Monday, August 2, 2021

Community Over Competition

Community Over Competition... This morning, I read an article by Brooke Riley of Re-Fabbed about Community Over Competition. (You can read it here.)

Whew, those words coincided with something that I had made a note about last week and now I have to share my thoughts here. (I may ramble and not write so eloquently as Brooke's article, but I feel compelled to write). You see, in July, I set a goal for my boutique space inside P20 Land & Cattle Interiors and More. 

Our space in Gilmer has been continually growing, with a little dip happening in June. I never set a specific dollar goal, I just set about to take care of business and everything usually takes care of itself. Well, in July I did set a goal. For several years now, I've heard that the "J months" (January, June, and July) aren't the best for retail/boutique businesses and it started out as a "I'm going to prove them all wrong," although I have no idea who "them" is, but that really wasn't the best mindset to have. 

About 2/3s of the way through the month, I started adding up my numbers and I was close to my goal and then I added again and I had hit it, only to realize I had made a huge error in my addition. Boy, did I feel like a fool. I knew I was close and on track to hit the goal, but at that point, I told De Ann that needed to stop focusing on the numbers and instead focus on taking care of business and it would all work out. We kept creating more tees, introduced some new products, launched our school spirit line,  and doing what we know to do. I stopped with continually adding up the numbers. 

Last night, I received my July total and it exceeded my goal by 42%. The "J month" turned out to be my best ever month in a boutique space, but I know that it didn't happen by myself and this is where all this ties back to community. I couldn't have met and exceeded my goals without our community. 

It takes everyone. 
Our community of followers online that encourage us on. 
Our community of friends and vendors at the store, that gives us the opportunity to do this.
Our Chamber of Commerce that pointed someone to the store, when someone inquired about where to find me. 
Live Gilmer for their efforts to promote our town and the businesses in it. 
The community of fellow business owners that are creating a great atmosphere to shop and drawing attention to our town. 
It takes You, who believe in what all of us are doing and come out to support us all. It is so encouraging to see the new businesses in town and the fact that there is still cars parked on the square late in the evenings. 
I love how the windows reflect our courthouse and the downtown businesses. It doesn't always make for the easiest windows to photograph, but it makes the photographs have more depth, story, and community.

When we combined our communities, we grow. 
I used to think I didn't need a space in my hometown. After all, I do local events in our town and community on a regular basis and I have met plenty of customers in local parking lots or make deliveries. I mean, would people still show up to our events or vice versa would they shop the store, because I do events? That thinking was skewed. You see, when we combined the different communities, we grow. The store introduced us to a new circle that wasn't previously a part of my tribe and in turn, my community was introduced to another place, and get this, it was all within the same city and county. Heck, I can be set up on the square at an event and customers shop both our locations in the same day. While much of my inventory is the same, there are some things that are only at P20 or only with me at events/online. 

I still do the Gilmer Farmers Markets, even though I have the space on the opposite corner of the square. Last year, they told me attendance wasn't as good, when I wasn't there. When some of the other regular vendors are absent, I notice less traffic as well. You see, it takes all of us to working together to create a better community. 

I am so thankful for our community of followers. I do look at the statistics from time to time, but I don't dwell on them much. The one time I posted about getting to a certain number of Instagram followers, I had several unfollows and dropped below that number. After that, I sometimes see when I hit a different level, but I just continue doing what I do and not focus on the numbers and that's the same with meeting my July goal. I had to step away from counting the numbers and remind myself that taking care of people has to be my priority. I am so very thankful for each of you who are a part of our online communities. I know that when I started focusing on my daily inspiring, motivational, or funny post, that's when my Facebook page really started to grow. In turn, creating those post, encourages me too. 

So to my community I say thank you for being there for us. Thank you for believing in us and all the others that are striving to build our communities. 

I started not to write about meeting my goal and I don't want to come across as bragging... Instead, I want to encourage you to find your communities (yes, it most certainly takes more than one) that build each other up and focus on doing good work. I have several podcast and business related pages I follow, to gain insights and motivation as well. De Ann at P20 is awesome about building up others - She's the type that shares about other boutiques and events on the P20 facebook page and she even shares when I have other events in town. I nearly said no last fall, when she invited me to join their store, but then I knew it was a place I needed to be and things would work out (the other store I was a part of closed this spring). Along the way, many of you have said you are inspired by me - I hope this inspires you too. Success does not come over night, but when we continually strive to take care of others and lift up our communities. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Let Me Tell Ya About this Texas Tee... and Roots

Let me tell you about this Texas tee - This is one of our original designs and we are pretty, stinkin' excited about this one. We love our State of Texas and everything that makes up this great state. We took graphics along with pictures we have taken, to fill up the Texas collage. It took a while to design, but once I came up with the idea, I had to make it happen! 

