My last blog post was part 1 of my story, from my child getting sick, losing her kidney’s and ultimately having a kidney transplant to conception of my product.
In creating this product, I never had the idea of selling this product or turning it into a business. I was focused on surviving every day at least and at best, doing it with a small amount of joy. Our daughter struggled with intestinal issues most of that year after her transplant. She lost a ton of weight, was life-flighted home from our trip to Colorado in May 2014 and later in the summer was just a few more bad days away from being scoped from the top and the bottom. “Mysteriously" everything resolved itself and no scoping was necessary. Once she seemed physically ok after not being ok for almost 2 years I started having physical symptoms that I know now were the result of an unusual amount of distress for a long period of time, PTSD and high levels of prolonged adrenaline finally presenting themselves in me physically. My point in telling you this is I was in no shape physically or emotionally to start a business. However, if I’ve learned anything from this grand ordeal we’ve been through with our daughter it’s that I’m not in charge and God’s plans are not always my plans.
Every time we would wear the HOLSTRs out, someone would ask about them. I finally asked my husband if we should try to sell a few. I was paying someone $40 to make them for our family and knew I couldn’t afford that nor did this person have time to sew them. Before I talked to anyone, we decided to try to patent the idea. I had contacted many manufacturers in the U.S. but no one got back to me. My husband and I met with an acquaintance who owns a company here in KC, just to try to figure out what to do and he offered to introduce us to his sourcing agency in China. Not only did we now have a connection to a manufacturer but it was someone we could trust not to steal our idea. Long story short, we have a great relationship with these people in China, they have been so great to work with us and do smaller production runs that we can afford. Without this connection, I’m not sure we’d be where we are today.
We had product coming, now I needed to figure out how to store and sell them, how to get a corporate lawyer and get incorporated, how to get on Facebook, how to build a website, how to do accounting (which I still mess up today…not my strength), how to brand and do marketing and SEO all the while still taking care of my family and my house at the same time. We were officially launching HOLSTRit ready or not. I have always said that this business happened to me. This has been such a unique experience for me and has forced me to grow in ways I never imagined.
There have been so many instances where I’ve run into a wall but found a window open. There have been so many times, (almost weekly), where I’ve wondered, "What am I doing?” and then I’m hit square in the forehead with reassurance of the fact that this is what I’m suppose to be doing. I’ve learned that once you have a story and share it, other people feel free to share their story too. Getting out at these trade shows, I can’t tell you the conversations I have sometimes with people who are hurting and I realize that this business is more than money and bottom line, it’s about people. I still say I don’t know what I’m doing, but God has brought people into my business who I call my team. I have a patent attorney, a corporate lawyer, an accountant, an SEO/branding/social media expert, friends who want to see me succeed and VERY supportive & helpful family members.
This is not an easy path and it’s made a little tougher by the fact that we still deal with uncertainties (monthly if not weekly) of our daughter and her kidney failing and needing another transplant someday but I can honestly say I’d never change it. The things I’ve learned, experienced and witnessed over the last 3 ½ years with my daughter and with the business are pretty magnificent. Everyone’s got a story…and this is mine! Thank you for reading it.