Happy Saturday, friends! Hope you are having a great weekend! :)
Recently, a personal friend of mine contacted me in regards to featuring me on her blog, For the Love of Blank. Check it out if you like traveling, food, wine, and all sorts of other good stuff. You can click here if you want to check out my guest post on their blog.
I figured I'd share what I wrote for them on my personal blog. A lot of you know me personally and have already been following my journey of starting a small business with my husband. So many of you have supported this small business of ours which I am so thankful for. I hope you enjoy reading this and maybe find some inspiration to get out of your comfort zone like I did!
My name is Mandy. I'm 22, married to my handsome cowboy, and we have two sweet little boys. Cash is 2 years old and Stetson is 6 months old. We live in Southern Colorado in a tiny town called Kim that has roughly 70 people (I said tiny, right? Ha) where my husband ranches. We love the small town life! We live right next to the only store called "The Outpost" that is a cafe and has a few groceries. Other than that, there's not much besides a couple churches, the school, a bar, and the post office. It was definitely an adjustment for me as I'm from Denver and I'm used to everything being a quick 5 minute drive. But I wouldn't trade it for the world!
We have lived in Kim for almost a year now. I've been a stay at home mom from the moment my first son was born and that's something I've always been so thankful for. But, it's so hard sometimes being the one at home knowing that your spouse is the only one bringing in the income for your family. I thought about joining a lot of direct sales companies to sell makeup or something along those lines to help provide for our family a little bit, but I'm so glad I always had something holding me back from joining.
In September, my husband and I created a business page to share his work that he does. He is really talented when it comes to bead work, drawing, tanning hides, all sorts of stuff! He has handmade me a pair of moccasins, a leather journal, a belt and other really neat things as well. He is Native American and is enrolled in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, so "Ospaye Art" is what he chose for the business name. Ospaye is Native American and means family/tribe (pronounced OSH-PAY-YUH).
He started doing bead work one day and I got out some craft supplies we had so I could be crafty with him. I've always loved drawing and making things, but have never fully pursued a lot of crafting. It was something I'd just dabble in a little here and there. My mother had given us some leather she had and I got it out to try my hand at making some earrings. Little did I know what I had just started!
I had no idea that leather jewelry is so huge right now. I'm not a huge online shopper and I don't get to go browse in cute shops often, but I quickly learned after doing some research online that leather jewelry is CRAZY popular. But now I see why, it's SO cute! So after trying my hand at a few pieces, I shared them on my social media accounts and got some great responses from a lot of friends.
Over time, it just grew and grew! I never thought it would take off like it has. It's been a huge learning curve for me because I started doing all of this when my second son was only a few months old and being a stay at home mom is a full time job already! Right, mommas? But I'm starting to find a good groove to it all. It has been such a wonderful feeling to provide for my family more now and help us out financially.
I will say that it has been so much work though. It's been a lot of late nights staying up to get orders finished and ready to ship the next day. I have to stay on top of our business pages on Instagram and Facebook, I created our Etsy shop and it took a lot of work to get that all put together, I do all of the packaging, write 'thank you' cards for each order, and make all of the pieces by hand. Some days are easier than others depending on the kids. There are a lot of times when I kept thinking of how great it would be to just go to an office and not have to be at home working, but then I reminded myself of what a blessing it is to do what I do! Sure it may be really challenging and hard some days, but I get to stay home with our babies everyday while working and providing for my family at the same time. How amazing is that? After thinking about that, it changed my mind set and reminded me of what a blessing it is to do all of this. It has made me enjoy the craziness of my life now.
I remember after having Stetson, I thought to myself all the time, "What did I do before he was here? I must have had so much time with just one kid." BUT I thought that same thing when I had Cash! Isn't that funny? You just adjust to the "new normal" as my mom always says. This new normal in my life is by far the most chaotic and stressful, but it's also something I am super proud of. It has brought this stay-at-home-mom a lot of happiness and reminded myself of who I was before I became a mom.
If you are someone who has always wanted to pursue starting a small business, I just want to take a minute to say DO IT! If it's not what you expected it would be or you end up not enjoying it, then you can always stop and close up shop. That's the awesome thing about owning a small business! You are in charge and get to do every single thing how you want. I was always scared that I wouldn't be successful or that no one would like what I make, but I'm so happy that I pushed all of those thoughts out of my mind and just went for it. It's a really special feeling to start a small business and have something to call your own. I'm a wife and mother who simply wanted to do something to provide for my family and I took something that I enjoyed doing and turned that into my job. If I can do it, then you can too!
Thank you for reading about this journey of mine. It has only just begun and I am so excited to see where my husband and I take our business this year. So here is to a year of growth, learning, and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone!
Q&A from For the Love of Blank:
What is your business's name and how did you come up with it?
Our business's name is Ospaye Art. D is Native American and so he wanted to choose a Native word. Ospaye is pronounced OSH-PAY-YUH and means family/tribe.
What was your inspiration to start making jewelry?
My super talented husband. One of our favorite things to do together is craft and make things. So one day when he sat down and started beading, I got out some stuff to try my hand at making earrings and that it when my pieces took off and created my inspiration for everything I make now.
What is your best piece of advice to anyone trying to start their own business?
Make sure it is something you are passionate about and enjoy doing. If I didn't love creating jewelry, I'm sure it would feel much more like a chore than a fun hobby.
What is your best piece of advice for someone expecting their second child?
It's an adjustment. But remind yourself, this won't last forever. It was challenging at first to go from one kid to two, but seeing our boys' relationship grow to what it is now is so special. It just gets better every day. Don't worry about if your first baby will feel like they're not loved as much or that they won't get enough attention. If anything, having our second has given our first son a friend every day. He's got a buddy and it's so sweet seeing their friendship blossom.
What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
I love the mountains. I am a Colorado native and although I grew close to the mountains, I will always love going up to Steamboat Springs or Grand Lake. Maybe because it feels like home to me or maybe because it's just simply breath taking every single time.
What is your favorite family recipe?
Since Daylyn works for a ranch here in Kim, we receive a lot of meat as part of the job every month. We get ground beef, roasts, steaks, all sorts of good stuff. It's a great perk of the job! We love making barbacoa in the crock pot. Super easy and the meat falls off the bones. So. Good. Here is our favorite recipe: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/barbacoa-recipe/