Today I am sitting in the empty lounge room of our family home. The family home that our children grew up in, the noise, the chaos, the busyness, the quiet late evenings with my husband where we would talk, share wine, listen to music and on occasion dance in this very same room.
It's been five years now since we left this house and still its voices are so loud and its effect on me so strong. I hear my husband calling me, I feel my children young and holding my leg, I still walk to the fridge or key table expecting them to be there. It is rather melancholy and wonderful all wrapped up together.
Where I am now started here. Ideas, day dreams that persist and grow. In amongst marvelling at a child, and wondering how is it possible that I have this much laundry, my mind was often out the door thinking about this idea of skincare. It wasn't the only idea that would seep in and demand space. I would think about improving nutrition, the outcomes of my last run on my body, how I'm so late to re plant the vegetable garden and am I seriously having to buy three pairs of soccer boots from my husbands next wages.
It's a very unexpected and satisfying thing living for a long time. It allows you look back and see these wonderful paths that you took. Those seeds you planted sometimes with no idea. How that one thing would lead to another, then you'd take a step and then another and then another. Sometimes those steps seemed so innocent and almost nothing of significance, but looking back every single one led me further down the road with an increasing velocity until one day you have to make an adjustment to your life to fit "that not so whimsical anymore" idea in.
I've always liked working for myself, I'm not much of a group person, nor do I enjoy teams (my biggest challenge and self growth journey has been as a leader, which I now have to be). I enjoy being alone where I can think and be free to observe the world around me. However this isn't conducive to great relationships so these alone times are a luxury for me.
Starting your own business, if you were to just jump in where I am now, would be a terrifying proposition. But small steps, that have minimal consequences should you fail, are much easier. "Give it a go", "I'll just quietly do this and see what happens". Starting out was more about answering my own questions of could I make this, will this hold, will my skin respond, rather than letting other people in and allowing them to purchase.
If i want to make myself feel very uncomfortable I think about all the people, possibly even you, that now use what I and now my team make. The feeling of exposure and vulnerability I have when I do this can be overwhelming, to cope I hide myself in the workings of what I make and why. I'll read a text book or journal article and find new discoveries and I think about my service to everyone and how they rely on me to help them. This makes me feel calm and focused.
We have just finished building our first purpose built production space and I've surprised myself how much I want to be in there and be surrounded by the raw ingredients all in order, the right tools, all in order, everything I need to make my ideas come to life.
People often ask now "how have you done it?", "I cant believe how you've come so far". I find these questions hard to answer because I have so far to go yet that I don't look at what I have done as being anywhere near close to enough or worthy of much praise.
Building something. It's the most wonderful thing. Take an idea, make it real, give it to the people and see what they do. You have to be comfortable with making mistakes. Talking about mistakes I mean mistakes that propel you forward. When you start out you will know way less than you need and you will hit walls one after the other. But these walls are knowledge walls. If i work out this problem I move forward. If I find out this information I move forward. Mistakes in this area are good, they are an easy elimination of what isn't right in a seemingly completely blind environment. At some point the elimination ends and you have in front of you the solution. Really this never stops but you find solutions faster over time and your instincts become louder too.
Knowledge accumulating everyday is a powerful thing. It is the friend of confidence and daring, being sure even when the reasons are not overly clear why, or to others.
It was important for me to not use my husbands money for this business. He had provided for us so well for decades and I wanted to do this on my own. I guess if it failed I had cost him nothing. We met young and went on to have a bustling thriving bunch of four children who blissfully consumed most of his yearly salary.
I felt Savant was an unnecessary luxury to contemplate beginning so I really did start it with nothing, I'll just do this on the side, it wont be much, no one will notice. inside though no one could have known the deep drive I had to make a skincare range.
And that there is the "clinch", that drive. Call it excitement, call it fulfilment, call it passion, it has many names, but you'll need it. When I was contemplating what I had now named Savant Apothecary becoming a serious concern I read lots of books on successful people, looking for that secret ingredient to their success. Thinking that surely who I was right then was not enough, I needed to be better than just me. After five or six books on all sorts of successful people I found no other recurring theme than "don't give up", "keep going". Is this all I need I thought. Rather childishly I said I can do that, and I have, and believe me there has been times, wrapped up in circumstances not how you'd ever consider, where those phrases have had to ring loud and clear in my mind. Stay on the road Kylie, don't you dare stop. Then usually I'll cry, or sigh or say Fuck it, or go for a long walk, pull myself together and get going. And now? Well now this little idea has become more important than even my husbands career. He cooks meals more than me, he keeps house more than me and he is home when our last child in school comes home.
That change for both of us has been difficult as we both learn new roles. Difficult for me to give up the reins to home. Difficult for me to say "Hey, I need help", difficult to not feel a failure that I couldn't manage home all by myself as well as the business.
For my husband it was difficult to come in and manage the home, particularly as I was often not forthcoming with instructions, assuming what I did around the home and with the kids was easy and logical and needed no induction. This in hindsight was a ridiculous assumption.
I in turn have learnt somewhat of what it is like to be him, particularly coming into the home at 6pm and leaving the days unfinished lists neatly folded away till tomorrow. Another thing that has made me smile by knowing the role of coming home at 6pm is walking into that evening hive of activity when my mind is ready for slow down and calm.
For many years in this house my husband would come home right when I was making dinner and children were hungry and somewhat unpeaceful. He would want to sit on the terrace and share a wine and talk, I found this so difficult, I wanted to relax and talk after dinner when the children were in bed, but by this time he was asleep. We made it work, different days, different outcomes.
It is strange how a house can hold such moving memories, like ghosts I feel our family will still reside here somehow. This is one of those homes though expansive, old (that part wasn't always good) such good light with a room or area for every time of day or mood. That colonial style that had a pared back grandeur that was so comfortable. It is tough too with big heavy thick solid walls and just as well as they handled the years of bats and balls, bikes and fights, nerf guns and running feet for so long.
One small amber jar on this kitchen bench, me staring down at it knowing it was likely to be terrible but it was just the first, the learning had begun.
Life is a wondrous thing and it rolls on relentlessly, either it drags you or you build a sail and enjoy the ride.