Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Pinterest Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video

my journal

If There's One Thing I Want Aspiring Entrepreneurs To Know, It's This

If There's One Thing I Want Aspiring Entrepreneurs To Know, It's This

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am sharing the one thing I want all aspiring entrepreneurs to know. I have so many tips, tricks, and information to share with aspiring entrepreneurs, but if I had to boil it down to one thing, it would be this: in order to be successful at leaving behind your day job and starting your own business, you have to be willing to completely change your thinking. 

If you've been reading my journal entries for a while now, you may have noticed that I sometimes say, "You need to work on your mindset more than your website in order to be successful at owning your own business." Today's journal entry expands upon that. 

So what exactly do I mean by "changing your thinking?" Well, let's start with the present moment first. Most likely, today you find yourself in a job (or perhaps you recently left a job) that you don't like very much. Or maybe you like it, but it's just not fulfilling and you can't imagine spending the rest of your life doing it. Well, how did you wind up in this situation in the first place - working at a job you don't like or don't find fulfilling? You have a set of internal beliefs that played out in real life and brought you to the now. Most likely, those internal beliefs go something like this:

  • Work isn't supposed to be fun
  • The purpose of work is to earn a paycheck
  • I'm supposed to work until age 65, give or take, and then I can retire and enjoy my life
  • The right thing to do after college is to get a stable job with good income potential
  • I work an office job because I need health insurance
  • I stay at my stable job because I need the benefits
  • Having a regular paycheck makes me feel secure  
  • I work a 9 to 5 job during the week and I countdown to the weekend. Friday at 5 pm is my favorite. They say TGIF for a reason!
  • Who am I to think that work should be any different than this? Everyone else feels the same way. That's just life. We all have to work to pay the bills.

Do some or all of these beliefs ring true for you? And do you find yourself at a job you don't particularly love? If your answer is "yes" then you, my friend, have created the exact set of real life circumstances to support your beliefs. 

Therefore, it naturally follows that you can create a new set of beliefs. And those new beliefs will create a new set of real life circumstances that support those new beliefs. Do you follow me? If not, read this over again a little more slowly. The "big picture" logic of it all is actually quite easy. It's getting from here to there that's not so easy.

So how do you get from here to there? You begin by changing your thinking. You have to, have to, have to change the way you think about work and career. Please believe me when I say this. I am speaking from 100% real life experience. You see, I quit my lawyer job not once but twice. And both times I left to create a jewelry business. The first jewelry business (which happened in 2010) failed after one year. The second one (grace + hudson) is in its fourth year and thriving. When people ask me what the major difference has been, I always tell them that it's my mindset. The first time I quit, I had the beliefs that are listed above. I actually felt guilty and naive at times for trying to make a living doing something I enjoy. I'm not sure if it was (a) the guilt or (b) the doubt that I could go against the grain that killed my dream first, but I was back working as a lawyer within a year. I truly was not in alignment with my dream. I was in alignment with working in a career I didn't really like. It can be hard to examine your beliefs and have enough self-awareness to admit that. But looking back, gosh it was so clear. I honestly didn't believe I deserved better.

The second time I quit I was in a totally different headspace. Part of that was the wisdom that comes with growing a little older, and part of that was some real transformational work I had done with a therapist after I lost my dad to cancer. I was in a dark place at that time in my life. Everything was going wrong and it was just one thing after another. I was finally in enough pain to say, "Ok! Enough is enough! Something's gotta change here!" And that desire for change propelled me to work on myself and really challenge myself to grow beyond this dark place. It didn't happen overnight that's for sure, but slowly and surely I worked on a little tiny aspect of myself, and then another, and another, and another. And soon enough the momentum was great enough to make big changes. I'm quite a different person than I was back then, doing a different job, living in a different city, with different friends. Making big changes like that are never easy, but I can honestly say, looking back, the journey was a pretty beautiful one!

So what's the next step for you? I'd say it's taking 30 minutes of true self-reflection and writing down your honest beliefs about work. Maybe it resembles the bullet point list above, maybe it doesn't. Then, write down your ideal beliefs about work. Chances are, it looks like the opposite of the statements above. For example (again going off of our bullet point list above), the first item can read: "Work can be fun and joyful - it doesn't need to be painful and boring." The second item can read: "The purpose of work is to use my gifts and talents in service to the world around me. Money is a natural by-product of sharing my gifts. When I do what I am called to do, what I was put on this earth to do, money is going to eventually start naturally flowing from that." You get the idea.

If you find your current beliefs and your ideal beliefs about work don't line up, you have to start changing your internal beliefs to more closely resemble your ideals. How do you start doing that? Well, maybe it's as easy as reading your list every single day before you leave for work and, on your walk or drive to work, you allow yourself to really imagine what it might feel like to have a job that fulfills these ideals. If you're doing it right, it won't be long before you arrive to work with a huge smile on your face. And then it won't be long before you use this new positive energy to make some transformational changes in your life. You'll know the right steps to take, just be open and aware.

Or maybe it's not going to start that easy. Maybe it's going to require the help of a therapist because you have some tougher issues to work through. For example, perhaps you grew up in a home with food insecurity which led to the deeply held belief that "there is never going to be enough." Maybe that belief has infiltrated how you think about work and money, and you need some assistance developing healthier thoughts around these topics. Whatever path is yours, honor it and know that the obstacles you have been given were given to you for a reason. If you overcome them, you are going to grow and evolve into a higher version of yourself. Trust me, it won't be for naught.

If you still aren't getting this, if you just aren't buying it, let me give you a very simple analogy of how your thoughts can really change your experience of a thing. I have a dog. He loves to walk. You know what he loves even more than walking? Sniffing. This dog loves to sniff anything and everything as we walk along our path. I mean, he can sniff a tiny uninteresting patch of weeds for 6 minutes straight while I stand there feeling unproductive and thinking of all the steps we could've gotten on my Fitbit if only my dog would walk quickly. I'll admit it - our difference of opinion on how a walk should be walked had me a little irritated at times when he was a young puppy. But you know what changed? Me. One day, I had this thought seemingly out of nowhere - we do not take dog walks in order to rack up steps on a Fitbit. That's not the point. We take dog walks so that my dog can empty his bladder before I go to work and get a little fresh air and smell the weeds and grass and fire hydrants around the neighborhood (I once had a dog trainer who referred to this as the human equivalent of reading the morning paper - they want to know what's been going on in the neighborhood!). When I changed my thinking away from "this should be a productive walk with lots of steps" my experience of our walks changed with it. I didn't get restless. I didn't look at my Fitbit with dismay to see we had only taken 30 steps in 9 minutes. I even started to use this time to say little silent prayers over the day ahead of me, listen to a podcast, or catch up on the texts on my phone. And ever since then, our walks have been just lovely. 

