Running a shop is work. We were going to use a few adjectives like "hard" or "beautiful," but those seem too small to really capture all that goes into our day-to-day—determination, risk, and grit all make M.Lovewell happen. This is why we celebrated our first birthday with a party (and donut wall!)—because there was not a day this past year that we took for granted that we are able to run a space we love so much.

We are no experts in the field (yet), but after 365+ days of running our shop, we have a few lessons we've learned that we thought worth sharing: 

1) Communication:  Even though there are only two of us, miscommunication can stifle projects, decisions, and growth. Being proactive in communicating can relieve a lot of unnecessary stress and tension. Being both honest and clear with each other on everything is absolutely necessary for our business' growth. We are learning what it means to communicate with each other every day, and recognizing our different ways of communicating, and what works to keep us both on the same page! There is no such thing as over-communication.

2) Have Clear Expectations: We are wired completely different and we came into this business partnership with experiences and lenses that shape our expectations. When we are not clear in what the expectations are, there can be a let down and disappointment when the outcome isn’t exactly what was envisioned.

3) Know Your Brand & Values: Throughout the year, we've received a lot of inquiries from companies, artists, and products, and knowing who we are as a shop and how we want to run our business has made it clear what to say yes and no to. We’re clear in what is non-negotiable to our values, and it makes it much easier to make decisions quickly and with confidence.

4) Be Decisive & Take Action: Identifying and moving past our fears gives us minds ready for action and determination towards our goals as a business. We have learned to make decisions quicker by not worrying so much about making the wrong decision and taking the next best step. 

5) Avoid the Black Hole of Comparison: It is so true that comparison is the thief of joy. We are learning to keep our eyes, hearts and minds focused on the goals we’ve set for our business. Entering into that black hole takes up too much emotional space and time. 

6) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: If you never ask, the answer will always be no. We’ve had to stretch ourselves to ask even if it’s scary or seems far-fetched. 

7) Go Forward with Confidence: The fear of not being good enough emerges whenever we find ourselves feeling insecure or afraid to take action. It can be paralyzing at times when we overthink whether or not what we are creating measures up to others’ expectations, or even our own. We are indeed our own harshest critics. We are learning what it means to be confident in who we are, what we are about and what we deliver!

8) It Takes Grit: Our resiliency is tested as obstacles arise. Sometimes it means we have to learn a new skill, problem solve, and figure it out, no matter how hard or frustrating it is. Sometimes it’s something as simple as keeping our head up, and not letting discouragement and disappointment keep us from taking our next step forward.