This is my friend Mary Beth Greene (and Brett her adorable husband.) She is responsible for this journey.
You know those times when you meet someone and you felt like you have known them your entire life. That is Mary Beth. When I had my stationery/invitation manufacturing business, she was my sales rep for the ribbon I used on my invitations. The day she walked in my business, I knew I had a new friend for life.
We hit it off from the first minute. She lives in Fairhope, Alabama, so I don't get to see her much. But from that day on, we talked on the phone, kept in touch and then weird things started happening. We had a ton in common from the start. One of the things was that we were both divorced. We talked a lot about that, and about our kids. Then she called me one day and told me she had been to the beach with some friends and met this awesome guy. They were in love- instantly. I guess that happens with Mary Beth- because I loved her instantly too. In the course of that conversation, I told her I had just started dating Alan. I had already known him, he was one of my invitation dealers that carried my line here in Birmingham. Having sworn off men for the rest of eternity I was really not that interested in something serious, but I liked him a lot, so we were dating. BOTH of us were beginning new relationships at the EXACT same time.
Mary Beth came to Birmingham after Christmas for another visit and when we were going to the car she said, "Where did you get that purse?" I told her Alan gave it to me for Christmas. Guess what? Brett gave her the EXACT same purse. Now if you are a female you know there are a million purses to choose from. What are the odds of two GUYS picking the EXACT same purse for their girlfriends? Not strange at all- it is how everything happens with us. (Although if I am honest, I think it freaked us out a little.)
Later that spring, she tells me they are getting married, July 1st and I tell her, we are getting married July 4th ( I think Alan needed a date he could remember easily!). Getting married within 3 days of each other. Weird? Not to us, just more of the same.
Alan and I went down to Fairhope to visit. They came to Birmingham and we went out to dinner together. We have a great time together. Although, it has been a long time since we have seen Brett- (we need to fix that MB!)
So our connection has been like this from the get-go. There are so many other things like these, but what I really want you to know about Mary Beth is what a GREAT friend she has been to me. A champion. An encourager. A shoulder to cry on. A mentor.
She came to visit one day a few years ago, long after I had sold my business and no longer needed a sales rep. She brought some paper designs and a few prototypes of some bags she was thinking about designing. We went to lunch and talked about her new business idea. The bag designs were fabulous. Her ideas were fabulous. It was a HUGE undertaking, but she was tired of traveling all the time for her sales rep job and wanted to be home more for her kids. She knew what people needed, after all she had been a rep for things like this too.
She wasn't scared, she had the support of Brett and her parents. She went for it. She found manufacturers in CHINA. I don't even know how you get in touch with people in CHINA. She got some bags made, they were wonderful! Neiman Marcus picked up her bags. She called and told me- NEIMAN MARCUS!! I was SO THRILLED for her!! She hit the motherlode right from the start!
Even though that is awesome, I know the road hasn't always been easy. Right when she was getting this all off the ground. She lost her only sister. You can read about her sister and the foundation Mary Beth set up in her honor here. I can't even imagine what that would be like, we talked often during those days. We cried together, we laughed together and I hope I was a good friend.
She has tons of stores selling them. Check them out on her website mbgreene bags. She is a HUGE success and I am so very, very HAPPY for her. She has worked so hard and deserves it so much! I have one of her bags and it is the BEST I have ever had. And I every time I see turquoise, I think of Mary Beth, you can find out why here.
Last fall, I was talking to her about my new leggings idea. I wear leggings all the time, love them. So I made some with my art on them, but I couldn't find anyone to manufacture them. Mary Beth was going to Las Vegas to the Magic Sourcing Show and talked us into going, which was in less than two weeks. Generally, Alan and I don't move quite that fast. But MB is tenacious and I trust her- completely. We went! I mostly went so I could see her, since she doesn't come to Birmingham anymore and Alan and I were in great need of a vacation. I learned a lot, mostly that I really can't afford to buy 300 pair of leggings of each design, but that's okay, I found someone to make them for me on demand. Doesn't help me to wholesale them, as I wanted to, but that's okay too. I LOVED seeing her, that was the best part!
She is the real reason this whole journey and blog got started. I was talking to her last week and moaning and groaning about wanting to get back to my art. Tired of what I have been doing and whining about almost being sixty and haven't figured out what I want to do when I grow up. She said, "WHAT are you waiting for?" Hmmm....I don't know. After hanging up with her, I started thinking and the 90 to 60 journey was born.
Thank you Mary Beth, so far I am really having fun with this, I have been making some things I would have NEVER done, if not for your encouragement and those five important words.
So if I have guilted you into reading this (my family), you can really blame her- it is 100% her fault! And for that Mary Beth, THANK YOU! I am happier with my art/business/self than I have been in years. And thank you for being my friend, I love you dearly.
Maybe we should celebrate our 11th anniversaries together this year- just a thought!