On being a small business, this Saturday and always.
Small business Saturday has arrived and I find myself amongst so many other small business people hoping it will bring prosperity to my fledgling company.
I began the kitchen garden series out of a desire to connect to and support a community of people growing food in my neighborhood. I didn’t begin with a business plan, investors or even any start up capital of my own to speak of. I simply started. I had an idea; a vision that was generous and reciprocal and fun and beautiful.
My early successes spurred me on. Eventually, in order to grow, I scrounged up a little money, from my savings, my family, by selling some things I didn’t need and I pressed on.
I find myself 6 years later, with that idea fully developed into my brand. I offer a full line of sustainable textiles, revenues are growing steadily, production has grown far beyond my ability to meet demand, I’m providing jobs in my community, I’m reaching more and more people with my message of the importance of ethical production and sustainable textiles, I offer rental linens for restaurants and caterers. I’ve qualified for loans, am being mentored by reputable business people and have 100% customer satisfaction with my goods. I’m also stretched to my financial limits.
The secret about small business in America is that most small business owners go long stretches of time without pay to grow their businesses. It isn’t because we don’t know how to price our goods or manage money either. It’s a mathematical reality that revenues have to reach a certain volume to generate a living wage for a business owner and it costs a lot to grow to that point. Sacrifices are made in the interim. I have been making them in spades this year.
I’ve put a lot into this business and can say without hesitation that it’s been my most challenging and satisfying creative act to date - and as a former dancer and costume designer, there have been many!
I am holding my breath ahead of these handful of days that make up the winter holiday shopping season, hoping that all the risks I’ve taken this year will bear fruit. That all the beautiful textiles waiting in the wings will go to good homes. That my business will end the year on a high note. That all of you will support my vision.