As a mom and a small business owner, life is seldom calm. My personal brand is chaos, mixed with some drive and sprinkled with a healthy dose of Irish luck. I wear many hats: wife, mom and active member of the community. I sit on a local charitable board and have a squad of great mom friends. My plate is joyfully full. This speed of life has always worked for me and my family. Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
When COVID began, Wee Chic children’s store had two locations and employed a team of 20. Like most, I underestimated how COVID would change the world. The pace of things slowed and what seemed important months earlier now felt trivial. Now, in a world deeply changed by the pandemic, I am reminded of all I’ve learned from the last two years.
It’s the journey, not the destination that matters
It is easy to miss the trees through the forest. I was not always present during my pre-COVID life. I enjoyed the pursuit and forgot the purpose. I am mindful to slow my pace whenever possible, taking joy in moments, not marked achievement. Spending time with friends and ramping up self-care are on my New Year’s resolution list.
Give back, in any way that you can
Many families will celebrate this holiday without loved ones because of COVID-19. Appreciating my health and counting my blessings has opened the door to share my good fortune and re-examine how I invest my time. That includes learning about the experiences of others and using my platforms to make giving easier for young people.
What really matters are the people that you love, not the things
As the COVID-19 pandemic began, my initial concern was for the idea of my business, a construct of a tangible thing. People who helped me build my business suddenly needed me to protect their livelihoods. Clients that supported my business needed me to help keep traditions alive for their kids. My business is family and friends who held my hand on tough days, cheering me on during good ones. My business is the vendor community and business partners that shared our pain. Small business isn’t a thing. It’s the culmination of people who create and support an idea.
Don’t wait for the perfect time; it’s never coming
I had an idea for another retail concept years ago: a boutique serving young women ages 14 to 19 years old. In 2018, I mentioned it to my landlord at Green Spring Station and waited for a sign from the universe. Right around the one-year mark of the pandemic, my landlord called with some news. The space across the hall from Wee Chic was available for lease. There was my sign. Was I really opening a new, untested retail concept on the heels of a global crisis? Of course I was! I was ready to share this new idea with the world, and there was no better time.
I am proud to say Wee Chic is thriving, and I recently opened that second concept for teens called Girlhero. My team of 20 dedicated employees is now 30. I’ve added “junior epidemiologist” to my list of roles, and I remain an active member of the same local charitable board and still have a squad of great mom friends.
We all survived a global pandemic and learned what is truly important in life. My holiday wish for you is to honor the lessons learned by living through this experience together. Savor time with loved ones, make goals for the new year and go after them. There is no time like the present!
Bridget Quinn Stickline is the owner of Wee Chic Boutique and Girlhero at Green Spring Station in Lutherville-Timonium.