Must be about five billion books on how to overcome failure and how important it is to be able to do that to survive as a business and personally. I haven't read one of them...

I come from the school of hard knocks. I grew up on a farm in Kansas where a hail storm could ruin a year's wheat crop. Grasshoppers could eat it away. Rain could make the fields too wet to harvest. I know how to overcome adversity.

One step at an effing time.

I think of lots of ways we all have to bounce back .. or in some cases, deserve applause just for dragging ourselves to a dead end job on Mondays because baby needs healthcare.

So there we were on Sunday night a week ago facing the first failures we've really had. I'm the "we" in that sentence. I mean, I've had small things that didn't sell well. Remember the HSB water bottles. I bought $2000 worth and it took me a year to sell them all? 

But, my gut hurt a little when we were seeing the Wichita show just didn't have the turnout it needed to be successful for us. Then the Junkstock show, which was going well, got torrential rain and our tent blew away leaving our wood coasters exposed for too much water for too long. Secretly I added an extra step last year to make them even more water resistant but NOTHING could save the 400 coasters we lost in Omaha.

The tent frame busted. Everything was a muddy mess. My partner, Karen, who had taken two days off work to do this show for me, was discouraged, cold and DONE.


Unless you've done it, you don't know how hard load in and load out at shows is. Truly, it is the MOST stressful time. So much work. So much failure.

I took the week off last week. I needed a reset. I had worked for four weeks getting ready and lots of hot days making coasters. I needed a minute. A drive in the country. Time with the kids really listening and not running through my head all the things I needed to get done.

So here it is Monday. I've been at it since 7 a.m. We are cooking again. I still have a long list of things to get done this week, but I'm back at it. One step at a time.

I think when things go bad you do have to give yourself time to let the "stink blow off" as my mom would say. I generally go for long drives in the country.

I don't know if you know this but I don't really "pay" myself in the traditional way. I pay for my daughter's housing at K-State and help with her expenses and now my sons. I usually pay for a big vacation to Hawaii in the winter -- since traditionally that is a rough time of year for me. But otherwise, everything I make stays in the business as investment in equipment or hiring people to help me out.

Until now.

We had run our silver 2007 Highlander up to 203,000 miles with all the shows.... We will be traveling to MORE shows out of town and sometimes we are going to two and three different shows in a weekend.

My friend was selling her 2014 Highlander. We got a second Annie's Barn delivery/show vehicle! It's black and... true story, it does not take cassette tapes like the old one! 

Making a major purchase after failure. Ug. Not normally something I'd do. But I believe in us. I believe in our products. I believe this is just the beginning and that next year is going to be even better.

So the next two weeks I am finishing up some odds and ends and then in November... don't call, don't write, don't expect a response from me in November. I'll be on the road every week and weekend. We are doing so many events I can't even count them all. Des Moines, Kansas City, Union Station, Frisco Texas, Wichita, Cerner, Black and Veatch and some the end of all that, whew, my daughter graduates from K-State on Dec. 14th.

I am thinking about offering the wood "signs" one more time before Christmas, but not sure if that will be too much. I'm waiting to see if one, you want them, and two, can I find a time in my calendar to make them. 

Also, a reminder. When you order off the website AND select local pickup, you have to wait til you get the email notification that your item has SHIPPED before you show up at the house. Place order. Wait for shipping notification (I send this after I bag your order and put on porch). 48 hours to come pick up. 

I don't always have the item in stock. 

I am going to have some deals around Black Friday … some of them will ONLY be announced here on the Blog.

FYI, I do have Annie's Barn tees in and they will be for sale on the website later this week. 

So that's the moral of the story. Shit happens. Our October didn't start out great, but I'm planning on a kick ass November! Hope you'll be part of it. One step at a time.




Sorry about all the crap you’ve been dealing with. I had to fire an employee for fraud and theft. Made me feel like shit but it had to be done. Tonight I’m filing a police report. He needs to be punished, and any future employers need to know what kind of person he is. But yeah, shit happens. We pick up and move on. I just shared your Des Moines show post with my DM peeps! They’re good people, you’re good people! It’s all good, lady!!! ;-)


Debbie said:

I connected with you on this blog on so many levels. I’m a business owner too and my beliefs are you only fail when you don’t try. It’s a process and I’ve been at it for ten years at one business and consider myself successful and use that money to help the kids, buy Christmas etc….my other business was complete blind faith that I could make it work and it had been huge! So don’t give up! (But giving yourself a weekend to reset…and blow the stink off… totally allowed. Sometimes i need an attitude adjustment)


Tiffany said:

Hang in there girl. Life is tough but you are tougher.

Mandy Bredehoft

Mandy Bredehoft said:

I would totally buy another round wooden sign! I mean I already have two but I LOVE them so much. :)

Peggy Skaith

Peggy Skaith said:

“Blow the stink off” is new to me! But I’ll be using it. I bought some cool stuff from you when you were getting started and I love seeing your business morph in different directions. Keep plugging away!


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