WHY I’M CLOSING MY ONLINE BOUTIQUE

The words in today’s post are bittersweet for me to write, as they mark both the end of an extremely fulfilling chapter and hopefully the start of an exciting brand new one. After many months of hemming and hawing over this difficult decision, I have chosen to wind down my online boutique and focus full-time on my blog for the foreseeable future. I’m sure this decision will come as a surprise to some of you who have followed my blog and/or online boutique for the past five years and I feel like I owe everyone an explanation for this turn of events. So here’s the (somewhat lengthy) list of reasons that brought me to this decision, in the hopes it will shed some light on my thinking and help you share in my excitement about whatever comes next!

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{The Design Darling office in Dallas}

I’m burnt out. It honestly feels really good just to admit that. After relocating the inventory for my online boutique three times in the past five years (from Connecticut to New York to Dallas and back to Connecticut), this half of my business has begun to feel more like a burden than a happy complement to my daily blog posts (which is how it started back in 2012!). Where I used to love going to trade shows and sourcing new products online, lately I’ve had a nagging anxiety about adding to the ever-mounting inventory supply that seems to come with running an online business, particularly as I’ve left my office/warehouse space in Dallas and moved to Connecticut where I’ll be working from home.

I have to remind myself: it’s okay to change jobs, even when you work for yourself. I was so anxious in the few months after my college graduation in 2011 where I interned for a digital magazine in San Francisco and then worked in PR in New York and couldn’t seem to find my footing professionally. I was so determined that my next career move be something lasting and sustainable, and I have to remind myself that starting my online store has been both of those things! I’m not making this decision because running an e-commerce business hasn’t been challenging, educational, profitable, or rewarding — I’m making this decision because I’m ready to find a new direction that can still be all of those things. Nearly all of my friends who aren’t self-employed have changed jobs (even careers) multiple times since we graduated from college nearly six years ago, and it’s a little silly to convince myself I can’t shake things up just because I’m my own boss (in fact, it should be quite the opposite!).

I’m excited to start something new, whatever that may be. Along those lines, I’ve become restless and I’m eager to tackle a new set of challenges, whether that’s figuring out how to earn the same income from just my blog or launching a brand new business venture in the years to come. I get so giddy talking to Will about potential new projects I hope to tackle once I’ve freed up the time, money, and space in our home. I see the excitement he and other friends have in starting new chapters of their professional lives and I totally crave that same clean slate for myself!

I’m excited to create content I’m really proud of again. When my days are filled with printing shipping labels and making repeat runs to the post office, it can be hard to take pictures or write posts that are particularly compelling, especially when I compare myself (a terrible habit, I know) to other bloggers who are heading to a new country or churning out a new room tour seemingly every other week. Whether it’s launching a new interview series (remember this one?), sharing more of my personal life, taking my little 101 in 1001 community to the next level, or starting something I haven’t even thought of yet, I’m ready to get reinspired when it comes to writing heartfelt stories and sharing them with this audience that has been so good to me over the past seven years.

I won’t miss the overhead expenses. This may be a boring financial reason, but I think it’s important to keep it real and admit that it kind of sucks to take money I’m earning from my blog (which I could write from just about anywhere) and allocate it towards rent for an office/warehouse, employee paychecks, and an ever-growing supply of inventory for a separate business. I’m excited to take that money (even if it means I’ll earn less in the near future) and put it to work improving the site where it all began.

Similarly, I’m excited for a little more freedom. It will be extremely refreshing to take a trip without wondering whether orders are getting out the door on time or trying to field customer service emails from a press trip or our honeymoon later this year. I imagine it will be pretty nice to feel less tethered to my desk/printer/USPS man and have more time to actually live life and write about it.

This doesn’t have to be a permanent decision. One of the things I’ve found most comforting about this choice to wind down my online store is that I can always revisit it in the future if I find myself missing the e-commerce world. I plan on keeping up with my LLC, resale certificate, etc. so I can always wind things back up again one day. Knowing that this could be more of a hiatus than a formal farewell and that these kinds of decisions are rarely as irreversible as they feel (whether you’re self-employed or not!) is strangely helpful when you love what you do but want to know what else might be out there.

