Thursday, June 28, 2012

The next chapter...

Yesterday morning, when all of my shipments for the day came in (and, if you can believe this- I usually get a visit from USPS, UPS and FedEx once a day!) I was super surprised to see that my bracelets from Nepal came a week before I expected them to!  I immediately dropped everything I was doing, and ripped into my package.  I can't remember being this excited about opening a package since I was a kid at Christmas time!  I immediately headed to the office, and started organizing and stacking them in the color combinations I had been planning in my head.  I will admit that I am slightly OCD about this- the poor girls at Simplistic Style can tell you I have to do it with their bracelets every time I go in to shop! 

I have this overwhelming feeling that this is the start of something amazing.  Not because I am going to make a ton of money selling them (because my profit on them is very low), but because I know that when I sell one, I am helping women in Nepal get out of poverty, live better lives, and helping them feed their families.  And that, in my opinion, is way better than making tons of money!

To shop the very first batch ever- come by :) 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What's in a name?

One Great Thing.. what the heck does that mean anyway? 

Back when Chad and I first started dating, he was a self proclaimed bad boy.  I don't think he ever thought he would meet someone and settle down (and neither did I, to be honest! HA! We had been friends for so long before we started dating, that I knew he was trouble!).  I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I am really glad I did!

As our relationship started to get more serious, he told me one day that I was his one great thing, and I had changed his life.  At the time, I didn't realize there was more to that other than a sweet romantic thing he said- but it became my nickname. 

Fast forward to a year later.  Chad's dad had been diagnosed with cancer, and was terminal.  Chad, Wes and I moved to Arkansas so that we could be there to help his mom, and I took the role of caregiver while everyone was at work.  Jack and I spent a lot of time sitting around in the living room talking.  You name it- we talked about it.  I knew that this was my only chance to get to know Chad's dad, and I wanted to know everything I could.  We spent hours going over the family tree, and talking about different members of the Selby family.  I probably drove him nuts, now that I think back on it (I can just imagine him doing his classic Jack Selby eye roll as I walked into the room!).

One day, we started talking about Chad's grandmother.  Jack told me that she used to tell Chad that every person has one great thing in their life.  One thing that defines them.  You just have to figure out what that great thing is. 

Then he said something that changed me- forever.  He said, "You know, that's what I like about you- you try to do one great thing every day."   Tears immediately rushed to my eyes, it was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.  I had never thought about it in terms like that before.  I didn't wake up in the morning and try to figure out what I was going to do that was selfless that day.  I just always did it, because it was the thing that made me the most happy. 

We lost Jack just a few short months later.  

So, when it came time to figure out what I was going to call this tiny little business I was trying to start, the choice was pretty easy.  I might as well use the nickname Chad had so lovingly gave me (and his dad explained), so that every time I saw the shop name, I would remember to do good- to help others, and to pay it forward- selflessly.  Every single day.  Doing that, is my One Great Thing. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Keep Moving Forward

I spent a lot of time soul searching this weekend.  I had to refocus my dreams in a new direction- reinvent myself again.   Where do I take One Great Thing from here?  What makes me happy?  What impact do I want to make? 

The answer, after I started thinking about it- was actually pretty obvious.  The thing that makes me happiest, is helping other people.  Unlike many small business owners- my main goal is not to make money, or to become rich and famous.  Every day, I just want to make sure I am doing something- ONE GREAT THING - to make someone smile.  So I asked myself- what can I do to make sure that is happening every day?  How can I help someone truly in need?  How can I help another mom that is working from home like I am?

My mind kept wandering back to the bracelets I was wearing.  

They were hand made in Nepal by a group of women who have little to no education- and making the bracelets provides them with a good income (thanks to fair trade) and a way to help them raise their children in a poverty stricken area.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there had to be more than just bracelets out there.  There had to be women all over the world that could benefit from a company like mine- offering their fair trade products.  After all, most of my customers are women, and most of them are like me- helping others makes them happy.  

So, after hours of research and email conversations at 1am my time (morning in Nepal) This group of women started working on some bracelets for One Great Thing. 

Of course- I never seem to get SMALL ideas.  They always come like a freight train (which, honestly is a good reason for me to be blogging- at least this way I am not trying to find all of my random post-it notes!)  Here is my basic concept...

 ✼Although they may not realize it- when someone purchases one of my tie dye items, they are supporting my family!  They are helping me pay my bills, enroll my son in t-ball, and pay for groceries so that I can put food on the table.  The money they spend on me does not disappear into a black hole of corporate spending.

✼Featuring other women like myself that run websites from home and make hand crafted items helps support them and their families. 

✼Offering Fair Trade items made by women from all over the world provides an income (and a good one), to help them live a better life. 


This all ties into the quote I live by- "Do something good, someone may imitate it."  (Schweitzer) For years now, people have assumed that when they see that proudly displayed on top of my Etsy page that I mean,"I make the best tie dye in the world, and no one can hold a candle to me, so they copy me"  That, of course, could be no further from the truth.  It means-  if you do something good, someone else may see your good act, and do the same.  You have the ability to INSPIRE others, to make a difference in someones life.  To turn a world of despair, into a world of hope.  Not just in other countries, but right here at home.  

Yes, I still plan to keep making beautiful creations- but it is turning into something bigger than JUST my work now.  At Christmas time, I want you to come to my website- not just to buy tie dye for gifts, but to see what beautiful things my artisans have made by hand- and to know when you buy one of those items as a gift, you are doing something good.  

Take a moment right now to think back to the last time someone just randomly did something nice for you.  It could have been a friend, or a complete stranger.  How awesome did that make you feel?  Go out tomorrow, and DO SOMETHING GOOD- even if you are just helping a stranger load groceries, or you pay for the person behind you in line at lunch.  Send your best friend a random text telling her how much you love and appreciate her.  Maybe someone will imitate it- and you will get the love right back