You see how your thoughts about a thing shape your experience? You see how changing your thoughts about a thing can drastically change your experience? Big or small, it's no different. Thoughts help shape and create your reality, so use them wisely.

p.s. If you enjoy my journal, I will be doing an Instagram Live on Tuesday, September 22nd, at 8 pm eastern over on my Instagram account which is @graceandhudson. It's a little Q&A time together where you can ask me anything about career change, starting your own business, or growing a new business. I hope you'll join me! If you can't make that time, feel free to send me a question at stacy@graceandhudson.com. I'll answer it on the Live and you can catch the replay. 

xoxo,

Stacy

 

Continue reading

One Thing All Successful Entrepreneurs Have In Common

One Thing All Successful Entrepreneurs Have In Common

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to talk about one thing all successful entrepreneurs have in common: the ability to question everything. They're the ones that can look at something and say, "Why do we do it this way?" They're the ones that can examine a common habit and say, "Maybe there's an easier method." Their ability to question everything allows them to come up with innovative products and services that no one has ever thought of before. It allows them to see gaps and openings in the marketplace that no one has filled yet. Their ability to question is important for another reason - it usually gives them to courage to leave behind corporate America (or wherever they work) to pursue greener pastures. They have the ability to question the status quo and the current routine and say, "I deserve better. There is a better career path out there for me." Do you want to be an entrepreneur someday? Let's talk about this "ability to question" a little more then.

If you're struggling a bit to develop your "questioning" muscles, start by becoming a better observer. Observe the things around you and really think about how they fit into the big picture. Don't take anything for granted - from the simplest decision you make during your day to the most difficult. Think about why you do what you do and how you do what you do. Try it just for one day! Observing (instead of blindly going through the day) will naturally lead you to questioning.

This is how I started. Growing up, I was pretty quiet. I was always observing others, watching the things going on around me and analyzing how they fit into the big picture. For example, when I got my very first job at a law firm after graduating college (this was even before I went to law school), I was always observing how the attorneys around me seemed to "have it all" but seemed miserable at the same time. You know that "life checklist?" The one that goes something like this: go to a good college, get into a good grad school, get a well-paying job, find a great guy to marry, buy a house, get a dog, drive a nice car, have a baby, etc? Well, at this first job I had when I was 22, I noticed the attorneys seemed to have checked off all these boxes but they didn't seem happy. I questioned this a lot in my own head and came to the conclusion that achieving external "to do" lists must not be the road to a lifetime of happiness. I thought to myself, "Could you imagine that? Working so hard to check all of these things off your list, only to get to the end and not find happiness waiting there for you?" Geesh, what a let down.

Then, after I graduated law school, I got my first job as an attorney, and really started questioning retirement. Like, ok, I'm supposed to contribute to a 401(k) and save, save, save for retirement at age 65, but in the meantime I'm supposed to hate my life working at this draining, miserable office job? What if I don't make it to 65? Even if I do, at age 65, it tends to be harder to spend all day out in the sun at the beach, go parasailing, and do all the adventurous things we were made to do! "This can't be right," I thought. While these thoughts came really naturally to me, no one else seemed to think them. They all just accepted that "this is the way it is." But my heart was screaming out, "Why?! Why do we need to accept this?" I mean, think of the concepts "TGIF" and "weekend." "Thank God It's Friday" is such a well known phrase it became an acronym and even a restaurant. But isn't it so sad that we dislike our jobs so much that we, as a culture, say "TGIF?" Isn't it sad that we, more or less, live for the weekend?

These two observations, these two questions, really built the foundation for me quitting the legal profession altogether. Now, as an entrepreneur, I think it's kind of funny when someone says to me, "Have a good weekend" because I feel like I live all 7 days of the week! I'm no longer dying to get to the weekend. It's such a free and happy way to live, let me tell you.  

After I quit, my ability to question things led to success as an entrepreneur in multiple ways. First, when I started my jewelry line, I decided to make bridesmaid jewelry a focus. Why? Because no big companies were targeting this niche in the marketplace. Why not? Who knows! But I thought it made a great fit for my style of design. After doing some research and questioning of my own, I decided to go after this niche.

Then, when I was pricing my jewelry, I noticed that wedding jewelry in general seemed to be priced really high (like $250 for one pair of earrings at Nordstrom) or really low (like $20 for a pair of earrings on Etsy, the quality of which I couldn't be sure of). Why wasn't anyone filling the gap in the middle? Who knows! But again, after doing some research and questioning on my own, I decided to design a line that could be priced somewhere in the middle.

Now, 3 1/2 years into my jewelry business, I'm working on refining my business procedures and jewelry making processes, and my ability to question is crucial. It allows me to say, "Why do I do it this way? Could there be a better way?" My ability to question helps me to refine and streamline, over and over again. 

So you see, the ability to question sets you up for success as an entrepreneur. It's also incredibly useful for life outside of the office. For example, in today's world, where we just don't know what to believe anymore when we turn on the news, the ability to question things allows you to process and analyze the information being given to you, rather than just consume it and take it at face value. So very important today.

Develop those "questioning" muscles! They will take you far (and they make life more interesting, too!).

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

The Skill of Awareness & Why It's So Important to Creating A Life and Career You Love

The Skill of Awareness & Why It's So Important to Creating A Life and Career You Love

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to talk about the skill of awareness. Awareness is so important in building a life and a career you love. However, many people lack a good set of awareness muscles so they end up doing things they don't like or things that don't fill their cup. And then they wind up feeling drained, unfulfilled, or frustrated without knowing why. Have you ever stopped to think about why you do what you do? Have you ever stopped to really think about the big decisions you've made and why you made them? Is it because everyone else did it that way? Or is it because someone said you should do it that way? Is it because your parents did it that way? Or maybe because you think people will respect you if you do it that way? If any of those answers hit a nerve, the key to feeling more freedom right now is acknowledging (i.e. having awareness) that you may have chosen something for reasons that no longer resonate with you or never did in the first place. 

