“Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…”

Home  /  Behind the Scenes  /  “Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…”

On March 11, 2016, Posted by , In Behind the Scenes, With 14 Comments

Of course the beginning is a good place to start! We learned that from The Sound of Music.

I’ve been wanting to blog here at Fabled Treasures for a while now but have been hung up on what to write. I’ve finally decided I’m just going to start and figure it out as I go. After all, that’s what I’m doing with my business. I invite you to join me as I share my journey.

As a young girl, I dreamed of having my own business.

Revka Stearns and siblings

my siblings and I; I’m in the center

While I am completely new to the handcrafted business, my entrepreneurial journey began decades ago when I was a child. I knew I wanted to stay at home with my family while having a home-based business to help contribute financially. That dream was greatly influenced by my mom’s example.

My father is a 100% disabled Vietnam vet, and my mother has always stayed at home to care for him and us. Dad’s military pension wasn’t really enough for seven people to live off, especially as we children grew older.

So Mom found ways to bring in extra money, and she often pressed us children into service as necessary.

  • I remember helping make homecoming mums (a Texas tradition), coronas (flowers for graves), hair bows, corsages, and more.
  • I remember twisting wires until my thumbs were sore.
  • I remember how fun it was to make “braided” chains using two strips of ribbon.
  • I remember wrapping [lots and lots of] flower stems with floral tape.
  • I remember burning my fingers using the glue gun. (Nothing has really changed in that regard. 😀 )

I became an entrepreneur before I even graduated from high school.

My first entrepreneurial endeavor began when I was a junior and lasted for 20 years. I taught private piano lessons. Being a piano teacher was the specific home-based business of which I’d dreamed as a little girl, and I enjoyed living that dream for two decades. Eventually, though, I tired of disinterested students, no-shows, and sporadic payments.

What could I do to replace my teaching income?

Berries and Cream Blog Design logoSometime during my last couple of years as a piano teacher, I discovered how to layer text on images and decided that perhaps I could make money with that skill. I offered 25 free blog headers to get feedback on my work and gauge potential interest.

After an overwhelmingly positive response and despite my lack of any kind of design or programming training, I started RS Designs in 2007. My skills and my clientele both grew, and in 2009, I re-branded as Berries and Cream Blog Design.

Unfortunately, Berries and Cream Blog Design always competed with my family for my attention.

From the beginning, client needs and deadlines conflicted with my family’s needs. (That’s my family and I at the top of this post. They have my heart.)

I often felt guilty because I ended up missing out on being with my family because deadlines or “emergencies” urgently demanded my attention. It wasn’t uncommon for me to work into the wee hours of the morning while my family slept. I’d grab a couple of hours of sleep and then stagger out to meet a new day when the cycle began again.

  • My husband felt jealous of the computer, seeing it as taking my time and attention and being more important to me than he or the children.
  • My young children cried when I sat down at the computer.

None of that was healthy for me or my family, but it took me eight years to finally conclude that, despite my best efforts, I would never be able to balance the demands of this business and my family.

In 2015, I quit taking on new clients.

Revka Stearns modeling her arm knitted scarfThe relief was immediate and immense for both me and my family, but I had nothing with which to replace the lost income.

In February, 2015, I discovered arm knitting. People liked the scarves I made. One lady in a grocery store parking lot even placed an order after finding out I’d made the scarf I was wearing.

That order made me think that perhaps this new skill could be the basis for a new business. That was when Fabled Treasures was born. (It’s also why there’s a ball of yarn in the logo.)

This business has obviously evolved since the primary focus is now metal jewelry, but that’s a story I’ll share another day.

What’s your story?

Everyone has a story, and I’d love to hear yours. Please feel free to share in the comments or to contact me privately.

14 Comments so far:

  1. Lorre says:

    So glad God has led you to something creatively wonderful that meets your needs AND your family’s needs!

    • Revka says:

      Thank you so much, Lorre. It has certainly been a journey with ups and downs, but I’m grateful for each step along the way and am very happy with where I am now.

      How are you doing with your creative endeavors? Any more painting lately? You ooze creativity. 🙂

  2. Lisa says:

    So excited to follow you on your journey!

    • Revka says:

      Thank you, Lisa. I’m excited to share. And I’m glad that you linked your blog. I’m having fun drooling over your great projects.

      How did you and your husband get started in woodworking?

  3. Nancy says:

    Great post, Revka! It’s actually so freeing to just go with it, I think. I mean you are smart, talented, witty and kind. How bad could a post from you be? Not bad at all, of course! Good job! 🙂

    • Revka says:

      Aw, thank you, Nancy!

      “How bad could a post from you be?”

      This made me laugh out loud in reality for some reason. 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to not only stop by but also to leave your comment.

  4. What a beautiful, beautiful sight (site) ! I love the blog, and I love your writing. This is such a great idea!

  5. Revka –

    You are a wonderful ongoing story of strength, resilience – and amazing creativity. I’m glad you’re blogging now. Can’t wait to read more!!

  6. Revka says:

    Karen, thank you so much. I hope you know you inspire me, too. Love you! <3

  7. Mei says:

    I loved reading about your origin story, Revka! Seeing the ups and downs really paints a picture of your adventures through entrepreneurship and how you’ve adapted. You are remarkable!

    • Revka says:

      Thank you so much, Mei. One thing I’ve learned is that nothing stays the same. Even our dreams and passions change. And that, to me, is what makes the journey so exciting – never knowing what’s around the bend.

  8. You are so right, no matter what, family comes first. I only had one daughter, but I felt the pull of running a business taking me from her. So my business didn’t progress as fast as it could have, but I wouldn’t trade a minute for the time I had with her.

    You have a beautiful family, thanks for sharing your story.

    • Revka says:

      Thank you so much, Lucy, for both taking the time to read and to leave your lovely comment. I’m glad you shared a bit of your story, too. I smiled when I read that you chose your daughter, too. <3