I make cycling caps for a living. That is my business.
Ten years ago I knew that I wanted to own my own business. But ten years ago I was a nurse, and had you asked me ten years ago never in a million years would I have guessed my business would be making cycling caps.
But here I am, making cycling caps for a living, and running my own, independent business. I am no longer working as a nurse, making big money from hospitals. I am happier. In fact, I make very little money, and I am still happier.
Granted, it’s sometimes not very “happy” to live near the poverty level. But there is so much else going on that I am happy about. I am happy to be working with my hands, creating and crafting things that other people are happy about. I get such nice feedback from my customers. They approach me with good humor and respect, something I really missed in my hospital encounters. And they keep coming back.
Beyond that, I get to decide what I want to do. I get loads of feedback from people who have never sewn items for a living about how I should sew items for a living. I sift through that feedback carefully, because really, after seven years of making cycling caps (39 months of doing it expressly for a living) Little Package just is what it is. Little Package is stable, and it doesn’t “need” to grow like a lot of people think. I don’t get that. Why can’t some people accept that small, traditional craft business is viable and legitimate? Why isn’t it seen as “cool” to stay true and not grow? Little Package evolves slightly here and there, but generally I adhere to an old-fashioned trade aesthetic. I just focus on getting people their caps, and I have a fairly narrow range. Little Package is not going to make bags or capes and is not going to outsource manufacturing to China or even to employees. I don’t mind making each and every cap myself. I enjoy it. That is what I want to do.
Last night I took myself out to the Lumberyard and rode myself silly on the jump line. This morning I woke up flattened, hardly able to get out of bed. I’m definitely almost too old for BMX (but not quite). But that was OK; yesterday I’d prepared to have the day off anyway for jury duty. I worked my butt off all day making caps, and celebrated by riding as hard as I could at the bike park.
Jury duty was cancelled.
I could work today, or I could take the day off. I took the day off. My boss lady decided it was alright. I took a short bike ride around the neighborhood to run some errands. I watched a movie in bed. My heart rate was 46 beats per minute. That mellow. I sat on the patio with a gin and tonic, my feet up, and read a book. I decided to write this blog post about what it is like to be in charge of me.
It’s pretty simple: as long as the caps get made and customers are happy, and as long as my rent is paid and there is some food in the cupboards… I can do whatever I want. I can do this all on my own schedule. Now that is a cool job — a cool living — right?