When I purchased Seth Godin’s book, ‘It’s Your Turn’, Seth issued a challenge to post a story a day. Every day. For 7 days.
I took up the challenge. And chose to share insights into the values that influence the way I live. And the way I run my business, The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies.
This is Day 1.
Write It Down. Make It Happen.
I am an accidental business. With a back story.
In 1992, my partner, Victor Pleshev, an architect. And me, Carol Jones, a market research consultant.
I. Mean. Everything. In the recession Australia had to have.
We lost our combined businesses. 16 loving, faithful staff. Our home. And many of our personal possessions.
We sold our home. And many personal possessions. To pay off some debt. So we didn’t have to declare bankruptcy.
And were left with a scheme of arrangement to pay off the rest of our debt. That took us 14 years!
We had a deep and real need to reinvent ourselves.
So we left the city lights of Sydney Australia. Population 4,373,433 million residents.
For the rural life in a little village of 49 farming families. In the picturesque hills of the Central Tablelands of NSW.
Because it was cheap to live here. No one knew us. And we could get on with starting anew. Which we did.
All because Victor designed a humble ironing board cover for his mother, Margarita. To help her with her ironing when she was recovering from a stroke.
It was just a gift. But it became an accidental business.
But it was a different business to what we knew.
Morphing from the service industry to designing and making products is akin to a conveyancing lawyer deciding they now want to be a criminal lawyer.
Different perspectives. Different rules. Different customers and expectations.
Way back in 1994, when we started The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies, we had no idea what we were doing.
All we knew was that the gift Victor gave to his mother, Margarita, went viral amongst her friends.
They’re Russian. And they form a very tight knit community in Australia.
One cover turned into 50 covers. Became 100 covers. And at 500 covers we knew we had given birth to a rather serious business.
But we really didn’t know how to go about acquiring customers.
What I did know is that this venture was so overwhelming, I had to write things down.
This from a person – me, who is not one to keep a journal. I never even kept a diary when I was a teenager.
But I knew that if I didn’t get my thoughts down on paper, we would have difficulty putting one step in front of the other.
Which was necessary for us to keep focussed. One. Step. In. Front. Of. The. Other. To keep going forward. Rather than spinning our wheels.
Which is easy to do without a list of intentions.
What did I write down?
At the time, nothing momentous. Or at least I didn’t think so.
All I could think of to write down was that at the end of each day, I want this business to matter to other people.
And for what we design and produce to make a difference to the lives of other people. Including our suppliers. And our customers.
I didn’t quantify anything. Because I didn’t have a clue what numbers I should be aiming for.
I didn’t have a timeline. Because, again, what did I know about how long it would take us to get from A to B?
In the ensuing 22 years, we went down many dark alleys that were dead ends. Made more mistakes than a 3rd grader learning how to spell. Were presented with, and tempted by, new shiny objects by the squillions from anyone involved with the internet.
And invited to enter into what we considered, at the time, to be suspect business relationships.
In hindsight. We were right.
But my intention to make a difference as a business. And as a person. Kept us focussed beyond my wildest expectations.
When we lost our way, this intention was the beacon that guided us back onto our Yellow Brick Road.
Fast track to today.
22 years and a bit more days from the the birth of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies.
And where are we?
At the very beginning, we made a conscious decision that all of our products would be made with love and care in RURAL Australia by men and women who have a disability. Because they put their heart and soul into everything they do. And their love of doing their best keeps us at the top of tree of quality.
And our business not only makes a big difference to their lives. Every day.
But their contribution makes a huge difference to our life. Every. Day.
We are an online business only. With no retail exposure anywhere.
And to our amazement, we now have more than 350,000 customers in 29 countries. Getting closer to 400,000 customers every day.
Gained one customer. At a time.
Do we make a difference to their lives?
I think so.
I was inspired to write this post when I received this comment on an online order today.
To back this up, my website has the equivalent of 68 A4 pages of testimonials. All unsolicited. Dating back to 1994. About the difference we make to the lives of men and women who want a decent ironing board cover.
Someone I admire, and who kicks her goals over the goal post every year, recently recommended the following book to me.
She swears by writing down your intentions. And keeping at them until you make them happen.
She said this book changed her life.
Write It Down. Make It Happen. By Henriette Anne Klauser
I didn’t buy the book from Amazon.
I found an online Australian book company who sells an ePub version.
Which I love.
I like it being available on my desktop. Or on my laptop. I created a folder for it. And now keep a daily journal of my goals for the next phase of my business.
Which are HUGE.
And I bought a leather bound Journal to document, in my own hand writing, my journey to get from where I am now.
To where I want to be in the future.
But it’s also a journey. And what better way to tell the story than in a Journal? That’s leather bound. Because I LOVE the little luxuries that life has to offer.
I AM a Diva!
This journal is my new list of intentions. More spiritual than factual.
What’s the title of this new journey?
Go For It! Because Good Things Happen!!
Which is why I joined Seth Godin’s ‘Your Turn Challenge Blog.’
If you don’t go for it. You don’t get to pull the brass ring on the merry-go-round.
I purchased ‘It’s Your Turn’ when Seth Godin offered it as a pre-release order. I patiently waited for it. And have been amply rewarded by its inspiration.
I’m into my second reading.
And believe me. It is true. It’s ALWAYS your turn.
~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
I Am The Purveyor Of The Tantrum Free Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
Made with love and care in RURAL Australia by men and women who have a disability.
It’s not for everyone.
But it’s definitely for you if you’re fussy about the cover you iron on.
And if you love to support Australian made.
And want to put something back into the community when you make a purchase.
The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover cover has more than 350,000 customers in 29 countries. Because it lives up to its name. It ‘Fitz Like A Glove™’ every time you iron.
And these are the ‘Other Goodies’
Like this post? Share it with your family and friends on . . .
The share button is at the end of this post.
Have a question? Email me.
Or phone me, Carol Jones, in rural Australia on 02 63 588 511.
Photos of my rural property are courtesy of me, Ironing Diva – who is also known as Paddock Paparazzi – and taken at sunrise every morning.
PS. And I have a fabulous newsletter ‘A Smidgen Of Gossip’. This is what a subscriber says about it. “Carol. Just had some time to read it and found that it is, as with everything you do, rather wonderful. A great read. W” You can subscribe to it by clicking this link. It’s FREE! This is not a lifetime commitment. You can Unsubscribe at any time. Don’t miss out. Click this link now!
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