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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Life happens....and so you adapt.....and drink wine.

Yikes.  It has been a hell of a month.    I have hit the proverbial fork in the road and decisions have to be made.
Too much to do, too little time.

I am back in retail.  Not crafty retail, but retail nonetheless.  Mind you, I have never forgotten the challenge, excitement, terror, and exhilaration of retail---duh!....that is why I moved into the wholesale "business to business" side of the world.  Frankly,  I just didn't need the thrill ride provided by the RETAIL ROLLER COASTER so I took an easier path.    I had a high maintenance husband and spectacular, albeit high maintenance, kids.  I also had  a houseful of critters, an overgrown garden, and a passion for politics.  Yup, I like all of my lives and  the wholesale business was a better fit for me.  I worked out a manageable system to keep all of the balls in the air and have been happily plugging away for years, making mistakes and fixing them, making others and working to fix them, in a manner that became quite comfortable.  Yup....I could do it with my eyes closed........but life changes.


Life is never that simple!  I  am not sure why I was shocked when change came a knockin' at my door.

Simple Jack  Pat finally wakes up and gets a clue......

Things are a changin'  no matter how tightly I close my eyes and refuse to see the writing on the wall.  I have been watching myself turn into Miss Angry Face over the last month or two.  I have been stretched thin as I try to shoulder more responsibilities than I can comfortably manage. hubby is now a full fledged retail guy and I am responsible for his marketing.  The last month has seen me interview techie web guys, start to remodel the showroom, grow his customer database, deal with morphing into an employee who has to dress up to go to work, entertain a parade of out of town company, and squeeze in a family trip.  All good stuff, to be sure, but a little more than I can handle.  

 The bottom line is my spouse has a new livelihood and has asked for my help  to make it work.  I have conducted a  realistic PRIORITY TRIAGE  so that I can get focused on what is most important over the next few months.   Sometimes life forces you to choose between really good stuff. There are only so many hours in the day, blah, blah, blah and I have to adapt to new responsibilities.

It is an election year and I have volunteer work to do on that end.  My youngest child is entering her senior year and there are going to be lots of "last time" moments that I want locked in my heart as she prepares to go to college.  Sadly, my beloved Rosie Mutt  is not doing so well --- I know what I am facing there in the coming months.  My sister is very ill and is a single mom with a young son.  I want to be able to step up there, too.  Yikes.

Accordingly, I am taking a hiatus from the Crystal side of my business.  No more weekly crystal specials for the time being.  I have to get used to juggling some new balls.   Although I will continue to focus on the fiber side of my business,  I need to focus more intently on hubby's new Office Furniture Business.  I am working to develop his website, planning store events (cigar tasting, anyone?), and generating customer newsletters.  I will continue with the blog....after all, retail is retail, whether you are selling skeins of yarn or a conference table.

My biggest challenge right now:

Learning to work with my husband.  It ain't easy and we might just kill each other before it is all over.  See...he has a very strong personality.  A very strong personality.   I have been told...once or those who have worked with me in the past....that I also have a forceful nature.  Yup....It is going to be a wild ride.  A wonderful opportunity for personal growth, yes indeed.  It will build character and bring us closer.  Yes.
Yes. Yes.

I hope.

I need some encouraging words from those who are happily navigating the world of family business dynamics.

Pearls of wisdom anyone?


  1. Don't know where I am supposed to post about Simple Jack - But it's from one of my FAVORITE movies in the ENTIRE world..LOL
    Pat, I'm happy for you. You're a wonderful woman. As I've told you before in NOT so public forums, I feel lucky to have met you. You've been wonderful to me.

  2. Wishing you and yours the best of luck. You will be fine and working with family is very rewarding after you get past the wanting to first fire them and then kill them. Enjoy the time together and set small achievable goals it makes the celebrations memorable. If you need anything give me a call. Deb @ Alada Beads

  3. HA! I should have known that YOU would have gotten the reference! I now hold you in even greater esteem. We should start a club for middle aged female fans of Ben Stiller. There will be two of us! Hmmm...maybe a self help group would be a better choice!

  4. Deb:
    You and your girls are truly an inspiration. You are a marketing genius and it is always fun to see what you have up your sleeve. I am going to go into this with a positive attitude...after all, it is who I am...My halo is glowing, can you see it? It should be an interesting ride and it will be entertaining to see what I learn and where it leads me.

  5. Good Luck with the new venture. family business can be tricky, however I truly believe that if you want it to work it will.
    I have come to value what you say in your blog. I read all of what you wrote about changing up inventory and the need to think out of the box in this economy. After reading a lot of valuable tips in your blog I am sure you will achieve great things.
    Good Luck
    Stacy Weeks Schoell

  6. Good luck to you Pat in your new venture. I work with my mom...and she's well...a mom! We also live together since we are both single women who own a very small business. There are times that we want to strangle each other...on both home and work things. It eventually evens out....for awhile! With each of you having strong personalities and living/working together...that may be a good thing! Good luck to you and can't wait for future blogs! Thank you for all of the listening that you do!
    I'm sorry to hear about Rosie...Keep us posted.

