Always Be Open To The Good {shop talk}

I am a week away from the launch of my spring/summer collection (May 9th).

This will be my fourth line.

In the midst of the craziness and stress I have been reflecting about the journey.

I have been thinking about how I started.  Where I want to go.

I have thought a lot about that young girl that was told a little over 20 years ago that this was too hard to do….and don’t try.

I was also reflecting on a situation that happened about two years ago that changed the direction of my shop.

Something that could have caused bitterness or self doubt….but actually focused me quicker than almost anything else could….and brought about my first complete line in August, 2009.

In May of 2009 I attended the Country Living Entrepreneurial Conference in Chicago.

It was a one day conference for individuals starting their business or in the young stages of running a business.

During one of the breaks I turned to a group of three women to my right.

I introduced myself and was trying to find out who they were, what their businesses were and where they  were from.

I handed them my card but none of them extended their hands to me, their names or their cards.

It was awkward.

As they took my post card they were looking at the items I made/sold on it.

One of the girls said to the other girls, “Oh, she uses Amy’s fabric” (Amy Butler)

She went on to tell me that she designs her own fabric and named the manufacturer.

She was trying to make me feel small.

She wanted me to feel embarrassed.

I don’t know why she was at a conference for women just starting out their businesses.

She had forgotten what it was like to start.

The truth is that I could name her now and some of you would know who she is…but most of you would not.

She had forgotten that we are supposed to support and encourage each other.  She had also forgotten that she was not as big as she thought she was…we rarely are.

I learned a wonderful lesson that day.

A few in fact.

The first lesson I learned was that even though I LOVED designer long as I used them I would NEVER make a name for myself.

I could make the cutest apron ever but if I was using gorgeous Amy Butler fabrics….Amy Butler was who you thought of when you saw my designs.

So, her words that were meant to make me feel small….backfired.   It made me think.  I took her words to heart but not in the way she intended.

She was right.  I WAS using someone else’s fabric and I needed to figure out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go.

In August 2009, I released a whole collection for the first time (instead of random listings).

The response was amazing and my path changed that day!

I have wanted to write her and remind her of that day and her actions and words….and say “thank you”.

The second and most important lesson I learned that day was to remember that we all start somewhere….and to NEVER forget that.

At some point we are all…..

the underdog

the new kid on the block

figuring ourselves out

trying to follow a dream



outside the crowd

needing help

afraid to ask for guidance

So, no matter where this journey takes me.  No matter how my collections do. No matter how little I am known or how much I am known….I am just a girl that started.

If you are ever sitting next to me…I would be honored to take your card and I hope I would always encourage and lift you up.

Because I started somewhere.

Just. Like. You.

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  1. Sherry Smyth

    Wonderful thoughts Jeanne! You took someone’s negative comment and turned it into something useful and it was the change to a new direction. I marvel at people who are now successful who forget that they were small when they began and rather than encouraging others to rise up, they want to keep those “down”. Jealousy and fear no doubt are the motivators. A thank you to that woman would be a good thing — because it might be an eye opener for her.

    We face so many challenges in life and your post reminds us that it’s what you do with adversity that matters.

    You’re making me, a novice who wants to grow, feel confident that I can…and it matters “who” we network with and what can learn from the positives and the negatives!

    1. jeanne Author

      My best advice is to be wise about who you surround yourself with…it makes all the difference. We all have the negative people who quickly pop into our lives…we just don’t have to give them much attention:-)

  2. Leah C

    A beautiful, amazing post! You took the “high road” and channeled that negativity into something good & positive. You are a beautiful & wonderful inspiration to us all:)

  3. amy

    these are wonderful, insightful stories that you share, jeanne. i like, also, what sherry added; it truly is “what you do with adversity that matters.” ultimately, that is what defines us all! i think it is so cool how you saw the wisdom in the negative.

  4. tracy lynn

    Can’t wait to see your new line! I’m confident your inspiring words and thoughts will be reflected in your new line.

