A Year of Grit
Has it really taken over a year to get here?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself since I got my new Smudgies in hand.
Let me tell you, it has been a LONG year.
I started the process of exploring new production options in spring 2019, mainly wanting to be able to customize Smudgies with different designs rather than buying pre-printed fabric.
This became even more important to me after rebranding with a new logo and website design! It was so much fun to share with you guys as I was shifting the new logo and branding to different aspects of the business, and I wanted to keep that momentum and excitement going.
So why did it take SO long to get these in?
Long story short (and I think a very common story for many entrepreneurs), I kept getting sidetracked, or worried about it not being perfect (perfectionism = a whole other topic!), or just plain overwhelmed.
I looked at overseas production, but y’all, I’m a small business, and the minimum order sizes were wayyy bigger than what I was able to invest in. Trade wars and tariffs were a big factor to consider. And to be honest, I didn’t see the same quality in the samples I received. So, I turned back to looking for American manufacturers.
But everywhere I tried turned down the project for one reason or another - not their industry, already at capacity, etc., etc. By fall, I was pretty discouraged. I was also trying to balance a heavy course load as a full time student, and it got harder and harder to force myself to keep making calls and getting rejections.
By spring of 2020, I FINALLY had a solid option on the table - working with a couple of different manufacturers: one to print the fabric, the other to stitch the Smudgies into finished goodness!
Then, as we all know, COVID-19… happened. The first factory shut down without notice, and we didn’t hear from them for weeks. I flew back home from Dallas to Charleston. Shelter in place orders stretched on, and on, and on, and I had no idea when I would get the new products in, or if the factory would re-open at all. What if I had to start looking all over again??
Thankfully, that fear didn't become true. I finally got a call that production was up and running again, in a safe and sanitized environment, and that it would be a matter of just a few weeks to get them in hand!
Since then, I’ve made my way back to Dallas, and (after more delays) collected this first batch of beautiful new Smudgies that will be available for order on July 1st!
In her book Grit, Angela Duckworth explores how "the power of passion and perseverance" allows for high achievement. She discusses how those who are most resilient surpass people with natural talent, because they push themselves harder to reach their full potential.
I looked at the box of Smudgies that took me over a year to receive, and started to wonder... am I gritty? Couldn't I have found a way to make it happen sooner, with more passion and perseverance? Why did I spend so long going after options like overseas that were never going to work out? (negative thought spirals = ANOTHER whole other topic)
But the author also writes that it’s not just about hard work and intensity - it’s about sticking things out. Coming back to something over and over and over, deliberately doing the hard work - not just in anticipation of a reward to come, but out of a belief that it matters for a greater goal or purpose.
My greater purpose with Smudgies is to help women feel confident and empowered, starting with their makeup. As that mission has become more clear to me, despite all the setbacks, in the last year.
So whether this is grit or just plain stubbornness, I'm proud to have stuck this one out and to finally see the results. I'm grateful for what I learned that will help me be better in the next round. And I'm determined to continue to fight as long as I need to in order to share Smudgies with as many women as possible.