New Year, New HQ!
It's happening! After nearly four years of running the biz out of a spare bedroom in my parents house, KYBI is movin' on up! And yes, I'm terrified. (But in a good way, you know? Be afraid and do it anyway!)
I've always tried to make it a point to be as open as possible with my business, so I thought I'd ring in 2023 with a blog post about why this change is coming, and what doors it's going to open for the future. Let's dive in! :-)
The Why: A Few Reasons
Space: will I ever have enough??
When I started KYBI, I was running the show from a single (albeit large) desk, a shelving unit, and half a closet. I outgrew that rather quickly, and my parents let me move my business into the recently unoccupied room that was left behind when my sister moved out. (Anyone remember the camo walls that ruined every Instagram post?)
I stayed there for a while: probably around nine months if I had to guess. Eventually, I outgrew that space too – mainly because I was always convinced I needed "just one more piece of equipment." KYBI was moved down the hall once again, this time to a larger bedroom (my childhood one).
(I should pause here to explain something: I grew up on an acre of land with a lot of siblings and a carpenter for a dad. That means, as we were growing up, when my parents decided we all needed individual rooms, my dad made it happen. Fast forward 10-15 years, and that means they now have a house with quite a few spare bedrooms. Also: my "childhood room" was larger than a lot of standard master bedrooms. I can admit that I was spoiled, and like I mentioned, my parents had the land for it. Yes – I am aware of all the privilege that exists in this explanation! I am very fortunate that my business has had the space to thrive at a relatively low cost because of it.)
That bedroom is the one I've been in for the majority of KYBI's existence, and it's served me well in that time! There's been plenty of space for running all aspects of my business, including shipping, production, storage, and computer work. This isn't to say it's never felt cramped; I still am always convinced I need "just one more piece of equipment," so there's not a whole lot of ~breathing room~ available. That said, it has a very efficient floor plan, and it's been (mostly) perfect for one person.
However, with the introduction of my mental health journals, 2022 turned into The Year That Everything Changed (more on this below). From May through September, HQ was in a constant state of disarray from how many journals were constantly coming and going. I didn't have a great storage option for them, so I did what I do best and overtook yet another room at my parent's house. (Shout out to mom and dad, the real MVPs.)
KYBI has been operating out of two bedrooms since the end of September, but that was always a temporary solution just to get me through the holiday season. I love having everything in one spot, and considering I was already using one of the biggest rooms in the house, I knew it was time for a new business home.
The Year That Everything Changed.
When I revamped my mental health journal back in May, I knew it was a great product. I had sold 25 of the original mental health journals the year prior; I felt like I could sell about 100 of these new ones. Yay!
Spoiler alert: I sold 2,800. That's... a lot. And I absolutely believe I could've sold more if I put more effort into the promotion of them (something that I chose to ignore because I couldn't handle a higher sales volume than what I was already getting).
With the sales from these journals, it's become clear to me that paper products are turning into an integral part of my business. I want nothing more than to bring the production of everything in-house, both so I can expand the product line and have more control over cost and output levels. (Remember what I said? Just one more piece of equipment!!)
All that said, the equipment I need to get is um, quite large, and it wouldn't fit into my current space even if I wanted it to. Thus: new business home. :)
My mental health; practice what you preach babyyyyy!
Honestly? I could make my current space work for another year or two if I had to. I've been on the verge of moving out a few times in the past, but it was always fixed with a bit of rearranging.
You know what I haven't been on the verge of before though? Shutting my business down. (Ouch.)
If you don't know, we live with my parents – right down the hall from KYBI HQ. (They have the space, the rent is much cheaper, and moving in with them is what allowed Trey to leave his toxic job at Am*zon.) The quick commute was great during 2021, but throughout 2022, the way the lines blurred between my personal and work life was nothing but detrimental for my mental health.
For the majority of last year, I felt like – instead of running my business – my business was running me. 12-18 hour workdays became my new normal, and I was constantly telling Trey "just 10 more minutes" any time he tried to get me to stop working. (Of course, it was never just 10 more minutes.) On the worst days, I would be woken up by thoughts of my to-do list, and when I inevitably couldn't fall back asleep, I would find myself working at 3 AM in the morning.
I was miserable, and my mental health was at an all time low. (Kinda embarrassing when you consider how much I preach self care!) I hate to admit it, but I spent a lot of time lying awake at night thinking about all the steps I'd need to take to find a regular job and call it quits on KYBI. I even job searched a bit, but that's as far as I ever got. Any time I thought about taking any real action towards closing KYBI, I knew in my heart that it wasn't the proper fix; I just needed to make some adjustments at the root of the issue.
I held on through 2022 and promised myself that we'd change something early this year: either we move out or my business does. Since moving the business opens a couple extra opportunities, Trey and I decided that was the route to take.
Honestly, I didn't think I'd be able to say that KYBI was moving on January 1. I'd been looking for a space for the past 2 months, but nothing felt right. I was ready to be patient and wait for the right unit to pop up; the only real deadline I knew was that it had to be done before August 2023. But then a new listing popped up last Wednesday, we viewed it that same day, and I just knew. It was magical, and I had the lease signed within 48 hours. :')
I'm incredibly excited about this next chapter, regardless of how scary it is to leave my parent's cheap rent behind. (Just being honest. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) This is just a section filled with both plans and wishes for the future; some of it is already in the works, others are things that I now have the option to pursue. Just thought it would be fun to share!
- New equipment. I've explained this already... next!
- Local pick-up! KYBI's new home is going to be located in Lockhart, TX – the city that I grew up in and couldn't wait to get out of. (Ope.) But growth is realizing it's actually not as bad as I felt like it was during high school, and it'll be the perfect home for my business. If you're local, I'm excited to introduce a pick-up option soon!
- Maybe add an extra set of hands!? I've been hoping to do this for a while, but it's not something I've been willing to do while KYBI was at my parents house. Since this move is all about protecting my mental health, I think 2023 could very well be the year that I hire my first official employee (AH!). An extra set of hands would remove a lot of pressure!
- Local shopping. This new space is not a storefront, but rather, just a unit that is better suited for my operational needs. That said, I do think it would be fun to set up a very small display up front for walk-in customers to shop from!
- New products. If I can manage to get the equipment I'm hoping for (big IF!), the realm of paper products will begin to open so wide much wider: journals and notebooks galore, planners, calendars, posters, you name it. (Everyone cross your fingers, cause this ish ain't cheap. </3)
- Events? Idk. I have a literal yard and have no idea what I'm gonna do with it. I think a courtyard would be fun, but don't really know what the point would be. TBD I suppose!
- On a similar note, classes? I'm well-versed in the realm of screen-printing now; I could use the space as a way to give lessons. Who knows!
Well... the first step is having a very tiny, very simple celebratory dinner and champagne popping in the new space on Tuesday. (You know me... always celebrating every moment.)
Then it's probably gonna be countless hours spent on deciding the best layout for KYBI's new home, and getting all the fixtures to make it happen.
Before we move the biz, there's gonna be a BIG OL' MOVING SALE. I hate moving, and I want to move as little inventory as possible. (Plus I love a fresh start!)
Finally, we'll be moving the biz throughout this first half of January. I'm hoping to start by the 9th and be done by the 16th, at which point I'll finally be able to start thinking about new products and restocks.
Throughout it all, I'll be working my hardest to remind myself that, even though this is a scary change, it's a necessary one. I can't think of a more exciting way to be starting off 2023, and I'm so thankful you're here alongside me. Cheers to new beginnings, and thank you for helping to make this happen. :')