It’s been 6 years since I pushed the publish button for my Etsy shop. I opened up for business September 23, 2015. Hunkeedori began long before that so to me it’s felt much longer than that. I knew owning a business was what I wanted. How I was going to get there was the mystery. Business. Design. Sewing. Teaching. It all came together in the perfect business for me. A lot has changed over time, but I’m surprised at how much has stayed the same. That’s how I know I’m on the right track in what I’m doing. Today I thought it would be fun to give you a bit of the back story and behind the scenes into what built this little business of mine into what you see today.
I remember the day my husband came home from work and announced that we were going to invest in ourselves. He’s a computer guy and I am definitely a creative. We could build an online business with our combined skills. So that’s what we did. Lots of work later and using up most of the money we got from some stock he received from his previous job, we built an online scrapbooking kit company. We named it Simple Memory Kits. This was 2005 so our website was pretty janky, there was no social media for advertising and with no business experience between us I’d say we didn’t do too bad. We worked our tails off! Keep in mind we had 4 young kids at home, the youngest wasn’t even a year old yet, so for me, caring for our children took up the majority of my time and was my #1 priority. I had nap time and after they went to bed to focus on my part of the business. We ended up moving in 2007 and by 2008, the economy was in the toilet and people weren’t spending their limited income on scrapbook kits. We decided to throw it in and cut our losses. We lost quite a bit financially but I think we learned a lot about running a business.
I was pretty sad about it. Starting that company made me remember how much I love doing things like that. It lit a fire in me to start something else. I didn’t know what or when but I knew I’d do something else in the future.
Fast forward to 2014. Honestly, with a young family, it didn’t feel fast at all. I still had the business bug but no money to even think about starting anything of my own. I’d been doing clothing alterations and custom sewing off and on at home since 1991 and I was very confident in my sewing abilities. I knew whatever business I started had to have something to do with that. I also knew there were a few road blocks to starting another business. At this point, there wasn’t any stock money. My husband was not interested in getting into another business. And I didn’t know what my “business” was even going to be.
I’m going to take a little sidetrack here. Usually, I skip over the part of my life between 2007-2014 when I tell about how I built my business but I’m not going to do that anymore. These are the years that have TRULY made me into who I am today. They might not seem to be relevant if you only know me as the one who designs Travelers Notebooks. If you’re listening to this podcast, you know another side of me and I’m so grateful to you.
Shortly after moving in 2007, I began a major battle with depression. I believe the move triggered the depression, but it wasn’t the cause. As I got help to treat it (that’s a big story there too) I learned about the chemical imbalances that can cause depression, not just situational, so I got to go through the fun of finding just the right medication that helped make those connections in my brain that weren’t happening. It wasn’t quick and it wasn’t easy but the outcome has been positive so I can’t be anything but grateful for it. It was after finding the right medication and I was able to get the motivation to want to do anything, that I began the process of putting my life back together. I started little by little, learning simple practices that helped me to find my purpose, what I wanted and how I was going to get my life back again. That’s when I learned about journaling and priorities and the importance of choosing how I wanted my days to look. I learned to love myself. I learned that when I love myself I can love others better instead of thinking the opposite. As my mental health improved, my physical and emotional health improved too. I was able to exercise again, slowly building day by day. All of these things built slowly upon each other. Line upon line as I like to think about it. I’ve continued to use the things I learned during this time and they keep me going. I’ve built upon them, tweaked and practiced and shared and got feedback, learned more and more and continue to share. That’s where my programs that I’ll tell you about later come in. I just didn’t want to skip over this super hard time of my life. I hate it when people do that and make you feel like the changes you want to have happen should be happening faster. They can take time. They sure did for me.
OK, back to the Hunkeedori story.
As I continued dreaming about my future business and wondering how I’d ever have time or energy to reach my dream, I realized that the one thing I did have some control over was being able to earn some extra money. My kids were older now, so they didn’t take up every second of my day. I knew I didn’t want to go work outside of my home so I started looking for a job I could do in my home. It took some time but I found a job sewing pillow covers for a lady who owned an Etsy shop. I’d go pick up the fabric and the orders and return them a few days later and get more. The money wasn’t fantastic but by budgeting a little every month into my “Future Business” envelope I eventually saved $500. I reached this milestone around the same time she decided that she wanted to expand and have her seamstresses work in her warehouse instead of at home (for less pay I may add) so it made it easy for me to say goodbye. I knew that I wanted to start my own Etsy shop and now I had money saved and was closing in on an idea. I filled pages with the business ideas I came up with.
You all know that I’m a paper planner kinda gal.
