Tribute to 2011: A Year of Personal & SJ Growth

Posted on January 03 2012

Well hello SJ Fans & Followers! Well the time has come that 2011 is no more and I just want to dedicate a blog post to a tribute of my year 2011!  A year that I like to reflect on as a year of personal growth and business development! Starting with last year January, I lost Kenzie from this time until May.  She was off student teaching in Columbus, TX for finish her Ag Education degree at Texas A&M University.  She grouted in May 2011 and took my full-time position offer to help grow and build the online store!  So I bought a portable building, put a few window units in it, bought an iMac, painted her desk pink and got some more high-tech stuff and she was well on her way!  What a happy time in SJ-Land that was!  All the online customers would finally have someone to give them their soul divided attention and I would have someone to help me with all the business-y stuff & paperwork to keep us legit! In February, it was my FIRST ever time to see Miranda Lambert in concert.  I was front row at the San Antonio Livestock Show, I got to touch her hand as she came parading by and when she sang "The House that Built Me", I sang along with tears in my eyes.  What an inspiration a down home Texas country girl like Miranda is to me, all of Team SJ and all of our fans & supporters!  Here's some video footage: In March, keep in mind this is before Amberly & Chanler were on board.  And meanwhile, Kenzie is off students teaching and we did not yet have Blanche (the warehouse).  I was literally 5 people all at the same time and my personal life had still not existed for a while.  (This is what it takes to truly grow a business)  Anyways, some of my girlfriends, shout out to Jessica & Amber (they helped me work SJ booths the very FIRST summer SJ EVER existed)!  Well, they came and grabbed me from the boutique, helped me pick out clothes on the shelf and we headed out to see Miranda AGAIN at Houston Stock Show this time.  It was one of the funnest trips I have ever had to date and I'm so blessed they helped me to make it happen!  I didn't have really any free time at this point in my life.  Oh and btw, this trip was the first time I had a hair feather put in my hair.  Remember that craze!?  Her first song out....Only Prettier!  My current landlord of the Pink Palace was front row at this performance with a SJ goody bag for Miranda!  (I obviously wasn't smart enough to have one on hand when I touched her hand at SA).  Anyways, after the show, Mika (my landlord) jumped the security fence and literally tracked down one of Miranda's security guards trying to get these items to her.  What a fun time it was!!!  I'm obsessed, I know.  &&& here's a pic! Now in and amongst all the craziness of March, Royal Genetics (my cattle company) had a showing at the Open Show in Houston.  Special thanks to the Banks family for all of their continued support and help to make it all happen! March is also the month that one of my dear friends, Rachel Oates (you rodeo fans will recognize that name as the is the little Rodeo queen spitfire from Nacogdoches, TX)!  Rachel held the title of National High School Rodeo Queen & President.  Her and I met while she judged livestock at Blinn Junior College and I was on the wool team at Texas A&M.  I was honored to get to read the scripture at her wedding.  Here she is looking fabulous on her big day: And the last BIG thing about March, is at our booth at the Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo in Austin, TX is when Miss Amberly stepped in and joined out team!  We couldn't have survived through the show without her and my other stand-in right hand man, James Dunklin.  We loved her rebel spirit and creative edgy flare and here she is nine months later still rockin' and rollin' with us!  Here they are at the booth: I guess the next big big thing that happened in 2011 was I married off one of my best friends.  Yes, Amy Hughes is now Amy Dieta.  Amy was one of those friends that pushed and urged me to do SJ while others were more reserved about my dream.  Amy married a wonderful man, Jeff Dieta, who is the head cheerleading coach at the University of Texas.  I never imagined she'd end up with a city boy, but if it had to be one, he sure is top notch.  He even sent me an email before he asked her to marry him asking for my approval and inviting me to the big surprise engagement.  What a guy!?  Anyways, the shin dig was in my home county of Robertson County at the Baptist Church in Franklin, TX and the reception at Camp Cooley Ranch (where my old show heifer and cow herd originated from &&& where mine and Amy's friendship began).  