One Year Later

I have no idea how we got here. A year ago I was sitting in a hotel room, alone in Phoenix, Arizona for a work trip I had impatiently waited years to take. On a high from traveling across the country for the first time, I felt this creative spark create a blaze within me. For the first time, I felt so completely compelled to do something for myself. So there I was- getting myself ready to head into our west coast home office, adding last minute touches to my outfit and thought “just add the pearls”.

My everyday 9-5 job left me a bit starving for creativity. I had spent so much of my life until this point expressing myself through dance or through art, photography and fashion. By this point, I was nearing the end of my twenties and felt slightly overwhelmed with where I was in life. Unmarried, just having ended two back to back relationships and I was needing to return back to myself.

Just.Add.Pearls has become my outlet for self expression and creativity (are they the same thing?) and it became something entirely for me. I have poured so much of myself into this brand and am quite surprised to be standing on the other side of a year. I found myself during that time. Somehow starting over, reinventing and being a tad selfish with my time was exactly what I needed to do. I’ve gained confidence I so wanted and needed. In a lot of ways, I just had fun- experiencing new things, going new places and playing endless rounds of dress up.

What I’ve learned:

I learned how rewarding hard work and dedication to yourself can feel. I learned that this industry is HARD. There is no quick fix to anything worth having in life. Once you apply that logic to all aspects of life, you’ll feel a little less defeated.

…That showing up EVERYDAY is imperative. Just like every other job, creating a brand is work. If you show up every few days, do not expect to be paid. If you are only open at weird hours, do not be saddened when people don’t show up. I’ll admit, creating content can be exhausting. Trying to come up with something new everyday for 7 months has been trying at times but somehow I’ve done it. And if I can, girl- so can you. My most interacted with photos were taken on a whim after spending most of the morning fretting over them. Which- let me be honest, is both ironic and frustrating.

Get messy and start where you are with what you have. There is no perfect time. There never will be. Life in and of itself is a colossal mess. Post the bad hair days and the ill fitting clothes. For me, I created a lifestyle brand so that I can control the narrative about who I am and how I want to show up. I don’t just love one thing and I don’t want to be tied to just one category. With lifestyle content, I have the ability to show up as myself everyday, messy and imperfect. It’s the best. I have a lot of friends in this community who reach out and say how badly they want to start a blog or create like I do. Just hit publish and then repeat, everyday, until it no longer feels awkward but more like a routine.

Patience is a virtue I will never have and that’s ok. This work takes patience. I am no where near where I thought I’d be right now. Though, if you had asked me last summer if I thought I would be here I am today, I’d never believe it. My main platform for sharing content is Instagram. Those familiar with Instagram are likely to tie worthiness with follower count. I do this ALL THE TIME. It’s the #1 thief of joy. Yes, there are influencers with 1 million followers who create beautiful content. There are also influencers with a hefty following who create junk. Then I remind myself- its not about the numbers. It is about the people who willingly choose to be in community with me. No, it’s not a million but let me tell you- I am genuinely grateful to each of them. This growth had been slow and steady and that’s just fine with me. When I started, I remember thinking “how will I ever hit 40, 100, 250 or 1,000 followers?” And then I did. It took time and dedication to my brand. It took identifying my target audience and remaining consistent with my loyalty to brands. It took time.

For what it’s worth, for all the ups and downs, it’s been the best year of my life. I am so thankful I took a leap and in good faith, landed on my feet. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be this time next year and the years to follow.

Happy Birthday, Just.Add.Pearls, cheers to many more.

Acknowledgements

There are so many people who deserve to be recognized. They may or may not see or read this but they are worth mentioning.

To my creator- you gave me this and I cannot thank you enough. I had often heard of people having this internal “tug” to do something and for the first time in my life I finally felt and believed it. I hope to continue to use this platform for good and to serve people well. Please continue to use me in ways I never imagined. Thank you for this opportunity.

My family- thank you for everything- the endless encouragement and doing things “for the blog”. Whether it was taking pictures, finding the perfect gift so I could share it on my page, sifting through files of photos to find the right one or listening to me go on and on, I thank you. I could not have done it without you. As a gift, I’ll be sending you each a copy of that video I took this winter when I thought wearing high heels in the snow was a good idea and captured myself slipping to my knees with my bum in the air. That would be instagram gold!

Jasmine Star- it’s a major stretch that she would ever see or read this, even though I am part of her Social Curator coaching group. You have inspired me in ways you will never understand. You taught me to show up everyday, how to create, how to speak and how to keep going. You are the mentor I always wish I had and I hope you know how much you have impacted my life and brand.

My Brand Collaborations- Thank you so much for entrusting me with your products and services and allowing me to share them with my friends online. Brands like: Bryan Anthonys, Mapiful, Birdeyes, Boho & Birch, Zulay, The Calm Living and Sculpt and Core Pilates.

You- past, present and future. Thank you. If you could neatly pack every emotion into two words, I’d pick those. Everything I do is in hope that it inspire or connect with even one person. Thank you for showing up and for being with me along this ride.

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