In November of 2017, 5 years into my business, I was approached by a HomeGoods buyer saying they were interested in carrying our "Hometown Heart" series in select stores across the country. I was so ecstatic and of course I said yes (after a lot of number crunching)!
2 years prior I had put on my dream sheet that someday I wanted my art to be for sale in HomeGoods.... I couldn't believe it was about to happen. It wasn't the best timing, as I was moving from New Jersey to Rhode Island, but I did not want to pass this opportunity up.
So there I was packing up my house in late December (2 days after Christmas) and I moved north. I quickly unpacked and on January 10th 2018 I began working on my biggest order to date (2,300 heart signs), from my house. No warehouse, no production facility. I only had my small little Cape-style home, and it took every square inch of it.
Halfway through week 3 my poor kids had to stay with my parents because there was boxes, signs, and drying paint EVERYWHERE.
I would have done sooo many things differently had I known then what I know now. Event hough there was more blood, sweat, and tears than I could count, and too many sleepless nights worrying we would never be able to pull it off, we managed to get the order completed in 6 weeks. That was 6 weeks of 18+ hour days, and numerous friends and family members that came to my rescue and volunteered to help.
We had helpers that assisted with nailing the hearts together.
We had volunteers to help us paint all the wood.
We had friends stenciling the heart shapes onto the license plates.
Then we had family that came to help with cutting out each heart. Over 2,300 hearts were cut by hand!!
My Dad came to help us brand the back of the signs. He would pick up a trunk full and bring them to his house because we had run out of room in my garage.
More friends and family came to help us sand and paint the wood.
We even had helpers that came to our rescue to help us tag the backs with the special HomeGoods price tags.
At about week 5 I was in panic mode. I was certainly in over my head and I started to go a little crazy. Click Hereor on the picture below to watch a video of me trying to make the best of the situation. I don't know if it was the tequila or the paint fumes... maybe both, but I really was loosing my mind!
It was no wonder I felt like I gained a ton of weight... I was stressed out, my treadmill turned into a drying rack and my stove turned into my makeshift office!
Once all the signs were made and sorted into their respective piles, we had to start packing them all up. We needed to ship to 4 different zones, which meant a ton of paperwork and meticulous record keeping.
6 weeks later and after an all nighter the night before the order was picked up, we finally finished. The trucks were on their way and the order was complete. We weren't out of the woods just yet though.
The truck drivers that pick up for HomeGoods are used to picking up pallets from warehouses with loading docks. Not from the driveway of a house in a little neighborhood. I didn't realize that when we called for the trucks (1 week prior) that I needed to request a tractor trailer truck with a lift gate. (OOPS!!)
Finally we got all situated and the last tractor trailer truck showed up around 9pm to get the last of the shipment.
We were so proud of ourselves, so thankful to all our friends and family that came to help out and support us, and so grateful to HomeGoods for giving us this opportunity. We slept for a few days and then it was back to the grind.
A couple of weeks later we were told the signs had made it to the shelves. So we drove to Massachusetts to the closest store that was selling them just to check them out.
It was so surreal to see our work on their shelves. We just couldn't believe that we did it. I even had the cashier take a picture of the sign we bought.... yes, of course I had to buy one!!
Thank you so much to HomeGoods. Thank you to each and everyone of you that continue to support our mission and this crazy little dream of mine. You mean the world to me and with your continued support I hope to continue to empower and encourage military spouses to pursue their dreams of entrepreneurship and go after the chance to build a life full of the joy and passion that they so deserve.