The interesting thing about a journey is that you never know what will happen along the way. Like all explorers, you set out in a direction, not knowing what you will find, whom you will meet, or what challenges you will face. Perhaps, if we knew what lay in store for us, we would never take that first step. Those of us that step into the unknown armed with nothing but energy, imagination, and optimism used to be called explorers, today we are called entrepreneurs.
That pretty much describes me. I’m an adventurous soul, an explorer. I don’t seek comfort or stability. I seek excitement and new experiences. So it should come as no surprise to those who know me and even to myself, that I would be a business owner and not an employee. I’m a slave to my own curiosity and optimism.
Eight years ago I started a business called Napa Valley Linens. At the time, decorative rental linens were just beginning to catch on as a necessary part of events. I was completely smitten with the possibilities. A self-described fabriholic, I loved the impact that linens could have on an event. Those possibilities began to monopolize my imagination and every waking moment of my life. It was all I thought about. It still is. My husband, ever the voice of reason, tried to talk me out of it. He was convinced there was no money in it and to tell the truth, for many years, he was right. I soldiered on, despite the economics, always seeking a deeper understanding of the magic of fabric, the impact of color, and the mysteries of trends.
Economics drove me to get closer to the source, to move from the first dabble of buying ready made linens, to my current state of buying from mills all over the world. What a journey it has been! It has taken me all around this planet and taught me so much along the way.
I started this quest with with hope, ambition, energy, and tenacity. As I look back and forward, I see that I have gained strength, focus, confidence, and knowledge. I’ve learned so much about the textile industry. I know more than I care to about the difference between warps and wefts, dirty laundry, wine stains, the foibles of UPS, and the perils of exporting.
I’ve also learned a lot about people, especially brides. I’ve witnessed the most overwhelmed, confused, and timid bride move from fearful to fearless and break free of the shackles of tradition.
I passionately love the people who work with me. They have grown with me and discovered strengths they never knew they had. And mostly, I’ve made a lot of friends, through associations that I’ve joined, partnerships I’ve made, clients that I’ve worked with, and other fearless entrepreneurs who are all a part of this wonderfully creative, special event industry.
This blog is about that journey.