5 years!!! 5 years!!!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be here typing up a blog post celebrating 5 years as as an entrepreneur, maker, boss, creative, woman, mother, wife...  My life plan was finish high school, go to college, get married, get a job, have kids and live happily ever after.  Fairly typical for a gal born and raised in norther Minnesota.  None the less, I followed that path for 27 years until things came to a screeching halt in 2009 when the housing marked crashed and my job was lost.  I ended up back at the beginning, no job, no house, 2 kids...

araya of willful at the beginning of her career

If you know my story, this is when I began Wind & Willow Home which 4 years later became, what it is now Willful.  The name change and my dreams changed a little over a year ago when I realized, I wanted more.  I started this business because I couldn't find another and felt forced into creating some type of income for my family.  But once this business became Willful, renamed for our family motto, "If there's a will, there's a way." (which truly got put to the test) it became a part of me.  My mission to truly live my dreams of designing and creating beautiful products, energized by connecting with artisans near and far on the same mission I was on, to simply create a better life for my family. 

araya in her home studio willful goods

So, what have I learned?

  • Plans are good but they WILL change and how you react to those changes are what can make or break you.  
  • To create something that is of yourself, is the hardest job in the world.  
  • What separates those who are out there following their dreams is a matter of persistence and luck.  
  • It's hard to give up when others believe in you.
  •  Looking at other's success as a means of motivation did not work for me.  
  • Study, read, listen and learn as much as you can about your industry then take the pieces that resonate with you and implement them

Thanks for 5 years friends!  We are just beginning!