Tuesday, February 25, 2014

DFC Confessions......Starting an Online Business for Dummies

You're not going to have to do much guessing to figure out the topic of this confession.  :)

This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get when I talk to people about DFC......  "What made you decide to do this?"  I've told you part of this story before, but there's a bit more to it. 

Here's my standard mode of operating.  I get a project in mind somehow - you really never know where it is going to come from - and I decide I'm going all out.  I mean ALL out.  110% and it has to happen NOW!!  There will be no waiting.  (Imagine how flipping hard adoption is for me!)  I will put all of my energy into it, as well as the energy of those around me and at some point, soon after beginning, I will get completely burned out and fizzle completely, project half done.

I have stamps and cross stitching and quilting supplies and totes upon totes for organization and totes upon totes of fabric for all of the wonderful, huge projects I was going to complete - but never did.  Now I'm going through a minimalist phase and everything HAS TO GO!!!!

My husband really loves this about me.  Mr. "I Will Think About It For a Year, Weight All the Pros and Cons, and Then Make a Decision.  Maybe.  We'll see."  (Have I mentioned I am a big fan of sarcasm?)

Anyway, 4 years and 2 months ago I went shopping on Black Friday in search of a certain princess vanity my daughter wanted.  I arrived too late to the store and had to order it online.  I ordered it from a company I'd never heard of and with my order received a promotional jute bag.  Promotional - free - tote bag!  Yes, please.  I will take it all!

In the chaos of the holiday season I set the bag to the side when I received it and forgot about it until after Christmas.  December 30, 2009, my mom had my kiddos for the weekend.  I was cleaning up and ran across the tote bag and decided to figure out what it was.  On the tote was a tag that said, "Freeset Global.  In business for freedom" and it mentioned human trafficking.  I had no idea what jute was, why people needed freedom - we're all free, right? - and really didn't know what human trafficking was.  So, I started with Freeset's website and began learning exactly what human trafficking was and why companies like Freeset were so important to eliminating trafficking and improving our world all at the same time.  I was hooked.  I had liked the tote already - now I was in love with it.  Having it - using it - meant something!

I left the tag on - on purpose, embarrassing both my husband and my children when we would go places.  I really wanted people to point out to me that I had left the tag on - and then man, would they get an education!  I don't know when I ever did take the tag off. I knew that by carrying that bag I was advocating for the artisans who created it.  And I was so proud to do so.

I digress.

As I learned about Freeset, I became so excited.  It just stirred a passion inside me that I hadn't known existed, really.  I started googling "shop with purpose" and started coming across companies with similar philosophies and missions as Freeset.  In all of my searching, though, I couldn't find a shop that had a variety of shop with purpose items, from several different non-profits and organizations.  Well, why not create one, then?!

I called my husband at work and asked him if he would stop and pick up a book for me at the bookstore on his way home.  "What's the book called?", he asked.

"Starting an Online Business for Dummies."

You know what he said??!!  Mr. Conservative?

He said, "Okay.  I'll stop on my way home"

I couldn't believe it!  And I didn't argue.

He was on board from Day 1.  It was my first indicator that this "project" was not a phase and not just an impulse.  He bought the book; I started reading (and highly recommend the book unless you are, in fact, going to start an online business competing with DFC.  Then I don't recommend it at all.) 

That's it.  That's the story of how DFC started.  Nothing spectacular.  Just a mom sitting in her home office googling about a tote bag.  Who knew that not finding that great deal on Black Friday would change my life?

How about you?  Impulsive?  Conservative?  What would you have said to me on December 30, 2009?

*Photo credit - Ebay.


  1. While I tend more toward your husband's personality type, I am so glad you started DFC! I love seeing how something as small as a free tote bag can start something even bigger. Your story reminds me to be aware of the little ways God might be nudging us into something...we've just got pay attention and be willing to take that step...or in your case, that LEAP!!

    Glad you haven't left this project "half done"! (a concept I can relate to as well) Keep up the great work!!