I started Lake Effect Co. because in my professional work at the time, marketing and consulting, I wasn’t feeling totally inspired. That’s an understatement, but the details aren’t important. Essentially this idea was born out of the desire to build a business that brought more flow to my life and more importantly, more HEART in my life and in yours. Someone recently gently told me that when I was doing videos on Instagram stories that I appeared, well, kinda, blah. “Do you even like your life?” she half-joked with me. I laughed and was not offended because she was right, and there's a reason for that. I've felt fairly blah. For every moment that I do like, no LOVE my life, there is a whole lot of feeling like I have created a monster of my situation, too. As is the case with many projects, businesses, etc., growing pains, hustle and stress can very quickly kill the magic. You might ask, “But where is there stress here?” The answer to that often feels like, “where isn’t there stress here?” As I’ve put more time, energy, and heart into Lake Effect Co., I’ve slowly dropped off the number of marketing/consulting clients that have been supporting me. My increased faith in this business has been met with growth. And as I’ve grown, the pressure and timing and competition of the retail industry (an industry where my only actual background is as a very avid consumer) and social media often leaves me breathless. I am working to delight lake-lovers with my items and the content we produce, something that I do not take lightly. This takes the shape of working so very hard to keep up with stockist demands (and I am SO appreciative that those stockist demands even exist), have items available in the shop, keep an eye on competition and other brands stepping on toes (and trying to not take those perceived infringements personally), and above all, keep a community interested and engaged and inspired. It’s a lot for one girl, so I have a team that helps me, and OH MY GOSH am I grateful for them, but to say that I do a good job of managing them and letting their strengths and passions reach full potential would be a total lie. So with every step forward, I feel like I spend a long time sloppily shuffling back, forward, left, right, up, down, and under. Under water. That’s what it has felt like. But, the good thing about the phrase “under water” is that there is really nothing better than the feeling of emerging after you’ve been under. That is the dreamiest feeling. Maybe that right there is one of my favorite parts about the lake. With all of this madness, the lake has remained a constant friend, support, and eternal source of renewal. Swimming. Exploring. Beauty. Adventure. That’s what makes me feel alive. Connection in the community heals my heart. All it takes is a few moments of intentionally looking at all that this community has done to support the lake (the money donated to organizations that support it AND by increasing the very love of time by the water that increases our commitment to it) and this perspective flips. I can slow down and realize that I need to put the heart first and be lead from that place instead of letting the hustle take over. It’s actually so incredible to see that when we have a bestselling design that shoppers LOVE, it’s an idea that came from me in my happy place. It’s my job to get to that happy, flowy place as often as possible - we all benefit. You, me, the lakes. So it’s my new goal to slow down and only produce gear that aligns to that. If it’s not a product of inspiration, it’s not going to show up in the shop. If it’s not on the same timeline as the rest of the retail industry, that’s just not going to be something I can control or worry about. More heart, less hustle. That’s overused and for good reason. ...so to paint a picture that this business is easy just isn’t true and it’s not staying aligned to what I always envisioned this brand to be: a heart-centered. Lake-centered brand. Transparent. One that keeps us all afloat in the midst of whatever is trying to pull us down. And while some might think this is a bit too much emotion and that this level of honesty has no place on a business’s blog, I say to you, I appreciate you for reading this. I appreciate that you have your own set of beliefs. I appreciate that you’ll respect that this is not your average business, and I am not your average business owner. I appreciate that there is a reason you made it to this site, this blog post, and this last sentence. Something here was what you needed to hear.