BIG IDEAS & BIG PLANS // PART 2

Let's see now, where did I leave off?  Oh yeah, me & my BIG ideas was now a legit corporation with award winning products!  What?  You mean that little company that I had hoped would provide me with some extra Target spending money was now a well-respected and industry leading brand?  Yes it was.  And while I was surprised at how fortunate we had been, it didn't come without a LOT of work and a LOT of lessons. We worked REALLY hard and were SO passionate about what we were doing. 

Although my mom brought many years of valuable experience with her, this journey we were on was a new adventure and we learned so much along the way.  We ventured into the world of overseas production and dealing with mass market chains.  We learned the importance of building our staff with people that did all the stuff that we didn't know how to do.  That's the plain and simple truth.  I could make it sound super fancy...but that's really what it boils down to. What we did know how to do was come up with lots of BIG ideas!  We work really hard to keep our team inspired and HAPPY so the ideas keep flowing.  Over the years, we have gone on some really fun adventures and spent time bonding as a team!

No matter what we encounter, be it successes or challenges, we just keep growing and learning.  It makes us stronger as a team and stronger as individuals...and that shows in our products.  I hope that you can tell how much we love what we do.  I could go on for days about the past 18 years in business but I'll save that for another blog post. 

Until then, I encourage you to find what you love to do and pursue it with all your heart.  It will be hard work but when you have a passion for what you do, there is joy in the journey.

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BIG ideas & BIG plans // part 1

Hi friends!  Today I thought I would share the me & my BIG ideas story (from my point of view) for all you smart and creative women who are out there bravely chasing your dreams.  I'll start from the very beginning because I want you to see the good, the bad and the MAGICAL.

As far back as I can remember, I was surrounded by creativity.  My mom was rocking DIY projects from the time I was born. If she couldn't afford it...she made it.  My grandpa and my dad were both talented craftsmen.  My grandma was a seamstress and made me the most intricate and beautiful dress up clothes and playhouses.  And our family owned and operated the Gick Companies, a manufacturer and distributor in the craft industry.  So I was literally raised in the creative world.

I have fond memories of nights and weekends spent rollerskating around the warehouse. My careerin the craft industry started at the bottom.  My first job was packaging blister cards of beads and glitter on the assembly line in the warehouse. Once I mastered that, it was on to picking and packing orders.  Now that was cool.  I just loved going up and down the aisles and checking out all the inspiring craft products that the company offered.  I remember thinking, This warehouse thing is greatbut I want to do something creative. 

 But my parents had other jobs in mind for me first...answering phones, filing paperwork, filling out insurance claims, to name a few.  I had to pay my dues. Then one day...I was given a job that took place in the ART DEPARTMENTat that moment Im pretty sure I heard angels singing.  It turned out to be another assembly line job creating display rack headers...but I didn't care.  I was in the promised land.

That was during the Tulip fabric paint craze.  I also had the opportunity to model for many of the idea and pattern bookswhich was always so much fun! I made product samples, taught make & takes and demonstrated at trade shows. I even added handwritten copy to an idea book.  That was a big one for me.  My mom was the Creative Director at the time and her belief in my artistic abilities was all I needed.  I was hooked.  I loved it all and wanted more.

Then real life came knocking on my door.  I had my son, Tyler, right before my 19th birthday.and yesI knowI look like I was 12, right?!  I knew I had to start earning a living.  I started an in home day care business so I could help support my family and stay home with my son at the same time.  But after 8 years of working 11 hours a day, I was ready for a change.  I yearned to stretch and exercise that creative muscle that was awakened in me years ago.  And thats where the mambi story begins

It all started 18 years ago at my son's little league game.  My mom and I were sitting in the stands when we came up with our BIG idea. 

Scrapbooking was just starting to emerge as a popular hobby and the product on the market was very limited.  Paper stickers were the only embellishments available and we wondered about clear stickersyou knowthe kind you see on product labels?

YES!  We could do that, we thought....clear stickers with borders and corners designed specifically for scrapbookers. 

We knew the perfect artist for the job and we started penciling out a "business plan".  And I use that term loosely.  Remember, we were two right brained,creatives trying to figure out how many sticker rolls we would have to sell to break even that first year.  Needless to say, we enlisted the help of someone a little more gifted with numbers to help us analyze this new opportunity.  It was a risk...but we believed in it...so we trusted our instincts and took a leap of faith. 

We worked with our friend and artist, Kay McConnaughey, to design 12 rolls of unique stickers.  Kay lives in Seattle, so mom and I packed our bags and flew up north to finalize the designs.  We didn't have an office or a color printer so a motel and the local Kinkos was where we conducted our business.

Once the stickers were designed, it was time to set up shop. My garage was transformed into a warehouse and my small kitchen nook became the office...complete with one very large computer, a small filing cabinet, a printer and a fax machine. 

We printed what we thought would be a year's inventory and headed to our first trade show  the 1999 HIA show, right here in Dallas. We came home from that show with $50,000 in orders and our years worth of inventory was sold.  

Our little, garage based business grew faster than either of us could have ever imagined. Within 4 months we moved to a 1500 square foot office space,  A few moths later, we took over the space next to us and it wasnt long before we made the scary leap to a 10,000 square foot building. We thought we would be there forever.  We were well on our way to building our business but we were about to learn about growing pains, economic downturns and BIG ideas gone wrong. 

Next Monday, the story continues...

GO WILD & CREATIVATION

Hey y’all!  Did you hear the exciting news?  The Happy Planner is heading to Nashville, Tennessee as one of the sponsors of Go Wild 2017.  

I will be hosting HAPPY HOUR on Thursday evening and it promises to be a rip-roaring good time.  I can’t wait to meet YOU there so be sure to get your tickets and arrive early enough to get your HAPPY on with me & The Happy Planner® crew!  Tickets go on sale TODAY at 2 PM Eastern.  Check out all the details HERE

Side note: I really need to go out and find a cute pair of boots!

This week we’re headed to the CREATIVATION trade show (formerly known as The CHA Mega Show, CHA Winter Show and HIA)!  Seriously, this show has changed names so many times it’s hard for me to keep them all straight.  But whatever we’re calling it these days, we will be in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend for our annual trade show, where we will reveal some of the new Happy Planner® product coming out this year. 

Did you notice that I said, SOME?  That’s because while we will unveil some of the new designs, there will be more exciting news to come in the next few months. 

MARK YOUR HAPPY PLANNERS!

On Saturday, January 21st @ 8:00 am Mountain Time, Hannah, Amanda & I will walk you through the me & my BIG ideas booth and show you all the NEW product!  We will be broadcasting LIVE on Periscope because we love interacting with you and answering your questions.  But don't worry if you can't make the LIVE reveal, we will upload the broadcast to The Happy Planner YouTube Channel soon after. 

We will be updating our social media accounts all throughout the event so be sure to join in on the fun.  If all goes well, I will be vlogging from the show.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Have a HAPPY & PRODUCTIVE week, my friends!