A friend tried to tell me how great the calendar was on the iPhone and that I should give it a try it. So, I gave it a 6 month dedicated shot.
I almost pulled my hair out!
I needed to have my schedule physically in front of me.
Now, I’ve tried all kinds of planners over the years, there’s too many to even try and count.
After fighting the urge to learn about the Midori style of planners I’d heard about for months, I finally made myself a Travelers Notebook style planner and fell in love. I mean… I. FELL. HARD!
- Being able to move all my different notebooks in and out.
- Getting to choose exactly what I wanted.
- Choosing coordinating fabrics???? Don’t even get me started on my obsession with that!
- It was everything I had ever wanted all rolled into one perfect system.
I soon got tired of carrying it AND my wallet. I do not love a large, heavy purse.
Luckily I’ve been sewing professionally over half of my life so I started working on designing something that could be both a planner and a wallet.
After researching on the internet, looking for what I had in mind and couldn’t find it, I decided that I’d have to figure it out myself. Luckily I know how to sew and make my own patterns.
I added a zippered pocket to the back of the Travelers Notebook and designed my own card and coupon pockets as an insert to hold everything my wallet could hold.
When my oldest daughter saw what I was doing, she picked it up and immediately said, “This is hunky dory!”
She’s amazingly intuitive!
She didn’t even know about the Midori style of planner.
She didn’t know that I was trying to name my new business.
And that how the Hunkeedori name was born and it has stuck from that first moment! I love that. I love that my daughter came up with the name without even knowing she was doing it. It was meant to be for sure!!
That was over 6 years ago.
A lot has changed in those years but the original Walleedori, Chunkeedori, Pockeedori and Clutcheedori are still exactly the same designs.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the design for the Clutcheedori came to me in a dream?
It’s been so much fun getting to know more and more customers and I’m happy to say that a lot of you have become friends.
I love that each TN I make is different. No two people choose the same size, style, or fabrics combinations. I love seeing what you all come up with.
Is it more work to do each order custom? YES!
Is it harder to keep up with all the orders than having a ready-made selection? YES!!
Would I change any of it? NO!!! I’m so grateful my customers are willing to wait for me to make them each one by one.
I’ve held true to my mission statement that no two people are the same. We are all uniquee and so our Travelers Notebook should be too. I also need you to know that a Travelers Notebook is not a planner. It’s the cover that can hold your planner and everything else that make up the systems that run your life. Those systems are unique to each person as well. That’s why I love the Travelers Notebook so much!!
I sell my Travelers Notebooks at hunkeedori.etsy.com. I hope to one day have them available on my own personal website which is hunkeedori.com. I’m so grateful to each one of you who have passed through my shop. Not everyone has been happy with what they got, I’ve definitely made mistakes, but I’ve grown from that feedback.
Most people have been delightful to work with and it’s such a pleasure to work with all of you.
Hunkeedori has grown more than I ever imagined. It’s been a lot of work and has filled in every moment of time I have allowed it to. If I let it, I could spend every waking minute of the day working on it. There is always something more I want to do. I’d love to take you on a trip in my brain to show you everything I’d like to do. That would be super weird, so you’ll just have to watch and see what’s coming next.
I can honestly say that my favorite part of this journey has been realizing how great the Travelers Notebook and Planning community is. I have connected with some of the kindest people I have ever met. As I’ve expanded my message into what fills my TN, (journaling, planning and memory keeping) I have met even more people. Thanks to all of you who have been so welcoming and kind. I have “online” friends and I never thought I would.
I look forward to the years ahead. I have so many new designs to bring to life. So many things I want to teach. I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned that my college degree is in Elementary Education. I don’t ever see myself going back into that field but I do still have the desire to teach. So far, I have a few Workshops that are open all the time, Stick to YOUR Plan, TN1010 and Camp Connection. I also have a monthly workshop that changes topics on the third Wednesday of every month. My main program is called Uniquee Connection and right now I am teaching that three times a year. I’d love to start a membership group where we can spend time learning and working through all of the topics I teach together. I’d love the additional connection. Watch for all of these programs and workshops. I share about them in my Hunkeedori facebook group, on Instagram and in my Keeping it Together community. I also post videos on YouTube quite often too. Whenever you’re ready to join me in the path to defining your priorities, living according to those priorities and learning to know, love and trust yourself along the way, I’m here and ready to help you. I’ve also got a lot of helps to make designing your Hunkeedori Travelers Notebook even easier. I’ll leave links to all of these things in the show notes below.
Thank you so much for going on this trip down memory lane with me and indulging me in sharing my dreams about the future.
I love what I do. I love that it involves you.
I look forward to all that is ahead.