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  • When Things Fall Into Place (Pt. 1)

When Things Fall Into Place (Pt. 1)

Real Talk

Hi, all! Donna here :) In the midst of this crazy pre-NSS season, we can’t help but reflect on how we got here - all the million tiny pieces that had to fall into place for us to exhibit at the National Stationery Show for the second year in a row. At a quick glance, this event might not seem particularly striking at all. Thousands of companies return to tradeshows year after year in this industry; it’s the natural progression of a growing business and we totally get that. But our story has been sprinkled with so many detours and unlikely blessings that we thought we’d share this morning!

When Pat started law school in 2010, she had no idea that she’d make a decisive exit two years later and never look back. She created a thorough PowerPoint presentation of her short-term business plan to reassure our dad (the wonderful and extremely plan-oriented man that he is) that she had fully thought this through. Then, she packed her things, moved back home, and immediately got to work. We were all a little taken, but looking back, this boldness is so quintessentially Pat - always unapologetically sure of her convictions. Though Our Heiday took quite a different turn from the original PowerPoint business plan, the seed of creativity was planted and law school was a thing of the past.

Within a year, Our Heiday swiftly transformed into a wholesale business. Though she didn’t become an attorney, Pat did have two years of legal training under her belt to frame her understanding of starting a business. She had also met (and by that point, married) her husband at UCLA, who is somewhat a computer-genius-turned-lawyer, and Clarence naturally became her partner, consultant, and technology guru in those early months. Happenstance? We think not :)

Then, the plot thickens. I was newly married and had just moved to New York for my husband’s graduate program. As Pat prepared to debut her line at NSS last year, I offered to help her set up and run her booth - we’ve always been each other’s biggest supporters and I was (conveniently) living in New York, afterall. I was also going through a mental crisis about my career in teaching (Did I love it? Could I do it for the rest of my life? For another year, even?). I absolutely loved the creative buzz at NSS and within two days of working the show, I became a part-time employee of Our Heiday; within two months, a full-time member of the team; and within a year, Pat’s business partner. Whoa. The timing of how all of this unfolded gets us every time.

These are the broad strokes of how we got here. There are others, of course, like how we of grew up watching our mom (with our dad’s unrelenting support) start a handmade accessory business from the ground up and travel several times a year to exhibit at gift shows. The idea of starting a creative business and setting up shop at trade shows in Vegas, Atlanta, New York...this was simply part of our lives. We didn’t know it then, but watching our mom start a vibrant wholesale business has completely shaped our understanding of work and given us the wherewithal to make this a reality.

Then there are all the fine strokes, the tiny details that continue to work themselves out and fall into place no matter how many detours life throws at us. Part 2 of When Things Fall Into Place in our next post!  

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    Donna Kim
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