It was five o’clock, and I was walking out of the mill into the parking lot after a day of soap-making when I felt it—unfamiliar, unexpected, but solidly there—a deep sense of pride in Joy Lane Farm.
For many years, I was ashamed of our little business. I was embarrassed by how small it was, of how hard we worked for how little, and for how bad I was at the numerous hats I wore, none of which I studied at school.
Family and friends would ask about it, and I would do a mental dance, wondering how much of my anxiety was okay to show. Often, Katy and I would talk after the girls had gone to bed, asking each other, “Do you think it will ever work?" and would struggle to come up with appealing alternatives if it didn’t.
We operated on thin margins and learned by trial and error. The best thing we ever did (if you’re reading this as a business owner) was listen to our customers. We beveled every bar by hand until they said they preferred them unbeveled. We experimented with over sixty different color combinations for candles until they said they preferred natural white. Today, Katy is making unflavored lip balm, because Alehson T. asked for it to come back, and she’ll be pouring some of it into cardboard tubes, because Alyssa D. wished they weren’t in plastic.
We’ll see what happens!
We are still a very small, nugget of a business with so much in front of us, but have come a LONG way, and I am SO proud:
...of our relationship with our customers
...of the quality of our products
...of our small place in our community
...that we are growing during a pandemic
Thanks for making it all possible,
Joel and Katy