Let's start by defining awareness. Awareness is "knowledge or perception of a situation or fact." I refer to awareness as a skill because I believe it's a muscle that needs to be exercised and developed. What is the opposite of awareness? I'd say it's being on autopilot or blind decision making. So many of us operate blindly on a day-to-day basis, doing things simply because "it's always been done that way." Or because our parents did it or our friends are doing it. For example, maybe you took a corporate job because both of your parents worked in corporate America and you never even gave it a second thought that there might be other types of great jobs out there. When we make decisions blindly or from autopilot mode, there's no real intention behind our decisions. And when we get in that zone, we can keep doing something (like going to the same job even though we dislike it) because it's easier to keep doing what we're doing than to make a big change. When we operate from this place (listen up here!) we are giving up our power to make real decisions. THAT is why we end up feeling empty, unfulfilled, bored, etc.

The goal, always, should be to do things intentionally for reasons that resonate with you. Sounds simple but so many don't operate from this perspective. That's ok, it takes practice! Every time you make a decision this week, no matter how small, try to recognize that you are actually making a decision. From what to eat for dinner to how to approach a difficult topic with your boss, recognize that each instance is giving you an opportunity to react and decide. It's so empowering to realize just how many decisions and, more importantly, options we have each and every day. And each decision shapes the life we live. Then, when you are consciously being faced with a decision, ask yourself, "Why am I doing what I'm doing?" Start small then work up to big decisions. For instance, perhaps you don't like your job and you recognize that, each and every day, you have the decision to show up for work or call out sick. Let your mind mull over the question, "Why do I get up each day to go to this job even though I don't like it?" Your mind might come up with ALL sorts of interesting information. Maybe you'll find that you're staying at your lawyer job (like I did) because it's a prestigious career and people are impressed that you have such a "great job" (Side note: it isn't a "great job" if you don't like it!). Maybe you'll determine it's all about the money. You know, it's just really nice to be able to comfortably pay bills and build a savings. Or maybe your mind will wander and you'll think, "You know, my dad only ever really praised me for good grades growing up" and you'll determine that you're carrying on in a "high-achieving" career because you subconsciously feel that's the only way to earn your father's respect and attention. Or maybe you'll find that, while you don't like being a lawyer, you don't really know what else you're qualified to do and so you just stay put because considering other options seems overwhelming. Mulling over your chosen decisions can be such an eye-opening exercise because, once you know the underlying forces behind your decisions, you can change them much more easily.

I wanted to touch on something that relates to this. In today's heated political climate, it's so important to ask yourself why. Are you voting Democrat because your mother always did? Are you voting Republican because your boyfriend is? Do you live in a big city where it's "cool" to be liberal and vote Democrat? Be more intentional than that! Research the parties, listen to people on both sides, be open-minded when evaluating the flaws of each party, etc. Don't blindly follow what your parents have always done, don't operate on autopilot. In other words, don't give up your power so easily. Be intentional. Your voice matters!

Cheers to growing our awareness muscles and making intentional decisions!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

It's Ok To Change! It Means You're Evolving

It's Ok To Change! It Means You're Evolving

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to talk about change and our ability to change whenever and for whatever reason we want. I was chatting with a friend earlier today and she reminded me of a question I used to get over and over again when I first quit my lawyer job. Friends, family members, acquaintances, and co-workers would ask, "But you're so good at being a lawyer, why would you want to leave?" It was so indicative of their own state of mind. Humans hate change! I guess that's just the way we're built. We'd rather stay in a job we hate than muster up the courage to reach for something higher. What's that famous quote, "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't?" Yes, something like that. In this week's journal entry I want to ensure you that it is perfectly acceptable to change your career (or anything else for that matter) at any point, whether you're 28 or 58. 

It's perfectly acceptable to change your career even if you're further on in your years. I've heard so many people say, "I'm too old to change now." What?! No. If you're still alive on this planet, then that means your growing isn't finished yet. Period. And maybe that change is exactly what you need to grow into the next best version of yourself. We tend to put more emphasis on all that can go wrong. We tend to think more about how uncomfortable we'll be making a big change. But what if the entire world opens up for you when you make the leap? That's what happened to me when I started grace + hudson at age 37 and I've never been happier. Side note: I also look 10 years younger than I did practicing law - stress does crazy things to you! 

It's also perfectly acceptable to change your career even if you're really good at the one you have now. I'm good at deveining shrimp, so does that mean I should do that for a living? No! (Sorry for the gross reference - I live by the ocean and we get the best shrimp here!). Just because I'm good at something doesn't mean it's the way I want to spend 40+ hours per week. And that's perfectly acceptable! Moreover, humans (even the not-so-smart ones) are generally pretty good at more than one thing. We're a pretty talented species, you know? So please don't feel pigeon-holed into one career or one job title for the rest of your life just because you're good at the first one you picked. If it doesn't bring you happiness and if you feel you've outgrown it, you're doing nothing but a disservice to yourself and to your own growth if you stay there.

That brings me to my next point: evolving. You see, when we grow out of something, it means we're evolving as humans and that is a very, very good thing. I was a lawyer for 11 years. Looking back now, I realize why I was stuck in a career I didn't like (even though I was good at it) for that length of time. I had some mental blocks keeping me there. I've since worked on those and cleared them (i.e. I've evolved) and my career needed to change along with me. And then the place where I lived needed to change to fit the new person I was becoming (I moved from Chicago to Charleston). And then my relationship status needed to change to fit the new person I was becoming (I went from "forever a bridesmaid and always single" to "in a serious relationship")... and the rest is history. But none of it would have happened if I didn't first have the courage to change.

So on that note, I feel compelled to say that the same principles are applicable to other areas of your life outside of career. If you'd like to change your relationship, you can. It doesn't matter how old you are and it doesn't matter that the one you're in now is "good enough" if what you're really seeking is "phenomenal." If you'd like to change the city you live in, again it doesn't matter how old you are (my mother just moved out of state for the first time and she's in her late 60's!) and it doesn't matter whether the city you live in now is "good enough" if you're seeking "amazing." The same goes for changing your religious beliefs, your political beliefs, your feelings on having children, etc. You can change at any time, for any reason. You know that Maya Angelou quote, "When you know better, you do better?" It's kind of like that. As you evolve and grow as a person, it's not uncommon for your beliefs to change, for your life circumstances to change, for your job to change. Those changes are a reflection of the person you are becoming. And I hope, at least for myself, that by the time I leave this planet my outside circumstances are in pretty good alignment with my inner being and who I really am. Isn't that a good goal? I think so.

