Happy New Year, Herd!
As we begin the year with a clean stall and a fresh bag of shavings, I want to personally thank you for choosing to be in my pasture. Whether you've been with me since St. Patrick's Day, 1987, or if the store has opened your gate, please know that I truly appreciate you being here.
The world we live in now is quite the rodeo. I hope that my herd and I provide some entertainment and inspiration to you as you hold on to your rope through the jumps, kicks, and spins that life throws at you.
We hope that you can relate to our jokes and sarcastic comments when you're having a shitty day. We also hope that you think of us when you've been bucked off and need help getting dusted off, which is why we constantly say "Only Look Down To Admire Your Boots."
Here's a little more dirt on us that has no more intention than helping you understand that we're all real humans living real shitshow lives and we're not the perfect Instagram reel that you see on the daily! ;)
Writing this was a wonderful reflection on the past year of my life. I am forever grateful to have good health and supportive friends and family that allow me to live out my dream on the daily. Thanks for reading. XOXO, Brianne Evelyn
The highlight of January 2021 was my trip to Dallas Market. When I'm in a situation like that, traveling to invest in my work, I often have imposter syndrome and wonder what the heck I am doing. Some days owning this dream store doesn't even seem real to me. Meeting like-minded people and developing trusting relationships with the vendors I choose to order makes spending tens of thousands of dollars a little less stressful.
Our in-store Galentine's Day Party attendance far exceeded our expectations. We were able to catch up with some long-lost customers who hadn't been in for awhile due to the "C" word. I completely over-indulged at the after-bar party and may have taken over the dance floor by myself. ***I tend to drink and dance a lot when I'm happy as a lark. Stay tuned to identify a trend.*** This is literally the only picture I have from our Galentine's Day Party and I didn't even take it. Don't worry, I just told Liz to please add picture-taking to our 2022 goal sheet.
With cold and snowy Iowa winters we had to get creative with styled shoots showcasing our hand-picked goods. In March, we started transforming the storefront we share with Gracie's Boutique into a photography studio. We may have had a little too much fun with this, and had a few drinks while shooting, but it was a really fun way to be productive and share a few laughs. It's about time we set up the backdrop again!
The drinks were bigger, the laughs were louder, and the van rental was 10/10. Our Herd had such a fun time celebrating Marley's new gig slinging boots for Corral. Our newest employee, Sam, wearing the serape jacket, was given a big taste of medicine of how rowdy this bunch can be!
I spent most of my month preparing to move my family from Cresco, Iowa to Monona, Iowa. The work involved with moving is NO JOKE. Payne and I thought our last place outside of Cresco would be our "forever" property, but we decided to relocated closer to his job. Thank goodness for technology allowing me to work from home.
Sponsorship and donating are some of our favorite things 'round here. One of our favorite events to sponsor year after year is the Winneshiek Firemen's Bull Bash. If you were in attendance, you may have witnessed us climbing around the chutes like bull rider wannabes. I'm shocked nobody posted us on the Instagram page "Influencers in the Wild." If you follow us on Tik-Tok you're sure to see me tearing up the dancefloor in my favorite Corral Holy Hell's that live up to their name when I'm wearing them.
Back in May I said "Thank Goodness for technology to allow me to work from home." More importantly, though, THANK GOODNESS for committed employees who have a Midwestern Work Ethic! A very special thank you to Liz for her full-time dedication to Broker Leather and the rest of the gals who spent a few of their hours working towards our goals. I spent much of July working from home, landscaping, and settling into our new space. ***Also noteworthy, July was record-setting for sales. Go LIZ!***
The project we'd dreamt about and planned out for years finally came to fruition. We shot our commercial, our livers, and Brianne's wedding ring went spiraling to the bottom of the pond. We've all been trying to con Travis into allowing this to be an annual event at his incredible ranch. After this was said and done, it was much less about promoting our small business than it was for enjoying each other's company outside of work. [The full commercial can be seen on our homepage here.]
September was All Go and No Whoa [as my Ariat Rep, Dakota, likes to say]. We spent the entire month preparing Broker Leather for the holiday season. Liz and I spent most of September analyzing trends and making decisions for what specials we'd offer and organizing all of our social media for promoting them. I can honestly say we went into this holiday season more prepared than ever before.
In the middle of September, I also had the chance to sneak away for a long weekend on the Harley. We celebrated my hunk of a hubby's birthday! I can't miss an opportunity to share a picture of our favorite dive bar in Wisconsin.
October is a wild birthday month, with three major birthdays in a row. Broker Leather turned 4 on October 2nd. We celebrated with another great in-store party featuring Psychic Readings, Reflexology, freebies, and sales! I wrote a lengthy waiting list for people who missed out on the psychic reading opportunity, so we plan to offer these again [hopefully during our Galentine's Party in February 2022]. Shoot me a message if you want to be sure you are on that list! The Psychic we hired turned Liz into a believer- up until now she thought I was an absolute crazy person for wanting to host this type of party!
Following the store's birthday were Paysen Jule's 8th Birthday on October 4th and Ryggen Embrie's 5th Birthday on October 6th. Their Nana threw them the most fun birthday party, ever.
Lastly, October was really exciting because we finally got Broker back home! He'd been living on a farm with our favorite photographer, Rachel Reilly, for over a year. We're glad to have our guy home to spoil him with love and treats everyday.
I had my first public speaking engagement at a local-ish conference for small business owners. I was nervous as all getout to stand on stage and "pretend to be an expert." Just thinking of being on a stage and telling people what to do makes me want to vomit. For weeks leading up to the conference, I tried to think of excuses on how to get out of it. I can't even explain how relieved I am that the crowd accepted me as a very non-professional and listened intently to the heart I shared. I am so glad I finally did it. Stay tuned for my next public presentation in February 2022. ;)
This month we experienced crazy weather, crazy times, and even crazier trends in sales. As sarcastic as I can be, overall, the month was crazy successful. Luckily we did not have any damage during the 60 degree windstorm earlier this month, but we often joked the apocalypse was coming. I escaped my first trip to the Minnesota Vikings Stadium without vomiting, crying, or going to jail. And although you had us extremely nervous the first two weeks of December, you showed up the second half of the month to restore our faith in retail. We'll say it time and time again, thank you for choosing to shop small with us and follow along on this wild ride.
As you have probably gathered after reading this, my life is an arena with a unique combination of rough stock and timed events such as: being a wife, a momma, and small business owner. I wouldn't be the person I am today without you cheering me on and cinching down my bull's flank strap once in awhile.
I appreciate you being here even if you aren't one of my top spending customers. I only hope that you find entertainment and inspiration through these stories I share.
God Bless You and Cheers to A New Year!
If you're looking to spend some of those gift cards you received for Christmas- shop our NEW ARRIVALS here.