I haven’t updated my blog in a while. A lot has changed in a short amount of time. 2019 has been an incredible year for Kathryn and I. I don’t think a lot of people knew but we lived in a rough neighborhood for almost two years. Its something I will never forget and Lord knows Kathryn will not either. I call it the ghetto, but it could have been worse. It was an interesting neighborhood where cars got egged, packages got stolen off front porches often, fights broke out in front of our house, and many times we heard gun shots. Our rent was $500 a month and it fit all the shoes at the time. Kids stealing packages off my porch with package values of $300-$500, I thought if the kids only knew what was inside the house. Just imagine, 3,000 pairs of shoes stacked to the ceiling. It was crazy, shoes everywhere. I took a few YouTube videos but I may never post them. Would you believe me if I said it took 4 trips in this 27 foot Box truck to move everything we had? lol...
Living in that neighborhood and having all those shoes caused tension in my relationship with Kathryn, especially when shoes were stacked on our oven. If we fought about anything it was either how shoes were everywhere or the place we lived. For almost two years we worked and saved as much money as we could with the intention of buying a house.
I don’t think any other girl would have made the sacrifice that she made, living in that place for that long and when honestly, she deserved so much better. Anyways, we found the perfect place for my business and a nice little house that she would be happy with. The post office is one street over which is great for me since I go there every day. I couldn’t be happier with our little house. I don’t believe in posting that stuff on social media so not to many people know we moved. As you may know, I get irritated by the generation that we live in. When ever someone buys a car or a house the first thing they want to do is post about it on social media. It becomes a keeping up with the jones move in my opinion.
I wont talk about it that much, but I really love the house I’m in. Every day I get up and my level of gratitude is through the roof. I think our house is only 1100 SQ. But when you add a full basement and a 4 car garage it really makes you think the place is big. Well that’s my opinion, which comes from a public housing kid that came from a 900sq house with no basement or garage. Its always good to remind people its not the size of the home, it’s the amount of happiness in the home.
As far as business goes, it has been insane. Put it this way, I use to think bringing 30 packages after a weekend to the post office was a lot. Now we do that every single day. In august on a Monday I shipped out 150 packages I think. The next weekend was 180 and the week after that was 160. I think I did more in august than I did in 3 months in 2018.
The hard work is really starting to pay off. I am enjoying the journey and loving this “game”. I will say this, I work a lot. I think on average I’m working 60-70 hours a week. My friends don’t think I work, and a lot of people don’t really know how much work it really is. I have not found a great work life balance yet. I also went 3 months without working out. Working out does not pay the bills or get you to where you want to be in life unless you’re talking physically. When you’re saving for a down payment on a house working becomes a priority. In the last week or two I’ve been making time to get out and run which is something I love and miss. Business slows down in January but picks right back up during tax return season.
When we moved It was a challenge, how do we move all the shoes? I thought about it for weeks and luckily I guessed right and we moved all of them smoothly thanks to my wonderful friends. Not to brag but I believe I have the best friends in the country.
The other update is I started a nonprofit back in July. So any free time that I have…. It goes straight to the nonprofit. I really like what we got going there as well. This year my business funded the whole shoe operation but in 2020 we are going to need help. I want to do 3 schools and I think we can do it. I am currently thinking about a way to develop some type of system or curriculum for these kids. We can give them a pair of Nike shoes and get them to make a promise to us. So for example: promise to be a good student, be a good friend, and be a good son or daughter. We want to make a positive change in society and the idea is when you put these shoes on you can do anything.
I think shoes can be used as a tool for success. I have my personal story on my first pair of Nikes, I’m sure I’ll blog about it sooner or later. But That’s a quick summary, we are betting they start to do better in school and in life. A few months later we can send out a letter or paper to the school reminding the kids “every time you slip your foot into your shoe, let it be a reminder there’s no limit of what you can do”. One of our board members came up with that and I absolutely love it. I want to track these kids through middle school and high school. I really want us to see if we can really make the difference one kid at a time.
I am about to take a refocus trip down to Florida and map out my 2020 strategy and “battle plan”. I’ll be stepping out of my headquarters and stepping into two other businesses. One being my families and the other being a very close friend of the family. I think its important to get away from everything and reflect on the past year. Celebrate the personal success and think about the failures and what they taught. This is a one-day process, I guess I should say. Too many people celebrate more than is needed. I think we have a lot of work to do in 2020 especially for Just a Pair of Shoes. Working on getting the 501c3 status so we can go after businesses to donate and get a write off. Filing out a 28-page document and a $700-1000 cost for an application fee is what is needed. Seeing stuff like that is not exciting at all but reminding myself that it’s for the kids.