Welcome to Small Business Spotlight!
Small Business Spotlight is a series that we created to showcase local entrepreneurs who have turned their passions into growing businesses.
And they all have a story to tell. Sometimes their stories will amaze you, sometimes they will be inspiring, sometimes they will make you cry. Some of their stories may even encourage you to start your own small business.
In this segment, we’re featuring local maker and small business owner, Carole Warren Kerr from Dipsy Doodle Designz. When she told me her story, I knew this was something that had to be shared. She graciously agreed.
Here is Carole’s story…
So I often get asked, “Why do you craft?” or “Why did you start doing this?”
The answer is easy.
I must make things, it’s just part of my soul.
It’s a yearning that seems to overtake me. My brain just works that way, always looking for the unusual and inspiring me to try new things. Sometimes I get so overloaded with creativity that my brain actually starts to hurt. Truly, I love when that happens to me.
All this drastically changed for me in September of 2011.
I felt like I’d lost everything.
While still mourning the tremendous loss of my Mom just 9 months earlier, my beloved husband Doug suddenly passed away. It happened very quickly, without warning.
He took my heart with him.
I felt unable to function. Even getting out of bed felt impossible most days.
How was I going to face life without him?
Would I be able to run my small business without him?
How was I going to participate in all these craft markets that I’d committed to?
Doug had been such an integral part of my small business: he was everything from my roadie to my biggest cheerleader. He’d turned my rough display booth ideas into reality. His sense for what would sell and what wouldn’t was uncanny. He had given me some of my greatest ideas. He had even given me the name for my business, “Dipsy Doodle”. It’s a phrase he used all the time when we would go on adventures and one day he said, “this would make a great name for your business”.
How the heck was I going to go on without him?
That’s when I came across this saying-
That’s when I realized that this was the only choice I had. He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
So 5 weeks after his death I did my first craft show, alone.
Then it dawned on me that I had to keep crafting and creating. This would be the one thing that would help take my mind off my overwhelming grief, even if for only a few minutes at a time.
It forced me to get out and see people. If truth be told, even now, I would rather be hiding under the covers most days. Since that’s not a healthy thing to do, I force myself to take it one day at a time. It’s not easy, but no one said life would be easy, right?
It may sound a bit dramatic but I really feel that crafting is saving my life a little. When I’m crafting it feels like Doug is still helping me like giving me a thumb up or thumb down on a new creation. That’s the gut feeling I listen to because he was always right.
I guess the best thing to take from all this is life is very, very hard sometimes.
Life will knock you down and you’ll feel that you can’t get back up.
You’ll feel utterly defeated.
But you must learn to lean on those around you for support and guidance.
With their help, you’ll find a way to get back to your most “beautiful wrapped life”.
Doug would want or expect nothing less.
- Carole Warren Kerr
Everyday we all struggle with “life” and sometimes it helps to know that we’re not alone. Often the words of others who have experienced these same struggles are what keeps us going.
Carole’s story was truly inspiring to me. Sometimes it really would be easier to just stay in bed with the covers over our heads. Just give up.
But if we did that then maybe our stories wouldn’t get told.
Our stories wouldn’t go on to be inspiring to someone else.
So don’t give up. Be the inspiration.
- Anna Ludwinowski