Life is hard, and sometimes making life-altering decisions is for the birds.
For the past couple of years, my husband and I have strongly explored the possibility of expanding Woolies from an online/mobile retail business to an actual brick and mortar location in downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We had talked in length about the what ifs, how awesomes, and if onlys. (I know those aren't words, but this is my blog). Our dream consisted of selecting the only locations in downtown Steamboat that we would be interested in expanding into. It seemed wishful thinking that any of the spaces would ever come available.
Last May, one of those spaces came available. We acted quickly and knew the timing was horrible with the pending arrival of our first child any day. On the day of our scheduled viewing, our baby girl decided a dramatic entrance would trump any other plans. An emergency c-section, life flight, and 10-day stay in the Level 4 NICU in Denver consumed us. On day 11 when we returned to Steamboat with a healthy baby girl (thankfully!), the space had a new tenant. Dang the luck.
The next few months quickly became the best and hardest months of my life. I was learning the ins and outs of being a mother while balancing running my business. Each day, especially as the 8-week mark loomed, I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to spend the days with my baby girl, even if it meant no showers, late nights/early mornings working, dinners out of box, fulfilling orders and updating the website with one hand while holding her with the other, and all those other things that come with motherhood.
During those months, the opportunity to expand to a storefront arose again. This was the one! We aggressively went for it and everything was falling into place. Hallelujah! As it came time to sign the lease, the initial excitement began to disperse and a new worry and doubt seeped in. The worry and doubt of how this change would affect our little one became stronger and stronger. Running a storefront would be a complete lifestyle change, and I wasn’t sure if it was the right lifestyle change for our family.
This past weekend was filled with sleepless nights, intense conversations, and weighing the pros and cons. I could not make a decision. My longtime dream was within grasp, but a new dream was being realized. A dream that my child (maybe even children someday) could grow up with two parents who were always present, experience family vacations, spend summers playing in the river at the ranch, spend weekends at horse shows, and many other things. This was truly the first time I had experienced the internal struggle so many women face as they raise their children and balance their careers. Y’all that struggle is the realest of all reals!
Saturday afternoon, baby girl and I spent the day at the barn with my husband. As a horse trainer, he works 6.5 days a week. We rode horses, played in the sand, and tried to stay warm. It was perfect. It was everything I would lose with the expansion, but the decision still wasn’t clear. Later that evening, a friend who rode with us that day posted this photo on Facebook.
This was the photo that made my decision. This moment frozen in time was everything I ever wanted. I need to be in a position with flexibility. I need to be present for my daughter and husband. I can still chase my dreams and operate Woolies online with success without the demands of a storefront in a tourist town. I now don’t have to dread the holidays and not being able to spend Christmas Eve with my family.
So, here is to continued success in the online retail world. Here is to YOU for all you have given me and my little business. Thank you for the support and love over the years that have allowed me to feel like I truly can have it all.
I have tears as I write this. They are tears of sadness as I watch a big "what could have been" drift away. But more importantly, they are tears of happiness and relief as I know this is the best decision for my family. I can't ever get back time I miss watching my baby girl grow up. In the end, I realized that the potential for great success comes at a cost that is too great to bare.
Now it’s out with the old and in with the new! We have been holding onto all of our inventory remaining from the NFR with the thought of needing to merchandise a store. There is a whole lot of new arrivals coming in that we need to make space for. So...
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