Wow, 9 years! I will never forget the day that my "1st born" was actually born. It was in the kitchen of our little 2 bedroom South Florida condo that Mark and I had the discussion. It was a fairly quick and casual conversation that would change our lives forever.
Mark:So, did you apply for the trademark today?
Amber: I couldn't pull the trigger. It's so much money! I would feel so awful if I wasted that money.
Mark:Amber, it's $400. While it's a lot of money, we will survive either way. Will you regret it if you don't go for it?
Amber: Yes, I will definitely regret it. Ok, I'll do it! Are you ready for this? You know me, once I'm in, I'm in.
Mark:You know I will support you all the way.
Amber: Ok, I'm going to do it right now!
That was the day I made the decision to go all in. The Tony Robbins quote, "If you want to take the island - burn the friggin boats" defined that moment for me. I was all in from that day forward. It took me a few months from that date to actually execute all of the steps necessary to start the business, but it was that day that we made the decision to pursue this dream and more importantly I made the decision that my stubbornness was going to lead the way. I was determined to make this a success.
Well 9 years and an amazing team later (including my super talented husband that nudged me in the 1st place), this dream is a reality! That incredible team has made this day so special for me (see the champagne photo above!), which just reminds me yet again how lucky I am. Let me rephrase that...how blessed I am. I don't really believe in luck.
I don't want to gloss over the road that has paved these past nine years; it has certainly been one heck of a journey, but one that I wished for my entire life. I could not be more grateful for this opportunity. While there are days I think I may fall asleep standing up (I guess not unlike most moms!), it is truly an honor to do what I do. To lead the team that I lead; to clothe adorable kids all over the world; to sell to amazing retailers both here in the US and faraway countries I only dream of visiting; it is all a dream come true. I am beyond grateful for this path and will continue fighting for my team and customers, to become a household name and requirement for every kiddo's closet!
To everyone that has made this journey possible, I extend my sincerest gratitude...our team, my family, my amazing husband, our customers (who are the ones that truly make this possible) and our friends. My 1st born is 9 years old today...wow, it sure flew by!
Most people read me as fairly non-emotional at 1st interaction. I'm not super social, but consider myself to be friendly. It is certainly rare that I get emotional in front of others. I want to say it is because I have spent the last 8 years as a CEO that has to pull it together and put on a brave face while we conquer goals bigger than ourselves. In an honest retrospect, I guess I've really always been this way, just mostly even keel, and ready for a challenge. When my closest friend heard that I started RuffleButts, her response was "of course you did." At the time, her response caught me a little off guard, but after a short explanation, I knew exactly what she meant. In a way, my life path prepared and led me right to this journey. In a way, I always knew what I wanted to do, without having any idea what that was...if that makes any sense to anyone!
Anyhow, there are many things about this journey that I completely expected and many more that I did not. One of the things I didn't really see coming was how much I would be impacted by those that signed up to walk along side me in this RuffleButt journey. They affect and impact me more than I ever knew possible. Back to my non-emotional statement earlier, while I may come across fairly non-emotional, I am actually affected quite deeply by those closest to me. As an only child, I don't have a large family, so in a lot of ways, this company has become my family. They are certainly the people that I spend the vast majority of my time with.
Today, these people truly made my day! I had no idea it was bosses day and quite frankly, what is "bosses day" anyway?! While I may technically fall under that definition in some ways, I don't ever considerate it my title in any way. While I may come across as bossy...let me try that again...while I do come across as bossy in many ways, I never think of myself as "the boss". I mostly think of myself as the captain, but a ship without mates would certainly not be a successful one. I carry the responsibility of captain quite seriously, considering that more than 25 people have trusted me enough to put their career in my hands. And, it goes without saying, that I absolutely could not do it without my co-captain (and hubby).
So, this morning our team told me that something was serious and we were needed in the conference room. When we arrived, this incredibly creative creation awaited on the table. As I looked up, our team joined us in the conference room to celebrate "bosses day". I was not only touched by the kind words, but also by the obvious effort that went into such a gift. I have to say I have never seen anything like this candy bar poster before, but what a great idea!!
To my team, THANK YOU!! Thank you for making this dream possible. Thank you for your loyalty to our vision. Thank you for your commitment to helping make it happen. Thank you for your forgiveness that I am far from perfect. Thank you for your understanding when we make mistakes. Thank you for your determination when our goals seem out of reach. Thank you for making us laugh with your clever slack commentaries. Thank you for the in-office entertainment. Thank you for your positive attitudes. Thank you for your lack of drama (seriously, this is a big one!). Thank you for all that you do!
Wow, where to begin! Blogs are kind of funny in the fact that they are just slightly like a reality show...as a reader, you almost feel as if you know the person. You have watched them through the ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses. The RuffleBlog has been a bit like this for me. I often just write away, thinking to myself that no one really reads these rambles, but on occasion I realize that I tell you guys more than I tell my closest friends...somehow it is just easier to type away.
So, for the most part you already know how thankful I am, not just in the simple sense, but truly grateful for the life God has given me. I am human, so yes, sometimes I forget to treasure each and every moment, but it is days like today, when I am surrounded by family, that I get to take it all in. Here are just a few on my list:
1) My family - since Mark and I work together and spend, literally, almost 24 hours a day in the same space, I guess you could say that our relationship is a bit out of the ordinary. As you can imagine with that scenario, sure there are moments I want to send him some place far away for the day, or even the week, but for the most part, I can't believe how lucky I am that we found each other. We had a crazy start (long story), but to have found someone who supports by stubbornness and entrepreneurial workaholic mind, that was one in a million! The fact that we get to share our journey, in life, with family, and in business, is such an enormous blessing. On top of that, we have family and friends that fill our life full of love. And of course Aubrey...I honestly did not know that you could feel this way about another human being. She is the light of my life and just a little miracle.
2) RuffleButts - I could go on and on here. First, I feel so blessed that God gave me my "this way" sign so early in life. I feel so incredibly blessed to do what I do, every single day. I love my job, my work-family, my customers, I just love RuffleButts! I know that I am in my right place, and that is such an incredible feeling of peace. I am grateful that RuffleButts has found enough success to spread the joy to others. I am grateful that God has given me the strength to endure the craziness that comes with starting and running a business. And I am so grateful for the support that we have received along the way. Our customers are beyond awesome!
3) Health - I do not take this for granted. As Layla Grace is still in our prayers every day, I am eternally grateful for the health of me and my family. I know this is a gift, and I do not forget this.
I hope you all had a fabulously special Thanksgiving day!