Well y'all, I’ll go ahead and rip off the bandaid - Fiercely is closing down. Yep, the big sale we're having isn't just a "summer sale" it's a big ol' "going out of business sale." *cue the tears*
I know this is going to be the big question so let’s hit it first. Why? Because I’ve been running a business of some kind since 2009. All while having a full time (or 30+ an hour part time) job. It’s been hard. It’s been wonderful. But I’m exhausted. I’m ready to spend more time with my husband and my dogs. I’m ready to finally meet some people in Denver outside of business groups and networking. There's a little more to it than that, though.
Anxiety. Ohhhh the anxiety.
Apparently working 30-40 hours a week at a “day job” and then spend every other minute working on your side hustle is not great for your body. Who knew?! Also when I was not working, I was suffering from crippling anxiety about the things I should be working on. It was a LOT. It has been constant for the last 18 months and enough is enough.
As a society, we have fetishized “the hustle”/entrpreneurship/girlbossiness in an unhealthy way. Life doesn't have to be about grinding 24/7 and I think a lot of us are realizing that. (I could go on and on about this, but this blog post is already plenty long enough.) About a month ago, I had a little mini breakdown and realized I hardly know who I am outside of “business owner.” Talk about an existential crisis. People who haven't known me long probably just know me as someone who is always doing something, someone who is always busy. And I realized I don’t want to be JUST that person. So it’s time to, quite literally, find myself again. (Fun fact, I learned that I still REALLY love playing Mario! I haven't done that regularly in YEARS.)
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room - money. This is not meant to be a sob story but I think it’s important to be totally transparent with you guys and just say that I was never able to make the money I thought I would with Fiercely. And that’s totally okay! Sometimes things just don’t work out and that’s fine. I’m thankful I’m not walking away with a ton of debt or anything, but I did some calculations on what I made hourly last year and it’s….haunting lol.
That being said, I beg of you to support small businesses you love with your dollars. And again PLEASE do not think I’m guilt-tripping you because money is a very small part of this decision. But I just want to reiterate how important it is to financially support businesses you love because they will die without it. I'm very thankful that I've always had a "day job" and never had to panic about money, but it was still brutal working so many hours for so little return.
I love my "day job."
Here’s something you don’t hear from a lot of small business owners - I LOVE my day job. I seriously have one of the coolest jobs I could ever imagine for myself. I work for a small marketing firm with some fabulous coworkers. I’ve known my boss (and worked with him in some capacity) since 2007. Since we're a small firm we all do a lot, but the majority of my time is spent with two main clients - one is a performing arts center in one of the top luxury travel destinations in the US, and another is a Broadway-level touring show that's based out of the UK. I get to be creative and flex my talents on a daily basis. I get to travel. I get to go to cool shows. I am immersed in the arts. I have literally NO desire to quit my day job (and yes, I’m fully aware of how blessed I am).
I am working my life away.
I kind of already mentioned this, but honestly the breaking point for me was when I realized I was quite literally working my life away. Maybe it’s because I just turned 30 but I definitely had an “aha moment” where I asked myself WHY I was doing this. Working countless hours a week, running my own business and also working for someone else with no end in sight....why?! I had to revert back to my “why” and remember why I started Fiercely in the first place (and reflect on where I am now).
- Reason #1 - to give myself a creative outlet (at the time I was at a job that wasn’t challenging me and my brain felt stifled) - this was great for a time, but I don’t need it anymore
- Reason #2 -as a place to express my frustration and anger with *gestures wildly* the general state of the world - I feel like I did this and I’m in a bit of a different place now. Don't get me wrong, I'm still angry but Fiercely made it really difficult for me to be "an activist" in the way that I'm feeling called to be now.
- Reason #3 -to give other people the opportunity to express themselves too - I’m honestly so proud of the fact that I gave so many people a shirt to wear that makes them feel empowered, emboldened, and like part of a community. This is for sure the hardest "why" to give up.
- Reason #4 -to make some extra money - we've already been over this one
- Reason #5 -to raise money for some amazing organizations - we did this! I’m really proud of the donations that were made because of you guys, so THANK YOU for making this possible.
I know this is long but hey, you guys deserve an explanation because you are truly the reason I have kept this going as long as I have. It honestly devastates me to leave behind this little community and I REALLY HOPE you will all stay in touch via my personal Instagram, @valerybrennan.
So here’s what the timeline looks like for Fiercely. I can’t just cut the cord so it’s going to drag out a little more than most people would lol.
- We’ll be running a big closing sale now through the end of August on some of our styles. The sale might end sooner if we run out of stock before then.
- The online shop will remain open (with limited items available) until October 15 so make sure you get your orders in before then!
- Social media is going to slow down A LOT. Please don’t DM me on Instagram if you need help with business stuff, send an email to hello (at) shopfiercely.com. I’m not going to say I won’t be on Instagram at all because I probably will, but it will be sporadic.
I love you guys so much. Let’s keep changing the world together, okay? (And don't forget to stay in touch with my personal Instagram, @valerybrennan!)