Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Saying Goodbye

   I feel like I need to step back a little and tell you about how my company started.   I've made stuff from other stuff for as long as I can remember. I am the daughter of very creative parents and the granddaughter of  two women who learned to  sew and knit when it was a necessity but kept their craft alive long  after they were able to afford to buy sweaters and dresses. The making of things is as much a part of me as my brown eyes.I only wanted two things as a young girl. To make things and to be a cowgirl. As I went through high school, college, marriage, babies, career, divorce, career burnout, marriage and more babies, the constant thing, my safe haven has been my love of making things.

Many years down the road, I had two small boys, a mustang horse and not much money; living on a farm outside a town called Pumpkin Center which consisted mostly of a feed store, small post office, gas station and thrift store. I wandered into the thrift store one afternoon and back in the corner stumbled on a stack of gorgeous sheets and they were cheap! I spent $10 for  five vintage sheets and rushed home to make aprons and bags that afternoon. And I took this picture and decided I had a business, making things from other tattered and faded things.  I was lucky enough to have a horse named Gypsy and my cowgirl life, so I named my company on a whim.  Shabby Cowgirl, just like that....

    Another fast forward, my boys were bigger and the farm was being sold and there was a move to a  new town, Gypsy had to go to a new home and I was a cowgirl without a horse, living in a neighborhood with sidewalks and fences.. I joined Facebook, opened a page and without a better name for my company and still clinging to my cowgirl life (saddle in the garage and spurs on the dresser mirror) , I opened my Shabby Cowgirl page and lucky for  me, good things happened, AMAZING things happened. However,  fast growth and an inexperienced business girl are sometimes hard to manage, the idea gets bigger than the ability to handle things and I got the high speed wobbles a few times, took more orders than one girl could produce timely and committed to everything because you feel like that is what you must do. I couldn't run as fast as I needed to and there were bumps in my road. I had super good days and days when I wanted to run away but always there was the making of things and wonderful people who loved my work. My page grew in a way I could never have imagined or hoped and Shabby Cowgirl was experiencing so many wonderful opportunities that I didn't want to say no to any of them..  I clung to the notion that I knew what I was doing even though I knew I needed to seriously regroup and gather myself up, take a breath and sort it out.

As happens in a sorting, I realized that I wanted to take back the intention of my work, the joy and the excitement of designing from my heart. I needed to get a grip and do this right or not at all.   I love the name Shabby Cowgirl but I had been encountering the issue of the domain name being bought and offered to me at a high price and the social media names  were taken by someone who offered to sell them to me at a price. I found out this is a common practice when there is a perception that a small business has enough of a following that people will pay to keep their name. I didn't want to pay to take back a name I was not sure was the right one for me.   But also, I don't do strictly western or shabby style and I was struggling with the notion that the company name didn't reflect the true design aesthetic of my brand. I felt inconsistent and then there was the fact that I don't have a horse right now and although I have the heart and soul of a cowgirl, I am not one at the moment.  Small detail but it nagged at me.

The word Wildflower popped up over and over in songs and quotes, it's always been a word that I connected with, I am not highly manicured, I'm a bit unruly, disorganized and tangled. I am at home in rocky and rugged places where blooming isn't always easy. At a crossroads with my work and my world, this was the time.  And in a quick moment, again on a perfect whim I knew it was Wildflower. I added 57 to the name. I have 5 children, 7 is my favorite number, I was born in 57 and this is my 57th year. So there you are, Wildflower 57 it is. I am happy with the change, I am happy with the direction of my work and I am happy with what I have learned the hard way. I love love love Shabby Cowgirl, she is after all, me. I am not leaving her, she is with me always in my wild heart. My design work comes from a deep love for farm, faded prairie, vintage, fresh,  gypsy, boho and  cowgirls, always cowgirls...I expect that Wildflower 57 will reflect all that and the love of making things from other things. As I close the door on Shabby Cowgirl with gratitude and love, I will  let myself fully fall into the field of tangled, sundrenched wildflowers that will carry this dream on down the road.

Shine and grow.....<3 Barbara


  1. Such lovely thoughts Barbara. "They wanted to sell me our name too. Part of me was flattered that they thought enough of us to buy it first, but my stubbornness won out. Instead of we're hyphenated. That little dash saved me $5000!

  2. Well there ya go Suzanne, you outsmarted the name stealers.....Thank you for being such an encourager!

  3. Love the read. As always.
    Full of heart and deep down truth. Thanks for sharing.

    I love the new name. Fits you perfectly!

  4. Everyone has a story to tell and you have told us yours. Best of luck on your journey and please keep us in the loop, K? #Wildflower57

  5. Barbara,

    You are a beautiful soul. I love your writings.