I didn’t expect to find myself here… but then, I almost forgot that we turn ‘5’ tomorrow. WE being Violet Gray (as a presence) and myself, and our union that we have created and shared.
The photo above? I can feel the nerves even now. It was one of my very first markets on the Gold Coast, in Qld Australia. You might know the story, so in snapshot – Violet Gray launched online (via the old trusty Facebook and an Etsy store) on the 4th of August, 2012. Which, again the date was accidental (or not?) – as it is my late grandmothers birthday! And yes Violet Gray, is a LEO.
I had returned to Australia (from living abroad for 2.5 years) at the very end of October 2012, to try my luck in the market scene. I had $800 in my bank, minus $5000 I had borrowed from my (always unconditionally supportive) man to buy sterling silver, crystals, boxes and ship it home (which cost $900 alone!). I was sleeping anywhere (between family members) and driving an old Dawoo Lanos that I had conveniently taken ‘back’ from my younger brother after I gifted it to him, a couple of years earlier when I left to work on a boat. What a sister?!
Let me just openly share that in 5 years, there have been moments where I have thrived and then others, where I have cried (and cried) questioning it all. The last 12 months, I can share is what I believe to have been my hardest year in business. But then, is this selective memory – like when you give birth and then forgot how painful it was? I am not sure.
I feel like it has been my year of ‘Contraction and Expansion’, a dance that in reflection has swayed continuously between both energetic pulls. So in full transparency, I would love to pay deep gratitude and respect to the year that has been August 4, 2016 – August 4, 2017. You full, crazy ride!
So what am I celebrating around here?
- We sold $100 000 worth of jewellery in one single, storewide SALE. I told you, I am honest. 600+ orders in the first 12 hours, 1200 orders in 2 weeks and it took 3 of us, almost 3 x FULL weeks to package and ship! (Expansion).
- My beautiful sister-half Franny, decided to depart the product side of VG and devote her energy to be a full-time Mumma to her small and ridiculously cute wildlings whilst they are young. A decision we both supported. Although, we are about to start working on something on the side that will be incredibly powerful for the business owners out there. (Contraction and Expansion).
- We shut down the showroom that I had poured oh so much love into for 8 months and moved everything into my home, being the garage. (Contraction).
- I ran VG completely SOLO for almost 8 months… and during some really challenging and full times in my personal life – we purchased our first home and moved, my Mum’s partner died sudddenly and our lives were thrown into emergency care / support, we had our Canadian family visiting (of who I absolutely adore) for a combined 2 month period. And Christmas in retail, oh yeah – throw that in there for a SOLO me too. (Contraction and Expansion).
- I rebranded and shut down our online store completely for more than 5 weeks! People thought I was crazy, I knew it was overdue. An exhausted head and $13 000 later for ALL (branding, website, photography etc) and hello!!! (Expansion).
- Our team grew in May! Coral, in Marketing (working remotely from LA) and Meli, in Operations. Both are two of the most genuine, generous and dedicated women in existence. And Violet Gray loves them! This has also allowed me to travel to design, which has been beyond expansive. (Expansion).
- 6 x incredible Intention Circles were held with my girl Kristen Graham. Blessing ceremonies and a couple of women’s circles thrown in the mix. How lucky to share transformational experiences, in person, with this beautiful community…. (Expanision).
- I ‘matured’. And so did Violet Gray. We are ‘contracting’ in adversity less, and rising more. Together. (Expansion).
- I am just about to launch our very first ‘honour range’ – bespoke jewels to celebrate the most important milestones in a woman’s life. September 2017. Bringing back heirlooms into our lives and valuing QUALITY. (Expansion).
- I have begun the long process of working towards the dream of a more ‘sustainable’ way. (Expansion).
- At 5 years old, we are still here!! And operating at a profit. As a small business and independent label (so not a huge wholesale brand) this in itself, is a huge milestone and reason to celebrate. (Expansion).
It is you, that in the moments of despair that tend to just drop in with an email or a message on an order. You share your personal tales about how the pieces came into your life, what they represent to you and why you wear them. And some of your sharings make me tear up. In the moments when I am questioning the amount of energy, time and pure intent that I am pouring into ‘work’, feeling like the results are not being seen – and then, there you are. An order comes through and I re-realise. You do feel it, like I feel it. And Violet Gray does spread joy, presence and intention.
I hope to keep creating offerings that inspire and that we as a brand will continue to solidify deeper and deeper in a world that is fast moving and in an industry that is saturated. I catch myself looking outwards and at times, get disillusioned and then I return in, to my heart space and I feel the inspiration and passion. May I continue to come ‘home’ and create from there. And may you continue to feel that VG adds some sort of value in your existence.
Thank you for being here. Truly. I mean this. For your constant….
I raise my chai to you tonight VG (from India)! Happy Birthday Violet Gray. Happy ‘Earth’ day to my kiwi Nanny… I hope you are painting the skies brightly and playing Opera bloody loudly (she definitely wouldn’t appreciate this language!). Thank you for infusing VG with your fire.
Let’s do the next 12 months shall we team?….. Yeahhaaaaaa!!!
All the feels, all the love.
Do you have any stories? We would love to hear them.