5 years.

Truth be told I've been putting off writing this because I'm not sure I can adequately express my emotions right now. My words here have always been honest, straight from the heart and raw. I'm a very sensitive person (something my family will attest to) so when I put my all into a project my emotions and self-confidence run deep within it.

I'm currently sitting at my desk (after procrastinating all morning) trying to hold back the tears as I write this. Five years ago I began Frankie & Dandelion with the simple vision of creating a label that was uniquely my own. I was scared beyond belief to trust myself. I had role models within the retail & design industries but no one else was doing in the Riverland at the time what I set out to achieve. It was my darling husband who told me to take the plunge. Worst case scenario? I would call it quits and get a paying job somewhere else again. 

I wanted to do the thing I loved the most and to the best of my capabilities. Fashion? Nope. Customer service. At its core when I reflect back it's customer service that I enjoy the most. It's customer service that made me decide to pursue retail instead of solely designing. It's customer service that drives the inspiration behind my designs. Believe me, it takes a certain type of person to say they love customer service some days but when I reflect it's those moments with you all that have given me the biggest high and most fulfilment in my work. Seeing others happy is what I strive for every single day.

In five years I've gone from a humble market stall, to two brick & mortar shopfronts and an online store. I've done fashion parades, media and event days. I've worked with my family alongside me and have even been able to employ some of them. I've gotten engaged, married, had a second baby and experienced miscarriage with you all. I've been healthy, I've been unwell. I've battled burnout, anxiety, depression and endometriosis. I've had my happiest and hardest days with you all. 

We often share the highlight reel on social media. Keep our feeds bright and cheery with a token line or two about how much hard work being a business owner is and with that hard work and sacrifice comes great reward. But the truth is sometimes hard work doesn't pay off. That might sound extremely negative, but actually that's just the reality of life and small business. Just like a farmer waiting for the rain - they might be the hardest working but it doesn't mean the clouds will necessarily open up above them. Some years they do, some years they don't. The reality of being a small business owner is that sometimes your bank accounts creep lower and lower. Sometimes you lay awake at night wondering how you will pay those bills and provide for your family. Sometimes it's wishing the you had sick leave, maternity leave or holidays. Other times you are able to be flexible because you control your hours. Othertimes you feel immense pride when something you've worked so hard on pays off. And ALWAYS you do an internal happy dance when the clouds open and you have a "good" day. Those "good" days are what feeds your family, pays for swimming lessons and gives you the courage to try again tomorrow.

Being a small business owner makes you vulnerable. And I've always chosen to share my vulnerable side with you all. Whether that topic is motherhood, miscarriage, endometriosis, anxiety or being a business owner. I don't regret it for a second. Five years has taught me that there are many moments of ups and downs to life. I share with you both of them and in return I get the pleasure of providing customer service in whatever moment of life you are experiencing yourself. 

At the end of the day I'm glad I chose to take the plunge five years ago because I've spent every day since working on something uniquely my own. Thank you for allowing me to serve you all, I am beyond grateful for it all. 

Tess x