Experiencing new opportunities

by Patty Smith

We had the opportunity to enter the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship 2014 Springboard Competition. This competition is sponsored by the College of Business Administration at Abilene Christian University.

It was definitely a learning, stretching and growing experience. We filled out the application and submitted it. That was the easy part.

We received a notification that we had been assigned the community growth division, which is for new businesses (less than 2 years old). You can imagine our excitement when we received an additional notification stating that we had been selected to go to the next step of the competition. This excitement was quickly tempered with a little trepidation when we found out that the following step was to present a business plan. I quickly googled business plan and got busy because I had less than a week to write this plan before we left on a much needed vacation. I also called my daughter, Jenni, with an S.O.S. I managed to get the bare bones ready before we left and with a quick meeting of the minds, I handed it over to Jenni's capable hands. We did not have internet access for a few days and when I did manage to plug in, Jenni had several questions as the deadline was quickly approaching. I was able to provide the info she needed and she did her magic and made it with time to spare.

We got back from our vacation and within a few days, received a notification that we had been selected as one of 13 finalists for the Community Growth Division. Excitement! Trepidation! Now we have to create a PowerPoint and do a presentation (an elevator pitch) to the Judges. Think Shark Tank on a smaller scale. But absolutely as terrifying. And as happens too often, there was a huge scheduling conflict. The Old Sorehead Trade Days was the same day as the presentation. We quickly had a another meeting of the minds and came up with a plan. The boys would head to the Trade Days and Jenni and I would do the presentation. I was not worried until the evening before when Jenni and I got together to practice and she informed me that I could not have notes. Oh great! Memorization! Don't you love it? However, we nailed it. I was a little nervous, but felt that it went over well. The judges questions were good and I felt okay about the presentation. Jenni was cautiously optimistic.

The Awards Dinner was 3 days later. We set up our display with the other finalists. This was where we felt the most comfortable, answering questions and encouraging people to smell our products. We passed out a bunch of business cards and were delighted to run into some loyal customers. The keynote speaker presented a great motivational message. The meal was delicious. Then came the awards. We were thrilled when they announced The Country Escape as the third place winner in the community growth division. We were given a beautiful plaque and a cash award. Whew, all that trepidation was worth it!

So now we are looking at working on creating a separate production and storage facility for our little business that is growing because of our loyal customer base. We are pursuing additional opportunities in other retail outlets and staying busy making products. It is so exciting to see what additional new opportunities are waiting just around the corner for us.



Welcome 2014

by Patty Smith

Christmas kept us busy up until the last minute with special orders and gift bags. We had the most fun making special things for our wonderful customers.

Christmas was a special time for us. We got to spend some great time with our family and enjoyed watching our granddaughters with their gifts. They are growing up way too fast.

The New Year is only a few weeks old and we are continuing to stay busy with online orders, special orders and preparing for several spring Vendor Shows.

But we haven't been too busy to keep creating new scents and new items.

We have added several new all natural lotion bars and we even found a supplier for a great reusable tin to store the lotion bars in. The lotion bars are great to relieve dry, winter skin.

We have added two new leather combination scents to our popular leather candles and wax melts. In addition to the Leather and the popular Leather and Lace, we now have Leather and Spice (a rich Leather with the warmth of cinnamon) and a Lodge Leather (the rich Leather scent with a smoky, woodsy addition). We think you will really enjoy trying these new scents. And of course, even though it is still Winter, we are already thinking of spring scents and new combinations to bring the freshness of spring into your home or workplace.

We are working on a few special products for Man's best friend, so stay tuned and we will let you know as soon as those are ready too!

We hope that you will be able to make it to one of our Spring Venues, but if not, we are always only a click away. If you have questions or a special request, please send us a message. Thanks for your continued support and Happy 2014.