Can it be that Grace Home happened only this year? In the middle of this year, actually? To be technical about it, the preparations and the behind-the-scenes work began only in May of 2015. Still, I feel that Grace Home has been in existence for a very, very long time already!
Perhaps this is the best time to catch my breath and take a look at how this journey has been: This is the year I found my calling as a "#MummyBoss", a term I recently came up with (and been using in a couple of my previous posts) to mean that I am a mom first and foremost, and then a business owner / entrepreneur, second. There has been a lot of ups and downs, sideways and upside downs with this new life -- a real roller coaster ride for sure! I can laugh now, but it was also quite challenging a few times... but thankfully, I can still say that everything I went through was indeed worth all the trouble!
In general, it has been quite a wonderful year for me, personal and career wise -- so thank you, dear GOD! And since we are coming to the end of this year, allow me to share with you my Grace Home highlights:
A Quiet Product Launch
My official launch of Grace Home wasn't even a real event; it was an intimate dinner with some very special people whom I "surprised" that night.
That night, I introduced Grace Home as my newest venture and fulfilment of a longtime dream. I introduced Grace Home‘s first products: a handcrafted beeswax candle, premium room fragrances, and specially made paper and stationery.
And then, of course, I introduced Grace Home in a more public way, by writing about the big idea and the products for sale. I explained:
What is Grace Home, exactly? It’s a home line that houses two general things: 1) products I personally conceptualized, sourced and manufactured locally; and 2) products I curated from my travels.
The first products of Grace Home consisted of the Grace Home Candle in Rose, Talc and Basil; Grace Home Room Fragrances in Olive & Milk and Talc & Vanilla; Grace Home Paper & Stationery; and a few curated products from my last trip to Turkey.
Grace Home's First Trunk Show
As soon as I went public about Grace Home, things started to move really fast. I knew the next step was for me to have some sort of selling event... I thought a simple trunk show would be a good idea, especially as I was about to leave for a family holiday in the US in a few days!
But things had a different way of working out, and all of a sudden, my first trunk show was to be held a mere two weeks after my press launch at the Isabela Foyer of the Makati Shangri-La. That included preparing the inventory, event logistics, and promotions! Talk about an initiation by fire!
It was beautiful, I have to say. Never mind that I was a bunch of nerves that day! Everything fell into place; I couldn't have asked for a better turnout and support.
And yes, I did leave soon after. It wasn't going to be a real break, however. Such is life when running a real business! Grace Home declared that it was still business as usual... especially since I was able to set up an online ordering form right before I left. ;)
Grace Home at Bazaars and Shopping Fairs
In the last six months, Grace Home has participated in a few selling events that helped me reach a wider market. It's a lot harder than it sounds and looks, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. It is also very encouraging to be invited to participate in such stellar events -- and in quite a range of themes too: Cura V's La Botanique Trunk Show, Momzilla, The Tatler Luxe Living Trunk Show, Spectrum Fair Manila's first bazaar and Christmas bazaar.
The sheer commitment it takes to sell, sell hard, and sell well is no joke. I've never been afraid of hard work, but working on Grace Home really tested my limits. The lessons in running a business, when you're in the trenches and not just dreaming about it, are gold.
Little by little, I think I also tried to address that life is more than the business. Family comes first of course... but sometimes, it becomes extra challenging, especially if you need to monitor a trunk show from the other side of the world, far and away, closer to the Arctic Circle, even! :)
Grace Home in the Press
The attention Grace Home got in the media was, in the very least, encouraging. From the leading dailies, to the premium lifestyle magazines, and to acclaimed blogs, it has been an honor and privilege to have been on your pages. My press page, admittedly, is being filled with pieces about Grace Home. No complaints here - only gratitude! My heart is full, so THANK YOU, THANK YOU! :)
Retailers Sell Grace Home
On top of the trunk shows and selling events, and the online shopping option, Grace Home was also consigned (for a time) to a specialty shop, Craftsmith, and to an online store, Seek the Uniq -- which is a great help for orders from outside the Philippines. All info is in the Grace Home FAQs.
Full Circle: Grace Home's Second Candle and the Second Trunk Show
And just like that, we have now reached the end of this year!
Isn't it just right that we end this chapter with yet another surprise? I worked on Grace Home's most recent signature product, a second handcrafted beeswax candle for months -- yes, while all of the above-mentioned activities were going on.
Don't ask me how I did it... I'm not even sure how I managed myself! I will chart it to sheer determination and the occasional sugar rush, which makes it even more appropriate to launch this surprise product with a delectable extravaganza featuring my favorite desserts.
You see, this Grace Home journey revealed itself to be a journey back to The Spoiled Mummy. Both are two sides of the same coin, two ways I am able to express myself. I am so grateful I am able to be both -- an entrepreneur and a blogger -- and to have the chance to try my best at both.
And so, the dessert showcase at the second trunk show was a sensible (most obvious!) pairing for me. The planning this time, took longer than the first launch, and it became a bigger event, a coming together of my favorite dessert creators and savory suppliers.
Looking at the images from that day, I realize that this journey is really about the people too: my family and friends, collaborators and supporters, clients and suppliers.
As a blogger and as a proprietor who does a lot of virtual interactions -- gathering everyone in one place, talking to a person face-to-face (even for just a minute), being able to personally say 'thank you' for a purchase or simply being present to offer good cheer...all these "little things" make me happy and give me that sense of fulfilment. So how can I not be grateful for all that has happened?
All these have helped me realize that I have made the right decision to pursue this dream and of course, to promise now -- to myself and to everyone else -- that I will continue this journey with the passion and perseverance to do better and be better, every chance I get.
So thank you to everyone of you who has purchased my labor of love, my Grace Home products. By doing so, you have welcomed me into your homes. And that in itself, is my biggest accomplishment and source of pride this year. May my candles, room fragrances and everything else in between - remind you to pause, breathe and enjoy life's little pleasures around us! May everytime you light my candle inspire you to live life ALWAYS GRATEFUL.
Thank you for being a big part of my 2015. I sincerely wish all of you only the very best this 2016!
Now, let's finish our game strong! HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!!