My son was born in September of 2008. I had arranged for 5 months of maternity leave from the company where I’d worked for 14 years and was looking forward to relaxing and being a Mom. I was working on starting Faceplant as a fun side-gig and figured I might have a little time for that while my new baby slept in the coming months. I was in my early 40’s. I was elated and blessed to have born a healthy, happy baby, so nothing else mattered. I felt invincible!
September 29, 2008. The stock market crashed. I lost most of my life’s savings and all of the equity in my home. Within a couple of weeks, I also lost my job. (Well technically, I wasn’t laid off until the day I returned from maternity leave, but that was little solace at the time.)
The bottom line is, I felt like the rug of life had been pulled out from under me. One day I was on top of the world, and the next day I felt like I was falling from that same height… plummeting toward the hard ground beneath with no idea where I might land. I felt the isolation of being a new mom, away from the busy corporate environment I’d always know, and with no idea how I was ever going to support myself and my baby boy. I cried for a week, which seemed like a reasonable mourning period for the predictable life I thought I’d earned.
As many of us did in 2008, I picked myself up by my bootstraps (as they say in Texas, I guess?) and started looking for a job, but simultaneously poured energy and resources into starting Faceplant. After all, it was my dream to start Faceplant, I liked the idea of working from home and loved being with my son. The economy had tanked, there were no jobs, nobody had disposable income, and building a successful company seemed like a long shot. But I pragmatically reasoned, it was better than no shot at all. And for me, failure was simply not an option.
Fast forward to March 2020. Faceplant is flourishing with 10 full time employees, 45 independent reps, a local school that relies on our donations, 1,500 retail stores as our partners and friends, and thousands of online customers who return to purchase our products again and again. We started with pillowcases in my garage and now we have slippers, comfy pajamas, and so much more.
Who would guess we’d find ourselves here just a few weeks later? Most of our employees are working from home, our schools are closed, our partner stores are forced to close for everyone’s safety and the stock market has once again plummeted. The ripples and waves of this virus will be washing over us for a long time in ways we can’t yet imagine. We’re so grateful for the continued loyalty of our online supporters, but a significant portion of our business is effectively shut down for the foreseeable future. Despite this, we still have the responsibility of supporting not only our nuclear family but also our Faceplant family.
It would be easy to be fearful, to question whether we all can weather the storm of this virus and it’s resulting economic and emotional trials. We have challenges ahead of us. I don’t know what the coming weeks and months hold for any of us. What I do know, however, is that failure is simply not an option, and when you know that, the only option is to keep going.
We need not be fearless, but we must be brave. For now, we must stay home and love ourselves, our families and our neighbors in the best way we can. Some of us will find new ways to work from home. We will communicate and keep our world and our lives moving forward, while we protect ourselves and those who are most vulnerable. We’ll control the spread of the virus in our cities and our communities. And when the dust clears, and it will, we will once again pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and persevere.