Whoa y'all. Tomorrow we turn 4 years old!!!!!!!! Can you believe it? I can't. Well, okay... maybe I can. It's really crazy looking back on how far we've come. Like really super ridiculously crazy. So today, I'm going to just write a bunch of stuff and reflect on this journey. And I hope you enjoy it and if you don't well... you can stop reading at anytime, this is America. Oh but if you want to see some sneak peeks from our most recent styled shoot... maybe you should keep scrolling because they're really pretty if you ask me :-) Photo cred: Danielle George Photo
I attended University of Puget Sound, or UPS as we called it, in Tacoma, Washington. I graduated with a degree in the Business Leadership Program with a minor in Economics. Looking back, I think the stars started aligning and directing me to weddings when I was completing an internship in Dublin, Ireland for an auctioneering firm doing accounting. I am good at accounting, don't get me wrong. But during those 10 weeks I came to the realization that sitting behind a desk all day counting numbers was not for me. I would leave work and get to my flat and would not shut up ever. I would talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and keep talking because I didn't have much human interaction at my job. While scrolling through Twitter one day... I came across this really cool picture from Burton Snowboards that said "Live What You Love." And from that day on that was my mission. I wanted to live what I loved. So much that I got the saying tattooed on my body... sorry dad if you're reading this, but don't worry it was after I graduated... Anyway, back to Tacoma I went. And fast forward to after college...
My boyfriend at the time got restationed in Savannah, GA. At the time I said what? Savannah? Dirty South? No way. But then I visited, fell in love with the city, eventually fell out of love with him and so the story goes on... While at my cousin's wedding shortly after graduation I fell in love with the idea of being a wedding planner. I devoted my summer prior to moving to Savannah on blogging (my first blog, Nicole Rene Designs...) about all things weddings/design and trying to get a job in Savannah in the industry before moving. I landed a job at a hoity toity hotel as a hostess with the dreams of moving up and getting a much-coveted position in their events department. That door never opened, but that's okay because I opened some other doors. I worked part-time for the sweetest most loving and amazing woman, Layla, who owned a small wedding planning company. I loved working for her and getting the experience and then God opened a door for me. When Layla's husband got offered a job in NY Layla offered me to buy the company. While my dad nay-sayed the dream for a day, the next day I decided okay. Let's do this. At the time I worked part-time at David's Bridal and for a part-time retail position I loved it. I loved working with brides and I was very driven to succeed.
Then I met another girl and we decided to open our own boutique. So then fast forward a bit we did. In 2014 on January 11th Ivory & Beau opened it's doors. And it's been an amazing ride. 2017 was the toughest year of the journey as Ivory & Beau transitioned from 2 owners to 1. The time it took to fully transition was a tough one and not fun. But you know that saying, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Okay, I agree. The crap didn't kill me and yes, I feel so much more stronger than a year ago. Stronger, more excited, more ready, more happy, more fill in the blank with all the good words. Not that I think there won't be more struggles to come, but just because I think the trials are what prepare me for that next trial.
Which leads me into the rest of this post... as we gear up for the start of our 5th year in business, this time on my own with an incredible badass amazing awesome so fun team of women... here are my 5 lessons and takeaways from women entrepreneurship and the journey thus far...
- Trust God through the storms and thank God for the storms. I failed this last summer to really trust God. I was led away from God during the trials. And this is something I regret so deeply in my heart and soul. I think that the experience though has strengthened my relationship with Him now, because on the other side of the storm I see that God was with me the entire time... asking me to come back to Him... trust Him... and just keep swimming. And not just that, but thank Him for the storms. I am a much stronger person because of them and while storms and trials are scary and hard, without them we would never grow into the person we are meant to be. Through the experience I know that next time a storm comes, and I know it will come, that I will have deeper faith in Him and be able to focus more clearly on Him rather than letting the storm sweep me off to the deep end.
- Communication is key to any relationship. Whether it's with a business partner, an employee, a client, a friend, a boyfriend, a family member... whoever it may be, don't ever deny the importance of communication. I don't care how scared you are of confrontation and how much it sucks... it must happen. And if you don't allow those true feelings to come out you will destroy a relationship fast. So crazy fast. Like it's crazy how quickly a lack of communication can destroy a relationship you spent 4 years building.
- Naps are important, and taking time to rest. Don't get me wrong, I am still a go, go, go, go, go kind of person but this past year I started to give myself more time for rest and it's incredible the change it makes. Mondays are my day to do as little as possible and move as little as possible. And I cherish Mondays so much. I take sometimes up to 5 mini naps and it's glorious and wonderful and the energy I have on Tuesdays is multiplied tenfold since I gave myself that time to recharge my battery. So while working hard is so crucial as an entrepreneur, we still must value our time to rest. And give ourselves that time.
- Failure does not define you. This is one of the toughest lessons I've had to learn and trust me when I say I'm not even sure it's fully sunk in yet. I've made mistakes. I've had to fix things. And it's hard. There are tears. There are hugs needed, lots of hugs, and puppy cuddles. But it's not the end. No need to throw in the towel. There is something about treating yourself with grace and loving yourself enough despite your flaws, mistakes and imperfections. Sure, striving for perfection is a good goal to have, but knowing that you aren't perfect and you are flawed is important to remember.
- Focus on yourself and the things that breathe life into you rather than the competition. With Instagram and Facebook it can be hard to ignore the competition at times. But it's important to allow yourself that grace and tell yourself it is okay to block out the things that bring you down and rather only allow the things that breathe positivity into your life. This year for me has really been about this and I know it's only day 10 of the year but I am hoping that it is a habit that I can maintain for the rest of my life because so far it's been life-changing. I am an avid reader of suspense novels and murder mysteries but this year I have committed to only reading inspirational books and the Bible. I can't wait to see what a year of committing to positivity and good messages will do to my life.
So in conclusion.. thank you to everybody who has supported Ivory & Beau during its inception. Thank you to all of our clients, brides, grooms, couples who have hired Ivory & Beau for flowers, wedding planning, calligraphy, all of the things. Thank you to all of you gorgeous brides who got your wedding dress at our shop. Thank you to all the vendors who have supported Ivory & Beau and worked with us, referred us and been awesome to know. Thank you thank you thank you and cheers to the start of year 5 and for turning 4!!!!!!!! 2018, we are ready for you!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxox, N