Posts tagged #entrepreneur

Collaboration is key

It's not like this is news to any of you. We all know how important it is to collaborate and to have people on our side, some one to bounce an idea off of or someone to encourage and support you.

I have been very fortunate in moving to Minnesota to meet some great women whom I have been able to collaborate with. From the stores that sell Cedar and Cypress Designs, to the women who sit down for coffee and brainstorming or encouragement.

If you don't have a good group of people around you, this life will all be so much more difficult than it has to be. Last week I got to sit down with my new friend Lindsey over at Nourish Move Love, after she kicked by butt in Barre class we had a delicious lunch with great fellowship and conversation. It was refreshing to chat with some one who is so energetic and excited to be a female entrepreneur. Needless to say she lit a little fire in me.

If you're an entrepreneur, a mom boss or just plain old busy it can be hard to find the time to fit others in to your hectic schedule, but it is such a small gesture that often leaves a big impact in others. Thank you Lindsey, for taking the time to visit with some one new.

National Coffee Day!

Don't you just love that there is something to celebrate every day. I am not sure about you, but every day is National Coffee Day for me.

I thought how fitting to tell you guys about one of our newest partners, Singing Rooster Coffee. Haiti has some of the best coffee I have ever had, it is deep and rich and so flavorful.

Singing Rooster is a remarkable company. From pouring into the lives of their farmers to working on reforesting Haiti, a place where less than 5% of the country is forested. They get it and we are excited about our new partnership with them.

Rest assured, your purchase makes a big impact.

"Singing Rooster was established in 2009. We partner commercially with small-holder coffee, cacao (chocolate), and art producers to alleviate poverty in Haiti.  We serve as:

  • Agricultural and business consultants
  • Organizers of pre-harvest financing
  • Primary buyers of crops/products at premium prices
  • Product transformation into higher value items (like roasted coffee or chocolate bars)
  • Business guiders, developers, cheerleaders
  • Equitably distributing economic gains
  • Market creators"

Meanwhile, back in Haiti...

If you haven't checked in for a while or are new to us, then it might be news to you that we have been planning another trip to Haiti. We started a Fundly campaign to raise funds to cover some of the costs associated (something I am not used to) and came so close to our goal-God is so good!

I am so grateful and honored to know so many amazing people with such generous hearts. Thank you thank you thank you to ever one who donated or shared our post. It means so much!

We are back in Haiti this time to work with and collaborate a little with a newer company called Sa Voix. Sa Voix means Her Voice in French and they are a collective of women working together. A group of women who's spirits are weaving a beautiful tapestry as they are given the chance to have a job and provide for their lives. Currently they are four Haitian women and Jessica, the founder from Chicago. They have a beautiful spirit to their work place and each one has a bright light.

It has been a pleasure to learn about Sa Voix, the goals and dreams of the organization, and the hearts of the girls. I look forward to what will unfold over the next week and what God has in store. As always in Haiti, I am sure I will walk away having learned much more from them than vice versa.

Stay tuned, there is going to be a great foundation laid and I am exited to share it with you.

Working on perfecting some things...

Working on perfecting some things...

Photographer-ish

I get asked a lot what I take my website pictures with. People will remark how nice my pictures are on my website. If that has been you, first I want to say thank you! Some times it's nice to feel like you're doing something right.

So my big secret is that I use my...

phone. That's right, my phone, even for this awesome picture of Rachel in our new Minnesota LOVE T shirts.

My little Samsung S 5 or something like that, I am not even sure what it is to be honest, but it does the job and it does it well. I think a lot of the time taking pictures comes down to the person, not the device. Some days I am more "on" than others.

I made my own light box after watching part of a UTube video. It was super easy and has made a huge difference. I still need to work on getting the right lighting, but like everything else, it's a process and little by little I am figuring things out.

I am not a web developer, but I do my own website. I am not a photographer (although admittingly I have done a few weddings in my past and would say I do know some-what what I am doing-ish), but I take my own pics.

I think like anything in life, if you work hard at it, sometimes do a little research, a lot of practice and good old fashion grit, you can figure it out. And if you can't, then ask for help.

This is a learning process. I don't have a degree in business, yet here I am. I didn't go to design, fashion or art school either, but I think I do ok. Whatever your heart is set on, let me be one of the many to tell you, go for it. Whatever your dreams are, pursue them. We are all in this together.

Good luck and God bless.

New Partnership

We have been presented with a really unique opportunity. As you know on our recent trip to Haiti we met Jessica and her girls at Sa Voix (read previous blog post). They are a group of women who are figuring business and life out together.

They hand paint their material as a form of art and expression. Then they turn their canvas into headbands, hand bags and....well that's sort of where we would like to join. We (me, Tara) are planning a trip to join the Sa Voix team this April for a few days of intensive sewing training and skill refinement.  Although the girls of Sa Voix have training in sewing. Our plan is to hone in those skills and "perfect" them a bit. We also would like to work on some fun new items (to be disclosed at a later date).

However, I can't take this trip with out your help. With Sa Voix as my umbrella, I am raising money for my April trip. Please go to our Fundly page and donate. I so appreciate your help in taking this journey with me.  I know there is a great partnership blooming with the woman at Sa-Voix as well as exciting things in the future.

Cheers.

