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The “I’m still here!” rant and gut-spilling.

September 03, 2012

Jess and Adri. Lovers, tourists, Starkers.

I swear I haven’t disappeared! I’m still here. Working away. Dreaming my dreams. Washing my face with oil. You know, the usual…

I just haven’t felt inspired to write lately. It’s not that I don’t have things on my mind, I just don’t have much to say about natural beauty at the moment (if you have any questions…fire away! I’d love to hear what you’d like to know my take on). It’s funny, because I could write far more about business and entrepreneurship than about natural beauty right now. It’s just a little phase. (As I wrote that, I can think of a ton of things I really should discuss here! I’ll get to it…I will.)

Anyhow, I felt I owed you a little update, a hello and an explanation about what’s up with all the silence. I’m a pretty transparent person, and I modelled Stark that way as well (easier when a company is similar to it’s CEO!) so I’ll just spill my aching little heart out to you.

OK. There’s been LOTS going on lately. This summer, on a personal level, has been pretty crazy. Crazy stressful and crazy great. Just general crazy, you know? I’ll talk a bit more about some of that stuff another time…

On a business level, things here have been really great, but hard. I’m so thankful and grateful that Stark is growing, but my number of hands and the hours in the day  have not grown at all. Not sure if I’d really want more hands (buying shirts would be such a pain), but you get what I mean. You see, I get stuck and completely overwhelmed sometimes, but feel guilty that I have any other emotion than sheer rapture at the fact that my little company-baby is growing up to be such a fine young lady. I AM rapture-happy (what a strange sentence…) but there’s a lot of grey area, too. Now don’t get me wrong…I’m certainly not complaining! I just wanted to share with you where I’m at and what’s going on, and what will be happening soon.

To be honest, I feel so alone at times, and sometimes I’m really afraid of failing my customers. I LOVE this company and I LOVE my customers,  but it’s hard to see the future when you’re buried in boxes and labels and emails and pending projects and orders and supplies and having to manufacture and ship and everything else. I know I have to be working ON the company more, and IN the company less, but I have to wait for quiet periods to do that, and when it’s quiet, I panic!

You know, I sometimes pretend that Stark is a “we”, but it’s just me. Most of you probably know that.  I do it all. All of it…and to be honest, it’s kinda fucked up. It’s too much to keep moving along like this in a sustainable way. I will just plateau right here…and that can’t happen. You have no idea how much I have buried in my little brain that needs to be unleashed onto the world! This world will smell good, for starters. I know Stark’s not a fraction of what it can be. Nowhere close, and my customers deserve the best Stark can be, dammit!

Anyhow, this management issue has led to some discussion about restructuring Stark a little. The fact is I can’t grow at a good pace on my own…at least not at the way I’ve been operating (100% solo). I need help, and I’m not too proud to admit it. I’m SO dedicated to keep offering better stuff…more products, better service, more resources. I HAVE to…. I’m addicted. I can’t stop! I need to keep improving Stark, because my clients inspire me so much to keep at it. So, I have come to an impasse. I can only do so much, you know, before balls drop somewhere.

So. The good news: Adriano, my everything-partner, is scrambling to wrap-up his PhD in the next few weeks so he can have more of a hand in the company. He’s my equal in the company, on paper, but he’s got all his own stuff (his thesis in bio-computational physics and his own start-up he’s been working on) so he hasn’t been able to help out much with Stark. That’s all about to change! It was his idea, so I’m thrilled that he’s coming in as Operations Manager (YES!!!!) and you guys, he’s SO WELL ORGANIZED and is always a great catalyst for change. We’re like yin and yang, him and I. Night and day, yet totally complementary. So he’s been crunching some numbers, and doing really productive Googling (did you know some people are far more skilled at online searches than others?), and we’ve got some changes planned already!

These changes will all take some time, and some aren’t THAT exciting as an announcement (E.g. “We found a great new accounting system! Everyone rejoice!”) but it does mean that I will have more time to do the things I’m good at. Like designing new products, hanging out online with you guys, creating awesome resources, and scheming up new goodies to make your life naturally more enjoyable. 🙂 I also hope to throw a little work travel in there as well, and tons more research into new ingredients. And give myself more time for the billion other things I do to keep Stark trudging along (marketing, PR, writing, coordinating, collaborating  etc). This only means more space for growth!

Also, we’re going to be way more efficient…meaning, for one, MUCH better shipping options for my folks in the US and abroad, including my little fanbase in Australia that I always feel are neglected. No more! Stark will be so much more accessible, trackable, and dependable….and shipping to the far corners of the earth will be affordable!

So, there you are. My silver lining in my small pouf of grey clouds on an otherwise sunny situation. Just though I needed to check in with you and give you a little taste of the goodness to come!