Happy First Birthday Paloma Blanca! I cannot believe it's been a year! Because it kind of feels like two! Ha! I knew enough about starting a business to know it would be hard work. In fact, I finally put up my Diploma for my Bachelor's of Science in Nursing just last year to remind myself - if I can do that - I can do this. Initially I thought I had to be an entrepreneur, but I had never fully been one. I had "only" been a critical care nurse and mama. What really qualified me? Somewhere in the chaos of last year I had a thought: I don't have to be an entrepreneur. Being a nurse for 12 years and mama for 6 years has given me all the skills I need. I need to apply the same nursing critical thinking to strategize and create a brand, consistency of pattern I used for my kids schedule, flexibility required of both, and follow through. No biggie right? The struggle would come later at a networking event when I had to stop introducing myself as, "Hi, I'm Monica, I'm a nurse" and lead as a "I'm a business owner". I was scared. Does what I do now carry the same weight as what I did then? The weight and measure is God's. I believe God is more concerned with my heart and who I'm becoming rather than what I'm doing.
June 13th, 2019 we launched. There's really nothing special about that day. In fact, I randomly picked it because I needed to set a deadline to go LIVE. Subconsciously, I might've picked that day because if fell on a Friday the 13th and the commitment to the unknown felt scary! I remember I was scared to go into my Shopify account for fear there would be no orders. I waited 2 days! To those who ordered the first day, I'm so sorry! I was a big chicken! Y'all, I had orders! I couldn't believe it! I've played store so many times as a kid with my sister and cousins, but this was on another level! I had real life orders! It was incredible! I was so grateful! I now had to figure out how I would package orders and send them out. I stumbled upon each step and still do to this day.
Five months into business, the week of our 9th wedding anniversary in November, I would get a call from my husband. He shared he was being laid off in 2 weeks. He was ready for a break and I was ready to see him. He had worked 7 days (12 hours) straight driving 2 hours to work and back since January 25th with occasional days off. Yes, he made a lot of money working that much which did allow us to follow Dave Ramsey's Baby Step Plan paying everything off and saving for an emergency fund. We had no idea we'd use it 2 weeks after saving it!
Josh spoke to me that day very confidently and calmly. I asked if he was scared and he said no. So, I wasn't. We would enter one of the most significant shifts in both of our lives. I knew God was up to something, but I did not know what. I did know, however, this was a gift. I mean it wasn't all warm and fuzzy like one, but I knew this was our open door to change. The gift we never knew we needed and would never yell, "I want that!".
"Shifts in life are God's open door to change." MC
Ask and you will receive. Search and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7 Be careful what you ask for!
Deficits are God's gifts to pivot towards growth. MC
In the coming months, as we all know the coronavirus changed the course for us all. This change felt like a personal attack, but now, we would go through another along with the whole world. The deficit of insurance and an income will force you to pivot whether you like it or not. There were months the store made zero dollars. I got frustrated, but I never got scared. The pivot forced me to get more rest, eat better, workout more consistently, and get back into therapy. Therapy. I paid for therapy with the money we saved to have a baby this year. In March I was running out of room in my closet for my inventory and my shipping system sucked. Josh convinced me to turn our guest room into the store's inventory room. I reluctantly agreed. I would later share with him that this was the only room left in the house and I had dreams of it being our last baby's room. Now, it was the inventory room. It wasn't the inventory I was upset with, it was the delay or "not right now" to another dream/desire. I'm already advance maternal and the risks are high for me, but this is was the "yes" God wanted from me. From us. Once the room was organized, I became more efficient, productive, and personal with each order. It was how I envisioned. I had felt for years, I was giving birth to a God dream. Now my dream was outgrowing the baby steps and required me to teach it to crawl and soon walk.
I also started a Revive Her in January and was in full swing into a Bible & Book Club then launched The Shift Changer Podcast in March which I had already had in the works. Plus, would also start homeschooling the kids (thank you COVID). Thankfully, my husband was available to help lead the children so I could work and we would tag team so he could look for jobs. Despite all the productivity, March, April and May would prove to truly test my husband and I. In gardening, spring would be the season optimal to plant. Harvest, the season prior, would prompt the gardener to till and make ready the soil for seed planting. If you had any trees, crops, or plants that survived or were tolerant to the weather - spring would be pruning season. Boy, did God have us till and prune the soil of our hearts.
As a parent, every parent knows that the first birthday party is really for you because you managed to not kill your child and survive that first rough, sleepless year.I may be crawling across the finish line at 11pm writing this blog, but I freaking survived! To be honest, this isn't for my glory. If there's anything I've learned through all of this is the deficit is me. The deficit causes you to lean into the strength, provision, and loving arms of Jesus. I am nothing without Him. This brand is zero without the Lord. John 15:5
I'm grateful for my family and friends - YOU. You all have made this possible. The orders, the DM's, the texts, the calls, the personal emails of encouragement and support have been a tremendous blessing. It has been the fire I needed when I was just a spark. In fact, if it wasn't for you - we would not have had the opportunity to bless Love Bought International.
Together we've sown into Love Bought $1,088 dollars in the last year!
To celebrate our first birthday, we're doing a giveaway! All orders placed May 29th - the end of the month June 30th by 7pm will be eligible for a prize of either a $200 Visa Gift Card, a $60 Hello Fresh Gift Card, or a Paloma Blanca Summer gift packed with goodies as a way to say "thank you!"
Lastly, we're launching our mini summer collection called Primero Dios. We thought it was only fitting to start the summer and celebrate the One who's name and reason we exist - God. He is first and foremost for us.
He's who connects us to you and you to others. A few items are up on the site and there will be more in the next few days with better pictures. Keep checking back with us and what is available is already up! Orders will be shipped starting next week. We love you and thank you!