Tara

Sa Voix-Her Voice or Your Voice

About two weeks ago we returned from an eight day trip to Haiti. Our favorite part about Cedar and Cypress Designs is the partners we get to collaborate with, both in Haiti and here in Minnesota. Our goal is to be relational, sometimes that isn't so easy when you live across the sea.

However, when we get to visit Haiti we get to be intentional with those relationships and our partners. I seem to have an affinity for friendships and hugs. On our recent trip to Haiti, a coffee date with a friend lead to collaboration with a new one (thanks Lexie). We met Jess from Sa-Voix towards the end of our trip, and short of extending our visit, we did our best to work with her as much as possible before we had to leave island life behind once again.

Sa-Voix is also relational and we are encouraged with our new found friendship we were able to cultivate in the short amount of time we were able to spend with them. It is clear that the team at Sa-Voix is a family.

Through the use of art, Sa-Voix is a vehicle to create a safe space for women to explore theirvoice. Sa-Voix is empowering and giving women a voice and a future. The products are Sa-Voix are made by first hand painting the fabric and then sewn into beautiful hand bags and headbands.

"Sa Voix exists to help young women in Haiti find their voice through the arts.

OUR VALUES

  •       We Foster Creativity
  •       We Cultivate Community
  •       We Equip Holistically
  •       We Speak Tangibly"

We were able to see the Sa Voix workshop and spend some time with Jess and Reinese, one of two Haitian seamstresses. Their space is light and inspiring, it fosters creativity and joy-exactly the kind of space I like to work in. Sa-Voix is in it's infancy, but you can tell they have a bright future ahead of them.

Join me in watching them learn and grow. We are so excited about our new partnership with Sa-Voix and are working to get back down to Haiti to spend some quality time with them very soon in hopes to encourage them in their creativity and designs. We look forward to cultivating and developing that partnership and the relationships with their team.

We are blessed by our many partners in Haiti, if you would like to partner with organizations like Sa-Voix please reach out to us. Whether you buy a product, donate to their cause or have the chance to visit their quaint space some day-how you choose your voice will make a difference. We all have a voice. It is up to you how you use yours.

Confessions from a small business owner

Sometimes when I write, I say "we" and "our"...really Cedar and Cypress Designs as far as employees is just "me".

I sometimes feel that if I use we and our I will sound like a more legit business, but the truth is, this little steam boat here is just me. Figuring it out as I go. 

In reality, I have no idea what I am doing-that is to say, this isn't what I have a college degree in-but there seems to be a great community out there. Community I am finding as I go and community that has surrounded me for while.

Sometimes I justify my use of "we" because Jesse, the love of my life, has a lot to do with Cedar and Cypress Designs. If it weren't for him, we wouldn't be (there is that we again).  I am not sure if that justifies my use of "we", but in an effort to keep it real with you all, I am going to keep using it.

This week I am going down to Haiti and I am not quite sure what to do. I have taken some financial risks in opening a business as you can imagine one might. I have about $500 to spend and that comes pretty close to draining our business account-for this month at least. However, I buy from four different companies in Haiti who each have their own whole sale minimum. My small spending budget sort of puts me in a bind. I know what I plan to do when I get down there, I have figured out in my mind and allocated my money, but at the end of the day, it sucks that you can't buy from everyone.

I am over the moon to have the opportunity to go to Haiti. This trip isn't purely business, it was a Christmas gift from that other half of the "we". We are visiting friends and enjoying our favorite island while also purchasing some fun new goodies for all of you. I do wish I could go to Haiti every time I am ready to place a new order, the reality is I wont be able to.

I appreciate the community of sellers and artisans in Haiti, I look up to them all. They are each entrepreneurs who have been where I am at one point. And honestly, I hope to have half of an impact as they do one day. Until then, I am going to keep pressing forward, but if you have any advice, kind words or thoughts-I would surely appreciate it!

Cheers to sunshine and palm trees, good friends and lots of laughs! See you soon Haiti

Complications in Communication

I am not the best communicator at times, I am however really great at being super emotional and impulsive. Not an overwhelming awesome combination when you have to be professional as a business owner. When something goes wrong in an aspect of my life, I don't always go about it in the best way. I tend to fly off the handle a little, but its something I have been working on for a long time. 

When stress levels compound my short fuse, it's all a big recipe for disaster. Not to mention sprinkling in some of those general emotions. Learning to control all this is a huge feat for sure. I have to say when things go wrong or get all upside down and complicated I am really glad to know the art of prayer and it puts me at ease to know the impact of prayer. Turning my eyes to the Lord has been essential over the last few years on the mission field in Haiti and that is no different now as I embark on this adventure of owning my own business.

Things don't go the way you expect and there isn't really anything to do but deal with it, or in the words of Carly Fiorina "Figure it out." Apparently that's what great leaders do so if I want to be a good leader in business, my family and other areas of my life, then I better start figuring it out.

Ready. Set. Go.

Cheers to the weekend!!!

Up and Down

Well it has been about three weeks since we opened and we have had our shares of ups and down's. We started out great and it was so exciting to see so many familiar names and people who were shopping and most importantly supporting! "They" say, (whoever "they are) that it can take up to two years to be profitable in small businesses such as this. Although this might sound discouraging, its pretty encouraging! I know I have to keep at it and not give up! With such a fantastic community around me, I know we will get there!

I have felt the love and support and so appreciate every one of you! Keep sharing with your friends, post your pics and find us on Instagram @cedarandcypressdesigns! Be sure to like our Facebook page and keep shopping!