The Tender Behind-the-Scenes Truth About the First Month in my Apothecary Business

When I was very young, around seven or eight or so, my parents started a new tradition. On the night before their birthdays, after we went to sleep, they transformed a room in our little house with balloons and streamers and presents. They snuck hand-drawn invitations into the mailbox. They draped the inside of the house with colorful Christmas lights. When we awoke, we woke to wonderland! The presents had our names on them. The party was for us. And my mom & dad were so happy! This tradition lasted only a year or two but I will never forget how magical it was.

Well, today is my birthday eve and I want to hold a birthday giveaway to celebrate {{you}} and the birth of Lush Folk Apothecary! (Edit: Giveaway now closed.) But first I want to share a tender, behind-the-scenes peek at my first month in business. So many of you are creatives & have dreams of making your life a luscious work of art, and also creating soulful sustenance through your art. I think it's important to share stories about our dreams—the breathtaking beauty of them and the unseen struggles, too. And the hard parts have their own kind of beauty, an intense grace that adds shadow to the portrait of our lives.

When I opened just over 4 weeks ago, I knew I wanted to create a sanctuary of tenderness & beauty. I wanted to offer items designed to nourish your spirit & flesh, the sacred space you dwell in and the sacred space of you. I wanted to write courses & words to inspire you to love your life and love your body as is, finding creativity and sacredness in the truth of what IS. I wanted to offer as much as I can for free, like my 7 Days of Tenderness course and my Rhythms & Rituals New Moon Letters. And I wanted to make my handmade, heart-birthed programs & wares as accessible as possible. I've only just begun to unveil all I have planned. My notebooks are bursting with Lush Folk dreams! And I am truly overcome by the stunning response to my apothecary & shop. Yesterday I received this pure gift of a note—

“It is evening right now. The children are upstairs doing their homework and I am downstairs sitting in the quiet darkness. The woodstove is burning, I am sipping a glass of tawny port and fully enjoying your candle and a stick of incense. Oh my, the fragrances are tantalizing. I have anointed my body with Dark Moon. Love, this scent was made for me! So rich, dark, dreamy and spiritual. You are a gifted perfumist. I truly feel like I have entered a cocoon of caring and love. I could cry this feels so good.”

I read this email on my phone, sitting in my car, at twilight. The blackbirds swirled above me. The sky was soft with nightfall. And I cried. This first month has taught me so much about business and myself, energy, abilities, and what it feels like to admit I've taken on more than I can do right now. I had planned for a full opening of my Lush Folk Apothecary & Folk Bazaar on December 1, and the truth is, even in my careful planning & business calculations, I overlooked that I'm just one person with a beautiful full time creative job in addition to Lush Folk. I have these gorgeous visions of all I want to create, and the healing, lush experience I want you to have when you enter my sacred space. And it has been incredible, humbling, & so deeply touching to witness the joyful response to my sweet, heart-soaked offerings! My gratitude is unbounded. And I want to be so lavish with everything I do, because I so deeply want you to feel loved that much.

 LushFolk.com

And to my dismay, through it I have started to run out of supplies and am unable to replenish some of them at this time. I have stood in shock at the Post Office, holding a receipt showing that the cost of shipping some of my packages, on top of the items themselves, tell the truth that I'm paying some of my loves to receive my wares. I'm grateful for this learning experience & I know I will find the right balance, yet within the joy has been a twisty ache because I don't want to stop but something needs to shift. 

Several days ago I texted a dear friend in tears. “I'm panicking because I honestly don't know if I can keep my store going. I've underpriced my wares and can't replenish my supplies. And I'm making newbie mistakes with shipping. Today my bank account was overdrafted for the first time in years.” 

The reply was quick and firm. “Lush Folk is not closing. We have magic ways and we will use them. I promise. Call me.”

That kind of love, the instant, unconditional presence, the grace, the unwavering support and creative re-visioning is what I wish the whole earth could feel, what I long to spill into the lives of all of you through my heart & hands. It is love of a most healing kind. And this love reminded me that even if I can't do everything now, there is time. I can go slow. I can build. I can make a twenty-year business plan and give myself the space to create what my heart tells me in a way that honors my energy & resources. It might mean doing everything backwards—slowing down when the rest of the retail world launches their busiest & most successful season of the year. It might mean selective openings—closing up shop for a bit as I work on my beloved classes, workshops, & retreats I'm dreaming of. It might mean having limited, luxurious offerings that once they're gone, are gone. It might mean lingering instead of being so urgent, which might not work for some people who need a different kind of shopping experience.

