SFCo, The Backstory: Part 2

 

So, if you read part one, you may remember where we left off. If you didn’t, I suggest you go back and read so you will know exactly what’s going on here. Things were going pretty good, business wise, and I was really starting to find my groove. The store was open on the weekends, the monthly boxes were being sent out from my house, & the t-shirt sales were up! What could go wrong??? Answer: SO MUCH!

Crashes of vehicles and dreams:

It was Sunday May 22nd, 2016 (I remember specifically). Matt and I had just got back from a couples trip to Nashville and I thought I’d lay down and take a nap before the kids got back home. I think I napped for about 15 minutes, then my phone rang. A neighbor on the other end said, “Hey Karli, you may want to ride up to your store. Someone has had a wreck and went right through the front of your building.” Ummmm, what?! OK, so I have to gather my thoughts here, but am still thinking it’s probably not that bad.
Let me elaborate a little more about my building and where it sits. My little used-to-be store is right on the corner of an intersection on a country road. People take these back roads for granted and either run stop signs on purpose, or just totally forget that they are there. I’ve seen countless people run the stop sign there and have actually witnessed a couple collisions myself. Fortunately, there wasn’t any major injuries, nor did any of them run through the front of my building while I was there. This day would be different.
Right!? While I am glad this happened on a Sunday and no one was in the building, I was completely devastated when I arrived at the store to find out that the driver of the little red truck in the picture had lost his life in this crash. My heart was broken for him and his family. My stuff was just that: STUFF! It can be replaced, repaired, or even thrown in the trash, but the lives of this family changed forever this day. His wife, and also the passenger in the truck, had to be flown out by helicopter & the driver of the other vehicle involved, walked away with a broken elbow and other minor injuries. The red truck had ran the stop sign, and got t-boned by another truck coming through the intersection at the wrong time. It was a terrible day! I still think about all the people involved, all the time! I’m trying to stay on track here without being disrespectful, and there’s no good segue, so I am just going to move on.

Despair and feeling blue:

Now, after typing all this, I feel a little petty saying I was bummed when I had be “closed for repairs”. But, I did feel that way. My little building was nothing special, but it was mine. I could do whatever my little creative heart desired, and in my own space! I had wanted my own store for as long as I can remember and my dream was slowly fading away. Alas, I was down to only selling online and shipping out of my house. We have a rather small dwelling and this wasn’t something I wanted to permanently do from home. Regardless, I sucked it up (but still whined a bit ) and worked out of the house full-time while the store was being repaired.
Moving along to August of 2016, the building was finished! I’d spent an entire summer at home with my kids and trying to work at the same time. WE. HAD. SURVIVED. Thank you, Jesus! School was starting and I could get back to work in the store and reopen. Well, this is kinda like the story I told y’all about “planning” my children…God works in HIS time and your plans don’t always work the way you expect them to go. About the time I was getting all geared up to move out of the house, online sales were coming in at a rapid pace. I found myself without extra time to schlep all the inventory back up the road. This wasn’t exactly a bad problem to have, but look how cute my little shop was after she had a facelift!
After discussing it with Matt, thinking, praying, and worrying, I decided to stay at home and continue working. This WAS NOT the plan I had made for myself, but it ended up making the most sense for our family. I was able to work more flexible hours and be around when the kids needed me. If you read part one, you may remember that I initially started working out of my kitchen and was so happy to finally be out! Isn’t it funny how things come back around full circle???

Contentment:

I worked from home and used the kitchen table as my desk for over a year! I kept all my inventory stacked up in boxes around the house and we ate every meal in the living room. It was miserable…at the time. My house honestly looked like some sort of warehouse. Everyday while the kids were in school, I would unpack everything for shipping, sorting, product pictures, etc. Then, would pack it all back up before they got home every afternoon . Looking back now, it was EXACTLY what I needed to do. I learned so much during this time and was able to focus on and foster the side of the business that was doing really well.
In August of 2017, I decided to take our unused garage and make it my office, after saving my money for just an occasion. A pretty ballsy move for someone who DID NOT want to work from home, huh!? Yeah, well, I decided I like it here. I had about 1000 square feet at my old store, but was only going to have 196 square feet in my new space. I didn’t even care! I moved in my new office in October of 2017 and haven’t looked back since. Am I lacking the space I need? ABSOLUTELY! But, I am able to be at home every summer with my children and work at the same time! I may lack square footage, but the blessings are worth far more.
Here’s a little before and after for y’all…

 

 

So here I am 10 months later, still rocking’ SFCo out of my 14′ x 14′ office! It has saved me time, money, and just added another improvement to our home. To me, keeping overhead low is the key to owning a small business. I am able to do that here in my little home office. I was also able to do it without going into any business debt…but, we will get into the “running a small business” discussion later on.  

 

  That’s the story, folks! That’s how Southern Farm Co. got started. It may not be the story you wanted to hear, or what you expected, but it is alway the story I tell when I am asked. In a nutshell: I had a dream and a plan. While navigating the path to fulfill my dream, I found much more than I anticipated…both good and bad. However, if the bad things hadn’t happened, where would I be now? Who knows? That really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I never quit! I got bummed, and sometimes a little whiny, but I never stopped wanting it! I found a way to make it work and it’s become more than I ever thought possible. I’ve still got A LONG way to go, but when I look behind me, I feel like I’ve already traveled a million miles. That road has helped shape and mold me, and has given me a clearer vision of where I’d like to end up.
 
Thanks so much for letting me tell my story and thank you even more for reading it!
Until next time,

Karli

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