Most importantly, this decision will push me outside my comfort zone. When I look at my to do list, I will almost always choose the easier, more concrete checklist item (packing boxes and running them to the post office) because it’s time-sensitive, has a definitive beginning and end, and always feels good to cross off the list. Unfortunately, this means I’m rarely carving out enough time for the less concrete, more creative aspects of self-employment that actually contribute to the bigger picture and a more vibrant life. Eliminating the easy option from my to do list makes me excited to see what I’ll be able to create when I’m forced to find more stimulating projects.

So there it is… A hard-to-explain update that feels great to have off my chest, a “good-bye” that could ultimately be more of a “never say never,” and the beginning of a new set of challenges that have me looking forward to whatever phase of my career comes next. If you’ve had your eye on something in the boutique, you’ll have until this Monday, February 20, to make your final purchase at 40% off everything with code FIVE at checkout. I can’t thank you enough for supporting both my blog and online boutique over the past 5-7 years and I am truly excited to take on the next 5-7 with you guys by my virtual side. Cheers to a new chapter! xoxo

36 thoughts on “WHY I’M CLOSING MY ONLINE BOUTIQUE

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  1. Congrats, my girl. Loved everything you wrote and found it so incredibly relatable. Enjoy your shift (and hopefully you can spend more time planning your LIFE/wedding, now, too)!

    See you this summer/fall 🙂 xo

  2. It’s so great that you’re making this decision for YOU. All the reasons you stated show that you’re doing what is best for you in the future. Also good for you for taking a risk and not sticking with the safe option–we all need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones to see what we’re capable of. Looking forward to seeing where your next adventure takes you!

  3. Wow! Kudos to you for being smart enough to realize what you want and brave enough to strike out on a new adventure. I envy you because you have so much life ahead and so many wonderful opportunities. I’ve reinvented myself a few times during my lifetime and as im nearing retirement, I keep wondering what’s next! Never stop growing and challenging yourself. You are an inspiration. Much love ❤️ A.

  4. Isn’t it funny how being your own boss sometimes makes you feel more restricted to make bigger career hops, than if you were to work for a company? I totally understand that feeling. And it’s so exciting and brave of you to make the leap, Mackenzie! Looking forward to seeing more content that inspires you 🙂

  5. New chapters are so exciting and you’re right that you are absolutely allowed to pursue a new career path and see what else is out there! Flexibility is one of the best things about working for ourselves! Proud of you for everything you’ve built and can’t wait to see more on the blog xo

  6. Thank you very much for sharing all of this with your readers. As a long time reader, I really admire how you have evolved and share that with us. It’s empowering.

  7. This post is just wonderful lady – a huge congratulations on the changes! Coming from someone who works for herself it is so great to be reminded that it is OK to change jobs and paths! Excited to see where this next chapter takes you! xx Ashley

    (and ps. welcome back to the east coast!!)

  8. I’m another first-time buyer, long-time reader–glad I placed my order this morning, since it looks like the shop is almost cleaned out! Congratulations on your career shift!

  9. Mackenzie I am so sad to hear your shop is closing, I have been a huge fan of your shop and always recommended it to people. With that being said I am also so happy for you to doing what you feel is right! Changing careers is exciting and scary, but know you will succeed no matter what you do. Best of luck with this change and congrats!

    xo
    Maggie

  10. Mackenzie I am so sad to hear your shop is closing, I have been a huge fan of your shop and always recommended it to people. With that being said I am also so happy for you to doing what you feel is right! Changing careers is exciting and scary, but know you will succeed no matter what you do. Best of luck with this change! Excited to see what you do next!

    xo
    Maggie

  11. I LOVE how well thought-out and intentional this is, Mackenzie! This is such an emboldening step to take for yourself and your passions. And as someone who is making a big career shift (and working on reminding herself of WHY that’s important) I really love seeing this. So excited to see how this evolves for you!

