Five years ago this month... I launched a website to sell stationery that I printed at home and offered invitation services by appointment. I still worked full-time and thought that this new idea would be a fun "side-job" to keep me busy and fuel my creative side. I had no idea then what that little website would become. I can still remember what my very first stationery order placed on that website was for, a package of 10 note cards with a cute little ladybug on them for a cute little then 1 year old girl, the daughter of one of my best friends, for whom I have since printed many more note cards. During the last five years things have changed tremendously, sometimes to the point of being overwhelming. I slowly built a very loyal customer base of friends and family, which grew to include their friends and family and so on and so on. I started to have dreams of opening a "real" store and two short years later, that impossibly sounding dream came true. We started out in a space that most retailers would have scoffed at, mainly because it was the size of a shoebox, a very small shoebox, but it worked and it worked well. I can even still remember the very first person who walked in the door as I sat patiently waiting the day of our "soft" opening. She was waiting to have her car serviced and just passing time, she had no idea that we had literally just opened minutes before she walked in. She purchased some sterling engraved earrings for herself and was quite delighted with her little find of our new store. We had never met, however, I have seen her many, many times since and now I call her a friend.
I was very blessed to be able to move to a much larger and brand new location in 2008 and my business has continued to grow even in a bleak economy. We learned a lesson about trademarks, and changed our business name in order to get a trademark of our own. I took the leap of hiring my first real "employees" that year as well and have never looked back on my hand-picked choices. Owning a small business has taught me so much about myself, about business, about customers and about life in general. I never knew how much I would learn. I have met so many wonderful people and made so many new friends. My life is much richer for the relationships that I have made with everyone from my customers, vendors, employees, delivery drivers, sales reps, advertisers, neighboring business owners, community members, and everyone who has touched my business in these five years.
There is still a lot to learn as a business owner, a lot to do to grow my business and a lot to be thankful for each and every day. Please know that I am thankful for each and every person who is now reading this message, most of whom I know by name, because in some way, you have personally helped to make my business what it is today.
I look forward to many more years of getting to know you and helping to meet all of your invitation, stationery and gift needs.
The Cordial Cricket