August 2019

The Choice

Author: Heather Quinn | Photographer: M.Kat Photography


Heather Quinn at home with her daughters Rosie and Ella Grace.

About a year ago, a business woman whom I admire a great deal penned a thank-you note to me in response to a gift I had given her for retirement. One line that took me by surprise and stuck with me was this one: “It’s a tough balance between being an entrepreneur, mother and wife. That was the order of my journey and hopefully not yours.”

In the culture of #bossbabe and #momboss, I was expecting a different kind of encouragement from this seemingly unapologetic successful business woman. My initial response in my head was this: Is there any other order? Shouldn’t everyone be spinning out of control? Isn’t that what entrepreneurship is? Business comes first and then everything else just kinda falls into place, right? My favorite quote is from Nike for God’s sake, “Just Do It!” So, why was a super-successful business woman telling me to put my family first? This is the twenty-first century. What is she talking about? My kids and husband are fine.

Then I realized this note was a tremendous gift to me because she is wise and was right. Like the old adage, “You can have it all but not all at once,” this letter stuck with me, and over the course of a few months, I couldn’t let it go. I knew something in my life had to give. I was at a crossroads in my personal and business life. It was either going to go one way (business first) or another (family first).

Before I go on, here’s the deal—or more of a disclaimer. I am fully aware that not many people get to look at their job and say, “This isn’t working for me anymore; I’m just not going to do it” (cue scene from the movie Office Space). Also, many people can juggle the business owner, mom boss thing, but my situation with both my husband and me owning completely different businesses was starting to take a toll.

This is a choice I’m making because, for some reason, in this brief moment of my life, I am paying attention. This little window (named Louette Boutique) needs to be closed because a big beautiful double door has mysteriously opened, and I need to take advantage it. I’m aware of this opportunity because I’ve had many moments in my life where all the doors have been bolted shut and someone glued all the windows down and I literally had no choice but to stay in the house, grit my teeth and get to work. I’ve had more times in my life working multiple jobs than not, and a lot of those jobs were really, really hard. I’ve had loads of losses and disappointments. Blah, blah, blah. Because here’s the other deal: by the time you’re in your late-30s (OMG! I just threw up. I still feel 25!), everyone has had some sort of tragedy, trauma, loss, or sucky situation. There is always someone better off (just look at Instagram) and there is always, always someone in a much worse situation (note: do not consult Instagram for that because real life doesn’t exist there).

I am choosing to close my boutique after more than six years because I feel a pull to take what I’ve learned and turn it towards something else. I’ve grown a little tired of “spinning out of control” and need to focus on my husband and my kiddos. If you had told me a year ago that I would be making this choice, I would have called you a liar and a crazy person. Although this choice has not been made hastily, it’s interesting to me that sometimes life-changing decisions don’t require as much time as we think. The moment in which I knew I needed to change something came rather quickly. I love my shop. I love my employees, and I love my customers even more! This has been a very personal endeavor for me. But it is time to close this chapter.

If you are reading this and are in the space of hustling to get to your goal and you have that fire in your belly, run with it. Do it! That’s what I’ve done. I will cheer you on the entire way. And you will need a cheering squad because, let’s face it, none of this is easy. Ladies, I’m primarily writing this for you (sorry, gents). Whether you are choosing to “kill it” and fight to get that promotion or run the company or choosing to back off and take time for your family, it is all good. Being a #bossbabe and #momboss is awesome. But knowing when to re-evaluate and take time to figure things out is part of the gig too. With that said, I’m extremely lucky to have many close friends who are amazing creatives—women entrepreneurs who inspire me every day! Please shop and eat LOCAL, because anyone who is daring to “just do it” is probably constantly questioning themselves. If you love a local business, tell them that and support their business. It goes a long way.

Don’t worry about me. I don’t sit still long. You will find me chasing after my two girls, assisting my husband with The Twelve Oaks Group, and working on various side projects including my brand collaboration called Heartward Goods (www.heartwardgoods.com) and blog (www.chaosandspanishmoss).

To all the Louette ladies out there, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for shopping at my little store. It has been one of the greatest delights of my life. I will miss the early mornings opening the shop, turning on the French music, and sitting with all the pretty things. But I will look back and smile because I built something I am proud of and had the courage to know when to walk away. 

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