Recently one of my best friends asked me "why did you start selling stickers and memo pads?" My first reaction was "well....my jewelry business wasn't going well and mom was pushing me to sell on etsy or ebay...." but then I realized that the road here was much more interesting.
It's 1994-I graduated with a BA in Women's studies and decided to do my masters in sociology. I decided to stay at my university because my favorite professor could be an advisor for my thesis. I was also helping run the women's studies office, was the undergrad and grad representative on Presidential committees etc etc. I was really loving my life. I also became a T.A. which was fab. But....I really didn't know what I wanted to do. I thought about becoming a prof but the politics was not something I wanted to deal with. I basically was lost. I had a dream of opening a business (no internet back then)....I could imagine a big old house ....one room would have a bookstore...another would have aromatherapy stuff...there would be a cafe....it would be great. This was my dream-to have my own business.
Fast forward to Fall 2006-I finished the courses for my degree and I was really really struggling with the thesis. I changed it 5 times-partly because my one advisor and I couldn't agree on it. I was beyond frustrated. I realized that this degree was meaningless and I quit. The question then became what to do next. The whole time I was doing the degree I was also getting more serious about the business. I had some friends who were studying business etc and they were helping me plan things out. Well...one night (it was a Thursday) in late March of 1997 I was on the phone with my friend and I blurted out that I was leaving Guelph (where my university is) and the choice was between Toronto and Vancouver. Since I wanted to really enjoy my life outside of the business too, I picked Vancouver because frankly, it is a little piece of heaven.
So...I moved there in May of 1997. When I landed I thought I had arrived to the place that I would spend the rest of my life (little did I know I would move in a year). I didn't love my main job but that was ok because I was still working with the idea of opening a business. I then got a job teaching English-I really enjoyed it. Then I met a guy-he was a chef and a sailor!! His dream was to go the British Virgin Islands and start a business-well...since my business was going no where fast, I decided "why not?" He said he needed 1 year to prepare before we could leave. At that time,I literally heard a voice in my head say "go to Japan"....it might as well have said "go to Mars" because I had NEVER imagined moving to a foreign country that didn't speak English. But this voice would not stop.I decided I would go for 1 year to make some money and "find myself" while my boyfriend did what he had to do to prepare for our move to the B.V.I.
I applied and got offered the job I have now. I turned it down because it wasn't near Chiba where my friend lived. Then they offered me crazy jobs which I turned down. I got offered my job again and I took it as it felt like a sign from a higher power. That was the best decision I made. I came to Japan and 6 weeks later my boyfriend and I broke up. I spent the next 4.5 years wondering what the hell I was doing here. Then I met my honey.
When I met my honey I had not only this teaching job but another job at a nursery school that paid $50 an hour to teach kids on Saturdays (plus I worked 2 other mornings there for not quite that much per hour). The money was fab but since the nursery school was almost 2 hours away I had to get up at 5am on Saturdays and I am not a morning person so this was really hurting me but there was no way I was going to quit because of the money. Well....I got laid off because they were changing things around. I cried. Then I decided to open an online jewelry business since I kept getting comments on my jewelry (I only bought online since Japan is crazy expensive and has nothing exciting to offer-not my style). So...my honey and I started that business but it was NOT really working the way I imagined because I had to rely on my honey to do most of the work given the language barrier. So....after about 6months, I started my etsy business because I could be in control. It took off so we shut down the jewelry business as my honey found it stressful to have his job (crazy Japanese hours) and do the jewelry business and I didn't like the feeling of dividing my time between the 2 and besides, my etsy business was doing great!
So that is the long answer to a simple question. It isn't the business I thought I would own. It is in a country I NEVER thought I would move to. It is using something called the "internet" that was not around when I first had a dream of owning a business. But all of this....all the things that led me here is what makes life so exciting. I believe in having goals and dreams but keeping my heart and mind open to possibilities.....that is how I got to selling stickers and memo pads....because I had a dream to own my own business. I couldn't be happier!