Fear can cripple you. Fear can stop you in your tracks. Fear can suppress your successes. Fear can prevent you from starting. Fear almost made me lose my business.
The good thing about the robbery, if there is a "good part', it gave me the opportunity to restart and redo my business structure. The incident made me realize was that my company could not function without me. Everything was in disarray after November 14th. Customers became upset; shit they still mad at me. It was hard for me to get back on the horse and MOVE. I was the head, neck, and body of my business and the robbery cut my head off and my business was suffering.
After the robbery, I packed up my entire shop and moved it to New Jersey. A fulfillment center in Jersey who created my mugs and had a large printing facility, convinced me they could handle my orders and they would be a good option to produce Mess in a Bottle products. BULLSHIT. It was a freaking disaster. Thanksgiving was approaching and we had an influx of orders and not to add, celebrities posted about my unfortunate incident, so in one day I received 200 orders. This was the highest amount of orders in 24 hours I have ever received. I didnt panic at the time because I felt confident this center would be able to produce my items in a timely fashion. I would bang out 40 orders for dolo, so I just KNEW this company could do 200 in maybe 2-3 days. Moving my business to Jersey was a great decision as I thought because before the robbery, I wanted to shift my business and run my company and not work for my business. It was a shift in power from worker to boss. I was excited that the robbery forced me to make this move.
Everything that could have went wrong in Jersey did. They did not use MIB standards and printed things incorrectly. Customers received the wrong packages, there was so much damage control that needed to be done. I began to go into depression. I started ignoring emails, ignoring messages, not working and just crying more. I hated everything that was a domino effect post the robbery and I was upset at myself that my foundation was this weak and I was broken.
Customers were so angry as Christmas quickly approached. I drove to Jersey, packed up all our inventory and attempted to fit my business back into my Baltimore row home. It was so difficult. I had to put hand bags packaged in the bath tub, hang racks in the kitchen and my living room was covered with t-shirts and sweatshirts. I was so sad. Sad because it was more than I could emotionally and physically manage. I began to see a therapist and as I started to feel better, I began to feel FEARLESS. Fearless to experience change. Fearless to experience failure. FEARLESS. I wanted to be free and not have anxiety and be so overwhelmed by my business. I did the best I could for Christmas and after the holiday, WE MOVED AGAIN. We have secured a new fulfillment center, black owned, in Baltimore City. I am so excited to go on this new journey. I still have so many fires to put out... but one thing is for sure, I am not afraid. I am running into the fire and being FEARLESS gives you freedom.
The robbers tried to take away my freedom physically and mentally. I was afraid to sleep at home, afraid I could die, afraid they can still come after me. For now, I don't even care if those knuckle heads get caught. I will not allow them to take over my life and rob me of something I worked hard for. It was hard to hear customers say I "disappointed" them as they truly did not understand the severity and magnitude of what occurred. I had to come to peace with that as well and tell myself I tried the best I could. I am not a large company with a big customer service department or manufacturing facility. I was one, regular degular girl in a room in her house, making over 500 shirts, just trying not to end up in a mental institution or lose her business. I still had my son to raise and even that I felt as if I was failing at.
I took a staycation in the woods of Maryland to feel this peace and freedom I desired. As I woke up to the sunrise and took in the 22 degree weather, in this moment, I truly felt FEARLESS. I pray no one will ever rob me of this feeling.
HAPPY NEW YEAR.