Two years ago, after months of planning, I launched Chloe & Tatum, LLC, an online, luxury girl’s clothing boutique. Though I didn’t necessarily say “I want to own a boutique when I grow up,” I definitely knew I wanted something of my own within the fashion industry. Buying for the boutique and working with developers to get the site up and running was nothing short of amazing. I love to create and make things happen, so the process gave me a high that is hard to describe. I remember announcing on Facebook that I was going to launch the boutique, I did a lot of build up and got people excited about shopping with us.
Fast forward 6 months and it was time for the big day.The first day of my launch, I had an order from South Africa, then Australia, then Canada … It was surreal. Shipping internationally in my first month and also having the amazing support of my friends and family domestically was more than I could have ever dreamed of. The first year was less than glamorous due to all of the work that comes with owning a business, but it taught me so much and was so much fun.
A year into the business, I was promoted at work and while I could balance my family, MBA, boutique and work before, with my new responsibilities, it became incredibly hard and stressful. I pushed through, because I’m not a quitter, but eventually the inevitable happened and I crashed and burned.
I couldn’t give my all to everything that I had going on. My marriage needed me. My children needed me. I needed to do my homework for graduate school. I had work to do at my big girl job (and quite frankly was drowning and on the verge of losing my job because I had too much on my plate). I knew I had to let something go, and that was when I stopped the boutique for the first time. It was an easy choice for me, obviously, my family is my number one priority; my education and the job that pays me are as well. I was yearning to be free of stress.
I thought I would be sad about not working the boutique anymore. I wasn’t. I thought my husband would be disappointed in me. He wasn’t. I thought my friends would think I failed. But it turns out I really don’t care what anyone thinks. I thought I would want to start the boutique again after the break. I was wrong.
Something changed in me, and it wasn’t the fact that I didn’t want to do what it takes to make a business work, it was the fact that I was just going through the motions. I loved having something of my own, but I didn’t know if this business was what I truly wanted. When I was so blessed to get orders but felt frustrated about the stress of having to figure out how I will have time to go to the UPS store to ship it, I knew it was time to reevaluate my situation. I was tired of being so stressed all the time.
At the end of the day, what mattered to me the most was that the knots in my stomach from being so overwhelmed that all I could do was cry every night after work, were gone. My mom has always talked to me about taking on too much and finding balance, and even though I will always be busy and have a lot going on, I have learned that if it doesn’t bring me joy or push me towards a goal, and if it is causing me more stress and pain than happiness, it’s time to let it go.
I took a break for a few months and just focused on the things that I wanted to focus on. I didn’t think about the business. I didn’t try to start anything new. I just took a break. And it was the best decision I could have ever made.
At the beginning of this year (2016), I decided I wanted to start blogging again. I studied journalism in school with a focus on news-editorial writing. I have always been an avid writer and lover of fashion. I had a fashion blog in college and was the Fashion Director for an online magazine in college as well. I LOVED it. It’s something that comes very naturally to me and brings me joy. When I was in college, my dream was to move to New York City and work for a major fashion magazine as a writer. You know, like The Devil Wears Prada, except I’d be the main character. Life happened and that didn’t exactly pan out, but my blog has been an amazing alternative.
I am finally doing what I want to do and feel HAPPY. I still help friends and family every now and then with clothes for their little girls, because after all, I need to do something with all of this Chloe & Tatum inventory (sorry, honey!), but it’s on my terms, which is just the way I like it.
I say all of this to say, do what you LOVE. If what you’re doing today doesn’t bring you the greatest joy or isn’t preparing you to achieve your goals, find a way to get there.
I am a firm believer that you are as happy as you want to be, and that we are in control of said happiness … So why not live the BEST life possible? Take risks. Have fun. Grow. Try new things. But most importantly, find your passion and do what you love to do.
Can I get a amen?
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