When I think of ‘Shop Small Saturday’ I can’t help but think of my small business. I closed my clothing boutique (Shop L. Hermann) in 2011. I felt in my heart I was supposed to be doing something else; something in health to make people feel better. I encountered so many people coming into my shop who were sick and tired themselves, or someone at home was. I went to David Wolfe’s Longevity Conference and it changed my life. I met, Don Tolman and went off all medicine and supplements I was on for Hashimoto’s the next day. I studied in his ‘Ring Leader’ program and learned about living a clean, healthy, natural lifestyle. I ended up simultaneously moving into a beautiful LA home with pool and hillside view. I studied and worked to formulate natural skincare for myself and family. At the time I wasn’t bringing in any money. I kept my faith that this would turnaround. I realized after about 6 months when I couldn’t get my family and friends to believe and/or try natural remedies for their aches and pains, that I needed something more to bring in money. I knew the skincare products I formulated were amazing. I reached out to a local farmers market company to see if I could get a booth space. The answer was no! I continued reaching out for 6 months and then ended up taking samples into their office. I met the manager and we became fast friends. She told me there was an opening at one market the next week. By then, I had to get business insurance, license, buy a commercial grade canopy and have a booth set up. In addition, I had to be at the Sunday market at 6am with my 2 young girls plus our dog, Trystan. We got up headed to the Brentwood Farmers Market. I got lost, was late and in tears. They said if we get there late they give away our spot. When we did arrive, it all worked out. One of the farmer market’s owners happen to be at the market that day. He loved my skincare treasures and said “you should be at Calabasas, Larchmont, Bank of America and Century City markets too”. I said “ok great!”. I was formulating products at 5am – 10pm. My Prius would be loaded down with us three plus my dog and all of my booth and products when I was taking and/or picking my kids up from school. Some days it would be 110 degrees out and others it would be 50 degrees setting up or raining. I’d haul my products and booth in on a folding cart that would drop items off at times. Cuts, bruises, lack of sleep and time. But I loved it because I met wonderful clients who in turn loved my products. People would be standing in line at markets to chat with me about their skin and life! I am happy to be able to eliminate chemical toxins from people’s homes as well as their bodies with my natural skincare. I help clients with acne, dry and aging skin. I believe I have made them healthier at the same time.
Being an entrepreneur has taken its toll. I sold many personal things and was downsizing. In 2013, running on fumes, I moved back to Newport. I missed my family and friends. I couldn’t find a place, and my friend, Jackie, offered for all of us to bunk with her and her 2 kids and dog. I put all of our things in storage. Jackie was away working in Europe most of the time. Still, I was searching for a place. Sales were not enough and my savings was all gone. Jackie was moving her family a month later. She said we could move with them for the meantime. Honestly, she is an angel. It was a busy time as I helped her move. Finally, the day came where 4 kids trying to get ready for school was just too much. We needed to move.
With very little money I called a realtor friend and he only had a studio apartment. No kitchen. I grab essentials from our storage and moved in. I had a twin bed and my girls slept on pads on the floor. It was at the beach during summer so it temporally worked. The neighbors hated that we were living there. Overall the worst neighbors I have ever had in my life. One day my girls and their dad took our dog for a walk. When they dropped Trystan back at our studio, they tied him up outside on the courtyard and left. I was at the Larchmont farmers market when Animal Control called me. Trystan was barking non stop. He wasn’t used to being left like this alone outside. My sister lived close so they went to get Trystan. This was a sign to me. We needed to move but I had no money.
My brother in law’s parents home was under renovation. We moved there the next day for a couple of months. From there, we moved into a friends vacant island waterfront home for 6 weeks. I finally found a great one bedroom that fit my budget. Yay!
We were moving in December 1st, and on that day my landlord said a neighbor called and complained to the city that she was renting a business space for residential. It was actually a really cute one bedroom apartment. She said we could stay a month but then would have to move. I don’t think I even cried. I had been through so much up to this point. I believed in my skincare and I knew my clients were buying it. At the same time we realized my mom needed to move into an assisted living apartment. Just after the New Year, we moved into her apartment and she moved out. Wow! I’m exhausted just recounting this.
This was a tough time on my girls and myself. My family would tell me to get a job. I couldn’t find one. It is a little hard when you’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 26 years, 2 kids, a dog, over qualified, underqualified, etc. The light shines brighter today but there are still wounds and debt because of my small business. I hope you will think of my story when you think of Shop Small Saturday. You have a little insight on what hoops I have jumped through and over to bring my skincare to market.
I grew up in the small town of Whitefish, Mt. I still love going into small gift shops, clothing boutiques, and café’s because it is so much more personal than shopping at big box stores and we are supporting the local community.
With love and appreciation for you,