Cheers to change and to evolving into better versions of ourselves!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

Abundance Doesn't Depend On Your Circumstances

Abundance Doesn't Depend On Your Circumstances

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm talking about abundance and why it doesn't depend on your outer circumstances (yes, even in a pandemic). What do you think of when you hear the word abundance? Most people think about money, right? Wrong! Abundance is about realizing that everything you need is available to you, whether that be money, happiness, love, food, health, etc. The problem is, most of us don't truly believe this. Why should we? Society teaches us differently. Society teaches us to have a lack mentality. Growing up, it's common to hear and believe that there isn't enough to go around, that you have to fight for what you want, and that you need to compete with others to get what you want. Think about it. Even in school we're taught that grades happen on a curve and only so many people in the class can achieve an A+. This sets the foundation for competing with others later in life for jobs and promotions. In short, most of us grow up learning "lack" is normal and "abundance" is a pipe dream. 

I grew up like any regular kid, hearing and believing these things too. It wasn't until after I quit my lawyer job in my 30's that I really understood what abundance means. I've read a lot of books on abundance because the "science" behind it truly fascinates me. I really wanted to understand why some people work hard at an office job their whole life and barely make it by, while others seem to succeed at becoming happy, wealthy, and healthy relatively easily without pushing papers around in an office all day. The latter group seemed to be having a much better time here on earth and I wanted to figure out how to get me some of that.

If you read enough of these books, you start to realize they're all saying the same thing. Abundance is an internal thing. And it's largely based on what you believe, not your outside circumstances. This is HUGE! If you've been reading my journal entries, you probably see where I'm going with this. Your beliefs shape your experiences and if you believe there isn't enough to go around, you're going to experience there not being enough to go around. If you believe that everything you need will be provided, that's what you're going to experience. It truly, honestly is that simple. The problem is, most of us are not even aware that we have lacking beliefs, let alone the courage to change them and choose differently. 

I'd love if you tried a little experiment. Let's start with money since money is a tangible object that's easy to measure (unlike, say, an abundance of health). For one week, I want you to repeat this phrase over and over and over again: I have enough money to spend, to share, and to save. Say it in the morning, say it before you go to bed, say it all day long. It doesn't need to be out loud - it can just be running through your head. Set an alarm on your phone that rings every hour and say it then too. Every time you use your debit or credit card, say it as you swipe the card or enter your password. Every time you look at your bank account, say it then. And, all week long, take special care to notice all of the money flowing to you. And don't forget that money flows in ways aside from dollar bills. Perhaps you need to get your car's oil changed and the mechanic happens to be running a special on oil changes that week. Or maybe you're signing a new apartment lease and there's a "one month free rent" special at the time you sign. Or perhaps you park your car in a meter spot and there's already enough money in the meter for you to run your errand. Count everything. Be appreciative of all the different ways money flows to you. Do this experiment whole-heartedly for one week and I'm telling you, you are going to notice more money flowing to you. Try it! When we believe we are abundant, abundance shows up.

Still don't believe me? I invite you to read all the books you can find on abundance. Read enough of them and, like me, you'll start to realize they're all saying the same thing but in different ways. Like me, you'll start to think, "If all of these authors (who by the way span centuries, genders, and races) are saying basically the same thing, there's gotta be something to this." You'll start to really believe that abundance is an internal belief and, therefore, that you have 100% control over whether or not you experience abundance.

Once you start to see abundance flowing in your finances, then you can branch out to other areas like an abundance of love, and abundance of health, etc. It's the same mental concept, over and over again. Money is easy to start with because it's tangible and you can literally count the results. 

I'll leave you with this. If you don't believe this can work for you, if you're reading this and your mind is going "whatever", please please please be courageous enough to examine your own thoughts. Thoughts shape everything we do, everything we experience, everything we have. They are literally the most powerful force we have, yet no one teaches us how to use them. I truly do believe there will come a day where everyone is taught this in school or from their parents - where everyone will "workout" their minds as much as they workout their bodies, but we just aren't there yet. There are so many people who understand this now, though. If it works for everyone else, why can't it work for you? Be courageous enough to examine the thoughts that say this can't work, this is dumb, this is a waste of time, this is not for me. Those thoughts are trying to keep you stuck in your comfort zone. It's no fun trying to change! It requires effort and some work. Our brains, if you haven't noticed, like to be comfortable and like to predict repeatable patterns. Here's the good news though - once you put a lot of work into believing in abundance, that will be become your default setting. In other words, abundance will become your brain's comfort zone and lack will start to feel foreign. 

Remember - change doesn't happen overnight, but thought by thought! Cheers to an abundant remainder of 2020.

xoxo,

Stacy 

 

Continue reading

The Roles We Play And How They Can Hold Us Back

The Roles We Play And How They Can Hold Us Back

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm talking about the roles we play and why it can be so important to let go of them when pursuing a big change, such as switching careers. We all play certain roles: mother, daughter, lawyer, nurse, perfectionist, people-pleaser... the list goes on and on. And we take actions based on those roles all the time. A "mother" nurses you back to health when you are sick, a "people-pleaser" always says yes when asked to do something even if it's inconvenient, a "lawyer" usually debates and argues about everything under the sun. Whether we know it or not, we are shaped by the different roles we hold in our lives. This is not always a bad thing. Roles help us live together as a productive society. We all know that the local firefighter, not the local deli owner, is supposed to put out the local fire. Roles give each of us some direction. But, when taken too seriously and valued too much, roles can also trap us in a box and hold us back from growing, becoming our best selves, fulfilling our ultimate potential, and consciously choosing how to live and what to believe.