  7. Good luck on your new venture Pat. I wish you luck keeping all of those plates spinning. Oh, and the Simple Jack reference is referring to the character in the movie "Tropic Thunder".

  8. Hey Pat ~ I'll miss your regular emails but I totally understand. As they say "life is what happens while you're making other plans."

    I have complete confidence in your ability to make this all work! Please keep in touch!


  9. Pat,
    From 1981 to 1999, my mother owned her own electronic assembly business. My brothers and sisters and I (five in all) have worked for her. We have all been fired or quit at one time or another.
    My mother's most memorable quote to me me was "Here, I am not your Mother, I am your boss".
    But drawing that line(however blurry) is necessary to maintain both a professional and personal relationship.
    "It was the best of times, It was the worst of times".
    And I wouldn't change a thing!
    My husband also spend a year at the bead store with me while unemployed. Have fun with that!
    All the best!
    Jill Lindl Bead Basics

  10. Pat,
    I understand your situation but you have to know that I will miss your blogs and weekly specials greatly! My husband was diagnosed with MS last year and I too was thrown into the situation of working with a spouse. The best piece of advice I can give you is to get away one day a week. Get completely away from the business and your husband. You would be suprised at how much better you will feel and how much better you will get along with your spouse. I wish you all the best of luck!

  11. Hey Pat - great movie reference...but I'm sure you're far more advanced in your thinking than the character in the film! I too am in business w/ my spouse...and I was WARNED about this (by her loving brother no less!) But we LOVE working together, with one another. Despite that I growl when she messes up the checkbook and we laugh all the time. My recommendation is to honor each day as a gift (it's our present after all) and laugh at each other a lot!!! Someone told me the reason Angels can fly is that they take themselves lightly.... All the best, Phil & Valeri @

  12. Pat,
    I should have read entire blog before I posted...but I had to jump on the Tropic Thunder reference. Yes. I got it? HAHA
    I work with hubby and sister, as YOU know. I have ONLY ONE pearl of wisdom. Because I have found that all the OTHERS are BS (keep work at work and home at home: BS) etc.
    Take EVERY SINGLE circumstance that happens, every single one, as NEW. Every day as a NEW day. When you work with family in a business, business DOES affect and effect your HOME life. It has to...when you work with FAMILY: your family dynamic will CHANGE. It has to...
    We LOVE you. We're rooting for you, your hubby and all your chillins': two and four legged.

  13. My husband and I have worked together in our businesses for over ten years. I keep trying to turn him into an artist and he keeps trying to turn me into a mechanic working on classic cars. Neither of us is winning over the other but we each add to the other's work in wonderful and exciting bits of ourselves. I have often prioritized and what helps the most for me is scaling down all the "I wants" that tend to clutter my time and focus on what rings my bells the most, do that, and fit in the rest as best I can. I believe it has been said that "if momma aint happy no one is gonna be happy" I am soooo glad you are keeping the fiber part since that is what is making me happy at the moment. Good Luck in your new role!

  14. Thanks so much for the kind words...all of you have a cherished spot in my heart. There is something really awesome about working with people you enjoy and I am blessed in that regard.

  15. Pat-
    My husband and I have worked together for 11 years. In that time he left corporate America to join my company (wholesale artisan jewelry design and manufacturing only) and we worked together to change our business, grow our business, have two children and create a life that was reasonable for our family. It works because we try very, very hard not to step on each others toes and micromanage each others work. We do discuss work at home and on vacation; we both love this company and want it to succeed and sometimes that is all the time we can carve out for a meeting! We support each other in our strengths and maintain a 'no daylight' policy towards our staff (this means you won't see any daylight between us as we stand firm because we are so close together on our decisions.)

    It is fun and very hard work, but honestly, I think that this is how human beings were meant to work. Side-by-side, common goals, one kills the antelope and the other one skins it and the skinner does not try to give the hunter tips on where to aim, nor does the hunter complain when the leather is not quite as soft as he would have made it.

    Good luck!

  16. Cynthia:
    Love, love, love your philosophy. My hubby and I are so strong headed that Micro Management comes second nature to both of us. I am on a mission to reform myself in that regard. I couldn't agree more on the "no daylight" policy...united we stand! Thank you for your powerful insights....I am determined to make it work.

  17. Hey Pat-
    I'm late catching up on my reading, but I want to encourage you to keep writing, whether for publishing here or not. Maybe especially not. I took some advice from a coach who told me to write or I would explode. I get great value from the insights gained from writing and I haven't exploded, yet. :)

    You're an amazing woman, a great role model, and if anyone can make this work, you can! Best of luck to you both. I loved the start up phase - I confess to being a little envious!

    Gail DeLuca

  18. I've been through lots of changes, too. It's wonderful how we are able to adapt to changes--eventually. I'm actually happier now than I was two or three years ago. Hope things go well for you!