  5. Lisa Oliver

    Interesting story…I had a situation like that just last night at the Newport Beach Film Festival. I saw a terrific film directed and edited by a woman who I saw at the after-party. I congratulated and complimented her on her work and told her I was just finishing writing a screenplay. I asked her if she had any advice or suggestions for getting into the business. She said, “no, it’s really difficult”….so i asked if she could recommend her agent, she wouldn’t name them and said “they’re not taking new clients”…wow… however! I also saw a woman at the party who had been in the audience with us who asked the same director a question about the script, so I figured she was also a writer. She is- as well as director/editor! We talked and her film is being screened tonight-she invited me to see it- she’s totally cool and I’m really looking forward to it!

    1. jeanne Author

      So glad you ended your evening on a high note and met not only an amazing woman but possibly a wonderful mentor!

  6. Stacey

    Thank you so much for writing about this topic…gives me hope…I am thinking hard about going to the creative connection in Sept. and I worry about not connecting….or getting stuck next to the non-helpful – non-accepting people…..when really I should just be excited about the possibility of meeting kind hearted – helpful – inspiring people like you!!

    1. jeanne Author

      GO!!! There are way more beautiful, supportive women out there than the occasional negative. You will have a blast.

  7. Mikal

    This is why you are one of my most FAVORITE people in the world… you don’t forget where you came from, and you encourage and support. You are a true gift to this world girlie, never stop being you!

  8. Tammy Hensley

    You are so inspiring and it is a joy for me whenever I get to read your blog! My dream is to get my fabric designs out there in some way other than Spoonflower, but there is a lot of work to get there from here – probably a journey to Surtex which is out of reach right now but I’m working on it and getting lots of inspiration while taking Soul Restoration with your friend, Melody, right now! I loved your post about your “safe” friends and that she must be one of them!

  9. Rochelle

    I love this post jeanne! It inspires “little ol’ me” and what my future could hold too! Getting started is hard work, but sticking with it pays off. You have shared wise words with us and I thank you for it. It was great meeting you at dream girls and hope our paths will cross again in the near future. I can’t wait till May 9th when your reveal is released!!
    xo Rochelle

  10. Anne Marie

    Amen sister…….you totally encourage me…….and I hope I do the same for you

    your friendship has been not only healing for me, but just as a good friend, or even person for that matter should be, you listen…help me in an honest way…and keep me grounded…at the same time lifting my spirits towards the Lord.

    many blessings to you Jeanne!
    Anne Marie

  11. Rachel

    I look forward to seeing the email reminder that you have posted something new. Your perspective on so many varied aspects of life have encouraged me in my journey. It costs very little too extend a hand and give encouragement. I wonder why sometimes as humans we do it so little. Starting anything is hard, but putting yourself out there in such a personal way makes the beginning that much more intimidating.

    I love your work by the way and only wished I lived closer so I could attend one of your classes.


  12. deborah@applesinwonderland

    a very powerful and true reminder. so much of what we say and how we say it–is about ourselves (positive or negative). i had another experience like the one you write of, recently. already using it as an opportunity, even though it was intended otherwise. looking forward to seeing your latest line of lovely:)

  13. nadine johnson

    We all had to start somewhere . I love this saying Stick’ and Stone’s may break my bone’s etc.
    Can’t wait to see your new line as alsways I love everything you do. You are a Beautiful Girl .

  14. katie@agraciousplenty

    it has taken me a long time to realize that when people are negative, and frankly, quite ugly like that woman was, it is not about me but about them. and often, i have to keep reminding myself.

    also, it is true that “at some point” we are all those things: shy, needing help, the underdog. what i find to be true is that “at many points” we are those things. we all do need to remember to lift one another up. this is a great post, honest and encouraging.

    how great for you to not dismiss what she said, even though her delivery and motives were wrong, and learn from it. i think that is something that is hard to do. something i need to be much better at.

    i love this post, jeanne. great things to think about.
    have a wonderful week, and i can’t wait to see your newest collection!

  15. Sheila R

    So glad that you turned something negative to something postive. It takes a lot of courage to do that! Can’t wait to see the new collection and take your class later this month! So excited to finally meet you!!

  16. a pocket full of posies

    BEAUTIFUL post!!! truly a gift to read…and in “perfect timing!”
    Thank you!
    looking forward to the new collection!- they are ALWAYS amazing!
    Many Blessings!

  17. Annette Tyrrell

    Always be open to the good– great truth! Great lesson!

  18. Martina Vickers

    Awesome! At the end of the kind of day I had, your words made me feel better and smile…so true. Thank you!

