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Oh, To Be Made in NYC!

Posted by Tanea Smith on

Just nine years ago I was the mother of a teenage son and a one-year-old daughter and had just launched my company, “She's Got Papers.” What many of my customers didn't know was that while selling my wares online, at weekend craft fairs, and festivals I was also working a full-time job. There were long days, even longer nights and many moments in between when I was dizzy with exhaustion. 

Something had to give, right? Right.

What do I do when everything seems to be going to hell in my favorite handbag? I called the one person in the world who will always answer the phone and give me honest advice, whether I like it or not. I usually don't like it! My big sister Chermia patiently listened as I moaned on and on about my business and how difficult it was. Just too damn hard. How I was over it, that the demands on my time were too great, and how I wanted to just forget it and do something else.

Now, mind you, this business was no lemonade stand. If you include all the components - designs, the website copyright and trademark legal fees, and inventory, it was a $30,000 investment. I had gone all-in financially and was giving it my all both physically and emotionally, but felt like I was getting nowhere.

After a good, but not great, seven minutes, my sister was as curt, but polite. She simply replied, "Tanea, the only thing you've ever stuck with is Brandon. Follow through, Tanea, just follow through."

I hated to admit it then and part of me still does to this day, but she was absolutely right. Just as I had given birth to my son Brandon and my daughter Jada Jasmine, She's Got Papers was like a child. I needed to give my business the same care, nurturing, and patience that I do my children.

1 year ago I left Corporate America for good. 

Not because of a deep dislike for my co workers or because I was grossly underpaid. Actually my experience was quite the opposite. I left a well paying job and co-workers I had grown to really care about and with whom I'd developed authentic relationships so that I could follow through. 

I did it so that I could commit thoroughly and completely to my vision for She's Got Papers and for the next chapter of my life.

This week I'm honored to be featured on the Maker's Row blog for Made in NYC week. Trust me, that well-worn cliche is true - if you can make it here you really can make it anywhere. But you've got to be willing to follow through. No matter what.

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