Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Closing For Love of a Dog Jewelry Follow Up

I've now edited and rewritten a blog post about closing my business too many times.  Though I'm still not happy with this draft... oh well.  The people who've asked questions do deserve answers and I've answered at least most of them below.

Why am I closing my jewelry business?  The answer is complicated.  

The short answer is that it's time.  In fact, it is past time.  And I've been thinking about it, rolling it around in my head and losing sleep over it for about three years.

A small one woman business needs to be fed daily with lots of social media and marketing.  This particular business needs upgrading and a new ecommerce platform and more.  All of that takes time.  Lots of time.  

That whole "if you build it, they will come" thing?  Total myth. First you build it and then you work it.  Work it like crazy.    

Now, if you like that kind of thing, that can be crazy fun.  However, if you're like me and you'd rather be out in your studio creating or simply hanging out with your animals, not so much.

A couple of days ago I was searching my own blog for something and read some posts from a couple of years ago.  What a wake up call!  Where is THAT woman!?   I read a few more and realized the bottom line reason I'm closing:  I have lost my joy.

In order to do creative work, I have to be in touch with my joy.

I still love making jewelry.  I really hate the rest of it.  The marketing and all the details of running a business.  UGH.  I've gotten slower and slower at it and I know that's because I just plain don't want to do it.  All the computer related tasks take me forever these days while I'd rather be spending time with Gary and the pups.  Losing Jeffie was a real wake up call.

In the past three years I've had a great deal of loss. Tucker, my heart dog Lucy, my mom's dog, our Percheron Dolly, a couple of my best friends, my mom, my soul dog, Jeffie and our senior horse, Cakes.  And, of course, there's all this sh*t with Gary's health.  

The one real regret I have about all of it is that I wished I'd spent my time with them instead of working my business.

So that is why I'm closing.  
I've been asked if I'm closing because of Jeffie's death.  The answer is no.  However, Jeffie's death and that whole horrible experience, pushed me into a firm commitment to end my jewelry business.  

Jeffie reminded me that beating hearts are way more important than a business or a job.

For the past three years I've talked about it.  Toyed with the idea. Actually even took pen and paper to make a closing plan.  Said I was going to.  But... didn't.   I knew long ago that I was missing out on things that I would regret later:  time with the people and animals that I love.

I've been in business since 1991 and online since 1999.  It's a full time job, not a hobby and we've relied on my income.  Being a one woman small business is a fairly big undertaking, especially when not only is there the actual business management and marketing, but I also produce all of the product.

I truly love making jewelry. I also love my customers. It thrills me to think jewelry I created is worn by women all over the world.  I love knowing that my very first online customer (Hi, Judie!) is still a customer.  However, I really do not love the rest of it. 

Several years ago my doctor broke the news to me that I had early onset arthritis.  As of last year it had gotten bad enough that I had to give up some of the detail work I previously loved.  I was just too slow (time is money, you know) and I took too much time to do things I could once do lickety split.  My hands and fingers ache after an afternoon in my studio.

I've pretty much stopped blogging.  Oh, I know I still post, but you and I both can look back over the past year or so and acknowledge they've not been "real" blog posts.  Talking Dogs has basically been on life support.  I've de-prioritized visiting other blogs and when I do, I'm back to my old bad habit of not commenting, but rather simply sharing. I've somewhat streamlined social media tasks.  Yadda yadda.   That's just not enough.

Home based small businesses have voracious appetites and must be constantly fed.  Taking a break would not be a solution.  To start up after a hiatus would be like starting all over again. Been there and done that - when we made the move from Virginia to Missouri.

Though the door is still open, angel Lucy is ready to swing it shut.
Though I'm sure I'll make some jewelry for myself or as gifts for friends, I have no intention of selling it again.  I may offer some of my leftover inventory on my collectibles web site (which is a hobby), but I have no plans to do more than that.

Would I be closing if my stress levels were not so off the charts?  If my husband were not so ill?  Probably not.

Will I be blogging?  I don't know. 

So, there's my meandering reply to the why question.  No one asked the when question, but that will be when I've further winnowed down my current inventory of already made jewelry at both For Love of a Dog and Bittersweet Ridge Jewelry.  Hopefully, that will be very soon.


  1. I'm so very sorry that you have been through such a draining time. And actually, are still going through it. I can somewhat relate to the thoughts you express about losing your joy. It happened to me with teaching. And it is certainly understandable that all the marketing and social media would suck all your free time away. So. Do what you need to do to be happy and find joy again. Sending hugs and smiles to you, Sue! I can only imagine how hard it is to make this decision. It does sound like you're ready. Take good care of yourself and your husband.

