Picture it, 1984: my grandmother and mother took me to a kiddie salon at Neshaminy Mall in Pennsylvania and cut my hair off. I mean off. They saw a little girl on television and she was so cute with this little bob hair cut. So they took me to go get it. I already had such a chubby little face so this was bad. I was young, about 4 so I had no idea what was going on or how it would shape my life over the next year. Kids literally asked me if I was a boy or girl. I was so confused, didn’t I look like a girl? Looking back now, I see why. I was upset at those old pictures I came across. I looked like I could pass for both. Fast forward nearly 40 years, and I have a passionate undying love for everything makeup to make me look like a girl so there was no confusion.

I love makeup beyond anything except my children and husband. There is something so special about opening a new make up palette and all the colors. Now my skin is pretty fair, with hazel eyes that change color, and a brunette with some grays. (Okay, a lot of grays). I feel like there are only a few amounts of colors that I can wear with my genetic combination. It never stops me from buying a new palette every Christmas or my birthday.

Over quarantine, I like many other women, did not wear make up. I felt so weird attending Zoom meetings in sweats and no make up at all. That was crazy for me. I mean crazy. At first I was like this is really not good, these people are all going to talk about me and say how ugly I am without make up and all those feelings from 1984 would come back. I sometimes would throw on some mascara and and blush to keep me from looking I was dead, but most days it was nothing.

A few months later my makeup just continued to sit. I didn’t do anything with it. I looked at it on my vanity and a part of me was wanting to put it on to try some new looks, but then I thought, I’m just wasting it because I have nowhere to go. I finally, finally started to shift in my appearance-no joke, I literally had yoga pants that I considered going out pants and some that were for laying on the couch. I started getting really comfortable.

The funny thing is, I started to not care about wearing any make up. Nobody treated me differently, thankfully no one screamed and ran away. I started to feel comfortable in my own skin. It really took quarantine to do this? Yes, I guess it did. Even as teenager, I never left the house without makeup. NEVER. I was dolled up to go to Wawa. (Wawa is a convenience store for those not in Jersey/Philly). I was always on top of my game.

Now when I look in the mirror I notice that my skin looks really good-it’s not filled with concealer, and foundation or eyeliner or mascara, I just look like…me. And I started to notice for the first time ever, that I wasn’t that bad. And I was ok with that.

The moral of the story, nothing you buy is going to better your outlook. Sometimes it takes a compliment or a smile from someone across the room or in my case, a quarantine. Being beautiful is how you see yourself- not how others see you. And that is beautiful in itself.

Happiness wanted.

2021. We made it to the other side. I will say this 2020 was not a complete loss for me. As much anxiety and stress this pandemic brought and as much as the rug was pulled out from under us, there was still opportunity everywhere.

True story. In July 2018, I had started a little sticker company that I started in my living room. I designed stickers for my website and enjoyed the process of designing them. I made quote stickers, doctor appointment stickers, florals, etc. I took pictures of my stickers in front of my picture window in my living room because I read that it was mandatory that pictures had to be outstanding when promoting your products. My business was somewhat successful, but it was only very part time (my Silhouette machine was in my bedroom on my dresser.) Then in 2020, I began designing on Canva, and produced 3-4 listings a day on Etsy. I started focusing where the traffic was and started leaning on digital products. In the month of December 2020 alone I cleared 60 sales. I work 7 days a week (with an exception of holidays). But even today, I’m sitting at my desk here writing a post about my business.

I built this business on my terms, my way. While it’s still in its infancy, here is what I’ve taken away from having a small business.

  1. Never underestimate the power of working hard. The clichè is true: you get what you put in. When you work hard and I mean work REALLY HARD, you’ll start to see changes. Working hard for me is designing, taking pictures, creating listings, key words, social media posts, customer service, and reading all the time.
  2. Patience. This is something I have always had trouble with-anyone else? It’s definitely part of the process, you cannot expect miracles and overnight success. Things will come around, you just have to keep pushing and create, create, create.
  3. Balance is a bad word. Is being a parent stressful? Damn right. Does having your own business seem impossible? Everyday. When I tell myself I need to balance, it seems that I’m putting in my own head that I can’t do it all. But I can. Every. single. day. I don’t tell myself I need to “balance more”. I need to get shit done and do what only needs to be done that day. I’m going into the new year scheduling my days because I need to not let my life overwhelm me. I need to work at what needs to be done. If I need a break I take a break.
  4. Do not conform to the trends. This one is tough for me. I love elegance. I love calligraphy, soft colors, and lots of florals. There are some things that are cutesy and adorable and no that’s not me, and it does not represent my brand. However, sometimes, like at Valentines Day I will make an exception. Kids use class valentines and I do create things for them. It’s fun, but I do not use the same elements that others use, I go my own route. If something appeals to you, go for it. Damn what everyone else is doing. Stay true to yourself. If you see a million other people doing the same thing and they’re making good sales, do not do it if you don’t personally like it. There are 2 million other people out there looking for something that is not what everyone else is doing. If you find something that makes you happy, do it. Calligraphy makes me happy. Florals make me happy. You’ll see it in a lot of my work and I take what I love and sell it.
  5. Have fun. If it’s not sparking a certain energy in your heart, you need to move on to something else. You are going to be working long hours and putting in a lot work. This is your time away from your partner and kids, make sure it’s worth it.
  6. People have mentioned Social Media for bringing in sales, I love social media but it’s a tough nut to crack for me-I’m on all social network websites, but I’m still working on it. If you have a good following keep going as I intend to do. (Also if you have any insight I would wholeheartedly appreciate it.)

I hope what I’ve learned so far has brought some insight to having your own business. I have a long way to go, but I’m happy, and want you to be as well-we all deserve it. Make it a year of happiness!