Change is Hard, but Good, but Hard!

Change is Hard, but Good, but Hard!

Kids Change Us

Looking back, I’ve realized that I have talked a lot about change this year. I’ve seen changes in my kids as they move from teens to adults and changes as they moved away from home. These changes have been good changes. Hard changes. But necessary ones. We’re proud of the adults they’ve become and it’s so nice to say that we really enjoy time spent together.

Our Marriage Changes

My husband and I have certainly changed after 24 years of marriage together. Not just in how we look (better than ever!) but our experiences, good and hard, and adventures have shaped us. Our perspectives have changed and our love has grown. The amount of laughter has increased too. We’ve learned to not take things so seriously all the time! So many couples we know have changed and grown apart and not together. We’ve had to work hard to make sure that didn’t happen to us either. Life is so busy and we can get so distracted with work and kids schedules and life that we change, but in opposite directions. I’m thankful we still encourage each other along the same path.

Business is Always Changing

I have been amazed in my 6 years as a small business owner how much has changed. Even more has changed in the 3 years since I quit my job and I have done this full-time! There are so many moving parts to this business and so many hats I wear - artist/designer, manufacturer, raw material sourcing, production, project manager, troubleshooter, marketing and advertising guru, social media manager, bookkeeper, trade show presenter, boss, and blogger. I am so thankful for the team that works with me to accomplish so much - even that is a huge change from when I started this business with one design on one postcard in one store. Now it has grown to more designs than I can count in 17 states. But change is in the air and it is time for my business to change again and me with it.

Time for Change

I started sewing pillows and later totes and tea towels at my kitchen counter. My peninsula is a perfect work surface and as I sewed, my kids could spread over the house and stuff them with inserts, tag, and bag them for me. After my first year, I had sewn 1000 pillows, mostly in the late afternoon and evenings after I worked at my engineering job. Within 3 more months I had sewn another 800 and I was so thankful (and so was my husband) that I hired my first contract employee. She still (thankfully!) works with me. Within 1 year from hiring her, I had moved production out of my home and into a workshop space above a business in our downtown and hired more help.

That Bucket List design celebrating all the great things about our town has spread to so many town and states and is loved by so many more than just me. It has been so humbling to watch. My design isn’t going anywhere and more towns and states are still to come, but it’s not going to be available in retail stores on all of my handmade fabric items anymore. The fabric for my pillows, totes and towels is printed in small batches by a local mom and pop shop which I have been so happy to partner with for the past 5 years. In today’s economy, it is so hard to produce handmade goods, made in the USA, that are at a price point people are willing to pay. Unfortunately, the time has come that the cost to produce small batches of fabric has risen beyond what makes sense for my town and state designs in retail stores across the country, but it still will be available on my website. I have worked for most of this year trying to come up with alternative solutions, but finally had to come to the realization that it was time to let go of my baby. It took me months of grappling with this change - it was not an easy one - but change opens the door for new things. Without change, we don’t grow.

Bring in the New

And Tandem For Two is still growing! I am launching a new line that was born only because of this hard change. I cannot express how excited I am about this new line, new designs, and new products. It will still be a celebration of things we love with the people we love. And I can’t wait for you to see it!

My state and town Bucket Lists and all coordinated designs will still be available in stores on stationery, paper goods, and entertaining items and everything is still available on my website. And I’m designing new ones all of the time because there are just so many fun places to explore and celebrate!

Thanks for being along with my on this ever-changing journey! I love how we really do need each other and can ride tandem together.

Comments

Jennifer Smelker

Hi Cheryl – thanks for asking! I’m still having my bucket list fabric printed locally and everything will still be made here in West Michigan and sold on my website (including pillows, totes, and tea towels).

Everything will still be sold in stores across the US as well, just not the pillows, totes, and tea towels.

Jennifer Smelker

Thanks so much Cathy for not only following along but sharing with others! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment – it means so much! Jennifer

Jennifer Smelker

I am excited about what you have come up with. I just recently found your website and have passed that info along to others.
Change is hard but you have to do what is best for you. I, personally, appreciate all of your hard work!

Jennifer Smelker

Confused…so, who is printing bucket list now? Still made in USA? They will be stores and your website?

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