I can remember the exact moment DyJo Designs quickened… when it became more than a dream… when it’s figurative heart went “thump, thump” for the very first time. And it all started with a nap mat.
My son loves trains. He was, and still is, obsessed. So there I sat at my hubby’s computer, lights out because it’s late, searching for a train amid pages of adorable nap mats for little bud. Of course I found one… blue with a little pillow and blanket attached, little red and green and orange steam engines covering every inch. When I added that sucker to my shopping cart a mini, midlife crisis chugged right into my life. My entire life would change the moment I dropped that little train covered nap mat, and the little fella who would curl up to sleep beneath those steam engines, off for the first day of Pre-K.
I panicked. I was a stay at home mom. My day, my life really, revolved around my child. What would I do when he started school? My husband and I owned a business but the thought of taking on more responsibility made me nauseous. It wasn’t something I enjoyed. The thought of wading back into the job pool terrified me. But wandering around my empty house in my pj’s, eating peanut butter straight from the jar, and feeling sorry for myself was not an option either. (Okay… occasionally I may wander around my house in pj’s, eating peanut butter straight from the jar because I love pj’s and peanut butter. Okay… maybe a little more frequent than occasionally but I really, really love pj’s and peanut butter.)
My poor hubby. He refused to let me wallow in my mini midlife crisis. I tried. I mean I seriously tried. I wanted to wallow. Instead he shoved me off the proverbial cliff (I hate change). Kicking and screaming my hubby dragged me to a craft store. I became a maker, to be precise a wreath maker. Within a few weeks I had opened my Etsy shop, DyJo Designs. Becoming a designer was something my husband and I had talked about for years, major emphasis on talked. Floral design and crafts in general have always been something I’m good at. But that nasty fear of failure always stopped me dead in my tracks.
I may have cried when I made my first sale. I did cry when a magazine editor contacted me a few weeks later, wanting one of my wreaths for a Christmas magazine shoot. And I seriously squalled (big, fat ugly tears) when that magazine landed in my mailbox and my wreath was no where to be found. But I sucked it up and refused to let it break it. (The wreath did eventually show up in their blog, but oh how I wanted it in the magazine.)
Slowly, I built momentum. I became a little more sure of myself, took more risks, and grew in my craft. My shop grew. I began making home decor, bridal bouquets, and wedding decor. My designs landed on the cover of Rejuvenation’s Christmas catalog. Then my designs landed on HGTV’s White House Christmas not once but twice. Currently Better Homes & Gardens is planning on using one of my Halloween wreaths for their Tricks and Treats Magazine. How cool is that???
Somewhere in the midst of all the chaos I realized for once in my life I was happy with my career. It was an amazing feeling! I enjoy work now. I love the creative process and working with clients to bring their ideas to reality. I hope 20 years from now I am still learning and growing in my craft.