Let me give you an example. Let's talk about a lawyer in a big city working at a large law firm. I chose this example because it's a role that I used to play (and we all know how that story ended.... I quit!). Anyways, the "role" of a lawyer in a big city working at a large law firm goes something like this: graduated from an Ivy League school and a top 25 law school, dresses in expensive business suits in dark colors, carries a Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag, owns a condo in the trendy part of town, has a large engagement ring, drives a Lexus, Audi, or Mercedes, reads the NY Times and watches CNN, attends a large number of networking events because he or she is desperately striving for the title of "partner" at the law firm, and works until at least 8 pm most nights. If you are a lawyer or know one, you might have chuckled at this list. These are things a big time lawyer is "supposed" to do and acquire to consistently prove she is a big time lawyer. Many big time lawyers get so attached to these things that they don't know who they are outside of them. These things validate them and "prove" they are worthy of respect and admiration - in other words, their identity is completely wrapped up in these external things. This is why it's so hard to leave the profession of law even if you hate it! If your identity is too wrapped up in all these things outside yourself, who are you if they all go away? It's an actual identity crisis. Similarly, what happens if you don't want to do some of these things? For example, maybe I don't want to be partner, or maybe I want to live in the suburbs, or maybe I don't like CNN. It can be tough, even for the most educated, to go against "group think." And therefore we find ourselves doing things merely because everyone else is doing them. This is when roles start to trap us and hold us back from growing. 

I listened to this interview the other day and I thought it was so appropriate to share here. It was with Lauren Eisenhower (yes, of the famous Eisenhower family). She said that people can either operate in the personality matrix or the soul matrix. The personality matrix is where the world is largely based on roles, group think, and outward things like job title and the car you drive. People associate with others who are just like them. This inherently means that the world is divided. The soul matrix, on the other hand, is where everyone engages with one another as their authentic self and people with differing opinions not only exist in harmony, but learn from one another. There is also harmony between your authentic self and what you do for a living. In other words, you fulfill your purpose. There is an ease to life, and you can tell you're in the zone or in the flow because things feel right and line up as they should.

In the personality matrix, we learn about fitting in from a very young age. Our life becomes about measuring up, fitting in, and doing what we're "supposed to do" (go to the best college, get the best job, get married, buy a home, have children, etc). In the personality matrix, our identity is composed of things outside ourselves like the groups we associate with, job titles, labels, etc. And when something threatens one or more of those things, we have an identity crisis. In the soul matrix, however, we learn to connect with our authentic self and THEN we build our life around it. Our identity is built from the inside out, and nothing external can threaten it. Sure, we can still experience hardships and things we love may be taken from us, but we do not crash and crumble and have an identity crisis when that happens. The other important thing that happens in the soul matrix is that differences exist in harmony. We've all heard the expression opposites attract, right? Well, if I'm really energetic and run on adrenaline all the time, I might find myself being attracted to friends and a spouse who are calm and grounded. Being around people different than myself helps me. I grow and evolve because I observe others who operate differently than I do in the world. In the personality matrix, this isn't valued. Instead, people value others who think the same as them, act the same as them, and speak the same as them. And that's how people become close-minded and judgmental of others. 

So, now that we know a little more about the power of roles and identity, where do we go from here? First, try to objectively examine whether your identity is primarily built on external things such as your job title, the car you drive, the place you live, the political party you affiliate with, the news channel you prefer, etc. One way to find out if your identity is too wrapped up in any one external thing is this -- do you feel personally attacked when someone attacks that thing? For example, when someone attacks the news station you love to watch, do you feel personally attacked? That's a warning sign. You never want your identity to be SO wrapped up in something outside yourself because that thing can vanish in an instant. Then what? In addition, when you are so wrapped up in something outside yourself that you can't entertain other opinions, you're not going to grow and evolve. How can you? Everyone thinks the same as you! That's called the comfort zone and we all know that nothing much happens there.

Second, if you find that your identity is wrapped up in one or more external things, it's time to transition into a more authentic way of living. It might require the help of a therapist or coach (this is actually what Lauren Eisenhower does now). You essentially have to break down your current identity which is built on external things, get in touch with your authentic self, and then rebuild your life around that. It doesn't happen overnight. Some people call this the "dark night of the soul" (go ahead and Google it!). I definitely went through this period when I transitioned from lawyer to jewelry business owner. Well, actually, it came before I quit my lawyer job. I decided that my identity was built on a lot of things that didn't resonate with me and that weren't a true expression of who I really am. I enlisted the help of a therapist and did a lot of hard work on myself. And eventually, it culminated in me leaving behind the legal profession and becoming a jewelry business owner, making good use of the artistic skills I was given. 

I'll end with this - there's never been a time like the present to make big change. 2020 has been challenging for a lot of us because things that may have formed our identity were taken from us in an instant. Maybe we lost our job or our home. Or maybe it's less dramatic than that - maybe we are suffering because sports are a big part of our identity and they haven't been on. Whatever the case, each and every one of us can point to something that was taken from us. Now is our chance, however, to rebuild our identities around new thoughts, and new values, and new beliefs, and new plans. If big change is what you're seeking, there's no time like the present. Take advantage of all the change in the air!

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

The Stages I Experienced After I Quit My Lawyer Job

The Stages I Experienced After I Quit My Lawyer Job

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm walking you through the stages I experienced after I quit my lawyer job and started grace + hudson. A lot of you have messaged me about wanting to quit your job and start your own business so I thought you'd like to hear about what it feels like on the other side. And yes, bouts of doubt and fear are completely normal.  

For those of you who are new here, I practiced law for about 11 years before I quit my career to start grace + hudson jewelry. I quit in February 2017 and launched the grace + hudson website in June 2017. I practiced at two different law firms during my career, and then took an in-house legal job (which means working as a lawyer for a corporation) at a large tech company. When I quit, I was 36 years old and I was the Head of Employment Law for North and South America. Quite a few different things pushed me to quit, which I've talked about many times before so I won't go into them again here. But I will reiterate that the number one thing that pushed me to finally quit was losing my father to cancer in 2014 when I was 34. It was at this point in my life that I realized that life is far too short. I wanted to live life differently. So, with that said, here we go...

The day I actually said "I quit"

Quitting sounds like an AMAZING thing when you don't like your job, right? You dream of the day that you'll be able to say those two magical words. I've quit 3 real jobs in my lifetime (not counting the little jobs I had before law school) and each time I found it to be very nerve-wracking. It's such a big leap! I think it's completely normal to be anxious so expect to have some sweat on your palms and a fast-beating heart. Once those words are out in the open though, WHEW. What a relief. The big secret you've been holding onto has finally gotten out into the air and it's such a weight off your shoulders. You'll have to tell your "why" to about 100 different people over the next two weeks as you explain your plans and next steps to your co-workers, finish up outstanding tasks and projects, and clean out your desk. And then it's finally time to say goodbye, hand in your employee ID badge, and drive away! The morning after your very last day of work is so incredibly freeing. Claiming your freedom and feeling it for the first time is how I'd sum up this stage of the process. 

