SFCo, The Backstory: Part 1

 

I get asked all the time about how Southern Farm Co. got started. Well, in order to appreciate the present, one must travel through the past. I know, I sound so wise, but I am just trying to overcompensate for the things I am about to tell and show y’all. But, every single one of you are my friends, so there can be no judgement made! I mean, I haven’t committed a crime or anything…unless you classify creating ugly things a crime. OK, not all of it was ugly, but the beginning was pretty bad. I am also extremely proud of the things I’ve done that have led me to SFCo. I’ve told y’all about having ALL the babies in such a short amount of time, but I haven’t went beyond that, or even before! I will start with a brief summary of my life before Matt and the kids. I won’t go back too far, but it is kind of a long story. Nothing happens overnight, so just try to stay with me here.

I never went to college. Wait, let me start over! I tried going to college, TWICE, but quickly decided I didn’t like it. You see, back in high school, I wasn’t a bad kid, but I was always extremely independent, hated structure and being told what to do. Which is kind of ironic, because now, I love structure (I am still independent & hate being bossed around though ). So, when I figured out college was optional, I opted out. Anyway…I went to work. I worked for a telecommunications company for a few years, then sold ads for the local newspaper. Neither were bad jobs, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever. However, I did know that I loved sales and dealing with the public. I also knew I wanted to work for myself.

2010: finding something for me

After finding out I was pregnant with my first, I quit the paper to stay at home. Our plan was always for me to stay at home with the kids. As I mentioned in my last post, we have a dairy farm and that is a very demanding profession. Matt can’t just drop what he is doing all the time and run kids where they need to go, so if I didn’t work, I could be at everyone’s disposal.

When the twins were about 6-8 months old, I really felt the need to do something that was just mine. I was at home all day by myself with three babies in diapers and had to find some sort of therapy/me time/a way to stay sane. I had always loved decorating, painting, making stuff, and just being creative in general. Somehow, all this led me to painting. I would sit in my kitchen during nap time, and after the kids went to bed and just paint my little heart out! Was I any good, ABSOLUTELY NOT, but at the time, I thought I was the new Bob Ross! If you aren’t familiar with Bob Ross, go look him up on Google after you finish reading this.

What was my creation of choice, you ask? Clocks. Yes, I made and painted clocks. I cannot even remember how clocks came to be, but I even had a catchy little name for my kitchen hustle: “Kuku’s Clocks” (my nieces, nephew, and lots of other kids call me Kuku), so it seemed fitting at the time. Whatever. We are now entering the “NO JUDGEMENT ZONE”! If you can’t handle the image below, I don’t blame you for leaving now!  Proceed with caution!

 

 Can y’all believe I ended up selling these for actual real American dollars??? I think I sold about 150 different ones over the course of about a year and a half. This momma just needed to do something!

2012: “time” to move on

When the clock phase ended, and I literally got sick of telling time…, I wanted to move on to bigger/better things. I had just put the kids in preschool, and thought it was a great time to open a little store. We purchased an old beauty shop that adjoined our land, and my husband gave me $5,000 to get started. I opened my store, “Kuku’s”, in September of 2012. I guess I was really determined to keep that name! My daddy was a very skilled craftsman, and I wanted to learn how to build things out of wood! So, after I made a few upgrades to the building, I purchased a few tools, and started creating. It didn’t take long to get completely addicted to woodworking! I have made countless farmhouse tables, cabinets, shelves, side tables, toy boxes, wooden signs…YOU NAME IT! Basically, if it’s ever been on Pinterest, I’ve probably recreated it. I also would refinish and chalk paint furniture for customers.
 
I know the pic is grainy and low quality, but I didn’t have a good camera at the time. But, the point is that I am actually really proud to have this skill. I have made 75% of the furniture in our house, and have saved a ton of money doing so. However, I was forced to stop building in late 2015 because I needed back surgery! I ended up having two microdiscetomies within two weeks. It was a bummer, to say the least. I couldn’t bend at the waist for 8 weeks and couldn’t lift anything over 5 lbs. Y’all, my purse weighs more than 5 lbs and let us not forget that I have three children!!! These were not easy times. I eventually recovered, but still couldn’t build all the big heavy stuff I once enjoyed making. I still kept the store open, but just brought in more lightweight home decor items. I was sad, but it was all good!
Have I lost y’all yet? I promise this story has a point and I am getting to it. Just a little bit more…

2016: a name change & monthly boxes

After having the store for a few years, I decided to change the name to be a little more indicative of the items I sold. “Farmhouse Interiors” was the name I landed on. It was simple and self explanatory. “Kuku’s” just had to go! I also decided to join the Instagram world at that time. Not long after, I thought how fun it would be to put together a little curated home decor box! I had never really seen anything like it. Especially one geared toward small businesses! So, in addition to the store, I started “Farmhouse Box” in January of 2016. The boxes were available in limited quantities every month, and each one had its own certain theme. The best part was every item came from a small business from all across the US! I met so many people and formed some long-lasting friendships.
 
As you can see, I also stepped up my photo game! I believe it was imperative…lol!
So, with the new side biz, came a new logo. I knew I wanted something “farmy”, but also modern looking. This is what it looked like…
It is obvious to see where my first shirt design came from, right!? I actually included my very first run of shirts in one of the monthly boxes (March 2016) and it was a huge hit…to me. I sold 36 of those bad boys! I decided to offer them in the store as well. Things were going good: I had my store, my new t-shirts, my monthly boxes & had recovered from two surgeries. What could possibly go wrong at this point!? The answer will be in part 2.
Until next time,

Karli

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