I was honored to serve as her Maid of Honor.  She was beautiful and we had a large time as you can tell by the following pictures:   Now another big addition to my life and Team Sj also happened in the month of June!  I hired the first-ever Bryan/College Station local girl.  Miss Chanler Havel, who is a junior at A&M Consolidated High School made for the perfect final addition to what would be Team SJ!  I still remember calling in to check on her the first day she worked all by herself.  She rocked the Pink Palace just like one of us.  I have enjoyed getting to see her come out of her shell and blossom as a true Southern Jewl.  Chanler primarily works evenings and Saturdays during her school schedule, but she is always willing to help with a pretty smile on her face!  Chanler is currently Miss Montana Boots USA! And for the final member of Team SJ I haven't mentioned - Ashleigh.  When I was brainstorming on this post, I was like well Kenzie graduated & came on full time, Amberly & Chanler joined the team.....I'm not quite sure what to feature about Ashleigh.  But, it's easy.  Ashleigh was my first employee that started helping me with SJ whenever I was simply stringing beads at my dining room table.  She helped me when I had the tiny kiosk in the Post Oak Mall over 2 years ago, and here she is still helping to make SJ as fabulous as can be!  I've enjoyed watching her grow and become quite the boutique sale associate && even becoming quite the multi-tasker! Now going into the summer, My friend Jessica and I hit the road with SJ while the Team held down the fort back home in College Station!  We set up at the National Chi, Maine & Charolais Junior Show in Kansas City, MO.  I lived in Kansas City (well, St. Joseph really) in the summer of 2008 before I graduated from A&M.  It was great to go back and to visit with some of our Midwestern Online Store Customers. Before our next trip, I had a birthday and turned 24.  Gosh, that sounds old to me!  But it might sound really young to some of you readers.  Anyways, with preparation for the next road show underway, I was blessed to have some fabulous friends take me out and then have a birthday party at my house the next day.  I'm so blessed with wonderful friends in my life!  One of the things that I am the most prideful about is the people I surround myself with and all of my network! After Kansas City, Jess and I then headed West to Lubbock for the State FFA Convention, which is always one of my favorites!  There are complete blog posts over each of these Summer trips if you look back into our blog archive! August was an exciting month because we found out we tied with another boutique in town for "Best Women's Clothing Boutique" hosted by the Best of the Brazos Valley Campaign.  This was a huge honor for SJ, as the boutique had not even been open quite a year. I also got to check one more thing off of my "bucket-list" in 2011 and that was to have a billboard.  Yes, SJ had its very own billboard off of Highway 6 coming into Bryan/College Station from the North.  Here it is for those of you who haven't already seen it with all the models pictured on it on our website.  The day my billboard salesman got news we climbed it and took pictures, well let's just say he told me not to be that brave ever again, ha! In September, we attended the Junk Gypsy Prom, participated in a Fashion Show on North gate (Corner Bar to be exact) hosted by Catwalk Hair Studio &&& my Fall cow babies started hitting the ground!  Here are pictures of each of these moments! And then in October, I got to see Miranda AGAIN!  Yes, 3 times in one year.  &&& We celebrated our 1 year anniversary at the Pink Palace!  We officially survived the hardest year of going storefront with a retail company - so blessed! Now November was a crazy month for SJ with 4 Holiday Road Shows!  Somehow between the 5 of us SJ girls, with the help of one of Kenzie's best friends Morgan McMillan and my right hand man James Dunklin - we never skipped a beat at the home basis and were able to do our thing on the road.  We set up at the Northwood Country Club in Dallas, the Arlington Convention Center, Lubbock Civic Center and Nacogdoches University Mall for Junior League Holiday Shows. Oh, and to throw in our fun little trailer, too! And finally with my Month of December, quite possibly the BEST of all!  I got to take the trip of a lifetime with one of my favorite girlfriends of all time, Emily!  We went to Vegas for the NFR!  This was a HUGE step that I could leave SJ-Land and let the girls operate the boutique, online store, Amberly hosted a fashion show in Nacogdoches & Kenzie set up at a small town Holiday event on that Sunday.  