The first few weeks post-quitting

These initial weeks are thrilling. You catch up on sleep, release all the tension and stress of your former job and the courage it took to finally quit, the adrenaline of your last two weeks of employment finally wears off, and you can take some time for self-care. Your final paycheck arrives about a week or two after you quit, so you don't have to worry about money quite yet. You still can't believe this is real life! You can finally breathe, calm down, and feel grounded again.

The thrill of being your own boss

A week or two after you quit, you try to establish a brand new work routine. You're the boss now! You'll experiment with things such as different places to work (home or coffee shop?) and different hours (start earlier, start later, or try to stick to 9 to 5?). Chances are, you already started to work on your business before you quit (and I highly advocate for that - in fact, I wrote more about that here). So now you're just going at it full-time and it feels absolutely amazing to have so much time to devote to your business idea. You also start to realize that a LOT of people do not have a 9 to 5 job because you'll run errands or go to a workout class in the middle of the day, and there are actually people there. Your mind starts to broaden and you realize there are more jobs out there apart from the traditional 9 to 5, and you start to meet people who have them. It's easy to feel motivated, energized, and excited about the future.

Doubts and job searching

About 2 months after you quit, it's common for the initial thrill to wear off. You're more accustomed to the new routine and you're probably working long hours. Some doubts about money start to creep in because it takes time to get your business into a regular state of cash flow, as well as patience and hard work. Things do not happen overnight (read more about that here), and you know this but it's still hard to accept at times. Hopefully you've saved up enough money to get through the initial period, but even if you have, it's very tempting to worry about paying your bills. Do not fret. You are shedding old ways of being! You used to have a job where you received a paycheck every two weeks like clockwork, and now you're transitioning into a new way of earning. You'll experience lots of transitions like these, and you'll let go of lots of old ways of being. Stay the course. Stay positive. This is normal. And - sorry to be the bearer of bad news - but this phase lasts a very long time - a year or two.

To cope, you'll probably search for jobs. At first, you'll search for jobs every few days. Then every few weeks. Then every few months. Slowly by surely, you'll gain confidence in your business and your business will grow, and you'll finally reach a point where there will be no looking back. In the meantime, you are building strength of character and becoming a more independent person. You are evolving and growing by leaps and bounds and, whether your business ultimately succeeds or not, you will take this growth into the next chapters of your life. You'll be a richer person because of it, no matter what happens! Let this motivate you more than the money (I wrote more about this here). 

Symbolic acts of separation from your old career

Once you have truly settled into this new way of being - it might be a year, two years, or maybe more - you truly start to embrace it. You start to take action based on your new business, not worrying about whether you have to go back to the old one.   

I remember the moment the tides really started to turn for me. I looked at my old "lawyer" clothes one day, about a year after I quit. I wanted to get rid of them but something inside me said, "Well, what if you have to go back to being a lawyer... then you're going to need all of these clothes again." I looked that thought right in the eye and said "NO." And I proceeded to fold and sort my lawyer clothes into donate and throw away piles. I felt so free throwing away the dark, stuffy wardrobe. I often felt like I was trying to look more like a man than a woman in my lawyer suits anyway. This act of turning over my clothes was symbolic. It's the first action I took that really said, "I am never going back to that career." It felt bold, it felt courageous, and it felt like I believed in myself and my business dreams wholeheartedly.

Another symbolic act that happened during this stage was retiring my legal license. Oh was this a wonderful moment! When you're a lawyer, it costs hundreds of dollars to renew your lawyer license every year. I renewed my license the first year after I quit, but then I got to a point where I felt this money was totally wasted. I no longer wanted to give away all of this money for something I didn't want anymore. I did a little research and I discovered that I could put my license into retirement, which means I still have my license but I don't have the ability to go to court or practice in a law firm or company. I'll always have the option to reactivate it (in other words, I'll never not be a lawyer, it's not something that can be taken away from me). Retiring my license sounds like it was the final nail in the coffin on this journey, but there was one more.

The final nail in the coffin

One day in 2019, I realized that I would never go back to being a lawyer because I was no longer a match for it. What does that mean? I wrote a whole journal entry on it which you can read by clicking here. Long story short, I equate it to that person you had a crush on many years ago who makes you cringe today. Why the drastic change in feelings? You've evolved! You're no longer a match for that person's energy. And the same is now true for me and the legal profession. We are no longer a match. I have evolved beyond it. I will no longer accept that type of work environment in my life. It's not acceptable to me and I won't stand for it. I have a new concept of career and new beliefs surrounding what a career should look like and feel like. I believe work should be an authentic reflection of who you are. I believe work should feel GOOD. I believe work shouldn't drain you of all your energy and pull all the light from your eyes. What do I always say? Your beliefs create your reality! And this journey has proven that ten times over.

If you're planning to quit someday soon or not-so-soon, I wish you courage, patience, and the strength to make the leap! 

xoxo,

Stacy

Continue reading

Why It's So Important To Do Work That Is In Alignment With Who You Are

Why It's So Important To Do Work That Is In Alignment With Who You Are

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. This week I want to talk about authenticity at work. It's so important to find work that is in alignment with who you are -- work that makes use of your given talents and natural gifts. When you do work like that, things just flow. The converse is true, too. When you work in a field that either isn't in alignment with who you are or, even worse, forces you to change who you are, the Monday to Friday grind can feel like a real uphill battle. Have you ever thought about whether your job or career is in alignment with who you are? I hadn't, until long after I quit my lawyer job. I didn't know it at the time, but a lot of the angst I felt working in the legal profession stemmed from the fact that I wasn't doing work that was in alignment with my personality. In fact, I sometimes felt like I had to betray my own personality in certain ways to be a "good lawyer." If you find yourself in a similar situation, you might want to read on!

Many people who meet me cannot believe that I was once a lawyer. They can't picture me as an attorney. I'm on the quiet side, I'm friendly, and I tend to have a warm and comforting disposition about me. Lawyers tend to be loud, aggressive, unfriendly, cold, and uncomfortable to be around (not all lawyers... but the stereotype exists for a reason). People used to make the same comment back when I was a lawyer too, and this should've been a huge red flag. Why do people I just met always say they're surprised I'm a lawyer? It literally was that obvious that my personality didn't "fit" the role of attorney.

