Saturday, September 17, 2011

Early Entrepreneurship

I guess if I'm expecting you to read this and spread it to the masses, I owe you an explanation as to why I'm here. I am a crafter by heart, seller of all things sellable and entrepreneurial by blood.

Like most people, my parents influenced me more than anyone. I tried to argue that fact for a long time but just couldn't convince myself, much less anyone else, otherwise. With southern etiquette in mind, we'll start with my mom.

Growing up, our favorite outing was Mary Jo's in Gastonia. Seriously anyone who's anyone has heard of this. If you have not, leave my blog, search the site and come back to me when you're finished. It's that amazing. We would walk around the store and the GLORIOUS then-Gaston Mall. We would see purses. We would see jackets. We would see dresses. We would buy nothing. Instead my mom would pick an item up, examine it and say "I could make this" and then walk away, determine in her sweet little heart to fashion whatever we'd seen. So we would head to Mary Jo's, pick up a pattern and fabric and get to work on whatever it was that had caught our eyes. My mom made baby dolls, Easter dresses, Christmas dresses, blankets, scarves. You name it, that woman made it.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, my dad and I had our own little crafting business on the side. My dad had begun his own plumbing company when I was a baby and entrepreneurialism ran in his veins. When we weren't busy cutting copper pipe and playing with caulk guns, he and I began weaving together potholders. Glorious nylon potholders. I'm not sure how it all got started but I remember clearly scouring the isles of the Shelby WalMart (years before it was "super", and years before I boycotted) for extra nylon and cotton and hooks. We would sit up in Sesame Street sleeping bags, watching the Wizard of Oz and weave till I could weave no more. On Saturday mornings after eating at Fred Kiser's Minit Grille and nearly OD-ing on sweet tea, we would take our card table outside and sell the heck out of those pot holders on the sidewalk! My poor mother was mortified. "Lane, don't," she'd say. Because seriously, who wants a potholder for a dollar? But people did. They lined up to get these babies, I tell ya. My memory may or may not be a little off but this is how I'm choosing to remember it. Let me have my moment.

Fast-forward to today, as I throw my little peanut a Princess Party for her 4th birthday. Soon after the invitations went out, I began getting email after email asking what Adalai wanted for her birthday. My answer to everyone was: craft supplies. Anything and everything. Daily I'm asked, after "Mommy, can I watch a cartoon?" and "Mommy, can I have a snack?", "Mommy, can I make a craft?" And heaven forbid I deny her this right! Thankfully today she received crayons, markers, paper, 3-d animal crafts, halloween crafts, tracing paper, play-doh and.... a potholder weaving loom.

My eyes immediately darted to my dad, filled with tears of nostalgia and excitement, knowing he would feel the same way I did. Of all things to receive, Adalai unknowingly received a gift that was so precious to me as a child. So tonight, well beyond bedtime, she and I sat up and, in honor of Poppa, made a potholder. As she wove and I supervised, I told her the story I just told you. She definitively asks "So, can we sell this one?" Like "Okay, mom. Let's get the ball rollin'. We've got a business to start." I told her it might be a good idea to keep our first one and pass it on to Poppa. But I assured her we would be selling them at some point. Afterall, we've got to keep the family business alive!

So now, I'm afforded the opportunity to pass along a very special memory to my child. Something that I truly believe helped shape who I am today. And now my little gal snoozes away (no seriously, I can hear her all the way in here), excited for tomorrow when we can get to work with "the boys" and get this show on the road!

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