Hello, you Pretty Fun Things!
In sharing this big news with family and friends, I've noticed I get asked the basic W's a lot: What? (like seriously, what?) Why? (you left your salaried job? huh?) When? (when did this happen?) Where? (but where do you even start?). And there’s that pesky H people also ask: How? (how on earth will you do it?).
For the W’s, I’ll give the short version of what’s been a long story for me.
It was December 31, 2014, and my Husband Brian and I were out with close friends, honoring one of my favorite traditions: exchanging New Years resolutions. In my mind, it’s literally the only night of the year where you can say any pie-in-the-sky goal and your friends will still propose a toast and likely not hold you to it come January 1. Because that’s what friends are for.
As a precursor, I’ve always thought that opening a store would be the ultimate dream job. I was the girl who moved to Chicago immediately after college and opted to live in a three-bedroom apartment with four girls so we could save money…and then spend said saved money on clothes. Living in one of the best city’s for shopping, I was always shocked to find many of the boutiques in the area carried such expensive stuff. How does the 22-year-old intern living in Wrigleyville afford rent AND a $300 sweater? It’s been a question that has lingered for me for a while. Even at 29, after doing my thing in the real world for quite some time, I still found myself thinking about it. And for those that don’t know my husband, he is a true entrepreneur at heart. One of those guys that, on a good week, thinks of three to four new business ideas from solving a simple life problem to improving a worn-out system to tapping an untapped market. While I've always been encouraged by the fact that he's currently living his "dream job", he has never failed to encourage me to follow mine.
So on December 31, 2014, I swiftly gave Brian the “let’s do this” look and declared to our friends that in 2015 I would start a business. I didn’t know any of the W’s. Or the H for that matter. But hey, I had a year right?
I wish I could say that on January 1 Brian and I started putting pen to paper. In reality, by morning we had already decided the best place to start would be to purchase the P90X workout program and every accessory to go along with it. I think the conversation went something like "we'll get in great shape and THEN we'll figure out this business thing." Smart. Really smart. Three weeks later, that dream had sailed along with $300 of my Christmas cash.
Also at the beginning of this year, my previous job doing health care PR presented an opportunity to work on a consumer piece of business and I jumped at the challenge. I had been in health care for my entire career and was ready to try something new. Little did I know accepting the new role would catapult me into an 8-month season of long work hours, tremendous learning and surprising growth. All of which I'm thankful for looking back. I'm a big believer in the power of God's timing (future post dedicated to that topic to come!) but during this season it became clear to me that even though in some respects I was doing my "dream job" in the PR world, I was still being pulled another direction. After a ton of contemplation, prayers and support from family and friends, I decided to leave my agency in August in search of the other "dream job" I had always been too scared to go after.
Which brings me to the here and now. And also to the “where do you even start?” question. Leaving my agency life and the security blanket of a full time job was actually tougher than I had imagined. So after taking that big leap, I had assumed that everything else would naturally fall into place. Isn’t that how it goes in the movies? You have an epic dream and then wake up in morning, clear on every step you need to take next? The world is yours! You own it! Carpe that Diem! I learned quickly that isn't exactly how it goes.
Instead, I dove in where I could. I sought out advice from people, some practically strangers, who are in the same profession. My Mom and I traveled to markets, put on the name badges and acted like we knew what we were doing. I read the entrepreneur sub-reddit daily. Then I read the entrepreneur sub-reddit twice daily. I muddled over the name. I muddled over online versus brick and mortar. I asked that amazing entrepreneur-minded husband of mine for help time and time again. And even though I didn’t wake up instantly knowing the next step, all of it formed into what I'm proud to say is Alice & Wonder is today. What you’ll be able to see come November 17th!
As for the pesky H, I hope to share the 'how' with all of you throughout the process, as I’ve come to appreciate entrepreneurs that grow and fall and learn and share those learnings with hopefuls like me. I fully support the High School Musical “We’re All in this Together” approach, so my vow is to be open and honest with all of you as my journey continues.
I can’t wait to show you what’s to come! Cheers to (every once in a while) keeping those New Year’s resolutions. :)