Okay, this really isn't intended to be a negative post about what we didn't like about the last year. But, the New Year brings reflection and we took some time to individually consider our 'Highs and Lows' or more gently, our 'Learning Moments'. We tend to be perfectionist (despite our best efforts), so we always are looking for ways to be better. I asked the ladies for their input so you can get a sense for what is important to each of us in our own words.
From Anna - she had some big changes this year! Her high points:
1) Leaving my corporate job to focus 100% on Olive & Opal. It took me over a year from the day I put in my notice until I finally was able to fully shift gears. As someone who is naturally anxious, it felt like a tremendous weight was lifted off my shoulders when I was finally able to focus solely on our growing business. And I haven’t looked back since…
2) It seems like an insignificant event compared to some of the higher profile wins this year, but I absolutely loved our Thanksgiving tablescape photo shoot. It was such a joy to spend time with Melinda and Stephanie and just let loose. We always have fun when we’re together, but the Thanksgiving shoot was particularly special and I feel like I learned so much about the team and how well we fit together.
Her learning moments:
1. We had a few instances where we received constructive criticism from clients this year. It was hard to hear, but ultimately taught me grace and humility but also taught me to set emotional boundaries. I certainly have not become hardened by these experiences, but I’ve come to realize that as a business owner you take the good (most of the time) with the bad (very little of the time) and I can only take those criticisms and use them to make our business better.
2. I am an accountant by trade, but let me tell you, small business accounting is not the same as corporate accounting. I certainly learned the hard way that managing our finances was far more time-consuming and stressful than I had imagined. Our business is growing rapidly and we are busy with all the physical aspects of our staging projects so setting aside time for the behind-the-scenes administrative tasks took a back seat. I have learned to work more diligently on my time management and set aside time to prioritize these tasks as they will ultimately help us continue to grow!
Stephanie- our newest team member with her high points:
1. Watching so many of our homes go from sitting on the market for months to going under contract within days of staging. We are so happy to serve our clients and find these beautiful homes new owners - they just need a little visual assistance with furniture and accessories!
2. Going from "Intern" to Team Member :)
Stephanie's learning moments:
1. That one time I tried to go 6 hrs without eating running up and down the stairs to a 3rd floor loft! Stay hydrated and bring snacks to every stage. You never know where the day is going to go, it could be short and sweet or be a multi-warehouse-trip kind of day. Preparation is the best indicator of how hard or easy a day will be!
2. Staging is hard work! Take care of your bod (especially your back and core!) And it's much easier.
My learning moments
I have to agree with Anna on the criticism. It's so funny, because its so rare when we have any feedback that could be construed as negative and BOY, do we do everything we can to fix it and obsess! I hope that I can also continue to learn from these moments- I also need to remember to keep things in perspective. As much as I want to please everyone, that's probably not always going to happen and I need to emotionally detach a bit from that idea and continue to take any feedback as a way for us to adjust, sometimes pivot and ultimately make a better, stronger business.
Plan ahead and know that sometimes your day is going to get totally wonky. I love having a perfectly smooth day, but staging is a tricky biz and can throw you some major curve balls, like 'oh crap, this table won't fit through this doorway...like at all'. When things go wrong, we be sure to not let it happen again, by improving our systems and planning for each project. But, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and have a good laugh about it. Sometimes it's going to rain or snow when we are moving and that isn't fun, but it's the job.
My own high points:
Professional recognition- when you start a small business, especially in a newish industry- its really f'ing scary. You are constantly questioning yourself and your choices and frankly, freaking out. "Is this going to work?!" Then, finally- you start to relax and realize that you are doing the work you were always meant to do. I felt like this year I was able to finally ease into this career in a way that was new for me. I feel empowered, and so super proud of our team and how far our little business has come in a couple short years! I was especially excited to see our work featured in Ladue News, 4 freakin pages!!! Another exciting one was the 'Sitting pretty' article in DesignSTL- we don't claim to be interior designers, but we were totally honored to be considered for inclusion in this local mag. And lastly, being nominated as Top Ten Staging Teams of the year by RESA- an international category. Holy crap- we couldn't believe it! Just to see our business and work contending with super-talented stagers that have been working hard on their game for years- is so incredibly exciting and motivating.
We can't wait to see what 2020 brings. Cheers to tons more 'high moments' for 2020!