(If you haven’t read it yet, you should read part one of our story here.)
Shortly after our 4th child was born, my husband started his cabinetry shop back up. He was working with another cabinet maker with years of experience and was learning much from him. Word got out that my husband was pretty amazing (it’s so hard to keep awesomeness a secret), and he ended up working on the remodel of an absolutely stunning mansion. He bid on the kitchen work, but because he was working full-time, both he and the owners of the home were concerned that he wouldn’t have enough time to do the work, so instead they hired him to install a custom coffered ceiling in the kitchen and the former servant’s prep room, work on some demolition, build some custom shutters (9 foot tall shutters), and a few other projects. The work lasted for a few years, then we were transferred. (Do you see a pattern here?) My husband learned a few things –
Working from home isn’t quite the same when you end up on big projects working on site and working with someone who values your creative input is tremendously satisfying.
Sometime during those few years, we thought it would be nice if my husband could leave his full-time work and make his part-time work become our main source of income. He didn’t earn enough on the part-time work to make it a full time source of income though. So I thought I’d start a business of our own that I could run on the side. Out of a few conversations with a friend, the thought to start a nail salon was born. But instead of just a nail salon, we decided to open a full day spa. I did a ton of research, found the perfect location, decorated (with lots of help from my husband), bought furnishings, had plumbing installed, interviewed and hired staff, worked on advertising, bought products for use and for sale, built a web site. I had a blast! I even hired someone to manage things on a daily basis so I could still be a stay at home mom. Unfortunately, three weeks after our grand opening, I had to fire my manager for doing, well, not much of anything at all. I spent lots of time at the spa in the evenings and during my husband’s days off. I had made a mistake of hiring staff members who were new to the industry. On the bright side, because they were new, I could afford to pay them. On the down side, because they were new they made a lot of mistakes. And of course, I didn’t know much about the industry myself other than what I learned in my hours of research. We were able to keep things running, and we were even showing a small profit, when my husband and I decided it was just taking way too much time away from our family. So we sold the business. And I learned some things –
book learning can’t replace hands on work, a good employee is hard to find but is worth their weight in gold, starting a business from the ground up is a lot of work but the work of creating something new is tremendously satisfying.
And then we moved. Again.
One of my neighbor’s and I became good friends. One day she needed help with some work. She cleaned model homes with another friend of hers, but for a reason I can’t remember, her friend wasn’t able to work that night. So I went along to help. How hard can cleaning a spotless model house that no one lives in be? (Silly me. Guess how they get and stay so spotless.) Well, the work was kind of fun, because I got to see these beautifully, professionally decorated homes, and the pay was pretty good, and the friend never came back. So my neighbor and I cleaned houses together four nights a week. Then more houses were available, but we couldn’t work them into our separate families’ schedules, so we divided the houses. She cleaned with her son, and I cleaned with my husband, and we’d lend a hand to each other when help was needed. I cleaned model houses for a couple of years. Then we had our 5th baby and cleaning with a newborn along wasn’t something we wanted to try to do. The timing to leave was good, because the woman we subcontracted under was being underbid on many of her jobs, so business was pretty slow. And then we were transferred. Again. We learned a few things –
if you make a mess, someone has to clean it up, even if you never see it happening, subcontracting is nice because someone else deals with clients and you just do the work, very large unlived in houses can be creepy at night.
So here we are. We’re living again in the beautiful state of Maine. I pray almost daily that we’ll never move again. We’ve welcomed our 6th and 7th baby, and our 1st granddaughter. And once again, the call of having my own business beckons me like a siren’s song.
I’ve always loved antiques and vintage treasures. I enjoy painting and giving a new life to things that look worn out. I enjoy creating and crafting, but I need a purpose for what I make or I feel as though I’m wasting time. So Ever After Cottage is not just where we live. Ever After Cottage is where you can find some treasures for your home. It is a bit of antiques, a touch of vintage, a smidgen of homemade, and a dash of furniture that is rescued and redone. And we’re selling at a local antique mall, so I still get to be home with my children while pursuing something creative.
So check out my new facebook page and see some of the pretty photos of things for sale. And make my day and “like” my page. Pretty please?
Oh, and if you are local, we’re selling at the School House Antique Mall in Brewer. This weekend everything is 20% off in the whole store.