I unstacked boxes to get to the one marked “HISTORY.” It’s the box where I’d stored my very first design, The Knitter’s Purse. I remember boxing it up years ago, hoping one day I’d need it for some anniversary photographs. Well that, and maybe the Jordana Paige museum unveiled on my 100th anniversary. I hope it’s a big, open museum with amazing light, featuring large knitwear displays and yarn artists from around the world. A museum dedicated solely to yarn artists…this is a good idea. Maybe it should be done sooner than later. I’m realizing now that I won’t be alive for the 100th anniversary and should probably leave a note inside the purse for the person who unpacks it.
I joke and I’m getting off subject.
I pulled the purse out and held it beside Cezanne. Before me was ten years. One third of my life.
I would like to tell you that I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, but that wouldn’t be real. As a kid I subscribed to the saying that if you turn your passion into a career, you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s a lie. I turned my passion to create, design and knit into a career. And while I love and remain passionate about it, it’s still work. Because no matter how much fun I have each day, I have to worry about if I sold enough product to be able to pay the bills.
This is where I sit completely amazed and humbled. Roughly 9% of businesses last ten years. When the idea for The Knitter’s Purse popped into my head at 18-years old I dreamed of making it this long. Reality is though, I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve seen the knitting industry peak and taper off, the economy fall, yarns shops open and close and the world of marketing shift at a rapid rate. Yet through it all, Jordana Paige has somehow stayed in business and I’m certain it’s only because God has blessed me.
I am blessed to have a family that has been overwhelmingly supportive from the day I shared my idea to today. Just yesterday I called my sister and asked if she could come to my office to take photos for my anniversary. She drove 45 minutes with her three-month old baby to my office and gave up half her day to help me out. Usually she’s the one modelling and I’m taking the pictures. Even being in front of the camera this time, I still got to boss her around. As the younger sister, this is always fun for me. Perhaps I’m seeking revenge for the times as kids when she always got to be the teacher and I the student, but I think there’s more to it than that. As I sat there laughing almost to tears with her as she took the pictures, I thought, “This is it. This is why I love my job.” It’s the time I get to spend with my family.
The photo shoot is a perfect example of the heart of my family. My mom has attended every tradeshow with me. My favorite memories of those shows are sitting next to her for days talking, just the two of us, during the lulls. My dad taught me how to do my taxes, create my website and has built all my displays. I’m certain he’d build me an elephant if I asked him to and then would turn it into a giraffe when I changed my mind. My brother-in-law quickly joined in too, there to help where ever needed–assisting with photo shoots, writing an article, giving feedback on a design or setting up a booth. They’re all quite use to getting an email from me asking for opinions. Even the anniversary logo was an email chain of votes for a favorite.
I think about all the hours I’ve invested into the business over the past ten years. It’s a lot, but it’s been my job. I then think about all the hours my family has invested in the business from day one. Unpaid. With no expectations. It’s overwhelming. I’m realizing the business is just as much theirs as it is mine because I could not be where I am today without them.
I sat looking at Cezanne and The Knitter’s Purse. I smiled as I acknowledged the visible progress in design, fabric, quality and execution. Even greater than the progress and all that I have learned, is the gratitude I have for my amazing family and the memories I have from working with them.
When I researched how to celebrate a business anniversary I read that you only get to celebrate a ten-year anniversary once, so celebrate all year long. This is true and exactly what I intend to do. I have great things planned for this year; looking back, looking forward and celebrating blessings.
Be sure to catch my interview on Stitch & Unwind today for a closer look at the company.