Last Newsletter in 2019
I can't believe it is the very last few hours of 2019! And what a holiday season it has been.
I have been sitting in front of my laptop in our living room, (trying to watch some Hallmark Christmas movies on Amazon Prime and failing since it won't load properly) reflecting on this past year.
First the good. This holiday season has been incredible. Cory and I never imagined the support you've shown us from the 13 pop up markets and shops (some several days long) we were at between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. I showed up to pop ups almost every single day and didn't get sick until literally two days ago, wayyyy afterwards.
Thank you SO much for all of your support. We saw many of you in person, purchasing for yourself or for family and loved ones. We also saw so many of you bringing your friends along, introducing them to us and our products. It brings a smile to both of our faces when we hear you talk so fondly of our products and how they've helped you tremendously. It's truly incredible to hear the stories of healing and what our organic products have done for you.
We also want to thank all of you for online support - not just the online orders but also all of the social media shouts and the wonderful online reviews and feedback (both good and bad). As small business owners, we really do strive to do our best. But we are human. There are bound to be some failures and mistakes. Thank you all for giving us grace and allowing us to improve our products so we can serve you better over time.
Only a year ago, I sat at home with a mission and vision of a new company in mind. Prior, I had been blessed with building a six-figure commercial photography business from the ground up within less than three years. But for whatever reason, that was not the path God had in mind for me.
Within months of being diagnosed with autoimmune caused hypothyroidism, Cory and I started researching more about personal care products, manufacturing, and label regulations, and more. It was clear that something had to be done about the lack of regulations and holding brands accountable for what they are selling to the general public.
You can call it a vision, a dream, an inkling, or a command from God, but around December 2018 I knew that I had to create Roses and Azalea with my husband to serve others who are going through similar health journeys as mine.
Ultimately, I knew that I was crazy for wanting to start a new company with my husband. It was a huge risk. Cory was advancing in his career with a international company he had been with for eight years. He was named one of the three up-and-coming USA leaders in his company. And I would be asking a lot for him to leave that chapter of his career behind.
We started Roses and Azalea with no retail experience, no beauty industry experience, and very little resources. No income to support us personally.
However, what we already had is a wonderful network built from my first company. Little by little, we also built a village full of supporters, customers, advisors, mentors, partners, and collaborators.
Looking back at 2019, we cannot believe our accomplishments for Roses and Azalea. We received our LLC early January, worked towards our Pending B Corp certification a few days prior to opening, and our grand launch in person and online on March 23, 2019 (only because we were committed to two pop up markets that date and we didn't want to back out).
We have launched over 25 product SKUs, partnered with 10 retail/service locations, been to 47 pop up markets and events (I think?) across five different cities - even as far as Nashville, appeared on TV twice in person, featured at West Elm Atherton Mills, donated 180 products and 40 makeup bags to Foster Village Charlotte, met with thousands and thousands of people, ended this year with over one thousand followers on Instagram, received two certifications (Leaping Bunny and Pending B Corp), featured in one subscription box... 2019 was sure full of achievements.
As much of a glittery and sparkling picture that we paint on our social media, 2019 was the most difficult year yet for both me and Cory. The behind-the-scenes were less than perfect. Starting a new company is difficult - try doing that with a spouse. We didn't agree on everything. There were many times I had to put my foot down because I wouldn't and couldn't back away from certain visions for the company, such as using certified organic ingredients as much as possible so all of our products qualify for USDA certified organic as well as being a eco-friendly and a company that strives for sustainability. Sometimes we didn't see eye to eye on product formulations and what the consumers need.
Many times throughout this year, we both questioned whether we would keep going with Roses and Azalea. Tears were shed from the tolls it took personally, financially, and on our marriage. We went through similar experiences as all the other small business owners did from day one - successful or not.
2019 has taught us many things. We have allowed ourselves to be more vulnerable and share all facets of the truth - good and bad - as well as lean on others. We have learned that a company is not solely about the owners but rather the entire village of people that built and support it.
We have also learned that the products we make are much needed. Clean, green beauty products that can aid in our health and wellness should be researched and developed. Consumers, now more than ever, need companies built on transparency, integrity, honesty, and sustainability - putting people first while thinking about the planet and the environment.
This new year, you will see us concentrate more on the education piece. For those in Charlotte and have met us in person, you have experienced the education we offer. We realized that to reach a wider audience and to impact as many people as possible, we have to make this more accessible to you.
We start this new year with the Deodorant Center, a webpage with information about the importance of organic deodorant and how to live a healthier life making some lifestyle changes. You will find us regularly posting blogs addressing health concerns, simple steps for self care and self love, tips and tricks for navigating life as a modern woman, ways to feel more beautiful inside and out, ingredients used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, and more. These blog posts won't just have information from us; they will also be from other leading professionals in the fields.
Cory and I are more than excited for 2020. We have so much we are researching and developing that can truly help you and your family. And we cannot wait to share it with you and the rest of America as we take Roses and Azalea national in 2020. We have grown a lot - as individuals, as a couple, and as business owners, formulators, and makers.
We know that 2020 will be even more incredible. And we have each and every one of you to thank for that. Today, we received news that we are a HUG grant recipient for January 2020 to use on our Leaping Bunny Certification. Starting next week, we will be part of the Get Up and Grow program at CPCC. We are in the final stages of development of our full facial line (thank you to our testers from our Influencer Program and our manufacturers for your patience working with us over these many months) that we cannot wait to share with you; and yes, we are working so hard on our shampoo and conditioner!
Where ever you are, what ever your plans are on New Years Eve, Cory and I wish you a very happy New Year! May 2020 bring you much joy, happiness, health, and success! We hope that we can be a part of your successful self-care, healthy mind, body, and spirit journey this next year.