What a huge milestone that this was in our world.  The girls straight up ROCKED it and I enjoyed my trip very, very much!  I will go back every year until the day I die if it is possible! As soon as I got back, it was pedal to the medal at we were full into swing of our #12DaysofChristmas Sale.  We met and surpassed every goal we had set as a team and the customers LOVED the sale!  All of December, even up until the very end with our year end sale, we were the busiest we had ever been, both in the boutique & online! One of my favorite times of year is when I get to shower my Team with their own SJ Christmas!  There is a specific blog post about this event too, but they each had a shopping spree in the boutique, we exchanged gifts to each other and went to each at La Riviera!  I am one of those bosses that is very appreciative of all the hard work the girls put in and feel they deserve to be showed their appreciation and respect during the Holiday time! And of course I have to include my family in this tribute!  I got all of one day off for Christmas, but thoroughly enjoyed all of my family time.  I have two brothers, Jacob & Darrick.  My brother Darrick has a fabulous girlfriend, Jo.  Then you will see my mom and dad, my nana & popo and my Aunt Dee!  That's my immediate family and I have to thank them for raising me to be a strong, independent, hard working and confident young lady.  I love them dearly! And how could I almost forget our dog, Paisley!?  She of course made the family portrait! I then rounded out the year by celebrating New Years Eve in Fort Worth at the Stockyards with some of my old rowdy friends!  It of course was nothing short of a Grand Time! Now the things I have learned in 2011 are as follows: - There is such a thing as a balanced lifestyle.  You can work hard, get your stuff done, go out with friends, and live it up! - My relationship with God is probably at its strongest point ever right now because of all the events of 2011. - It is my ultimate goal to be the MOST FABULOUS me that there can be!  This includes being a Christian, a Boss, an Entrpreneur, a Team Member, a Friend, a Daughter, a Sister, an Aggie and simply a Life Enthusiast! - That nobody can be a great leader by thinking they can do all the work themselves and get all the credit for doing it. - No matter how big SJ might or might not get, that I want to keep myself and the Team as humble as can be.  I never want "where we come from" to become vague and for the customers to think we have disconnected ourselves from them.  Bonding time and goal brainstorming sessions are a must to keep us together and working for the same common goal! - All of the "growing pains" of this company are necessary for us to appreciate it! - Downtime every once in a while is necessary.  It helps to keep positive energy and hard work a flowing! - Delegation and faith in others is a powerful thing.  It can help to take weight off of my shoulders and give others more responsibility and chance for success and reward. - If I figured it all out today, what would be the point of tomorrow?  Rather, I should enjoy the process of being a work in progress. - That communication is sooooo important!  Whether this be in a friendship, a relationship, a working relationship, etc. - That I must learn to face problems or confrontation as soon as they exist.  Even though I'd rather turn the other way or pretend it will just work itself out, it will be better to address any conflict as it arises. - Every day is a fashion show and the world is my runway, just as it is yours! - Life is a gift.  That's why the current moment is called the present.  I love it more than I probably should at times!  I'm the author of my story; whenever it is over, I want it to be written with no regrets or "would've, could've, should've's". - That I am beyond blessed with the people in my life!  My family, friends, TeamSJ, professional contacts, etc. - That SJ was meant to happen.  God called, opportunity arose and I thank him every day for giving me faith and strength to answer.  I couldn't imagine my life or my future any other way! I have been blessed way more than I deserve; I only can hope that I am doing HIS will as he would want me to! NOW PERHAPS THE MOST EXCITING PART OF 2011 CAME RIGHT AT THE END AND EVEN THE BEGINNING OF 2012.  STAY TUNED FOR THIS ANNOUNCEMENT WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS! Thanks for reading my over-the-top, way too long, took-me-2 days to write blog post! Randa :)

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