My body also told me that something was off. For the majority of my 11 year career as an attorney I experienced stomachaches. Every day. I tried different things to address the problem, but nothing worked. Magically, and I say this with absolutely no exaggeration, my stomachaches seemed to disappear about a week after I quit my lawyer job. I'm not kidding. It's an amazing thing what stress can do to you. Sitting here now I think to myself, what if I had continued on? I'm sure 40 years of persistent stomachaches from the stress of work wouldn't have faired well for me. I most likely would have ended up with a much more serious illness or medical condition.

My spirit also told me something was off. At times I was told, either implicitly or expressly, to change things about myself to fit more into the role of attorney. My spirit didn't like this, but I tried to fit into the role anyways because I was young and didn't know any better. For example, I remember this one article that circulated around the law firms that addressed the use of exclamation points and flowery language in emails written by females. Cease the use of exclamation points! They are over-used and diminish your authority, the article said. The article also cautioned against the use of filler language or flowery language. For example, instead of writing "Just checking in on the draft brief I sent you last week. Please let me know if you've had a chance to review it and if you have any edits." you should instead write, "Please provide a status update on the draft." As someone who likes to use warm and friendly language in email communications, this didn't sit well with me. It seemed like I was being coached to write and speak more like a man. What in the world is wrong with the woman's way of speaking? Absolutely nothing. In fact, I think it promotes a greater sense of teamwork and workplace camaraderie. I'd be far more likely to quickly respond to the nice email than the status update email, wouldn't you? 

I also didn't have a great fondness for the clothes I was "supposed" to wear as a lawyer. Pant suits and blazers that were plain and simple, and DARK. Very dark. If you see my Instagram Stories, I rarely wear black. But as a lawyer, you almost always wear black or navy. The clothes I wore felt stuffy and too proper. I often felt like I was trying to look more like a man than a woman in my lawyer suits, as if looking like a man would somehow make me more credible to the judge or client. I sure didn't realize this at the time, but looking back now, that's exactly what a female lawyer's wardrobe is meant to convey. I mean, that's the reason pant suits for women were invented! To mirror and model a man's suit.

And most importantly, I didn't like the way I needed to betray my own natural personality in order to fit the role of lawyer. How I needed to become more argumentative, more aggressive, more more more of the things I just WAS NOT. It was stressful to put on an act, and pretend I was someone I wasn't. This is your biggest clue that you're out of alignment with your job or career. 

I wish someone had coached me back in high school or college to take a look at my natural gifts, skills, and personality traits, and to pick a job or career that meshed with those. I sure wouldn't have ended up a lawyer. In fact, if someone had said to me back then, "If you become a lawyer, your entire life is going to feel like one big argument", I would've said, "Stop right there, that's not me and I'm going to find something else to do with my life." If you're currently feeling angst, unhappiness, and tension in your current job or career, take some time to examine whether your work is just out of alignment with YOU. And if it is, that's ok. Know there are a lot of things out there that would be in alignment with who you are. You don't need to change yourself to fit into a role that you weren't born to play. And please don't let anyone make you think that you do. Examine how your body feels about your work - is it constantly stressed out, uncomfortable, and sick? Examine how other people react when you tell them about your job - do your friends and family and maybe even strangers tell you that your personality doesn't seem to fit your career? Examine how your spirit feels - do you feel like you're constantly being beat down or coerced into changing some aspect(s) of yourself in order to fit a role? Take an inventory of these things, and if they're not in alignment, find a career coach. There are so many available on the Internet these days - interview a few and pick one that can help you work through your traits, gifts, and skills and help you list a number of jobs that are in alignment with those. Changing careers can be difficult at times, but coming up with a list of potential good careers for you is not as hard as it would seem. Take that first step. It'll probably make you feel more at ease to compile a list of careers that would serve you well! And then maybe the excitement of finding a career in alignment with who you really are can propel you into the journey of actually changing careers!

Cheers to doing work that's in alignment with who you really are!

xoxo,

Stacy

 

 

 

Continue reading

Why Critical Thinking Is The Most Important Skill You Need As An Entrepreneur

Why Critical Thinking Is The Most Important Skill You Need As An Entrepreneur

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. The other day I was thinking to myself, "What is the single most important skill you need to make the leap from ordinary job to owning your own business?" I quickly came up with critical thinking. So in this week's journal entry I want to dive into why critical thinking is so important, and it's probably not for the reason you think. This is a heavy post with a happy ending so I hope you'll take a read.

Here's the bottom line - there are powerful societal expectations that rule all of our lives and most people accept them blindly, never stopping to critically think whether they actually believe them or want them to apply to their own lives. The people who often succeed in business ownership have the critical thinking skills necessary to dismantle these beliefs and replace them with more powerful, intentional, and authentic beliefs.

Let me give you an example - have you ever stopped to think about retirement in the United States? Most people believe that it's "normal" to work at a job you don't particularly love so that you can pay your bills and save enough money in a 401(k) and then hopefully retire when you're about age 65 which is when you'll really start to live your life. WHAT?! Have you literally ever stopped to think about whether that actually even makes sense? It's absurd to me. Maybe that's because I've heard one too many stories of people who never even make it to retirement. Take my father for example - he passed away one month after he turned 65. He was Mr. 401(k), always being responsible and saving money for retirement. He worked an office job in information technology in New Jersey and had dreams of retiring to the beaches of North Carolina. But he never even got the chance. What a horrible, cruel joke. Could you imagine spending your whole life working hard with the dream of finally living life at age 65, only to pass away? This was probably the biggest realization that pushed me to finally quit my lawyer job after 11 years and pursue doing something I love instead. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, let alone a retirement, and I'm sure not going to wither away over the next 30 years doing a job I cannot stand.

Here's another example - have you ever stopped to think about America's "TGIF" culture? Why does that exist? Well, it's because the majority of America doesn't like their Monday to Friday job and they can't wait until the weekend. Have you ever stopped to think about that? It's so sad! We spend the week wishing for Friday so that we can live for 2 days? And then we repeat this week after week? It's the same with the question, "How was your weekend?" I kind of laugh to myself when people ask me that now because I want to say, "I live all 7 days thank you very much. My life is no longer limited to just Saturday and Sunday."

Many people never really stop to critically think about what they're told to do, what's "normal", and what their parents or others expect of them. Instead, they just blindly follow along. And they wonder why they aren't happy and they aren't fulfilled. The answer is simple: you have given up all of your power and you aren't making any intentional decisions to live the way YOU want to live. There is a complete absence of critical thinking as it relates to work and the trajectory of your life. You haven't stopped to think about what makes sense for you and you can't even define what you want because you never stopped to critically think about it. 

