If you had asked me 2 years ago...
Updated: May 9
I never would have thought I would be working from my home, in my bathrobe, doing exactly what I always had hoped to do. But life has a funny way of working out if you work it. Two years ago, we were in the longest month in history. April of 2020, Our first full month home in pandemic mode. I wasn't in "career crisis" mode at this point and to be completely honest, I welcomed in the break from my full time job, the constant running around and bustle of being busy, working parents. To slip into a pair of sweatpants, with a cup of coffee and log into my email with no anxiety of deadlines and event dates. Now, yes, I was fully aware that we had been headed into the busiest season for the Awards industry, but it didn't bother me one bit. I had just come off of many longs months and grueling hours of thinking and strategizing and deciding, what is next for our family business. Now let's back up a little.......
December 2019, my dad, Richard decided it was time to retire. After a lenghty career at Hamilton Standard and an even lengthier career as the "trophy guy" he made the decision to trade the engraver for flip flops and retire with his wife, my mom, Laurie. And with his retirement, meant a change of ownership of Awards & More, our family business. I say family business because although it was just the two of us at the time, A&M had employed me and my brothers as well as my mother countless times
over the years. A&M was almost like a sibling in that I had been there from the birth and had a hand in helping to raise it. And now, I was at an opportunity to take over custody! Wait! What???
I had always envisoined being a business owner. Other than a hairstylist, it's the only thing I've ever wanted to do. I didn't know what type of business but I knew I wanted to be my own boss, make my own rules and put my feet up on my big desk with a fancy phone. So, when I was fumbling between careers and trying to decide what kind of "adult" I wanted to be, I went to work for my dad, actual work, like show up everyday and make money sort of work. Not 2 candies and a coke for building some trophies.
It was here that I got to truly develop my skills as a business owner. My dad became my mentor and he showed me everything he knew. He also allowed me to make decisions, even when sometimes he knew they weren't the right decisions. He knew in order for me to be great, I had to fail at times. And sometimes we made mistakes together, like falling for a YellowBooks scam or overpaying for merchant fees. But we figured it out together and we made the necessary changes. Working alongside my dad is treasured time for me and I will always think back to these years with love.
But love doesn't pay the bills! And the awards industry was not what it was 10, 15, 20 years ago. So much had changed in what society values and what traditions get handed down. It was in my opinion, at the end of 2019, that the awards industry was shrinking. There was not much growth potential and major players were starting to pivot and explore their options. So, we pivoted too! I made the decision that with the new takeover, we would close our Brick & Mortar store and move completely online. So, as we were preparing our customers for the change, closing up the shop and moving all the equipment into my tiny small basement, Covid 19 was descending on the US.
Now this is where, I believe, the Universe rose up to steady our feet during this time. In the background of busy life, I had been working on and developing a cannabis lifestyle brand for women, High Maintenance Female. As an avid consumer and stoner for life, Cannabis was more than just getting high. It was a community of people, it was good times, it was a culture. So with the equipment we were using for awards, I started to create accessories for the modern, cannabis female. I used our laser engraver for the wooden items like grinders, trays and jars. I used our full color sublimation equipment to make apparel, patches and pouches. Slowly but steadily I was building a line of products that were my own and it was exciting.
I also had just became a new artist with Seint Beauty, the cream based, one compact makeup that I use and absolutely love! Why did I do that when I was working and moming and trying to build a brand? Because I am a crazy, ambitious cannapreneur and that's what we do!! The makeup was too good and no one I knew had ever heard of it, so I saw an extreme opportunity there that I had to grab. And so glad that I did!!!
Because here we are now, May 2022. I'm writing this from the blog of High Maintenance Female, my lifestyle brand. I'm in my basement, in my bathrobe, casually smoking some Purple Punch and I'm "working"! Now I put working in quotes because some of you will say "That doesn't sound like you are working" But that's the secret, it's not work if you enjoy what you do!
So what do I do exactly??
In additon to creating and developing the High Maintenance Female brand, I am a full time artist with Seint Beauty, which means I help share the power of our cream makeup with women all over the country through social selling and in person connection. I also lead public speaking clubs for women who want to gain confidence in speaking up. Using the social media platforms like Tiktok and Instagram, I've been able to market myself and my products by creating content using some of my hidden talents like Comedy, Song and acting.
When I say the Universe rose up to steady our feet, I meant it. For 20+ years I carried around with me ideas, thoughts, my talents and never knew why or how I was to use them. But when the world quieted for the longest month in history, April 2020, it was then that my true self was born, my true High Maintenance Female.
Chamber of Commerce Home Show
Judging by the denim on denim, sweater topper, I'm going to say this was 1995.
2022, taken at work, the porch deck of my home.