What does a self-sufficient sugar plantation and a restaurant that only sells fried chicken fingers have to do with the price of tea in China? Plenty.
I don’t mention the fact that we live on a sugar plantation often because, sadly, the term always brings to mind the atrocities of slavery. Sadder still is the presumption that our family owned other human beings. Truth is our ancestors acquired Homestead Plantation after the cessation of Civil War in 1863* and no one on either side of my husband’s or my families has ever owned a fellow human being.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…
Being a romantic and a history minor, I often reflect on what life was like when our ancestors lived here. It was a very uncomplicated and self-sufficient life: cow provided milk and butter, chickens provided meat and eggs, large vegetable garden in the back yard, cistern in the attic collected rainwater, etc. Being self-sufficient, I firmly believe, is how the family fared so well during the Great Depression and allowed them to share their bounty with those who were less fortunate.
The current state of our economy is a wake up call to all of us, whether we have invested in the stock market or have just a change jar in the kitchen cupboard. We are all being called back to a more simple life. We can go their willingly or we can have our circumstances force us to live a more simple life. I’m choosing to go there willingly!
My husband and I have set three goals for this year to help us become more self-sufficient, my like they did here in the “old days.” Absolutely NO cows and chickens in the yard but we will be re-establishing the vegetable garden. We are also looking into solar energy for some our outbuildings and are researching other ways we and our home can become more self sufficient. Won’t be easy with a 17-year old in the house but we are determined to make this happen!
My son, the 17-year old, works for a fast-growing nationwide restaurant company whose motto is “One Love.” The restaurant sells fried chicken fingers, french fries, toast and coleslaw and a secret dipping sauce for the chicken-that’s it-that’s all they offer. I have a friend who works in their corporate office and I asked her why they didn’t sell grilled chicken tenders like one of their competitors. She had two words for me:
She went on to explain that their business model is to focus on one thing and one thing only, fried chicken tenders. By offering a select few items, everyone from the corporate big-wigs to the team members at each store are able to focus on quality and customer service, something that this company is known for and that sets their business apart.
I’ve decided to take a simplistic, “One Love” approach with my business from this point forward. This isn’t really a New Year’s resolution because I always break those. No, this is more an adjustment in my business plan and in my way of thinking.
I am an MP soaper. While many other MPers create wonderful works of art or fantastic whimsical pieces, my soap is quite simple but contains the finest ingredients and additives I can find. And, they each have a purpose. For instance, my Peppermint, Tea Tree, and Parsley soap (PTP) was created for my son and his bouts with acne. My Sugar Scrub Soap is for those that love the exfoliation properties of sugar but don’t care for the oils contained in my sugar scrub.
I will concentrate on a select number of offerings, make them with the finest ingredients available, and spend more of my time getting to know my customers. I’ve met some terrific people over the last year and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. This is what is known as relationship marketing but I look at it more as my calling to invest in the lives of others, even for a brief moment.
So, I am officially giving myself permission to NOT offer fish-in-a-bag soap, candles or room sprays. I will focus on a creating a select number of products and marketing them to the best of my ability. Taking this approach does not mean I ignore trends or cease using the latest technology to grow my business. This certainly does not mean I ignore the needs of my customers. What this does mean is that I heed the calling to a more simplified life, both personally and professionally, and I encourage all those I come in contact with to do the same.
*Civil War ended in 1863 in Louisiana.