everyone asks me how i got started. with the store. why im doing this.
how i started. what made me start a clothing store.
here is my answer.
i had never owned an apple product in my life.
i had never paid much attention to the man.
i knew he was the opposite of bill gates and ben wasnt a fan of microsoft or apple.
he liked linux. weird. but whatever.
anyway, when steve jobs died, i became enamored with his story.
with his words.
i felt like i do at church.
like the things he was saying we directly meant for me.
he was dead but i was listening.
and then he said this:
You see for the last 13+ years I have been in real estate. Sometimes as a real estate agent selling homes and mostly as an escrow officer at a title company. You know, that person who makes you sign all of the papers when you buy a home or refinance? That's me. Since I was 17 years old. And let me tell you, it is not a job I would wish on anyone. It is the most stressful job I have ever seen anyone do. It's high pressure. Intense. Demanding. Ruthless. Cut throat. Ridiculous.
Growing up (because that's what I was doing as I was working as a closer) people would ask me, "how do i get your job?" They would let the money fool them. Yes, it paid well. I'd easily made 6 figures for years and far before anyone else my age. But I was miserable. And I would tell anyone that asked that this was NOT the career you should choose if you value your time, sanity or self worth. I hated it. I hated the mean people. I hated the mean clients. I hated the demanding brokers who didn't care that something was happening completely out of my control.
I hated the big banks who didn't care that a family was being displaced in the rain with their entire lives on a flat bed trailer for the long weekend because some paperwork still needed a signature from the boss who was already gone for the day.
I hated the bosses who didn't care that my son had a mothers day tea and I was missing it for the sake of actually being present in the office (with not a damn thing to do). I hated the long hours. I hated that I spent CHRISTMAS BY MYSELF WHILE MY SON AND HUSBAND WENT TO MISSOURI because I wasn't allowed to be off.
Yeah. That happened.
Woobie's second Christmas and I was alone bawling my eyes out while they were 10 hours away.
I hated the huge cut in pay after the housing market shifted but my work load stayed the same.
I hated the hour to hour and a half drive one way every day.
I hated feeling so panicked at 515pm every day because i had to pick him up from school by 6 and I didn't get off til 530 in another town and my
boss would never let me leave and his school didnt stay open.
I hated never being able to enjoy the fruits of our labor because I had no vacation time. Even when I did go on "vacation" clients were calling the whole time.
But I knew if i quit my day job, I would lose my clients that I had spent YEARS procuring.
It wasn't like leaving a normal job.
If I ever left, I would have to start at the bottom.
And if it was this ugly at the top, imagine what the bottom looked like.
NO amount of money made it feel worth it.
At least not after I started listening to Steve.
I knew I needed to think about me.
I had ONE SHOT in life.
And I was blowing it.
Often well paid, but most of the time miserable.
You see, money does NOT buy you happiness.
Not lasting, real, deep happiness.
And every time I thought I was getting worn to the core, I would remember what Steve said. Dont settle. I'll know when I'm supposed to stop the madness.
So, I decided to change things.
I knew I wanted to own my own business.
I knew I was smart. I knew people liked me.
I knew i LOVED giving things away out of my closet.
We all knew I loved to shop and even more so, find a great deal!
I knew I liked helping people feel good.
I knew I was bossy and liked telling people what they should be doing.
I knew I was worth more than the shit I felt like when I left that office every day.
I knew I couldn't let a pay check control my life.
I knew that if i believed in myself and prayed hard enough, I could do something.
And then Kiki La'Rue was born.
If I have ever busted my ass in my life, it was building this store. From the ground up.
Every single second by myself.
No mama and daddy's money.
No fancy website (although mine is pretty legit - holla Jaree!!)
I sleep (as in currently its 547am and I haven't gone to bed) very little and work a whole lot.
I have juggled two full-time jobs (RE and the store) for a year and a month.
Oh and I sold houses too so yes, for a while I was working THREE jobs.
I didn't have to. My husband is a very successful engineer. But we make very sound financial decisions and I did not want to feel the effects of this store on us personally AT ALL.
I was hell bent on doing this MY WAY.
On my own.
On my own.
After a lot of prayer and a panic attack mid BUY at market last year, I took a large chunk of change from my bank account and I opened the store.
I paid myself back within two months and never paid myself again.
Every dollar I made, I poured right back into the store. And like Thomas the Train, I kept on rolling.
I work(ed) all night and all day.
Just me. No one else.
Daily, people would say, "I dont know how you do it Becka".
I didnt either.
I just knew I had to.
I couldn't settle.
I would come home from the office and start packing up orders.
I'd hit the post office on my lunch break.
I'd tweet from the restroom.
I'd answer emails at stop lights.
I missed parties and events and birthdays.
I cried on my husbands birthday this year because I wanted to take him out for a simple dinner but my client was screaming that a file had to close. We skipped dinner. It was his 30th.
And I cried some more.
But the store remained my constant source of happiness. I love(d) it. I could be SO stressed from my day job and then I'd get an email from someone saying that after wearing what I recommended, they finally felt good about themselves.
I would read a blog post from someone I never even knew was a blogger saying how special she felt that the order was personalized to her.
Or someone would call in tears because they won a $50 gift card and they didn't have money to spend on themselves but now they could.
I would hang up the phone and sob. How can I not be doing this full time? How can I not try to help these people? Why do I go back to a place that makes me so tense? When will i truly believe that THIS is what I was meant to do???
Today. That changes.
Today, I quit.
I quit letting someone else control my happy.
I quit being talked to in a way that just makes your jaw drop.
I quit trying to please everyone. (that is SO not my style)
I quit living for anyone else but me.
I stop settling.
And I start living MY life.
As the full time owner of the best online boutique you've ever shopped.
A boutique that provides you a different shopping experience than any where else.
Where the owner doesn't care to be as big as Zara.
Where she doesn't want to ever have someone else sign her receipts to you.
Where she always wants you to have her number to text her
at 8pm on a Sunday if you sizing question.
Where the owner really wants to know how big your arms are so she can tell you if they will look like popped biscuit cans in a Piko top.
Where the owner can designate her entire day to YOU.
Today, I am that owner.
And I am SO DAMN HAPPY ABOUT IT!
I can not WAIT to see what 2013 has in store for me. And for you.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. This blogging community has been absolutely amazing to me. I promise, I will find a way to make it up to every single one of you. Especially Kristen, Rachel, Ashley, Brynn, Kristen L and Lindsey. My first blogger friends. Who didn't know me from Adam and believed I could. I love and thank you girls so much. I have made some incredible friendships and there is no possible way of expressing how thankful I am! From the bottom of my heart, to each and every one of you who give a crap, thank you.
PS. Don't settle. You have ONE chance. And sometimes that chance isn't as long as you want.
No matter what it takes.
No matter what it takes.