East Texas peaches and sweet potatoes, pine trees, a sunset over FM 555, barbed wire fences… bluebonnets and Longhorns in central Texas. Windmill and big sky in the panhandle. Dirt roads and cactus in the west. Throw in old barns, pickup trucks, rodeo Cowboys, boots, hats, sunflowers, and a lone star. What's not to love about that? 
Texas graphic tee v neck short sleeve tee

The sunset is a view from the place where Jeff grew up and where we both feel at home  - the 555 Road Sign also comes from there - a curvy farm to market road with a great group of community and family. Side note - Jeff and I grew up on opposite ends of the same mail route and my family baled lots of hay all along the route, so I had driven a truck and tractor all over the area, long before I met Jeff or even had a drivers license. His family also baled lots of hay in the same community and true story - we talked about tractors and hay on our first date! Roots, it's just simply our roots and what we both grew up doing. 
Texas collage tee by GypsyFarmGirl

Sweet potatoes - our town in know for the East Texas Yamboree (a huge fall festival / county fair with a Yam theme) and there is a basket of sweet potatoes in the back of the truck. Our area is also known for peaches and pine trees. The Yamboree was were we set up for our very first event and we even won the Yam Pie Contest a few years back. Jeff and I both grew up showing our animals at the fair through FFA and 4H, although not at the same time. Once again, it's part of our roots. 

I took the picture of the longhorn in the bluebonnets along the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails several years ago. 

We think of cactus in west Texas and that's actually Jeff's mom's horse standing out there. My niece Brenna (who is also a cousin) took the horse picture (which is also on our Support Your Local Farmers and Ranchers Tee) Here's another crazy side note - my grandparents and my niece's Great-grandparents were all from west Texas and all ended up on the opposite side of the state, without planning it. So yeah, I should probably explain that a little more, huh?!? My granddad and Brenna's great-grandmother were brother and sister. Now you should know that Brenna's dad is Jeff's brother. Brenna's mom and I are second cousins that married brothers, but we really didn't see each other much, till we became sister-in-laws. Wild huh? 

Ok, moving on! Big sky moments for the panhandle with a windmill and a barn. I took the sky picture on some of my travels. 

You can't think of Texas without thinking of boots, hats, and rodeo cowboys. Throw in some sunflowers, a horseshoe, and a single lone star and we filled up Texas. 

Texas graphic tees
Oh, I should also mention that I started making coffee mugs this week! The Texas images show up in even more detail on the mug, opposed to the shirt. 

The collage reminds me of high school, when I cut images from magazines to cover my folders and posters. Twenty something years later, I still have my ag folder, where we had to cover it with clippings to describe ourselves. Here it is, describing me in 1998ish. Look at how many of the same type elements made into our Texas collage! I just opened the folder and it has pages of quotes in there, back from our FFA leadership days... on the right side of the folder it says raised to work... roots, I  tell ya, roots. I foresee some of those same quotes showing up on our daily Facebook post in the near future. When I created agendas for our 4H and FFA meetings, there were always motivational quotes included and now we share them daily on our social media pages. 

You can find all three of the Texas tees on our website:
You can also find them when we do our local events, such as the Gilmer Area Farmers Market and the Texas Collage, Home Grown, and some of the mugs are currently in our space at P20 Land and Cattle on the square in downtown Gilmer, Texas. (I haven't got the mugs online yet, but if you want one, please let us know and I can ship.) The shirts are all super soft and the design is actually dyed into the fabric, so you can't feel it on the shirt. 

Hey Y'all! Answering a Few Questions About Us

Hey Y’all! We’ve had a few questions lately and lots of new faces, so let me introduce myself and answer a few of those questions.
•I’m Janice East. 10 1/2 years ago, I started this as a Etsy shop at night/weekends, while I worked at a flower shop. This coming Christmas will mark 7 years of being self employed and this has grown so much more than I ever imagined.
•I was one of the first to make a burlap and lace wedding bouquet on Etsy and that’s all I did for several years. I have 40+ colors of burlap and have shipped to all 50 states and multiple countries.
•I have a 1959 vintage camper, “Miss Gussie” that we use for some of our events. I thought Yamboree 2015 was a one time show, but we left there with an invitation to do another and it’s kept going from there.
•We have expanded to have our own website {} plus our Etsy shop (although I’m not adding much new stuff to Etsy.)
•I knew when I left the flower shop, I would have to diversify beyond burlap and lace, I just didn’t know it would be clothing.
•We make all the shirts you see in our shops. I’ve taught myself about graphics, building websites, and pretty much everything it takes to run my business.
•We have a large selection of our tee shirts in @p20landcattle on the square in our hometown of Gilmer, TX. (check their social media pages to confirm daily hours, as they do fluctuate some.)
•We also participate in the Gilmer Farmers Market during the summer and will have several fall events.
•When I left the flower shop, I didn’t intend to do fresh flowers, but you ask and referred me to your friends, so I do freelance floral design. I don’t keep flowers on hand, but can get them for events, funerals, or weddings.
•Each day, I create motivational, inspiring, or fun graphics for our pages.
•We love to repurpose and have a very rustic gazebo (that was literally pulled from a trash ditch) and garden. It’s how many of you have found us! I did a tutorial on planting in a Rusty Bottomless Bucket and it got featured by some big bloggers and was a hit on Pinterest. Still my top blog post at
It’s a lot, my schedule is crazy, and for the most part I’m a one person show, but somehow it all works out!
•Oh, and we have a farm!

We would love for you to follow along on our journey and you can do so at
Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @gypsyfarmgirl