Wow. Yes, wow. It’s been ten years since the state of North Carolina said we’re official. Very rarely do I discuss the challenges and celebrations of business ownership or my journey. It’s personal and filled with gut wrenching stories, some too personal to discuss even now. There have also been monumental milestones and happiness unlike anything I have ever experienced before. The sacrifices have been great and days, week and even months I have been worried and even fearful. Nonetheless, I love what I do and hope to own this shop and continue with my vision for years to come.
So, let’s start at the beginning…
At the beginning of 2007 I was so naive; happily married and excited about starting a new business! I had a corporate job that I hated so with the support of my family and friends and with money saved, I took the leap into opening a retail store.
I had dabbled in Event Planning and didn’t really like it, but I loved the stationery and had created a few things for events and a few weddings. So when my husband said I should open a stationery store I was shocked, but so happy. He thought it would make me be back to the energetic, happy Kristen. Not the forlorn Kristen who cried every Sunday when it was time to go back to my corporate job.
I was so optimistic; the economy was booming and I loved stationery so much. I loved being creative and the idea of charting my own course intrigued me, no, it fascinated me and made me hopeful, all traits my corporate job did not provide me.
To have a business to leave to my children was a dream as were the children to come.
So, I began the research phase. This consisted of visiting retail stationery stores throughout the Southeast. Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Greensboro, Ft Lauderdale, Miami, Raleigh and on and on; I must have visited no less than 25 different store. Oh and the monthly trips I took to New York meant visits to five different stores just in Manhattan. I am sure in some box of files I still have the notes I took after each visit. I used my experiences to decide what I would do that was different, what attributes I would embrace and what stationery lines I would carry.
At this point I still didn’t have a name, but I had resources; friends who worked in advertising, branding and marketing. I would solicit their help. I had a list of ten names I liked, all had the word paper in it. Why? Branding books will tell you that what you do need to be in the name of your business. Being a student before many other things, I took this advice and each name had “Paper” in it. Everyone hated the names…
I was stressed beyond belief. If my friends hated the names, surely the public will too. Perception was very important to me; acceptance was more important. Then it happened, while listening to the radio, Corinne Bailey Rae’s song, “Put Your Records On” played. As a listened and sang along it hit me…..Three Little Birds. Yes, Three Little Birds. How cute is that? I remember the big smile and the excitement that came over me. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my husband, I had a name and I no longer cared what anybody thought, this name was perfect!
Check in each week as I detail the highs and lows of my ten year journey with Three Little Birds.