Kins & Kay - The End of a Chapter

 Kins & Kay has been an absolute wild ride the last few years.

Something that started as a hobby became a thriving small business. It grew in ways that I never imagined in the beginning and has really taught me so much about people, determination, perseverance, and the realities of chasing a dream. If in the beginning you told me it would be what it is today and where it was at its peak, I would’ve never believed you!

Kins & Kay started after I found something that I liked doing and was good at, and that was sewing. I decided to make a few little girl’s dresses to sell, which they did, and a passion was sparked inside of me.

I used to say that Kins & Kay started because I had a passion for sewing. Now I see that what I actually had a passion for was entrepreneurship. I loved the unpredictability from day to day, the never-ending catastrophes and fires that had to be put out, problems that needed to be solved, and new skill that needed to be learned.

With the encouragement of the people around me, and mainly my husband, I decided to explore scaling the business. This is where our marketing manager and mentor Travis came to K&K. I will forever be in debt to Travis for his guidance, expertise and countless hours he went above and beyond for Kins & Kay and for me! It was Travis’ belief in the company that finally allowed myself to truly believe in the company and its future. Not to minimize the support of my husband or family, but the encouragement and faith that comes from someone who doesn’t love you or even really know you…well, that boosted my confidence in the future of the business significantly. We revamped the website and began the arduous process of launching paid marketing. By ‘we’ I mainly mean Travis! This was an area completely out of my wheelhouse (as a lot of things will be in my future!).
We launched the new site March 1st, 2020.

We all know what came next.
We had no idea what would happen. Unprecedented times after all.

However, our marketing took off strong. Our website that used to do between $1-2K a month did $4,500 in March 2020.

Then April came and surprised us all!

Our website did $20,000 in sales, I was thrilled!
I had done those sorts of numbers on Etsy before, but never on my own website!
Then came May 2020.
The website doubled in revenue once again, ending that month’s sales at $40,000! Etsy revenue matched the website and with my other various avenues of income, Kins and Kay ended May 2020 at $100,000 in revenue!!


Now, any experienced business owner knows that revenue does not necessarily mean healthy profit. At this time, however, our marketing costs were low, people were shopping online, and it really was an extraordinary time for online e-commerce businesses.

We rode this wave for the rest of 2020, although May was absolutely the peak, it was still overall a very good year.
There were so many countless lessons and things learned in this short period of time. The growing pains of your business going from $15-20k a month to $100k in 3 months are intense! We hired more people and the dream became even bigger! Kins & Kay had a marketing manager, paid ads manager, SEO manager, and social media manager! At one zoom conference we had 6 ‘employees’ and I was just amazed! I remember Travis commenting how exciting it was to see so many faces on a zoom call when we were used to just the two of us!

Then came April 2021.

Now this gets a bit technical, but basically Apple released a new feature with the IOS 14 update that made it nearly impossible to do targeted marketing, which in turn made Facebook marketing now incredibly difficult and limited. We did amazingly well with our FB marketing so this was a huge hit to us and countless other businesses. We’re talking businesses like mine losing a thousand a day in revenue, but bigger companies into the hundreds of thousands-millions. It was a huge blow and still something businesses are struggling to adapt to.
Around this time is when we started noticing a huge influx of new businesses popping up left and right. Although I know many of these companies do not understand the commitment and time that truly goes into a business such as this and most will fizzle out, it makes a huge impact on our bottom line.
Long story short, our marketing costs got higher, the economy kept changing and uncertainty kept growing, consumer buying habits changed, increased competition due to people looking for extra income and so many other things caused for a lot of reflections on my life and the future of Kins & Kay.
When I say it’s been a roller coaster, I truly mean it. Retail sales especially change from day to day. It is a constant up and down of high and lows, victories and failures. It has given me so much joy in life and taught me so much about myself, and about people in general
It is also incredibly stressful and time-consuming.

Kins & Kay is my fourth baby. I was devastated when I finally came to the realization that it was not going to be the success that I had hoped and dreamed.
I went through all five stages of grief. Yes, over a company.
Like I said, though, it was my baby.

I grew it from a hobby, to a business that did nearly $1 million in revenue one year!!

When I was finally able to reach acceptance that this business may not be the success I envisioned it becoming, or even just for the next several years, I did a lot of self-exploration. And as much as I love this business and what I have built, I’m just not sure it’s the lifestyle that I want to live anymore. 
In fact, since making this decision, I have noticed a weight lifted off my chest, and I mean both literally and figuratively. To be completely open, I’m not sure the small business world was necessarily the best choice for my own personal mental health.
It has taken many months for me to not believe myself a failure due to the business not ultimately surviving. When you put as much time and energy into something as I did for so many years, it is hard to not feel like the closing is a personal failure. After having very open conversations with family, close friends and even a bit of therapy time, I’m thankfully now in a place where I can see the situation for what it truly is.
Not all businesses survive.

Even more to the point, most businesses could not and did not survive COVID.

There were so many contributing factors that were completely out of our control. I know that I did everything I could do personally, learned everything I had the time to learn, hired the right people, and explored every available avenue I could to improve the business and the bottom line.

I believe the economy will come back, and that small businesses will be able to thrive again. I think I have the luxury that I could wait out the storm and be a surviving business. However, we don’t know when that will happen.

I have decided that I don’t want to waste any more years on an uncertainty when I have three children at home that need me and that I want to be more present for. I’m not sure what comes next. But I’m open to just seeing where the future leads me.

I can’t begin to express my gratitude for everyone that has been along for this journey and for all those that supported me. Thank you to my husband, who believed in me before I believed in myself, who always went along with my crazy ideas by not only agreeing but most of time requiring his physical labor! Thank you for allowing me to go through all these stages of the growth of the business and the ultimate closing of the business. Thank you for your continued reminder that I’m not a failure, even though there were times I felt I was. Thank you again to Travis! We would not have made it nearly as far without you. I appreciate you and all the extra time you put in. Thank you all for your support over the years and to my amazing customers that I’ve met over the years!

So what does the future for Kins & Kay look like?
Maybe a piece of it that I enjoy doing that also has a decent profit margin will remain in the end?
Maybe I will completely devote myself to my kids and my family, while also having the time to do some things for myself?
Or maybe I’ll go to the Nursing School that I just got accepted into today?!
I have not decided which avenue I want to take or should take.

But I do know that I’m going to make the decision that feels best for me in this phase of life. If anything, this business (and having a husband who is also a self-employed entrepreneur) has taught me, is how to just roll with the punches, because our lives have never looked exactly the same for more than six months’ time!

So the answer is, I’m not sure!
I do know that the idea that I had, to the scale in which I pictured, is no longer going to happen  and I’m finally ok with that.
There’s pros and cons with everything and blessings in disguise everywhere.
It’s a chapter of my life that I’m closing, but one that I will definitely always look back on fondly.
With Gratitude,

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