Remember what it was like to be sweet 16? I used to spend hours writing in my journal, doodling my dreams, thinking about what my life would be like in college, do I really have what it takes to join the military, wondering who I would marry, and how many kids we would have. Although, it's been many years since I was 16, I still yearn for those care-free days of doodling and writing in my journal.
As this year turned over, I grabbed my cup of coffee, my calendar from the shelf and reflected on 2015. Paging through my notes I noticed it missed an element of me, my silly doodles and scribbles of fun To-Do's. It was full of serious lists and action items. I'm glad I busted my butt in 2015, and very happy with the results of my goals and intentions. However, this year I will grab my colored pencils and doodle in more fun time with family, friends and 'me' time. I sure said 'no' to many social invitations this past year and I'm ready to play a bit more and enjoy this sweet '16. Here are highlights from my 2015 calendar, sharing successes and some challenges I faced and what I learned.
- The Stick With It® palette launched in the Arts & Crafts: I have remarkable customers; many are very creative in make-up and create beautiful works of art in jewelry, scrapbooking, card making and painting. They discovered that a variety of small items could be stored safely and securely in the palette to assist in their creative process. In January, I launched at the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) trade show with great success! What I learned: I love being around creative people more than anything, the way they uniquely see the world and are able to create an extension of their vision into something tangible. It gives me a deep sense of purpose that I created a product that helps them bring their visions to life.
- Finally, we have our first new color…Sea Glass: For IMATS (International Make-up Artists Trade Show) I hand-painted four colors to test what colors people would like. I dressed up as a 50’s housewife and presented the colored palettes in white baker’s bags as freshly baked goodies from my workshop. Hands down Sea Glass got all the attention, and I worked with my manufacturer to produce the color in plastic. What I learned: Speak up! I had a little bit of push back from my manufacturer to do a custom color, but I knew I had the right color selection. Very glad they worked with me, because it is a gorgeous color and a beautiful case!
- Featured in a National Magazine: After launching at the CHA, Threads Magazine did a nice feature of the palette in the New Notions section of their Aug/Sept issue. They made it into a cute little sewing kit. What I learned: I already knew this…but it was a good reminder to follow up, follow up, follow up. There is a difference between being assertive verses being aggressive. The ladies at Threads were fun to work with and I’m very appreciative to gain national exposure.
- My website and logo got a makeover: When I first launched my focus was using the palette for only makeup and makeup essentials. Now that the palette can basically be used in a variety of industries my branding need to reflect that too. For the website we moved away from the pink color and went with a more gender-neutral blue and for the logo we made it more contemporary and smaller, more discreet. What I learned: I thought I was failing because I didn’t nail my branding perfectly the first time. The truth is my branding was spot on the first time, the second and now because I’m listening to my customers and following their needs.
- Our family of stores is growing: This year we doubled our sales from last year and picked up 7 new stores. What I learned: I know the pain points my customers face because I hear their frustrations. I truly enjoy helping people and teaching them how to use my product. It ties in with my sense of purpose above in number 1.
- Faced my fear of public speaking: I was a finalist at the InnovatHER competition funded by Microsoft. The finalists presented to a panel of five judges and an audience of about 60 people. Although I did not win it was a remarkable experience to pitch my idea. Shortly after the pitch competition, our local news, CW6 selected Hera Labs to showcase women entrepreneurs in recognition of Women’s Entrepreneur Day. As a member of Hera Labs I was invited to present my product. It was a really fabulous experience, especially to share that moment with my friends and fellow business owners. What I learned: I actually enjoyed it! I realized my fear of public speaking was nothing to be scared of. When you know your topic, practice your presentation and gain experience it becomes so much easier. Now, I look forward to the next opportunity.
- I turned 50!!: It’s a milestone that I believe I’ve arrived at gracefully. What I learned so far: I learned I must slow down and breathe. Seriously, you hear it all the time and when you have a To-Do list a mile long you think, "Yeah, I'll do that when I get to Yoga class". I found myself walking fast, driving fast, talking fast, gotta-get-it-done-yesterday attitude and it was burning me out. By moving and thinking more mindfully, I hope it will add many healthy, happy and appreciative years to my life.
As I closed the final page of last year, I reached for my newly appointed 2016 calendar. I filled it chock-full of events, goals, intentions, aspirations, potential dates to see family and friends and left room for some doodling.
I wish this New Year will be your sweet ’16, filled with prosperity, love, confidence, and fulfilled sense of purpose.