My life has not followed a straight line or a set course, at least not the course I envisioned. Quite like everyone, my journey has been filled with ups and downs. This is also true of my path to entrepreneurship.
It was always my desire to start a business. Both my paternal and maternal grandfathers were business owners. Business ownership was in my blood. What business and where to begin was the question that I pondered. I prayed and waited and when the answer came in the form of a dream, I was off and running. I knew what I was going to do but the intricacies that were involved in bringing this dream to fruition, was beyond what I had knowledge of. However, that didn’t stop me.
My dream was creating silk flowers with a magnetic post. I had been exposed to flower pins from childhood and remembered how much I dreaded the occasional pin prick, holes left in silk blouses, bent or rusty pins and how impossible it was to attach them to some of the outfits I desired to wear them on. The thought of making a floral accessory that I could affix without the use of a pin was very exciting.
The neighborhood in which I lived had two annual street festivals. The spring festival was approaching and I knew it would be a great way to launch my business but the deadline for submission had already passed. I mustered up the courage to call and ask all the same and they asked to see what it was that I was planning to sell. I ran to the store, got all the supplies I thought I needed to make the silk flower accessory with the magnetic clasp and I went to work making one.
After working all night on perfecting my design, I took the prototype to the office and to my surprise they immediately said yes. Approximately three weeks later I was at the spring festival. I had made as many floral accessories as I could afford to make, business cards, instructional cards on how to wear the flower, table cloths, table decorations, my daughter’s cash register and I was ready to introduce La Leis Flowers to the world. The one thing I hadn’t planned on was rain. The day of the festival I was forced to put my beautiful flowers in zip lock bags to keep them protected from the elements. What a nightmare!! That was not the aesthetic I was going for but that was the only thing I had at my disposal. An intermittent drizzle was not going to stop me.
Although the weather impacted the number of people who came out, the La Leis Flowers debut was off to a great start. I sold most of what I had in stock and had a few orders that I needed to fill. I was getting great feedback and all of my fears seemed to dissipate. The day was a great success.
As the day was winding down one of my customers came back to my table to let me know that one of the flowers she purchased fell apart in her hands. I was mortified. I couldn’t believe that with all the care and attention to details that one of my flowers would fall apart. I apologized and was about to return her money for this flower and the others she had ordered but she said no. She said she loved the flowers and couldn’t wait to share them with her friends. She asked me to fix the flower and mail it along with the other flowers she had ordered. I couldn’t believe my ears. I was so sure that my business was about to come to an end. I was so worried about all the flowers I had sold that day. Was I going to get calls from other customers? For weeks I held my breath.
As God would have it, that woman went on to purchase many more flowers. I also went on to sell many flowers and had a few boutiques place wholesale orders. Things seemed to be going very well for some time but it wasn’t long before challenges seemed insurmountable. Sales had declined. I was forced to find new vendors as most of them went out of business or no longer carried the products I needed. Every opposition that could possibly show up presented itself. Although I knew that my business idea was from God and that He was faithful and would complete what He started, I succumbed to fear. Instead of trusting that God would provide and make every obstacle a stepping stone, I chose to give up on my dream.
During the pandemic I had a decision to make. I was once again at a crossroad and started seeking God for a business idea. After weeks of praying, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God had already given me a business but I had allowed fear to derail His plans. While I was no longer doing my La Leis Flower accessory business it was never far from my heart. It was now 16 years since I first had the dream. I was reminded of how much I loved creating beautiful Silk Floral Accessories for women that could be worn on their clothing, their pocket books, their hair or on their shoes. I couldn’t wait to get started again.