I started my business with a simple premise.
I would sell “Made in the USA” OR I would donate a portion of foreign-made goods sales to a designated charity. This was in the beginning but as I have grown and I am still in business (Whoop Whoop!) I have found plenty of small companies that do their work here.
My relationship with most of my vendors is special since I seek them out and they are usually small businesses like mine. This allows me to get to really know who they are, where their heart is and where they want to go. When I had my Mobile Boutique I would often refer to them as driving with me down the road. I cherish this aspect of my life and I am very passionate about it. When I tell others what I do I talk animatedly and with a smile on my face. I am so very lucky to be here.
This past year I committed to only selling items made here. I know not all the components are made here but the design and assembly is. This has become my Mantra. I will be true to it and stand by it.
Why? Because, at this point, I believe that I need to support the businesses here before I need to directly support businesses abroad. When I do this then people I am supporting at home can see their businesses grow and we are all stronger for it.
I was at a trade show last week where I place orders with known businesses and seek out new ones. I waited for one of my favorite lines until last on my list of “Had to Orders.” I walked in the booth and I was happy to be there. As I was talking to the Rep whom I have dealt with before, I found out that they no longer make their items in the U.S. Everything is made in Thailand. He went on to purport the value of supporting the villages where the pieces are made. I felt conflicted. I understand the kindness behind their helping the people in Thailand but this is not what my mission statement is all about.
Having started my order, I finished it and walked out of the space. I was with my best friend (it is always great to have someone with me at these huge shows) and not twenty feet away I said, “This is wrong”. I kept walking, disappointed in myself when we saw a booth up ahead. My friend said that we should take a look and I went along. I was thinking about how I was going to deal with the new info and/or how I was going to find another vendor to replace the other one. They have been “at the wheel” with me since the beginning four years ago.
As I entered the booth I was greeted by a smiling face and sunny spirit. Two best friends “manned” this area. One was the creator and one an integral part of this little machine. I asked where the pieces were made and Voila I found a new business to work with! I was thrilled and excited about my discovery and I looked over my shoulder at my friend and she said, “I know what you have decided.” I placed my order and the next morning I cancelled my other one. It was difficult to write the email but I wrote it with kindness and gratefulness.
Being and entrepreneur, for me, is a lot like being in real relationships and sometimes you need to break up to wake up.
Have any of you had to let a Vendor go?