What do you do?
By day I’m the Community Director here at Restored 316. I love meeting our customers and helping them make their dreams of starting a new company or beginning a blogging adventure come true. It’s brings me such joy to hear the words, “Oh my! I love how my new site looks!” I also love teaching site owners the ins and outs of the WordPress dashboard. Knowing that one small win like teaching them to change the color of a font has empowered them to dig deeper.
By night I’m a lifestyle/DIY blogger and a freelance quilt pattern designer. I started blogging over 10 years ago as a way to communicate with the customers of my then online quilt store. I closed that store in 2010, moved cross-country, and started my current blog in 2012. My favorite hobby is quilting and designing quilt patterns, both for myself and for others.
In the in-between times, I love to spend time with my husband & best friend, my 5 children and their spouses, and my grandbabies.
Growing up, did you always dream that you would be doing what you’re doing now?
When I was growing up, what I’m doing now didn’t even exist! But I was always an administrative wiz. My #1 goal in high school was to be the fastest typist in our class. That was my Olympics … and one that I gold-medaled in consistently. Taking accounting classes, filling in all those little squares with numbers made my heart sing! Learning shorthand … the icing on the cake! I could make funny little characters that actually meant something.
My first “real” job was for a research company and I’ll never forget the day we bought a brand new WANG. It was the hottest thing to hit the market and replace the typewriter. I was thrilled! It was then that I fell in love with computers.
What made you decide to “go for it” in terms of your career goals/ambitions?
My husband … my biggest supporter and cheerleader … has always said, “Lani, you love computers. You love working on them and figuring out how they work. Why don’t you use that passion and start your own business.” I’d agree with him, then go on my merry way doing nothing about it.
One day, I received a package in the mail with some quilt fabric I had ordered. The ordering process was a nightmare and by the time the package arrived 3 weeks later, it was a mess. The fabric was wrinkled, stuffed in plastic grocery bag, and the envelope it came in was ripped. The only reason I didn’t cancel the order was because they were the only company online that had enough of this particular print that I needed for a quilt backing. I mentioned the whole transaction to my husband and once again he said, “Lani, you love quilting, you love computers, you know what good customer service is. Open your own online quilt store.” And that was it. All the bells and whistles started blowing and the next day my first company was born.
Did you face adversity? How did you overcome that?
There is not a venture in this world that’s void of adversity. When in the honeymoon phase of starting a new company though, your adrenaline is running so high you don’t always realize that the adversity is there. But it was! This was my dream job … it involved everything I loved. How could anything possibly go wrong, right?
Oh, but it did. The biggest adversity stemmed from my own lack of research and knowledge in entering a niche that, at that time, wasn’t very online “friendly.” I began to realize quite quickly that manufacturers, distributors, and designers, weren’t very supportive of online quilt stores. They balked at us, didn’t want to sell to us or work with us, and, in general, thought online quilt shops would be the death of the entire industry. And yes, there was competition. I wasn’t the only one doing this.
Once I realized this I had two choices: let them win and close up shop or ignore them and keep pushing forward. I chose to do the later. There was a drive in me that didn’t care what others thought or what others were doing. I had something to offer and knew how to provide it. And for 5 years I watched that company grow and grow and grow. I also watched the industry begin to embrace the online world and accept that they weren’t go anywhere anytime soon.
A lot of women have these big goals & big ideas that they’d like to bring to life, what advice would you give them in terms of how they can make that happen?
Pick a date and start. Just go for it. Even if it’s ugly. Even it its a folding table in your living room. Even if you have no money. Just start. You don’t need an education, you don’t need a fancy office, you don’t need the latest and greatest phone and computer.
All you need is you and your dream.
And a pencil and a piece of paper.
What is your dream? Grab a piece of paper or a post-it note. WRITE IT DOWN. Make a few copies of it. Put it on your mirror, stick it to your refrigerator, tape it to your car dashboard. Everywhere you go, take that dream with you. Don’t wait for tomorrow … start now. Don’t over-analyze and research it to death … start now. You will learn what you need to learn as you go. The people that will need to help you will come along at just the right time.
Set aside the fear and the “what ifs.”
Just like I did the morning of July 5, 2005, say, “Yes … I’m going to do this … NOW!”
What’s the biggest regret you have when it comes to your blog/shop/business?
Actually, I don’t think I have any regrets. I know that everything that I’ve learned in the past has brought me to this point. I’ve had several “dream jobs,” and I know that I’ll have several more. I’ve also had seasons of dry spells … no job … nothing on the table … no direction. AND THAT’S OKAY! God was using that time to prepare me for what was coming next.
What’s been your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moments have nothing to do with my business, and everything to do with my family.
We have five children. My prayer for them from the day that they were born was that God would plant very clear talents in them and that they would use those talents to touch the lives of others both in their workplace and in their personal lives. Now that almost all of them are adults, it is inspiring to see that unfold.
Our oldest has always loved everything to do with sound engineering. From the time he was 7 years old, you’d always find him at the sound booth at church. When he graduated from high school and was trying to figure out what he was going to do with his life, I asked him what I’ve since asked all my children. “What do you LOVE to do? What are you passionate about? Do that. If you can go to work and get paid for the passion and talent that comes naturally to you, you will never hate your job. You might dislike some of the tasks that come with the job, but you will always love what you do.” Like most 18 year olds, he thought I was nuts. But he listened, and now he’s one of the top sound engineers in the Christian music industry. Every day … doing what he loves to do and teaching others to do it as well.
Our oldest daughter loves to serve the elderly and those that find themselves in life situations where they need extra assistance. She currently works at a local pregnancy center, encouraging woman to choose life for their babies and helping to train them to be wonderful mothers.
Our middle son has always had a passion for working with those with disabilities. He now teaches at a home that helps high-functional disabled individuals to be independent.
Our youngest daughter is more like her mom and is pursuing her degree in Business-Project Management with the dream of working in a large church organization as an events planner.
Our youngest dreams of flying … big planes. I can’t wait to see where God takes him.
And, just because we like our coffee around here, how do you take yours?
Venti Mocha, single, with whip.
I believe in the story of the overcomer. That has been my story and I believe that is your story too. We want your journey here on the blog to help encourage others just like you and me. If you’d like to share that with us, please come over and share your story with us!
Was this story an encouragement to you? Share it with others!