Now let me apply this concept of critical thinking to starting your own business. When you have the desire to start your own business, you must dig up all of the societal expectations currently controlling your life and essentially defeat them and bury them for good. What's the number one societal norm that has to be torn apart? That your worth depends on your job title, the company you work for, and your salary. When you quit and start your own business, you're not going to have those anymore and it will be disorienting unless you have already done the work around the concept that "you are not your job." How do you do this work? Critical thinking of course. Critical thinking allows you to ask yourself, "Do I really think that I'll crumble and not be worthy if I give up this prestigious corporate job? Do I really think my worth is inherently tied up in my job title? My salary? The company I work for?" Sadly, many people don't even know that they're basing their worth on these things, let alone have the awareness to examine them, tear them apart, and intentionally decide differently. This is powerful, life-altering work and you might even need to enlist the help of a therapist to accomplish it. Dismantling beliefs you grew up with and blindly followed for 5, 10, 15, 20 years is not easy. It takes time. It takes careful examination. And then you need to replace those beliefs with NEW beliefs about what is possible, where your worth stems from, and what type of work you want to intentionally perform in the world. 

I know this was a heavy journal entry with a very "tell it like it is" attitude, but it just saddens me so much to see so many people - women in particular - feeling so incredibly stuck in jobs that are stressing them out and draining all the light from their eyes. That was me once, so I know exactly how it feels. People ask me all the time how I was able to escape my lawyer job to do grace + hudson and I have to tell you that 95% of the work is mental. Most of the work is what I talk about right here. Building a website, learning how to do online marketing, etc -- all of that is easy in comparison. The real hard work is dismantling false beliefs and replacing them with new beliefs about a new life that is possible for you. It's transformational work and it's hard. It requires you to get out of your comfort zone and question many of your own patterns, habits, and thoughts. And for that reason, most people don't want to do it. Or they start, but then they stop. It takes real dedication to change the direction of your life. And you're going to be outside your comfort zone for a very long time. But ohhh is it worth it. And the person you'll become - that person that's waiting on the other side of all this work - she is so happy. She is so at peace. She is so unshakeable. Because she knows who she is. She knows that nothing outside of herself can determine her worth.  And she knows that anything - absolutely anything - is possible for her if she does the mental work to get there.

Think for yourself. Don't blindly follow. Be your own person. That's the pathway to happiness and peace in your career and in life.

xoxo,

Stacy 

Continue reading

How I'm Feeling About Owning My First Storefront

How I'm Feeling About Owning My First Storefront

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to share what it's felt like to own my first storefront. I started grace + hudson as an online business about 3 years ago and I expanded by opening my first storefront about 2 months ago in Charleston. Last week, someone asked me whether I like owning a shop so I thought I'd share my response here. 

Do I like owning my own shop? Yes! First and foremost, I've really enjoyed connecting with some of you in person. Social media is wonderful but there's something extra special about meeting you in person, helping you select jewelry, and watching your face light up when you find the perfect piece. This happened just yesterday. I had an adorable mother and daughter in my shop, and the daughter's face lit up when she put on one of my heart necklaces. She asked her mom if she could get it and, after her mother said yes, she wore it as she left the shop. I live for that! It gives me so much joy. Many of you have asked if you can wear the jewelry now, as you leave the shop, and my heart melts every single time.

The other thing I love about having the shop is helping brides select their wedding jewelry in person. I help many of you virtually, over email and Instagram, but helping you pick out jewelry in person is something special! I love looking at your wedding dresses, asking about your wedding venues, and watching you try on your favorite pieces. Once you find the perfect pieces, it gives me so much joy to know I'll be a part of your wedding day in this small way.

The jewelry store has also given me a beautiful, inspiring place to work everyday. I feel more creative in my shop and I'm excited to work there. The energy in my space is so good! I can't explain it. It kind of feels like home. Before I had the store, I was working out of a home office that was bursting at the seams. Yep that's right, I ran g+h out of my home for almost 3 years! I was so ready for g+h to have a space of its own. It has made my business feel more legitimate too. In addition to the retail space, my shop has a room for packaging up online orders and an office. Rather than packing up orders on my kitchen table, I have a dedicated counter where everything is organized and nicely set up. It helps me be more productive, too.

Having my own storefront, ironically, also seems to have grown my online business. Maybe grace + hudson seems more legitimate to potential customers because I have a storefront. There's so many people selling online these days and, sometimes when you buy from someone new, you don't know what you're going to get and you might be a little hesitant to hit "buy." Having a storefront seems to have taken away those purchase fears. At the very least, g+h is legitimate enough to at least have a storefront in downtown Charleston so chances are, when the jewelry shows up, it's actually going to look like the pictures on the website!

The other really great thing about having a storefront is the people I've met. It can be lonely, being an entrepreneur. But now I have neighbors - a hair salon owned by a woman from New York, a deli owned by a family from Massachusetts, a wedding photographer from New York and another from South Carolina, and also the residents who live above my shop. We have such a fun little corner, and we'll often chat outside with a drink after we close for the day. I can't wait to meet more business owners throughout Charleston. It's such a fun community to be part of. I don't really have co-workers, but I have business owner neighbors and friends and that's a pretty fun thing.

So far, the only downside about owning my shop is the coronavirus. I signed my lease at the end of February, just a couple of weeks before the coronavirus drama all began. Thankfully, I was able to open my doors to the public in mid-May and I've been open ever since. But of course I have the fear that we'll face another quarantine. I have to pay rent for the store whether or not I have customers, so I pray that I'll be able to keep my doors open so that I'll be able to pay my bills. It's scary, you know? Every week I hear about another shop or another restaurant in Charleston permanently closing their doors. In all honesty, I'm not quite sure how I've survived, especially since my business is so young - it's only 3 years old. I can guess that it has something to do with my work ethic and my drive to succeed. This is my dream come to life and I am going to do everything I can to keep it alive during this trying time. One thing's for sure - after making it through this, I know I can make it through anything and everything.

If you're in the Charleston area or visiting soon, come in for a visit! The store is located in the historic district at 87 Wentworth Street (one block west of Vineyard Vines on King Street). I'd love to meet you!

xoxo,

Stacy        

 

Continue reading