On Being a Tiny Business
By now, I’m sure you have heard of the tiny house craze. Those cute compact homes inspire me to simplify my own home and use our spaces wisely. At about 1800 sq. feet, our house is smallish compared to many, but it’s by no means tiny. Being just large enough to host gatherings, but small enough to manage upkeep, makes it a great fit for our family. However, I am sometimes envious of the tiny home owners because they can efficiently tidy up in ten minutes. There are lots of perks to abiding in a tiny house, but I often wonder how their hospitality works. I enjoy hosting friends and family over, and we take up quite a bit of space. Over the years I’ve borrowed several techniques I see tiny house owners using, and I admire the mentality behind the movement. We actually applied it to our garden a few years ago. At one time, we had a large row garden that was a beast to tend to each summer. While we love having a garden, and helping our boys see the whole process of tending to something from seed to harvest, a row garden was unmanageable for our season of life. A tiny garden with just four raised beds has been just the thing for us. We go out and pick at our leisure, and we still have enough to be hospitable and send produce home with our guests. Tiny mentality helps things become more manageable, it can take some pressure off, and help to balance life.
When we started our home décor and gift business last fall, I wasn’t sure how to structure it at first. My ever encouraging husband said then, and is constantly reminding me now, that if I’m not enjoying it, something needs to change. I love creating. In a house full of boys, it allows me to embrace my femininity and is in a way a chance to grab some quiet moments to myself when I need a break. I love making people happy with a creation made for them to keep or to gift. My mind goes crazy thinking of wonderful things to create, and I start putting pressure on myself to make, make, make. I dream of vendor fairs and all the pretty boutiques in Ohio and beyond, but when I realize the mass amount of products it would take to fill those spaces, I feel like it all becomes unmanageable. So I decided to call our business a tiny business, some say micro business or cottage industry, and focus on intentional products produced in small batches.
While at a recent convention, I chatted with a workshop speaker/business owner and had the most validating conversation. Usually when I mention the term tiny business the person opposite me proceeds in telling me that a tiny business structure is crazy. “You have to grow grow grow…fast fast fast.” As I shyly told the speaker how I am in a season of life where my home and family are priority, I watched a smile cross his face. He could relate because his wife was in a similar position. I asked if it was ok to be small and not try to get big in this season. I think I was worried that if I really went after sales and putting our products out there in the world, then everything might explode beyond what I’m capable of producing, and I would lose the joy of creating what I am able to make right now. He encouraged me to keep up with the tiny mentality for now and grow in time. So that’s what we are doing. I’m love creating as I can fit it in, and producing small collections to place on sale at a local book/home décor/coffee shop called Agape in Springfield, Ohio. I also enjoy placing unique items on our website, and making custom orders. It’s just the right mix for us right now. Are there any other tiny business minded folks out there? I’d love to hear from you. Share with me what you are doing, how, and why.
Keeping it tiny for now, and maybe always.