Dear Friends & Fans,
Another year has just come to a close and I can’t believe it will be 13 years since I started skyn ICELAND! Where did the time go? I don’t know, it has flown by but I still feel as passionate about our mission as I did in 2005, maybe just a bit wiser.
People always ask me if I have mastered my stress and the answer is a resounding NO! I don’t think we ever do if this is how we are programmed and if we live in a frenetic environment as I do, but I have become much more self aware. I know when stress is coming, I feel when I am reaching my limit and I certainly know when I’ve had too much. I think this is the common goal. The good news is that it is manageable and there are many solutions to alleviate stress that are fast and inexpensive. At an age where most would say I am ‘middle aged’ I feel the most fit and the healthiest I ever have. And, that is what we should all strive for, being the best ‘us’ we can be.
Therefore, I feel that our message is almost more current and timely than it was in 2005 and that the topic is reaching a fever pitch. Our society and many others all over the world are plagued by stress. So I feel like my team and I are doing something that matters and which is truly important – we strive to teach people how to recognize when they are stressed and how to help alleviate it. This in turn leads to a higher quality, more enjoyable life…and hopefully a more beautiful one too! This is what drives me every day and gets me out of bed in the morning.
On the subject of going to work each day, I thought a lot this year about female entrepreneurship. I spoke to college students, business school students, industry colleagues and women friends both in public forums and over intimate dinners and what’s apparent and urgent is that there is NOT enough of us! According to an article in Forbes in 2015 only 2% of women-owned businesses break the $1 Million mark. In a year of the #metoo movement, it’s time to start asking ourselves these kinds of questions too and begin working towards solutions. There are many reasons why – there are not enough women in private equity and venture capital to fund women owned businesses, there are not enough women in politics at high levels advocating for women’s rights, women are not thinking big enough when starting companies and finally the deck is stacked against women in any number of ways.
It is incredibly hard to be a female entrepreneur. Most of the women I went to business school with, stopped working several years after graduation because the work world was punishing and not terribly rewarding for them. This has got to change. Even the sharks on Shark Tank have claimed that their investments in women owned businesses have been their best! So I encourage women to follow their passion, reach for the stars, never take no for an answer and not to get discouraged by all the naysayers!! Let’s start there.
I’ve been reading a book called Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. It is a riveting book about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. Not necessarily the fame and the glory but the nitty gritty of how hard the road is to success. It has made me realize that entrepreneurs all share a common thread (aside from insanity!) which is that our passion for our business overrides everything else in our life. We live and breathe our businesses sometimes to the exclusion of everything else in our lives. And, we are driven by an inner fire that drives us to deliver on a premise or a need that we believe is so great, we can’t imagine ever doing anything else. That really describes how I feel about skyn ICELAND, it is what I live and breathe every day because I feel so passionate about what my team and I are doing. So thank you for supporting us and letting me do what I love to do every single day.
And that brings me to my team, because I am only as good as the collective ‘we’. I am so incredibly touched every day by the passion and commitment of my team who work tirelessly to make skyn Iceland a reality. And, I am so honored that they give so much of themselves to me and to the company. They are smart, talented, fun, kind, and (ironically) all women!!
And, to all of our customers, who have been loyal and engaged and vocal and supportive and complimentary and patient, especially this year! Who stood by us when our products were out of stock and didn’t run to our competitors, because they felt they couldn’t live without their ‘go to’ items. THANK YOU! We grew so fast this year (yay!!) that we literally couldn’t keep our products in stock. I’ve been told that this is a great problem to have as a business owner, but having lived through it I can say it was incredibly frustrating, painful and demoralizing. You work for years to have a business and when you finally get the business you dreamed of, you can’t fulfill it?! Hopefully 2018 will bring more plentiful product inventories, that is our plan!!
Lastly, this has been an incredible year of change and transition for me, both personally and professionally. A few highlights: I got my first puppy, I hired employee #10, my baby girl turned 10yrs old and is completely cured of her nut allergy (wooo hoo!!!), I traveled all over the world for skyn ICELAND including Australia, I struggled with personal relationships as well as some professional ones, I walked in the woman’s march on Washington, I was asked to join the entrepreneurship board at Tufts University (my alma mater), I asked for forgiveness and I tried to be a more thoughtful and empathetic human being.
I was reminded that each year brings its own troubles, its own stress and it’s own rewards. Each year is filled with surprises, both good and bad. What is certain is change. Sitting here ringing in 2018, I am filled with hope and expectation, excited for the adventures that lay ahead. If you are reading this it means that you have touched my life in some way, so thank you. Here’s to a less-stressful year filled with good health, happiness, fulfillment, prosperity and peace. Until next year….
President & Founder