  19. Cara @ WhimsySmitten

    Thank you for sharing this. These words spoke truth to me today, encouraged me to remember to keep reaching for what is out there for me, regardless of whether others understand it quite fully or not. And also, to pay attention to sage wisdom regardless of the intentions and to let doubters provide the fuel to keep going just to spite ’em. 😉 Thanks for the words and for sharing your journey with us.

  20. Sherry Hicks

    Jeanne, thank you so much for sharing this. I am so glad I stopped by today as this message was really what I needed to hear. Even just in blogging it is easy to feel snubbed, I can only imagine how you felt being snubbed face to face. I am glad that you took that instance and reached deeper into your creativity Beautiful story.

  21. Katie

    Thank you so much for that inspiring post. I am someone who is just starting out and it is so easy to listen to other people and let their words, attitudes and opinions define you and ultimately discourage you. I love how you used something negative and turned it into something positive, something for growth. Thank you for being a woman who is encouraging others through her words and her art.

  22. Amanda asweetliferocks

    I just went into my own workshop to continue working, while thinking about what I had just read in your post. I have another comment….
    I know women like that, women that would say something terrible to anther woman. After reading your words about the experience, one might want to say, “I am so sorry that happened to you, Jeanne”. However, I have been there, I have been put down, I have had my own little business ‘talked’ about. My response truly is, “I’m so glad that happened to me”.
    I’m not trying to be a hero with my confident words. I truly have learned the power of taking something nasty, yucky, depressing, not so nice, and squeeze the good out of it. I always end up better off for it.

    I’m sorry you felt hurt at the moment, but, “I am so glad that happened to you, Jeanne”. Look at where you are now!

    Question: “Would it be so bad to send your not-so-nice aquaintance a ‘thank you’ note????? Hmmmm?

    1. jeanne Author

      I am so glad it happened too. That is what I was trying to express. It was perfect timing for wonderful change…even if she didn’t mean it like that.


  23. sandy b.

    I hope some day I will be turning to my “right” and see you sitting next to me. (I always wanted to go the Chicago the CL Womans entrepreneurs)
    You have been very much an inspiration to me, and most likely to so manny others. So I hope there will be many chairs next to you and that there will be enough time to shake hands and that your pockets will be big enough to have all those “cards” you get offered.
    Like Jesus, he felt the little touch of the woman touching is garment… No one is too small.
    What you wrote about the woman trying to make you feel small… has happend to me. And it hurt soooo long.
    Now she had to quit, she could not handle the pressure and the amount of the people contacting her.
    So her wanting all the “fame” backfired. I also will not mention who it is… And many many many people may not even know her.
    She is just the other kid on the block. That started sooner than others or even later.
    Thank you Jeanne so much for sharing this with us. And it reminds us that we are all “new” at some point and should not forget where we started or came from. Before you know it He can take it away from us.
    Have a wonderful weekend. I will pray for you for peace as your shop opens on Monday! Congrats to you and Kelly.
    Way to Go Girl!

  24. Niina Blommendahl

    Thank you again! I am encouraged again by your post. May our heavenly father bless you every moment!
    Love, Niina

  25. Cynthia

    Hi Jeanne,
    Just discovered your shop — such pretty things — and read this post with considerable interest, as this issue has occurred to me in my creations as well. I use laminated cotton which is in limited supply out there, so every pattern is pretty distinctive. I am looking into trying to design my own…. my question (and I apologize if you have answered this in previous posts or elsewhere): how did you solve this issue? Do you design your own fabric or buy fabric that is not identified with a designer?
    You have such a lovely style, I know I can learn a lot from the women like you who have gone before me!

    1. jeanne Author

      You need to design your own fabric or use fabric not associated with a famous designer…otherwise their name is the first you think of when people look at your creations. Good luck!

  26. Melany @ Project Anthologies

    Hi Jeanne! I’m a new visitor/commenter. I know you’ve heard this about 45 times already – but this post was wonderful and just what I needed to hear right now. 🙂 Sometimes as I’m networking and promoting my tiny shop in this big creative world I feel a little like the new girl in a high school cafeteria trying to find a place to sit.

    It’s great to hear from someone who is DOING IT WELL and your experiences starting up. Bravo to you! Many wishes for continued success! <3

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