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Women of The Wedding Industry Wednesday with Kristin Hussey of Sable & Gray Paper Co.

Happy Galentines everyone!

Ever since Galentines Day came into our ever growing national holiday/celebration calendar by way of Leslie Knope and Parks and Rec in 2010, women round the US have been delving deeper into their friendship and quiches on February 13 in celebration of female friendships.

Ladies celebrating ladies. Leaving the partners at home and kicking it, breakfast style.

A few weeks ago my revelrous heart had dreams of throwing a dreamy Galentine's Day brunch celebration complete with a tower of bacon and flowers all spray painted in pastels because #ontrend and maybe maybe allow my translucent white winter legs a glimpse of freedom from their sweatpants and wear a CUTE DRESS.

But alas. We're in the midst of the gales of February and every well laid winter plan I have is usually upended by Northern Michigan weather patterns. It's hard to throw a party in a monthlong snowstorm in Northern Michigan.

And, something else.

Throughout this business journey, I have felt incredibly thankful for and warmed by all of the different women who come together to share in this entrepreneurial journey. Who encourage each other and support each other and give shout outs to each other and create networking events and mentor sessions and workshops where they give people the opportunity to learn new skills. Who create opportunities to get together, and are endlessly praising and building each other up on the 'Gram and IRL. Sometimes I have been the recipient of this lady affection, and sometimes I have given it.

And it's great. And has introduced me to some of my new favorite people as a result.

But not so long ago, I saw something I resonated with so much by way of my friend Annie, owner and creator at Compass Paper Co. (a small but mighty shop that produces some of the cheekiest outdoor cards and goods this side of the universe - and proudly are now sold at over 60 REI stores). Annie talked about something that had been a realization I had over my first year as a small business owner.

Take care of your OG people, was the gist of the message. Step out of the circle jerk every once in awhile (okay she didn't use this term, but we talked about it and it seemed like a fitting and vulgar metaphor- my favorite).

Yes, it's wonderful to have industry connections. Yes, we all love (and I mean love) seeing you open your BoxFox on Instagram stories. Yes, cocktail hour and sexy lattes and boomerangs and dinners out and events and workshops and classes with your best industry buds and friendors helps build camaraderie and infuses joy into this work. There truly is nothing like connecting with people who are also in the throes of owning and operating their creative business and make a living this way. They get it, and that's such a gift.

But don't forget to take care of your people, Annie said. Behind the scenes.

Don't forget to do the simple things. Don't forget to send things in private, without anyone needing to know. Don't forget to support and grow the friendships that exist outside of this creative industry world. Don't forget to send a generic but thoughtful gift just because. Or check in with your friends and their work.

Don't forget that entrepreneurism is not the be all and end all. That your people are doing wonderful and important things as teachers and nurses and doctors and marketing specialists and project managers, and non-profit leaders and consultants and grad students and engineers and and all of it. Don't forget to lean into their successes, their trials, their work conflict, their bitchy boss. Don't ever tell them they should quit their job and move back to Michigan finally and "see what happens". They hate that. That's your life babe, and you need their endless pep talks to make it through each week, remember?

Several times over the past year, I have felt like a failure as a friend. As a daughter. As a partner to my husbabe. As an acquaintance. As the one friend who used to remember to send cards for every birthday and send a small thoughtful gift, who organized weekends or theme parties or holiday get togethers with my college friends, who made my parents something handmade and special for their birthdays. Who bought new charms for my niece's gold bracelet and visited my friends for a weekend when they were having a rough go of it. Who could afford $12 cocktails (2 even) during not happy hour with my nice fat salary.

But in 2018, I felt like I was pouring all of my energy into my business and my new relationships, or my client couples, and after awhile it was starting to get to me.

What happened to my ability to care for my closest? To make them feel special? To honor our 15 year friendships? To remember the little things, like sending a card?

I made myself a few promises for 2019. I don't do resolutions. But I do look out for my future self, and I try to be a friend to her.

First, I was going to make room for myself to be alone - that needed to happen. As an extrovert who thrives among people and within social groups, I realized I would get burnt out if I didn't learn how to rest and restore some energy for when I'd need it (hello 18 hour wedding days with no sleep the night before). I set the 'one social activity a week and one meeting a week max.' It is a perfect parameter and it has saved my ass. It's weird telling people no. They don't always expect it from me. But like I said it's quite literally saved my sanity.

I was going to be present for my marriage. Which meant figuring out how to turn off work at 5:00 PM when Ryan gets home even though my work lives in our home. In my head. And in my heart at all times. I was going to protect our time together and prioritize it above all else. I set the '5:00 PM - 7:00 PM dinnertime is sacred' parameter and it has saved my young marriage and friendship with Ryan from ultimate destruction (so metal).

And lastly, I was going to remember to take care of my friendships and my family.

I set the 'showing my family and best friends that they matter to me comes first, before other relationships' parameter. And it's something I struggle with because I don't live near our family or my best friends.

I was going to remember to send the cards.

And in this realization, I reminded myself this week that I didn't need to throw an elaborate Galentine's Day party. What I needed was to pick up the phone. To FaceTime. To go buy pretty stamps. To send a card. (Still working on this!). To write the "mail by" dates in my calendar. To remember to be a friend IRL.

On another level, I feel the need to acknowledge another intention with these blogs.

This year has strapped me financially. Starting a business is a risky investment. Quitting your full time job in your first year as a business owner is dumb (HI!).

In an effort to keep our finances stable, I finally had to acknowledge the same priority structure I have in my relationships would have to be applied to my finances.

I realize you all lead incredibly interesting workshops and retreats. And sell absolutely cool and interesting things I want to buy. And gift each other the most beautiful gifts to show you care. And attend fun networking events and drink $12 cocktails. I know that at your heart, you are supporting this wide web of female entrepreneurism and I LOVE THAT.

And I'll join you, one day. I know that. I'm optimistic about this business's potential. I know that I am in the seeding phase, and one day I'll look out and see my garden.

But for now, this blog is my love language.

My way of telling you I support you. I want to show up for you. I want to acknowledge the work you are doing. The one thing I am able to give you right now, in this phase of my slowly growing business, is words of affirmation - my love language. It's the one thing I can give freely, and equally to both my new friends and my old ones without running out. Without bankrupting myself.

This blog was never intended to be cliquey. And I hope it hasn't made anyone feel that way. As a sensitive person, I can see how it might be. I simply am prioritizing introducing you to women I tend to work with, or have the opportunity to work with in Northern Michigan, Grand Rapids, and Detroit. I prioritize women who I've connected with in real life or who have shown up for me through work or in the social network that we spend time on. I prioritize women who have sent me encouraging messages or who have taken time to write something sweet to me. One such person is Kristin Hussey, owner and creative director of Sable & Gray Paper Co. A true letterer of love and creator of all that is holy and swoonworthy!

Though I have my priorities going into 2019, any opportunity I have to meet a new gal in the industry is welcome, appreciated, and so so fun. It's in my nature to be expansive with relationships. It's just balancing that with depth too.

As Women of The Wedding Industry goes on, I'll be interviewing some women I know well, some women I consider friends, and some women I have never met, but who I hope to when our paths cross!

As you'll learn below, I saw Kristin but once in real life, at a favorite coffee shop. I was too shy to say hi and introduce myself, but as I walked by I heard this gorgeous, wholesome looking, banged blonde drop the most perfect F bomb and I thought, now that is a lady.

The Interview

Kristin Hussey