: their purchases!
Estimates are that one in three new small businesses in Australia fail in their first year of operation, two out of four by the end of the second year, and three out of four by the fifth year.
And I have to say, the past couple of years hasn't been plain sailing. Cash flow has been the biggest challenge, and without the credit card gods stepping up to the plate on more than one occasion, creative finds may have joined the statistics of doomed businesses.
On the upside, I've met some incredibly talented creatives, made some firm friends in other boss babes, learned a shit load about myself and hope that I've spread the joy of hand-made to you, my community of creative finders and gift givers?
I started this business in a different form entirely, back in 2013 when I returned from a month long trip to Bali with my family to celebrate my 40th Birthday. On that trip I discovered a pair of ultra soft, super comfy, high quality, hand-crafted leather ballet flats. I brought home a pair in every colour imaginable and decided there and then I needed to import them to sell to friends and family. I knew that upon trying a pair, they'd be hooked for life.
After selling these ballet flats for a few years via a very "amateur hour" website that I built myself, I decided it was time to make or break. Something had to give. I needed to either invest in the business or wrap it up.
I found myself a job in retail with a big Australian brand, in order to both learn how the experts do it, and to earn some much needed cash to build a new website and under go a re-brand...
I had zero clue as to what that new, improved business was going to look like, but after 12months of working the retail floor in a soul destroying & unchallenging role, I knew for certain that I needed to be working for myself.
Serendipitously, I resigned from that gig in time to hit Bali again - this time for my brother's 40th B'day. Clearly, by now, a family tradition ;) and reacquainted myself with the ballet flat maker over there. During this same period, I'd just discovered the powerhouse business coach and mentor Pru Chapman, and through her incredible community The Owners Collective I met fellow business newbies, and embarked on almost one year of professional and personal education like no other.
"Doing the work" internally, coupled with practical steps, the premise for Creative Finds was born. And in Nov 2017, I pressed "Go Live" on the website that is now the creative finds gift store.
Man, that was an exciting day! Here's the insta post from that day:
Two years on and I'm still excited every day that I get to work on this passion project! I'm discovering and sharing products made with love and a whole lot of talent, while also designing a range of items myself.
I'm a bit like a kid in a candy shop however, and get all excited with new and shiny things; so it's a constant battle I have with myself to focus on the current goodies in store, promoting them, and to stop myself from sourcing more.
I just can't help myself!
If I find it, and love it, I want you guys to have it too. Hence the cash-flow challenges...
I'm working on that!
Success is a funny thing. If I was to define it by income, I'd say to date, I've failed. Fortunately though, I define it first and most definitely foremost by: Flexibility.
I am grateful every single day that I get to choose how I will spend it.
I have the choice to play tennis for a couple of hours on a Wednesday morning and then work from 12-6 that day. Or hit the office at 8am and power through until the kids come home and we have afternoon tea & a daily debrief together.
I could most certainly be earning more $$ in paid employment, but the idea of having my days and hours dictated to me, makes me legit break out in hives.
Been there, done that. Plenty.
The business is growing steadily and my quest to encourage conscious consuming is only getting bigger.
As the environmental impacts of fast fashion - and fast food for that matter - are becoming more widely acknowledged; shopping local, supporting small, and buying hand-made, are decisions we can all make daily about the future world we want to live in. The hedonistic days of the 1980s/90s are so. last. century.
So as Creative Finds embarks on it's 3rd year in business, I want to thank you, my customers, advocates and readers for your support. I truly get butterflies each time my phone pings with a sale! It's bloody exciting!
As a little thank you, and to spread the celebratory joy, I'd like to include a sweet cotton velvet purse in 'creative finds colours' with every purchase this weekend! That's from Fri 1st - midnight Sun 3rd Nov.
Get a jump start on your Chrissie shopping. Within the virtual walls of the Creative Finds Store, you'll find gifts for the teacher, the coach, the tutor, Secret Santas, Nieces & God-children. And don't forget a gift for your hostesses this party season...
My aim is to continue to have your back when it comes to gift giving. Unique, well priced, hand-crafted, products that you'll be proud to give.
And beautifully gift wrapped too of course.
Here's to another year of creative finding,
I'll drink to that!
ps - don't forget to shop this w/end for your little b'day bonus!