This Wild Adventure of Growing a Business.....

Birdie helping her mother with her crazy ideas!

Birdie helping her mother with her crazy ideas!

First of all, if you are reading this, thank you. Really….thank YOU. It means you got here, you were interested enough to click, and to see what is happening. I really appreciate that.

This has been a fascinating year and a half for me. I accidentally and pretty much unintentionally became a business owner in my early 50s. I spent my adult life as high school special education teacher. I loved it. I really loved it. I sought out other part time employment as a divorced mother with a gaggle of children to help supplement my income, but I did not seek out another career. I had recently retired and had planned on living on a little island in the Gulf of Mexico with my amazing husband, polishing up my golf game, and traveling with my guy. That was a dream enough!

On a needlepoint and life adventure…Lugano, Switzerland June 2018

On a needlepoint and life adventure…Lugano, Switzerland June 2018

Our oldest daughter is a fabulous needlepoint designer who has been growing her own business since she came home from college in 2015. She had seen a niche gap in the industry that was not actively engaging with her generation. Within eighteen months of designing her first canvas, her work was published in Better Homes and Gardens. It put me on the periphery of the business side of my all time favorite hobby and pastime, needlepointing.  I was seeing how the business worked from behind the scenes and the ins and outs of what I thought worked and didn’t work for this…. again…. lifetime hobby I loved.

Brooke of Thörn Alexander

Brooke of Thörn Alexander

The idea of starting this business came to us in two ways. My husband, the son if a life long needlepointer, noticed a different hole in the needlepoint business (which was not being filled and is still not being filled) and I too noticed even another hole in the business that was not being filled and is still not being filled. We started a business with an idea. We were going to create something to fill these two holes. Our daughter who was about 23 at the time said she would help us and we launched. We had no plan (other than those two ideas, we still haven’t done YET.). We had no target audience, or idea what we were getting into. We just knew we needed some canvases and some fibers to start. Brooke helped us with this. (She helped us with EVERYTHING!) I named the company without thinking it through. I picked a logo (the goldfish) because it reminded me of my wonderful parents who always happily embraced my childhood wins, including goldfish prizes. I picked the orange for my brand and business cards because it was my dearly loved father’s favorite color. When Brooke, who was helping me with design work, asked me what I wanted my title on my cards to read….I thought for about 30 seconds and I blurted out “traveling stitcher”. At this point in my life, that is my dream job. Someone who travels, needlepoints herself around the world, and sells needlepoint to those who are on life’s adventures. A year and a half later, my dream job is a dream come true.

One of our first kits was this Southwestern round designed by Brooke, I am putting it on one of my travel backpacks.

One of our first kits was this Southwestern round designed by Brooke, I am putting it on one of my travel backpacks.

Last summer in Lugano, Switzerland 2018

Last summer in Lugano, Switzerland 2018

This business has grown beyond my wildest dreams. In fact, I didn’t really have time to create the dreams. It happened fast and it happened with love. I say all the time that I am “riding Brooke’s beautiful coattails.” It’s true. And I am figuring things out myself as I go. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Tom Samet. If you don’t follow Tom Samet on instagram, please find @tomsamet. Many call him the “nicest man on the internet”. I agree! Tom regrammed my photo of one of Brooke’s canvases that I was kitting and the rest is history. My life became the I love Lucy scene of Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate shop. I was getting orders and I was running around the house like a mad woman making kits at my kitchen table.

We are a year and a half into the business and I have gone to great pains to pace ourselves. My biggest fear was growing too fast and ruining our reputation by overestimating our abilities. It’s kind of like raising a baby. Every 6 months they are in a new phase. Every 6 months they can do something new. That is what it’s been like. Every 6 months I take a deep breath and breathe out a sigh of relief and know that I figured out a new task, accomplished a new feat, and upped our goal a lot. My huge thanks go to Brooke, for graciously inviting her parents to the party, for helping us with every aspect on the way. To my husband who has taped the majority of your kits and made more trips to the post office than most people in North America. I’m grateful to our other children who have modeled, photographed, packaged, shipped, and given us wonderful advice. It’s humbling when every kid at the dinner table knows the answer to your question about how your website works.

Tricia, Don, and crew in Palo Alto October 2018. Missing are Willie and Colin

Tricia, Don, and crew in Palo Alto October 2018. Missing are Willie and Colin

We are ready as we can be for our next big growth spurt. We have some exciting new happenings coming this summer and into the fall. We are launching new designers and a wholesale line, we are doing two trunk shows this summer in Cape Cod, and launching new designs with classes in shops. In November you will be able to find Paquets de Needlepoint at The Tide in Boca Grande.

Thank you so much for cheering us along. You would be surprised how much every single one of your kind words has meant to us.