When I tell people what I do for a living, their reaction typically involves a puzzled look coupled with a tilt of the head.
“You pack and ship rocks?”
I follow-up that question with a pantomime of a small rock using my thumb and forefinger. “Yeah, you know, little word stones about ye big that people use for motivation or gifts.”
To which they inevitably respond “Oh, gotcha, I think my (fill in the blank) got me one of those that said (hope, courage, love, joy…) for my birthday once…those things are so cool!”
Damn straight they’re cool. That’s why I sell them.
I did not start out selling rocks. I started out finding old beat up furniture at yard sales, slapping a coat of white paint on, sanding the edges and calling it shabby chic. I had a lot of fun doing it and got the bright idea to open a shop. So I started a store in downtown Annapolis in August of 2001.
As is common, however, turning a hobby into an actual viable business model proved to be very difficult. Finding the ugly furniture and turning it into something attractive and usable – lots of fun. The 14 hour days with zero pay – not so fun. I loved the idea of having my own business, and found I was good at many aspects of retail, but I just needed to find a product that made sense for what my goals were, both in life and in business.
I have always been a huge fan of motivational quotes. I have a collection of quote books and have often been known to spout out random uplifting passages. So when I went to a gift show in 2002 and found some small engraved word stones (made of resin – yikes!), I was immediately hooked.
As the online boom hit, the brick and mortar store quickly gave way to a website and in 2006 I closed the storefront to concentrate solely on the online business. To my delight and surprise, the rest of the world already knew about the word stones and demand grew and grew. We now carry hundreds of styles of word stones – none of them resin thank goodness – along with a delightful collection of pewter pocket tokens.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is that everyone has a story about why they need our items. We have heard heart breaking stories of our products being used at memorial services and funerals; funny, sweet stories of grandmothers buying gifts for grandchildren; and tender, touching stories of our products being sent to troops overseas. It is gratifying that we, in a small way, can be a part of these important events.
So yes, I sell stones. My job rocks!