Today we introduce to you, the lovely ladies I am honored to have on the Abiart team. For the first five years (2011-2015) Abiart Creative was a one-woman show. With the exception of Mom or my sisters helping out in emergency situations, I emailed, invoiced + packaged in a small storage room (thanks mom!) in our farmhouse. January of 2016 Dad generously built a room in a corner of the machinery shed and despite the dust that blew in or occasional tractor fumes- I loved it. By then some extended family jumped on board counting cards and shipping as needed. Growing a company from the dirt takes so much time, flexibility and hard work, but being surrounded by family who supports and gives grace, such as no rent the first six years was a blessing straight from heaven!
However, by the end of 2016 the “shop room” was full and overflowing, literally. Plus, Ryan and I had tied the knot and moved 15 minutes away from the farm. Another growing pain was the amount of time I spent in the studio- not designing or creating, but bookwork. Miles of bookwork. Hours of numbers, honestly, I hated it. Establishing a routine as a housewife + a business owner seemed impossible. Then one night we did it- late one night, after another exhausting day lacking clean clothes, we made a list of the lifestyle we were going to have. How often laundry gets done, how many hours a day I spend in the studio and the weekly cleaning- actually happening weekly. This was the beginning of something so good. Ryan has the common sense, raw, simplistic view of life I so often need. It became obvious I do not only need a warehouse manager, but also a bookkeeper. The very next day we began to pray for our future team and the interviews began.
Through trial and error, we stumbled upon a system that works well. Thanks to Janella + Lydia, today we are harvesting from a bountiful garden and our house is decorated. Rarely am I in the office after dinner and have the capacity to enjoy greenhouse visits, help mom occasionally or build relationships with my three sister-in-laws. So thankful. Daily details are still a work-in progress, such as meal planning or exercising. But guys-this past year has been one for the books! Not only in renting/moving to a warehouse less than a mile from our house-but developing 3 completely new Abiart products AND disconnecting from a commission based Sales Rep team to developing our very own Sales Rep + marketing strategy. Bit by bit, grace by grace, we trust, enjoy becoming and know it will all work together for good.
She’s independent, aggressive and basically the bomb.com. From re-ordering shipping tape to dropping off mountains of boxes at the post office, she does it all. Counting thousands of cards, envelopes + working alone in a warehouse is not for everyone, we know. But she loves it and most Tuesdays + Thursdays you will find her in the warehouse tying white paper packages with lace. This month Jan will attend her first wholesale show, with plans do much more of this in the next year and develop her role as a traveling Sales Rep for the company.
This 17-year-old gem also happens to be my little sister. 2 days a week she joins me in the studio and creates invoices, statements, shipping labels + replies to emails. Repeat. We snack, we jam, and I love having an occasional office friend. Lydia also helps farm during the summer and has a booming social life- so flexible hours are the perfect fit.
So basically, I’m at home. Since prime design time is morning my day normally begins at 5:30, sometimes 4. My goal is to A. be intentional and be present as a wife B. developing a brand and constantly grow. This all sounds simple- but nope, it’s not. Most days I struggle with impulses like designing a new card when I should be attending evening Ryan’s softball game. Or randomly baking a cake mid afternoon when I SHOULD be designing. Writing email newsletters, answering questions from retailers, planning + stylizing shoots then designing paper goods with them, is my life. It’s not perfect-but beautiful, and I love it.