  2. The only thing you need to be concerned about is what's best for you and your family. We can't order more time from an online store, if we could that would be an instant hit business. We sure wish you all the best and hope your somewhat of a regular here in Blogville. Hugs from all of us.

  3. You know I am a big fan of your work, but I totally understand your decision. Best of luck to you.

  4. It's understandable. I know how hard something can be when you fall out of love it, when it becomes a job, etc. I've always loved your creativity and wish you nothing but happiness.

  5. This makes me sad - probably because I relate to it so well. But I'm all for folks doing what brings them joy, and if this doesn't bring you joy anymore, then it is definitely for the best to close the door. I hope you'll still blog now and then! I'd miss hearing from you and seeing the pups. If you do though, I get that too. We can always stay in touch via email! (I owe you one of those....)

  6. Please know you will be sorely missed but also know we totally get it. Life's challenges can wear the best of us down. Kudos to you for realizing "to thine own self be true' part of a happy life. Very best wishes to you and yours as you begin a new(er) chapter. ღonika & Sam

  7. I think you are wise to know what you need to do, both for yourself and for those you love. I commend you for knowing and recognizing that fact and for taking action when it must be incredibly difficult.

    My wish for you is that by taking this step, you find your joy again, and peace and happiness, I wish only the best for you my friend.

  8. What a post from the heart, you said it beautifully and from one who has been through death of loved ones from little on and loosing my parents too young I always said that life is too short and my parents died before they got to do many things. I decided I wasn't going to be like that and I was going to do the things I wanted to do now. Life is too short and you don't know if there will be a tomorrow a next week a next year. So I commend you for your decision, it surely is the best one for you! You can't keep doing something that doesn't bring you joy just for not wanting to disappoint people or friends. You have to do what is right for you and only you. Good luck to you in whatever you have decided to do for your next adventure. Hug Gary, hug your pets and ENJOY life it's way to short! I sure hope I will be still seeing you on facebook, your a great online friend!

  9. It is hard when a joy and a passion cease to be what brings you joy and pleasure. I wish you all the best in your next endeavor, whatever that might be.

  10. Oh I hope you once again find your joy - in whatever form it may be - and peace of mind and spirit as well. I'm so sorry you've suffered so many losses and so much stress recently.

    Wishing you brighter days and happier, easier times ahead. You'll be sorely missed here in Blogland, so here's hoping you'll still be around in one way or another. Hugs!

  11. If making jewelry is keeping you from being with the ones you love, if it has become a chore, then you are right to let it go. Maybe you can relegate it to a hobby, making items occasionally as gifts for friends.

  12. IT is always hard to say good-bye to a chapter of our lives. You are absolutely right, when the joy is gone it just becomes work. You have an incredible talent and I cherish my pieces that you designed for me. ♥

  13. I believe that there's a reason for everything. Your lost JOY will bring something else. Sending you lots of Hugs and LOVE <3

  14. I can really feel this post, as another one woman handmade dog product business. It's no joke: the stress, work, and everything else. People do not understand. I can't tell you the number of times I wanted to quit (still do) and it has only been 3 years of partial effort unlike your FT effort. Sending you my love and support. These things are only meant to go on when the heart complies. You are a wise woman to analyze that and make a sound decision based on all the factors involved. Here's to stress reduction, sanity, and a better journey in the years ahead. Hugs!

  15. Nobody really understands how hard it is to be self employed, unless you are. Artists want to create, that's were their hearts are. We see it all the time at art shows with other artists. Life needs to be lived in a way you find happiness. You have a full plate, and you need to enjoy your life with family. That's the important thing.

  16. My mom has to sit back and remember what is important now and then. She gets so wrapped up in work and the blog and doesn't have time for us which sends her an alarm that we are more important and deserve her time. We keep it in balance most of the time and it still is a joy for us. Maybe you need a break, maybe you need to quit, only you can know, but do what you want to do, not what everyone else wants you to do. We hope you find your joy again soon in whatever you choose to do.

  17. I hope you find the JOY back into your life again being with all of your loved ones and that you find the peace you deserve. Good luck!

  18. I'm sorry Sue. I hope that by doing this, you are able to find some more time for the things that give you joy. I too have been trying to cut back just a little bit, doing things I like to do.


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