I'm taking the blog in a bit of a different direction today and doing a little reflecting. If you prefer to keep it pretty tabletops and etiquette... stay tuned for next week and I'll get back to business.
2016 was a busy year for the little PLP family. You may have seen this:
Working with the wonderful Hilary Rose Walker and the Magnolia team was definitely a fun highlight, and working with them repeatedly was even better! (Yes the Gaines' are just like they are on TV: goofy, funny, kind, and genuine.) We were able to provide china, glassware and serving pieces for the feature article in the debut issue of the Magnolia Journal as well as a few other projects.
We also finally debuted an online catalog for our current clients and vendors. The catalog features all of our current rentals (minus brand new buys) so clients and planners are able to exactly what they are renting, and style head tables and parties down to the smallest detail. I feel very strongly about transparency and am proud to be able to show clients each and every rental we have, we aren't hiding ugly plates at the bottom of the pile! ;)
In addition to the online catalog, we built up our clear and colored glassware collections to match our plate inventory... and began offering flatware rentals for head tables and photo shoots. I almost forgot... probably my favorite change of 2016, we updated the logo and redid the website!
So along with lots of other little things... published styled shoots, our great new office space with the Grit and Gold Collective, working with fun new vendors, and having the sweetest clients around, 2016 was a great year. In fact, even writing about some of our growth I'm feeling more positive about that statement so let me say it again...it was a great year and I'm so thankful for that. But you know what it wasn't? It wasn't a year full of tremendous profit gains, my book of business didn't bust wide open, I didn't have my rentals maxed out every weekend.
So why is that? It begins with the fact that Pretty Little Plates is a small creative business, emphasis on small. I'll let you in on a dirty little secret... I'm not paying for private school educations, a big mortgage, and some Louboutins on my salary. ;) When I started 5 years ago, I'm not even sure I was paying the electricity bill on my salary. I don't have a giant warehouse and fifteen employees, I notice exactly what pattern of plate doesn't get returned because I am the main person that goes through the stacks day in and day out. Growth is hard and growth can be slow. And the reason why (for me at least) is this:
Yup. Those are tiny people. I'm a mom. I work from home most days, and what that really means is I work during nap time, after 7pm, and on the weekends. I'm lucky to have an incredibly hard-working husband, so when he gets home from the office he's somehow magically ready to jump right back into parenting mode, and then seamlessly transition into supportive husband mode when I have events, but it's not easy. In our family, the littles take priority over my business right now and my husband's company takes priority over my business as well. Don't misunderstand, if you work with Pretty Little Plates, you absolutely get our best work. But I find myself having to turn down projects, and say no a lot, and honestly, it kind of sucks. My job is not at the top of the family totem pole. Ouch. I'm a highly competitive person, focused and driven to a fault so this is hard for me. This phase of my professional life has been hard. Personally, I am doing what I know is God's plan for our kids and our family and that feels overwhelmingly right, and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to even have options when so many parents don't, but that doesn't mean it hasn't come without a sense of loss professionally. What gets me is... I chose this!! Why do I feel so... weird about it sometimes? I can't be the only one that feels that way right? Transitioning from #girlboss to #momboss? I would LOVE to be so busy in 2017 that I hire more help, or I'm able to book every single weekend solid, but the truth is that's not likely. The reality is that I will need to continue saying "no" pretty often. I want to cherish this time and not spend my days wishing I was somewhere else, and most days I do a good job of that. The emails wait until the evening, the calls go to voicemail unless you happen to get me during a nap time or on a Wednesday. But there are those days were I crave the pressure of a deadline, or wish I was out hunting for that perfect glass. Did you know rambunctious three year olds and crying babies aren't super welcome at auction houses? Who knew?? They won't always be little bitty so for now I strive to be content and soak up the snuggles... but when these kids get to elementary school, it's on y'all. ;)