Today I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to blog about, so I asked my friends on my Jessicurl Facebook page what they wanted to read about. Makes sense, eh? And hey, if you haven’t yet, feel free to check out our Facebook page.
I was expecting hair questions, but Dustin posted this: “Can you tell us about the ups and down of starting a business from scratch and some of the things that surprised you? BTW, I met you at the Mountain View Farmer's Market about 10 years ago!”
This was my very enthusiastic reply.
“Hi Dustin. Sure! I'd be happy to, and WOW, I can't believe you just threw down a reference to that! :) Actually, it would have been Sunnyvale since I never did Mountain View, but I only did it ONCE so that's amazing to reconnect with you again here! Thanks so much for sticking around for 10 years! :) You met me when I was still making my products in my kitchen and taping the labels on the bottles! You are like a piece of Jessicurl history!! :) So cool!! :) I'll get to work on that post right now, thanks so much for the suggestion. :)”
(Yes, ok, I know. I use smiley faces as punctuation marks. I can’t seem to help it and I’m 36 now, so I don’t see it changing any time soon. You know me by now. You know it’s just how I am. :)
I’ll admit that my mind is kind of reeling right now at the enormity of this question. In a mere 2 months, we will be celebrating Jessicurl’s 10 year anniversary, so we are in full-on brainstorming mode on the best ways to commemorate that. It’s also causing me a lot of personal reflection, and Dustin’s question ties in really well with that.
There have been many MANY ups as well as a fair amount of downs. :) I don’t think I can cite them all here in one blog post so I think this might be best handled as a series of blogs I can roll out over the next month or so that allow me to go into more depth on individual aspects.
I’ll say very honestly, right off the bat, it’s a good thing I had no idea what I was getting myself into. :) I’m not saying I wouldn’t have done it, I’m just saying that sometimes, ignorance really is bliss. :)
Starting a business from scratch, overnight, with no experience, is hard. (If you don’t know the background story on how this all got started, you can read about it here.)
The very simple truth is that I didn’t mean to start a business! I was just trying to come up with something that worked for my own hair. Once it became clear that other people weren’t interested in making their own hair products, but would rather buy it from me, all of a sudden my life was totally different.
A lot of people who go into business have the luxury of time and planning. They know in advance what they want to do, they think it out, talk to people, and learn about their target market so that when they officially go into business, they know at least something about…anything. :)
What I knew about was hair. And people. Not websites. Not graphic design. CERTAINLY not bookkeeping. (I still don’t, actually.) So I learned very quickly the importance of doing what I was good at and trying to figure out how to get other people to do what I couldn’t. I was really lucky over the years in that a lot of people saw my potential and helped me out, offering their knowledge and sometimes even professional services, because they knew there was something to this whole “curly hair thing.” :) I’ll go into more specific details about some of those people in future posts.
Let’s go back to that part about what I DID and DO know about – people. Namely, curly haired people. Jessicurl has always been a very customer-driven company. It’s why we have three scent choices and why those choices didn’t get axed when we did our re-branding last year. You appreciate the option, and it’s something that sets us apart. Heck, back in the early early days, I used to custom scent each BOTTLE for people! :) (Please don’t ask for that now though, ok? We can’t really do that anymore. :-)
From the very beginning, I knew this was what I was meant to do. I also knew that if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to keep doing it. So you matter to me. Very much. That’s the first lesson I learned, and one that I will not forget. :)
I’ll do another post in this series later in the week and as the weeks progress. Thanks again Dustin for encouraging me to put my thinking curls on and blog about this topic. :)