From the mid 1990’s until the birth of my second child, I had a fun and lucrative career in sales. As a non-mom and even as a mom with one child, Hallmark Cards was a fabulous company that offered a competitive salary and super flexible schedule (and I worked from a home office).
At the end of 2002, they had a restructure and I raised my hand for the separation package. I was about to have my second baby and wanted to be home with my babies. Blessed in my option to stay home with them, I could not wait for my time with snuggles, playdates, and kiddie crafts.
By the spring of 2004, I had volunteered for every committee at pre-school, taken every exercise class at the gym, redecorated nearly every room of my house, and started a book club. I had, surprisingly, a super routine down with lots of playtime and reading with the boys as well (ok admittedly, the laundry was pretty much never done. But I digress). I sought something a bit more substantive, just for me.
In may of that year, I was introduced to Southern Living at Home, a new direct sales company with gorgeous product and a fun business opportunity. I was happy to keep a toe in the world of sales, make my OWN money, but with more flexibility than I’d find in corporate America. I worked when I wanted, with whom I wanted, and we had a plan that I would work ONLY if it fit the family schedule (meaning–no babysitters, those were saved for date nights).
I LOVED that company. I drank every drop of the Kool Aid of direct sales. The format where a SAHM mom could ALSO make money and build a team to keep her management skills sharp is too perfect! Their product was incredible and the people were some of the best I’ve ever known–In fact, I still have many friends still from those days.
In 2006, the game changed for me. The Ditkas were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. HOW does a SAHM mom do something BIG to celebrate (we can discuss later about my issues with using HIS money to buy him a gift)? Enter the general incentive trip. In 2006, we took a 5-star vacation to Puerto Rico and felt no guilt about upgrading to first class flights since the trip was otherwise paid for. I busted my ass, made a plan, and took us to PARADISE!!!
At El Conquistador resort, with El Conquistador! (also, when I used to scrapbook. I was a high-achieving preschool mommy)
Off to the gala dinner. Best vacation ever.
A hike through the rainforest was my favorite part.
Beyond the money and the trip, was knowing I had accomplished this on my own.
In 2008, the trip was to Disney World. The kids were a little older and held my feet to the fire to win the family trip to the happiest place on earth. Before the incentive period ended (and before I hit my goal), I got VERY sick. With 48 hours left in the month, I begged for a little more time. After being told NO, I buckled in and slayed my goal. Seeing my kids celebrate and really understand that you can succeed against crazy odds was priceless.
No expense spared on our resort….
My littles were so happy to visit Disney AND Sea World
Thanks, Mommy, for our trip!!!
Change in the Air
When Southern Living at Home merged and changed formats, I moved on to a startup, which was a completely different experience. I worked with the founding partners to create their training programs, did national recruiting, and engaged with my colleagues and brand partners on a strategic level (Including the amazing Katherine Keller who designed this website!!!) Learning the harsh realities of starting a business was an experience like no other. Those brave, entrepreneurial women are my sisters for life…
The founder, and my friend and partner in crime!
Our business was SHOESSSSSSS!!!
Dynamic group of founding members.
EVEN though this company didn’t take off (start ups are HARD), each one of the women I met is LIVING HER BEST LIFE. WHY? Because the women who DO THIS THING, this entrepreneur life–they are risk-takers, they embrace change, they support each other’s dreams. They have partners who understand their dream and cheer them on.
The Final and Fashionable Phase
My foray into luxury women’s fashion has been LIFE CHANGING. In 2014, I was recruited into this arena of GORGEOUS fashion. Again, I’ve built teams, met incredible women, sold top-notch products, and GROWN in ways I could never have otherwise.
I’ve been blessed to work with two extremely wonderful brands in the past 5 years and know that they have brought me to the place I am today. For the things I have learned and the women (and men) I have met, I am forever grateful.
My dear friend and mentor, Lori. She has taught me so much.
My brief time with Carlisle has been a dream. I just adore the women I work with.
My W by Worth family at a team dinner with a fairly famous guy stopping by….
If you Love it so Much, Why the Change?
The easy answer is because it is time. But that’s not enough.