  12. I love how honest you were in this post and am so excited to see how your blog evolves.

    I can identify with career struggles- it’s always been an issue for me. Even as a teacher I felt super burnt out and unhappy a couple of years ago, until I really sat down to figure out what I wanted. It didn’t involve a career switch at all but still figuring out what classes I’d ideally like to teach and what I wanted my teaching career to look like was really, really clarifying. I’m so much happier but it definitely took some time to sit quietly & figure out would make me happy.

    So good for you in taking this leap!

  13. So bummed to hear this! I LOVE your boutique! I’m happy I was able to snag one last art print. 🙂
    Thank you for the great post and for sharing your decision! I love your blog and have been following it for years and will continue to do so. Best of luck with your next adventure. I’m excited to see what you do next!

  14. I totally get many of these points, and I don’t honestly blame you! Besides moving back and forth and having to relocate all your stock, which is probably a giant nightmare, it’s really hard to rely on your own business as your primary income, and not know how your monthly income will end up. Taxes every year (or quarter) are a giant PITA, and having to figure out how much of your home you have to deduct, and your cellphone’s rate of financial deterioration is just stupid.

    I ran my own business–frankly I feel very unsuccessfully–for 15 years, and shut it down a year and a half ago. It took me a while to really accept that it was over, and really leading up to making that call, accept that it NEEDED to be over. I still haven’t closed the banking stuff down, and haven’t let go of the domain, etc., because I don’t want to really 100% let it all go, just in case I decide to start again. But I know that I really won’t be doing it again. I just have no desire to deal with the drama that came with a lot of that work.

    As you mentioned, SO much suffers when you’re devoting all your time to this, and the stress magnifies and the anxiety magnifies. Storing all of that stuff, sourcing all of that stuff, feeling like you have to be ahead of the game on trends…it’s really hard on you and while you’re still trying to basically work full time on other things (I still worked full time in general, AND tried to blog, which also fell by the wayside.) And you’re planning a wedding, which is not easy to do just in general while working.

    I look forward to seeing the new content, and how your new chapter starts!

  15. Beautifully written (as was your inspiring post on the Women’s March on Washington). Applause to you on SO VERY MUCH GOOD STUFF lately! A belated thank-you for your post on the march which kept me from feeling alone and depressed! I seriously wish more bloggers were as heartfelt, honest, and open as you are and have been. I only look forward to MORE wonderful blog content (I need something to look forward to in what appears to be a very scary future). Your posts are always so inspirational or comforting to me- I am glad to hear that you will be doing this full-time!!! CHEERS!!!! I personally cannot wait to see pix of your new home. I think that is what I am looking forward to the most!!! xoxo

  16. wow, such a surprise! wasn’t expecting this but after reading your post i totally get it — if something is stressing you out, it’s time to make a change. excited to see what you do with your blog now that you’ll be doing it full-time, it’s always been one of my favorites! (also loving the discount right now — just bought a pair of earrings! hehe) x

  17. When I read the title of this blog post I gasped! I’ve been waiting to see a post or email announcing new arrivals to the boutique so I certainly wasn’t expecting this. But it truly does make sense. We’re young and we are naturally going to take different careers paths and try out new ventures. I went to college thinking I would be a high school history teacher, did student teaching and hated it. My next job was working for a property management company for a couple years and I now have been working in finance for the last 2 years. I’m 27 years old and I just decided I want to go to law school! It feels scary to take on this new challenge (especially since I feel a little ~old~ to go to law school after being in the working world for nearly 5 years) but making this decision has seriously re-energized me and given me a powerful path to follow. I can only imagine your next steps are going to feel scary but invigorating just as mine are! Good luck with everything and I look forward to reading all about it here (:

  18. whoa! i will miss your shop, but i totally agree with that you have to do what fulfills you. you’re getting married, you just moved across the country. it is SO okay to give your self a break! if you aren’t loving it, it isn’t working. congratulations on making a good choice for yourself!

    xo, brittany
    http://www.notablob.com

  19. Sad to hear you’re closing your shop, but I can’t say I hate the 40% off! I already placed one order, but may end up placing 1-2 more…

    Sending best wishes your way as you move into the next chapter!