I ended up sick for Thanksgiving & spent a few days tucked into bed with tissues & steaming herbal tea. I am recovering my nose & lungs, but my body is so achey and tired. Not just from the past couple of months, or from the fact that I am slipping into middle-age, but because I've not prioritized my health like I should. I've allowed financial needs to apply intense pressure to my work load. Against everything I believe & preach, I burn the proverbial candle at both ends, often working for hours without stopping to rest or nourish my body with food, movement, or non-work-related creativity. It's taking its toll at a pace I can no longer control.

This year I've made huge shifts in learning to listen to my energy as a guide, which I plan to write about more in depth. And letting my heart lead when it comes to what I do & how I spend my time. Yet the urgency is hard to ignore, and untangling myself from years of patterns & unhelpful beliefs is a moment-by-moment journey. As the year winds down and the little squares on my 2016 calendar begin to fill, I no longer have the choice not to listen to my body or the urgency in my spirit. If I don't, I won't make it.

With my beautiful course coming up and needing to direct my focus there, I made a choice to postpone my beloved Rhythms & Rituals 'zine. For all who signed up for the 'zine, I can't thank you enough for showing me that my offering found a resonant home with you. It's still on my twenty-year plan. :) 

One of my favorite spreads from the Boho Collective Magazine Issue 3.

And so, my tender and beautiful first Lush Folk month has been exactly what I've needed. Like a heady river of grace, it has swept me up and stripped me down to what Is most needed, pressed me right up against the essence of things. As I recover from illness, and smile in irony recalling all the incredible cyber-Monday sales from my suppliers that I missed while my bank account recovered from overdraft, the simple truth is that I have to do business a different way. I'm reminded of something a sweet fellow artist does with her shop. When she creates new items she sends a beautiful, thoughtful email that is a treasure to read. This letter features photos of her creations and tells their story. When the merchandise is sold, it is gone. It feels like an intentional, sacred journey. As I move through my stock & what I have on hand, I will shift into this kind of slow-honey offering. It feels like it will honor my resources & energy, as well as create a new sense of mindfulness around my apothecary and bazaar. I'm excited to try it! 

Also truthfully, I have met the most exquisite souls through my shop & it has been pure joy to fulfill every single order. That's why I have agonized over making these shifts, because if I could have it my way, I'd ship all my boxes lush & overflowing to every person I know who needs something to bring delight. I adore sending my love through the mail, thinking of each dear soul on the receiving end and what might brighten their day and bless them in nourishing ways. I ache to realize that going forward, I need to be more conscious of my means and this includes my energy & time. I'm hoping that by slowing down, offering a few less items & inviting more space around myself & each offering, I'll be able to deepen my work and root in for the long haul.

I hope this has been a soulful read for you, love. And helpful, especially for those of you with deep dreams of starting a business of your own. It is so fulfilling, and it is something that needs you to take care of yourself as much as you take care of it. If you wear yourself down, no one will be able to hold or (be)hold your light.

And so, on my birthday eve, in celebration of Lush Folk & all I've learned and am learning through it, I want to open space for celebration and give you a chance to win something beautiful, sacred & inspiring! 

 Two of my faves!

Two of my faves!

It's my birthday eve and I have something for you!

Lush Folk Celebration Giveaway

It really stinks that federal law for blogger giveaways are restricted to those in the US. :( If you are 18 or older and live in the United States or have a mailing address in the US, this giveaway is open to you! Void where prohibited by law. To enter, follow the directions on the giveaway service. Please read terms & conditions. Giveaway ends at 12 AM Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

I will choose 3 winners to receive ONE of the following:

  1. A copy of the newest Bohemian Collective magazine (MY FAVE)
  2. A copy of Justina Blakeney's The New Bohemians
  3. A copy of one of my favorite reads of the year, Breathing Room by Lauren Rosenfeld & Dr. Melva Green