Last week, the HuePhoria partners each had a daughter graduate from High School, and these three young ladies will be heading off to college in the fall, followed by four more Hue kids over the next six years.   We are so proud of them all! When I reflect on my daughter’s childhood, I can’t help but notice the parallels between running this glassware business and raising our children. HuePhoria is like this common child we have between us partners, and it has almost always been present in our kids’ lives. I’m sure they treated the competition for attention like a sibling, “she’s busy with HuePhoria right now.” Or “Oh, sure…take HuePhoria to NYC.” HuePhoria has taken us through more trials and tribulations than all of our kids combined, so there’s no favoritism here!  It has definitely wet the bed the most, that’s for sure. The graduates were only in nursery school when we started painting furniture and glassware out of our kitchens for fun and extra cash. Pretty much all they have known is colorful explosions of paint all over the counters and painted things drying everywhere around them…that, and their moms loading up the minivans, totally stressed out, heading off to their next ‘craft show’ to the tune of Sanford and Sons. We would laugh at the craziness the whole way, guzzling down giant gas station coffees and shoveling peanut M & M’s into our mouths for our healthy breakfast. And it was inevitable that at least one of our kids would decide to get sick the day of a ‘big show.’  What would we do without the neighbors?!

Some of the early parallels between HuePhoria partners and our kids:

  • We all took over the entire kitchen when we used our paints, and cooking was out of the question
  • We all preferred snacking
  • We all “fell into the Gap.” Apparently we thought it was cute and artsy to wear overalls…kind of like a HuePhoria uniform.  At least ours didn’t have snaps.
  • We all cried a lot.  It was frustrating trying to take our hobby to the next level of mass production! And kids just cry a lot.

    Lisa & her Grad

As we grew from a hobby to a full-blown business, we did it the only way we knew how; we took each day as it came, with all of its surprises. Kind of like with the kids “Hmm… what will they do to test us today!”? And that would move into “It can’t get any worse than this! Tomorrow’s a new day. Gotta get better.” And it does.  Here’s another parallel/contrast for you:  Some people paint with paint; others paint with whatever’s handy at the moment, perhaps a little something from the diaper.  One of us was lucky enough to have the talented “Poocasso” in the house who created quite the masterpiece. “Oh, I’m sorry Mommy… you actually want to see out of those windows?” #Clorox

Just like our first manufacturing broker who said: “Oh… you mean you wanted the paint to stay on all of these 10,000 glasses?” I can’t remember if the reaction to both of these situations was “are you &%$*# serious?!” or “this really stinks.” I do remember that one was hilariously funny right away, and the other took a few years to crack a smile about. One of my favorite parts about being in this business with Lisa and Kathy is that we all enjoy a good laugh. Humor is one of the best survival tactics around, and it’s free!  Our humor has been definitely tested during the past four years, a time when we have had to dig a little deeper for the laughs. The kids were entering the teen years and we were entering into a challenging economic time to have a small business. The good news is that there was never a dull moment!

Naturally we want what is best, or what we think is best, for anything we create, but I’m convinced that businesses, like kids, have their own plan for themselves.  It becomes very noticeable in those teen years. All of a sudden, these things are coming out of my mouth that my parents used to say to me: “You’re not even listening” “Where are you going?” “You need to start making your own money” …And who knows what I was saying to my kids!! We can try as hard as we want to keep our children/businesses in a semi-controllable state, but there are other forces out there working on them besides us Moms. The key is to trust that we’ve done the best we can with what we have to work with, believe that it’s amazing and surrender the rest.

Kathy & her Grad

Somewhere along this journey, we were all given the fast pass for unlimited roller coaster rides.  Now that I think about it, it came the moment we decided that it would be a good idea to throw a business into our mix of families…”ah, what’s one more kid!” So glad we did because here we are, looking forward to our next HuePhoria Summit so we can plan for 4th quarter, but more importantly so we can all be together in Maine before the girls go off on their new adventures.  If our girls have learned anything from us, I think I can speak for my partners when I say that we hope it’s this: Nothing is more important than enjoying family and friends… and laughing.

They say it costs more than $ 250,000 to raise a child to 18 these days.

The cost to raise HuePhoria:  certainly not priceless, and we wish it were less pricey.

Although HuePhoria won’t be heading off to college this fall, we do have an opportunity to help it progress into it’s next exciting growth phase through this Mission:SmallBusiness! Competition. We need 250 votes to qualify:

We’re not asking for college tuitions, just your vote!

THANK HUE for taking the time to read this, and if you voted, double thanks.

Cheers to the Grads!  Jen

Jen & her Grad