Two years old. Still a tot, but we’ve got our legs, made lots of friends on the playground, and are living a lifelong dream of running a small business. I doubt I’m alone in saying that as a small shop owner operating in the digital ecosystem, I’m not always certain how business and personal life should intersect. Being a relatively private person and wary of the unknown privacy vulnerabilities in this digi-verse, it’s just not something that has come totally natural. Especially when, with a baby girl of our own, we’re part of our own “target demographic.” We’re sometimes asked why our daughter doesn’t model our shop’s wares more often. My husband’s go-to dodge is, “There are child labor laws.” As this anniversary approached, those first weeks of getting started have been on my mind. I want to say up front that this post is personal and was not easy to write, but ultimately something that I think is worth sharing.
Around the time I started to fine tune the business plan, my husband and I found out that we were expecting. So many good things happening. We’re going for it! But then tragically and with no prior warning of complications during this pregnancy, we lost our baby at 16 weeks. It wasn’t our first miscarriage either, but it was the most advanced. The unspeakable pain of those dark days reverberates, and the loss is something we’ll never truly get over. Despite the oft-recited stages of grieving, in our experience, there’s just no set playbook for getting through it. What picked us up off the floor were prayers, the love of family and friends, and watchfulness for another door to open door when one closed. The week of our miscarriage was also the week SCOUT was scheduled to open for business.
Desperate for something to throw myself into, I stubbornly pushed to open the shop two weeks later. Even though being completely immersed in all things baby after our loss was difficult at times, it was a window out of the darkness. Two years later, we’re celebrating the second year of business and coming up on our daughter’s first birthday, so this milestone is extra special. We could—and are—writing pages and pages about the joys and challenges she brings every day, and how she’s redefined life and love for us. We’ll save that for the book.
But back to February 2014. We had just begun to tell friends that we were expecting, so the follow-up calls a couple of weeks later were tough and felt surreal—Are these words really coming out of our mouths? We were surprised to hear about how many of our friends, or friends of friends, had suffered miscarriages. You learn the statistics. It’s not comforting, but what did help was that we heard so many different kinds of stories of couples who went on to start families after miscarriages. That’s why I decided to share our story, too. There’s been a sea change with opening up about the various struggles. Due in part to some public figures speaking out, it feels that the stigma has softened and is somewhat easier to reckon with. But we certainly didn’t know how to react in public. It’s not something you just casually bring up at a backyard barbecue. We never gave up hope on having a child, but at the same time, we began to wonder if it just wasn’t in the cards for us and that we might need to adjust our road map. Nothing is for certain and life can get messy, despite the highlight reel tendencies of social media.
So, why share all this now? Well, even though this is a business, it’s a very personal one completely integrated with our daily lives. It’s our anniversary, one that is tied to peaks and valleys. From day one, I was adamant that no matter how big of an operation SCOUT would become, we would be as personable, and mom-and-pop as an online shop could possibly be. It’s an uphill battle to subvert negative preconceptions of e-commerce that exist largely because of a handful of hyper-competitive international behemoths. But few things about this job bring me greater joy than receiving positive feedback about our customer service and attention to detail. We’ve deliberately started small, make the local deliveries ourselves, get out to do as many pop-ups in our region as possible, and have consistently opted towards organic growth over getting ahead of ourselves.
It’s a big, beautiful privilege to help you find just the right gifts and prepare them, and we’re so fortunate to play a small part in such special times in people’s lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting our little shop these past two years! We’re excited about what’s on the horizon. We have lots of great new finds on the way and a growing list of events on our calendar. We always love to hear from you and hope to see you soon!
Much love and a big hug,