Posted on November 21 2017
By the end of 2014 I had grown LB’s annual sales into 6 figures through Instagram. 2015 was no different, however, I noticed 2016 gross sales were about $10,000 less then the prior year. Not a huge loss but a decline in revenue nevertheless.
At that time I didn’t really know what was happening with the decline in sales as well as social media engagement. I had my head buried in the operations of LB for 4 years that I rarely had time left for myself, let alone focusing time on a growth strategy. Now you have to fully understand, being a one-woman show that handles it all, while only bringing in hourly help from time to time, on top of being a stay-at-home parent, is a-fucking-lot. The one thing I really started to see is that I needed more operating capital. At the 4-year mark of growing LB to 6 figures from a starting $3,000 investment, I needed a cash infusion to not only sustain LB, but also grow it.
Now this is the paragraph where I give you a personal look into my life during the 4 years of creating and growing the brand. At the start I was not only navigating motherhood for the first time, but I was also processing and dealing with the sudden death of my own mother navigating motherless motherhood. My marriage involved traveling for his work so I was a stay-at-home mom in several new states managing intense feelings of isolation. During this time I received the news my stepfather died in Tennessee and my only brother’s emotional and mental state was not good. The morning of February 9th, 2014, my sister found my brother dead in a Motel 6 while I was on Facetime with her. He had committed suicide. You can learn more about my journey of losing him on www.dearjessemybrother.com
Things had not been easy but through all of these experiences, I was diving deeper and deeper into my self. One thing that happens the deeper you go inside yourself is you come face-to-face with truths you’ve submerged in the ocean of your true self.
As if life hadn’t presented me with enough hardship to navigate, my own self was asking me to muster up the strength and make the right decision for my heart. In 2015 I made the choice to leave my marriage with no support system in sight. The closest was over 500 miles away.
So with every LB order packaged, every IG post posted, every customer email answered or not answered, every product designed, every LB style contributor managed, every DM sent, every manufacturer set back handled, I was learning about my ability to be resilient.
The first four years of creating LB, I learned about my ability to be resilient emotionally and mentally. This past year, life is teaching me about my ability to be resilient in business and as the driving force behind this brand. Within the first four months of 2017, LB’s sales had plateaued at a third of it’s gross sales from the year prior. The scales had tipped in the opposite direction to such a drastic degree and the brand was on its way to being digitally extinct for three reasons: Instagram and Google’s new algorithms in conjunction with no digital growth strategy or foundation.
Now remember, LB itself has an incredible brand foundation, but that isn’t what caused the scales to pull so heavy to one side, however, you better believe its the very thing that’s allowing me to still be standing.
In March of this year I received a call from Shark Tank for their 9th season after applying in November 2016. An opportunity was presenting itself that could offer what I needed: possibility of cash infusion, a partner with incredible business experience and lastly, large exposure. LB made it through every round until I was working with a producer and being held for taping in either June or September. One summer night in July I received an email from her. She told me she had really bad news, LB had been cut from season 9. And just like that, the opportunity was gone.
I was devastated.
Not because I didn’t get on Shark Tank, but because I had to pay bills and keep a roof over my son’s head and mine. The walls were closing in and what felt like the most vulnerable parts of myself were being brought to the surface.
Within a week from receiving the news from Shark Tank, a message from a stranger through came through LB’s Instagram.
“As a mom my two year old girl, Mila, I've been a huge fan of your brand and your message since becoming a mother. When I lost my son, Dakota, at 39 weeks pregnant, I was forced to channel some sort of strength to get up every morning and be the mother my daughter needed while my heart was broken and all my walls were caving in. I wouldn’t have survived without other strong women keeping me up-and without a brand like yours, promoting women and motherhood the way that you do.
I told myself as soon as I had some extra money I would own something that you make because of how much what you do empowered me to be the strong mother I needed to be. I saved screenshots on my phone of my wish list and tonight I went to your site and made my first purchase. Most of the things I'd loved were all sold out so I bought a keychain and coffee mug. It isn't much, and I'd buy more if I could. I just want you to know how much those two little things mean to me.You are an inspiration to people you don't even know. So I just wanted to say, thank you. I've never been so excited to buy myself anything. It may sound stupid but it's a symbol that I survived something I didn't think I could. I had to be the protector, lover, mother my daughter needed so, thank you. I just wanted you to know how much you help people.”
Her name was, Meagan. I decided to do the thing I knew how to do. I gathered my thoughts and wrote my truth to her in a handwritten letter and mailed it out.
From those early days at my kitchen table in 2012, my intention has always been to build a brand with a real heartbeat. Those four years of me pouring every fucking ounce of my hard work, sacrifice, generosity, creativity and passion, had come full circle back to me through this stranger.
“The universe reminded me about my unique ripple effect the moment Meagan created hers."
Life was refining me through circumstances requiring resilience. In time I started remembering what the fuck I had actually navigated myself through these last four years, and the amount of inner strength it took to do it. That strength was still there along with this brand I had worked so hard to create.
In two weeks I'm getting on a plane and heading for Los Angeles. Not only is this trip packed with exciting happenings, but I will be speaking about my journey at LB's first west coast brand event.
I contacted Meagan last week and asked if she would join me on this trip. Not only do I want to give back to her and introduce her to so many amazing women in the LB family, but I want her to witness first-hand the ripple effect her action has had when she chose to be vulnerable and connect with a stranger that day back in July.
So I ask you, the reader, what ripple effect do you still have waiting inside you?
PS: I always love to hear from the LB community and the blog's readers, so feel free to leave a comment or send me an email! hello (at) thelbbrand.com