Monday, October 16, 2017

A Birthday Post: A Reflection on Success (Finally) During 2017, Being 31, and Risk

Yesterday, after the craziest whirlwind weekend for our business wound to a close, I got a text from my mom. Apparently I'd forgotten it was my birthday! I stopped birthday celebrations at 25 but I do enjoy arbitrary dates for reflection. It was 12:45AM when I got the text, we were unloading the car after a 3-day long double-booked outdoor market (Octoberfest at the Beach). Murphy's Law was at work and my car, our employee's car AND my boyfriend's car all had car trouble at different crucial times! As it does only when you're at your busiest!

Our recently depleted shelves, I had AJ snap a quick phone shot for my birthday. Now to order supplies!

I looked up at my 2nd floor brownstone apartment window, glowing radioactive orange from our ample Halloween string lights. I was utterly exhausted, but satisfied.

All the crazy risk taking was worth it.

When I look back at my life from say 25-30 there was a lot of floundering and struggling. (And before THAT let's just say I've worked LOTS of crazy odd jobs.) I'd left the security of my copywriter day job and it was liberating at first but I soon learned I didn't want to resell vintage anymore. At my wit's end with it I, very serendipitously, ended up being able to be certified in clinical herbalism and aromatherapy. I spent a couple of years studying and learning at that school while ever-so-slowly trying to build up the confidence to start our new natural body care business venture.

I don't know if I'd have ever guessed (merely dreamed) at any age that by 31 I'd be:

  • Still living in my quirky, historic, beautiful bohemian Riverside, Jacksonville neighborhood
  • Owning a brick and mortar SHOP in my childhood favorite neighborhood/artsy area
  • AND doing exceptionally well with it + making big plans for expansion
  • A Team-builder, boss and employer
  • Eating SUPER-healthy; feeling younger/fitter each year vs. all-burger-all-the-time eating days
  • Owner of my own apothecary (dream since very young) sharing holistic care with 100s weekly
  • Constantly surrounded by interesting creative people at outdoor markets and business events
  • Constantly making sales and running my most successful business to date, the cumulative experiences of my creative experimenting paying off at last.

It's taken hard times to get here and we're still, of course, ramping up. I went broke during my transition, living off savings because I knew in my heart I had to, that I would figure things out with just a little more patience. I got used to living on the most extreme frugal lifestyle so everything could go to my new business. 

The past few years there were lots of times were I would feel hopeless, like I'd never be successful or get out of on and off creative slumps.

This weekend was a huge record sales breaker and all our data shows it's going to keep going like this.

25-30 feels like a blur. What stands out starkly in that haze are the huge risks. All the times I was scared or hurt but kept going, these are the events and experiences that paid off. The true growth zone stuff. These are what slows down time, having these missions are what makes life worth living. Having the store keeps me in that challenge zone. I lost my keys until a few minutes ago, (haha) I'm typing this between helping my team re-stocking the store, but I'm really living! 

The mid to late 20s was a lot of learning hard lessons that are paying off now. I'm enjoying rolling into the thirties with more wisdom. Now I just need some more time to craft and travel, haha... :)

Note: I had lots of posts ready to go for October but I've had lots of on-and-off trouble with the web, some possibly still Hurricane related. I update my Body&Soul Instagram regularly, I also have a personal Instagram. Our store website is here and our online store is here. 

For daily updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.


  1. Belated happy birthday, Vanessa! And I kinda like the fact that you forgot your own birthday:D Seriously, I hate celebrating mine and the only reason I do "celebrate" is more because of other people's expectations (aka free meal for them...sigh....)
    Anyhoo, thank you for sharing your wonderful journey with us. Hearing how you persevered despite all the setbacks is really inspiring.

    1. Thanks Emmy! Haha I literally stone cold forgot it was even my birthday month for a while, I was so busy. I don't like celebrations, "happy birthdays" or drinking dates, dinners, etc. (although will do it for friends, like you say) but this time it was fun to look back as a place mark because the hard work from the past 5-6 years is FINALLY showing up in our bank account and store.

  2. Happy Birthday.. and congratulations on all the success.. you have a lot to be proud of.

  3. Happy Birthday. Congrats on the success! Awesome news!

  4. Heeeeey. Happy late birthday. Your tabs on the side are still linked to thriftcore. I'm wanting to link to your business tips in an upcoming blog post if that's ok.

    1. Thank you Hollie for letting me know, the domain expired and I've been so busy I didn't update it! Eek! Will get to work on the blog asap it needs lots of work :) Feel free to link to those, many more to come, haha

  5. I like your blog :-)
    Very beautiful...
    xoxo <3


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  9. Happy Belated Birthday! I hope you had a great one my friends at Sell The House Fast and I wish you a prosperous year and pray all your wishes come true!


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