There are so many times that I have flashbacks to that night in the dimly lit grocery store parking lot and for a second I'm sitting in that car again, scared. I was there alone and not sure what I was going to do. I kept asking myself "How did we get here? How are we honestly to the point of no formula with a negative balance in our account?"
This was the night I changed. This was the night I went into survival mode. Brady had been laid off from his breadwinning job and I was working in a bakery and a gym but we just couldn't survive. It wasn't until bedtime that we realized the formula can was empty. After WIC closed. After the foodbank had closed. It was at the end of the month and our food stamps were gone. My milk supply had dried up because of the hours I was working. The nearest relative was 3 hours away and I was on E in the car. I felt myself spiraling and I didn't know what we were going to do. I stormed out of the house(wrongly blaming Brady the entire way) and drove to Safeway. I just parked there because I wasn't sure why I was even there. I had ZERO funds for milk, formula or anything for that matter. I just sat there with white knuckles, holding my steering wheel and bawling.
I kept thinking about what we did wrong, what we were doing wrong and what we would do wrong in the future. I wasn't sure how to fix our problems but I knew one thing for certain, this would be the last fucking time I would sit here feeling like this. I was determined to NEVER be afraid my babies would go hungry again.
Now, I want to take this moment and say a few important things. I am not ashamed, nor embarrassed about being on food stamps. I am not ashamed for utilizing WIC. I have had people throw that in my face and I'm ok with that. That shows their heart, not mine. I will forever be grateful for the state assistance that we NEEDED at that time in our lives. I remember the shame I felt standing in line to sign up and feeling embarrassed then. Now, I'm just thankful and humbled. What I AM embarrassed about is our lack of planning and know-how. This night taught me a lot. I will forever have a thankful heart for everything I have. Every time I walk by the formula, I think of this night. This will forever be with me and fuel my ambition.
Sometime after this, we were in our little apartment in Olympia. Living out of boxes. Brady had started his new job and I started my first business, Gumdrops & Lollipops. A specialty bows and romper boutique.... I had literally NO idea how to make bows, how to SELL bows or what this whole new Facebook thing was all about. 😂 At this time there weren't the resources there are now for new entrepreneurs. I talked in my previous blog how I have learned and sucked quite a bit in my life. lol This was basically the beginning of all dumpster fires and disasters. I messed up SO much! However, I learned and I didnt stop. I kept planning, learning, bettering my craft, listening to my customers, growing my business. I just kept going. I was determined to always have a backup plan.
Fast forward 3 years. G&L was a thriving clothing boutique and I was getting ready to open a storefront in our local Mall! Actually, it was kiosk but I digress. 😂 We were regular featured vendors on the brand new Very Jane(now just Jane). I was now guiding and helping brand new businesses start up and pass along any information I had learned. I was OBSESSED with shopping other small woman-run businesses. Etsy and eBay were LIFE then. Give me all the soap, perfume, candles, scented wax and homemade clothing! Brady was moving up in his company and doing great. We learned how to budget, communicate clearly, coupon(remember that show?! lol), meal plan, give back to others and we were OFF state assistance! I will never forget the feeling of canceling the food card. It was taking a leap of faith and trusting in ourselves. THIS is what I worked so hard for.
Brady was offered this amazing opportunity in Port Angeles, WA with a hefty raise and promotion. I was so proud of him and DEVASTATED we had to move. On the real, I almost didnt go! lol Thank God for Anne's words of wisdom to get me going. Trusting God in our path has always been the #1 thing I lean on. I wasn't sure how i would run this business by myself after moving away from my staff. I wasn't sure what type of city we were moving to. All I knew was Port Angeles didn't have a Mall OR A TARGET.....OR A TRADER JOES! Where was Brady moving me to?!? My dreams of being a clothing boutique were quickly disappearing but little did I know what was ahead of me.
I'm so thankful for this time in my life. The time I was able to actually take a step back and evaluate the longevity of the beautiful little business I built. The scary unsettling stage of my entrepreneurial path. This business I built was not something I could grow into a legacy driven industry. It wasn't something I could protect, meaning it was easy for every other boutique to make MY designs, theirs. This business taught me so many foundations that I still carry with me, but it wasn't something I could see doing for the rest of my life. Once I came to this realization, I took a break and waited for the next door to open. I just stopped. I hung out for a few months, unpacking and learning to love our city. Shopping quite a bit. lol Hazel and Quentin were tiny at this point and I feel like we really formed a strong bond during this time. Life was going great.... but I was bored and that feeling of instability was haunting me. I needed my side hustle. I want to add that I in NO WAY ever felt insecure in Brady's ability to provide or my role as a stay at home mom. My children needed me and I am so thankful for that respite. I salute all stay at home moms! Its hard as hell and so so so rewarding!
Alright, lets get to how THIS company came to start. Its short and sweet. 😂 Alicia had been hounding me for months to start a company with her. I declined every damn time. I knew the scented wax game. I knew the vendors. I knew the product. I still said NO. lol Until, she messaged me one more time and I said "Why not?!" lol Literally that's how it started. I was bored, I LOVED scented wax, I loved this community and I thought I could be pretty good at it. Home fragrance has always been a therapeutic release for me. Looking back to that day now seems so funny to me. I had ZERO idea what I was getting myself into and I had no idea how to make a quality product but I was all in! Just like before.
Let the research and testing begin. The first thing we needed to do though was come up with a name... Super Tarts.
I would like to say that I am NO blogger. I do not write and I am not eloquent. lol This is very unedited and I will probably keep it this way. Anne would tell me that I have FAR TOO MANY PERIODS and way too many run-on sentences. Meh. I know my truth. Hahaha I make banging good scented wax and write subpar wanna be blog/rants all with a smile on my face. Ill hop off my soapbox now.
Brigette Tellington said:
What a wonderful testament. I love this, and how humble you are, and to not be ashamed of the resources you had to use to take care of your family. This is not weakness, this is strength. This is progression and the desire to have something better. This is not easy, but determination is a wonderful thing. Thank you so much for sharing. It touched me deeply because it reminded me of my struggle as a single mom with three boys. To look back is very humbling. You did good, Brandy!
Sarah Gears said:
Thank you for sharing Brandy. The struggles in life are real and you are real. Your a strong woman! Salute! Keep up the good work!
Lucy Wunderlich said:
Love this! Thanks for sharing, all in God’s timing is a blessing ❤
Cija reed said:
Honestly I think we all have been there before. I know I have. Thank you for sharing. Just a how we are all human.
Lisa L Cuculic said:
What a wonderful story Brandy thank you for sharing your struggles and your success. It’s all in God’s timing and everything worked out for you. I love to read in your blog.