I hope this reads like a bit of a love letter–because my years in direct sales have been a truly wonderful affair. Each company made me smarter, more empathetic, more creative…but most importantly, they made me BRAVER.
Earlier in the spring, I sent a survey out to my subscribers. The responses indicated you’d like more tips on how to find your OWN style, to empower your wardrobes, to be bold when you feel small. You’ve asked for fashion at every budget, and an easy way to shop the looks and products you like. You gave me the courage to re-asses where Moxie Mama should go.
My goals have changed so much in the past few years, as has my life. The demands of older kids, my need to be present for them and ensure a strong launch for them is top priority. In that mix is that maintenance of building my own brand. There just isn’t time for it all and I needed to set a boundary where I didn’t have people counting on me and my business for their own success. It is scary as hell to be 100% on my own, but I am ready.
This fall, I will be teaching a non-credit-college course on finding your own style. I plan to develop that course into a downloadable or online class as well. I want women to feel like they own who they are at whatever stage they happen to be in. To help them access their very best selves in every situation.
I’ve been added to the family of Like to Know It influencers. This app allows easy shopping of the styles I post and I am so happy to style at different price points for YOU. I am also now an ambassador for Peach, showcasing different styles each season in athleisure and fitness wear.
My personal shopping AND image coaching services are STILL AVAILABLE!!! I have always and continue to work with clients locally and virtually, and will make a plan to fit YOUR BUDGET!! Check my website for testimonials and information on all the services I offer.
And in the NON style arena, I embark on two major journeys I plan to share–the college search process (giving me some emotional fits right now, not gonna lie), and my countdown to 50, the health and wellness odyssey we ALL deserve. My family and my health get top billing, as they should.
I thank you all again for keeping wind in my sails when I’m doubting myself, for the love and support you’ve shown l’il ole me the past 18 months–Moxie Mama TRULY WOULD NOT EXIST without it!
PS final thought–If you know someone trying to build their dream in direct sales, be kind. If you have never done it, you cannot fathom the work it takes. There are incredible products out there being repped by some of the best people you’ll ever hope to meet. When they tell you what their product is, ask them their WHY–why they choose to build their empire. I promise you will be inspired.
I really enjoyed reading about your history and continuing journey. I totally relate to keeping the family your priority, but needing something for your own sense of accomplishment and independence. I too started out staying home with my children and have no regrets. After my mother died I really needed to add something else and turned to retail at Kaufmann’s. It was a good first step out of my home box that still worked for our family (and I just about broke even financially) . It was also critical for my two boys to begin to see me making choices outside of them and appreciate me in a new way. And it was good for their father to be reminded of the feisty woman he fell in love with in the first place.
I am so proud to have raised two feminist sons who are sensitive, unique, and independent, and who aren’t threatened or intimidated by any woman’s ( or human’s) strength or success. I have no doubt that you have raised your sons on that same path. It might be a little emotional as they are getting ready to fly, but trust me...you and Anthony will love that empty nest!
Best wishes in your latest ventures, both for you and your lovely family,
You raised amazing sons and I've always looked up to Paul's and your parenting style--two boys and all that. It is very important to show the next generation of adults (men and women), that a career doesn't always mean just a job, that there are many ways to create a life that works for your family. Also that as much as we love and support our kids, we have to make ourselves a priority if we are going to parent properly. Thank you so much for your message. It means more than you know.
I have really enjoyed following Moxie Mama and seeing you evolve in this process. You have been true to yourself and have definitely given your readers much to think about in becoming the best version of yourself. I admire the priorities you are setting for family and health. IHappy retirement. The best is still to come! Thanks for sharing your journey with us.
Sam, You're awesome no matter what you do!! I'll always support whatever effort you move forward with. What a wonderful letter to inspire all of us. As a fundraiser, it is so hard to keep asking and asking and asking. It taps into my previous experience as a medical sales representative. It's not easy to sell or to keep asking, however you need to do both to be successful. I LOVE that you gave a shout out for others to support those trying direct sales. I always try to help any female that steps out on a limb. Thank you for the reminder for others to support the limb jumper. Much love and pixie dust. XO SJ