Saturday, April 24, 2010

Baby Entrepreneur

I worked for Remington West for what felt like years. I learned so much, but being young and cocky, I thought I could do it better myself. I had learned how to use the industrial sewing machines on leather and I saved my money. Finally, with the help of The Bank of Frank, (my daddy) I bought an industrial sewing machine. I had it all figured out. I was thrilled to be working on my own time, on my own schedule, and my schedule tended to be, sleep in, hang out awhile, then bust my butt sewing into the wee hours. I was free! I was college age, remember? I listened to Bob Dylan, my idol, The Allman Brothers, Lynard Skynard, Little Feat and Bonnie Raitt. (I still believe she sang her songs just for me!) while I made leather vests, lots of backpacks, and of course, the halter tops. I worked hard in reality, because it was for me. I didn't have to answer to anyone. Here's a picture of me with my mom and grandmother, in my Boulder, Colorado apartment that was the jungle and workshop. You can see a few of those plants in the background. At this stage, I still wanted to work in the field of horticulture.

I think it's safe to say that I didn't have a clue about business plans, taxes, accounting, all of the non -creative parts of running a business. Still I enjoyed working with my hands and I was good at it.

The one thing I hated was having to sell my wares. I was very shy and unsure of myself when faced with the people who needed to purchase my goods. I had no problem when I sold, for instance, at Tandy, but when faced with selling my own creations, that was a whole different ballgame! It was scary! Rejection felt personal.  I had to knock on doors and ask shop owners. There was no email or social networking then. I couldn't hide behind a computer. Everything went well...for a time.

I formed relationships with my customers, slowly but surely. I sold leather goods to a man who owned shops in Estes Park, Colorado and Steamboat Springs too. The name of the company was Dark Horse  Leather.There were lots of leather shops back then and his were located in two of the most beautiful spots in the state. After awhile, he approached me with an entirely different job offer, and I took it.

I am thinking, right now, about how all of these experiences made me who I am today, right this minute. Could you change any little piece of your life, knowing it might have changed many other things as well? What do you think?


  1. There are so many things I've though over the years, "man I wish I had never". But as many of those that I have, I have just as many things that I say, "I'm so glad I did that".
    If we change the bad things would we become a completely different person, or would we wind up being the same person just taking a different course. I often wonder that.
    All in all I think most people are satisfied with their journey, or at least they can accept it.
    What's helped me the most has been my faith, without which I think I could not have survived some of the things I've gone through.

  2. Whatever we go through and whatever choices we made in the past make us what we are today. I have to say at this point in my life, I would not change a thing. But I am almost 50 now. If you had asked me 10 years I would have changed it all. Glad I didn't!!!!!

    In an aside, I happen to love Bonnie Raitt. I have all the old albums from the 70s. Still listen while I crochet. Glad to hear from another Bonnie fan!!!

  3. Terrie:
    Your feelings of euphoria and cockiness are not at all unusual for young people entering the business world. Nor, unfortunately, was your lack of business 'savviness'. Far too many people in our industry jump into being 'business owners' with no clue how to go about it. Those who figure out early on that they need to have a plan and strategy make it, those who go day by day, flying by the seat of their pants soon run out of money and fold. Your perserverence paid off. You knew what you didn't know how to do and learned.

    Terri L. Maurer

  4. I think I would change stuff. A lot of stuff. But I'm only 28 and very confused. :p

  5. Thank you Terri. I think if you change any one part of your life experience, there's a cosmic domino effect. Then, who knows what direction you may have gone. I think that life is a puzzle, and in the end, the pieces all fit together perfectly.

  6. While my life started with hardship & anguish, to be continued with struggle & sometimes disappointment, I would not change a single thing. It brought me to my marriage to a man who shared similar surroundings... it brought us to build a family with the values & life belief that we live knowing what we want for our children & struggling daily to know how to give it to them. It builds strength in character - a life struggle, and I wouldn't change a thing.

  7. I soooooo enjoyed reading your story and emphathized with so many parts of it! Didn't we all know better at 18 ish??? I certainly did :) So true that all of these elements and parts come together to make us who we are today......

  8. What an incredible post! I think you & me & Lisa grew up in the same time period, so I think we lived thru alot of the same things .. and no, I don't think I would change much of anything I have or haven't done, other then perhaps get some more schooling.

  9. I always love your posts! It helps that I grew up in the same era as you! My past is full of mistakes, hard times and shouldn't haves. But I wouldn't change a minute. Even the bad stuff, which today make really interesting stories!
    Today, I am married to my best friend for almost 25 years. My son is 22, developmentally disabled and the best guy I know. I'm lucky to have friends and family.
    I do believe that one change in the past would have altered the present. Karma, too...