How Jamie Kutchman Wynne Left A Big Paycheck To Follow A Dream
Ep. 127
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Jamie Kutchman Wynne

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In this week’s episode, I interview the incredible Jamie Kutchman Wynne. She left a lucrative 11-year career in the corporate medical sales field to open up her own business, Marigold and Grey. We talk about the turn of events that led her to quitting on a conference call without a plan all while ugly crying. (Seriously, who amongst us hasn’t done this?!)

Jamie realized that she couldn’t go back to just another job. It was time to jump into entrepreneurship and pursue an idea that she had been dreaming of for a while. Jamie is the founder of Marigold and Grey, a company that specializes in curated gift boxes for corporate events, weddings, and life’s special occasions. We talk all about the truth about entrepreneurship and what it’s been like to grow her business despite fires (both literal and figurative), COVID, and all the other unexpected things that life will always throw at you.

Also, doors are now open for my January goal-setting workshop! I know that a lot of people have bad connotations with goal setting and that’s exactly why I’m doing this workshop. In this workshop, we’re going to focus a lot on how to actually approach it so that your self-worth is not attached to the goals, how to overcome the inevitable self-sabotage, how to actually build time into work on your goals. It is going to be a month-long workshop with tons of coaching and tons of trainings. Sign up at

Show Transcript
Friends, welcome to another episode of lessons from a quitter. I am so excited. You are here. It is December 1st, which means that the doors are open to my goal setting workshop for January. Now, before you tune out, I know that a lot of people have kind of bad connotations with goal setting. And I was one of those people, and that is why I'm doing this workshop. I realized through my own journey, how misinformed I was about how to set goals and what that did for me was really send me on these like shame spirals when I didn't hit the goals that I wanted or when I would inevitably procrastinate, I felt horrible about myself. And then I just gave up on setting goals altogether, which I don't have to tell you is not the way to go. And so I know, especially with everything happening this year, a lot of us are looking to focus on growing or changing some aspect of our lives in 2021.
And I really want you to encourage you to come to hang out with me because I want to change the way that you think about goal setting. We're going to focus a lot on how to actually approach it so that your self-worth is not attached to the goals, how to overcome the inevitable self-sabotage that we all engage in how to actually build time in when you don't have time to work on these things. So it is going to be a month-long workshop, tons of coaching, tons of training. You get to hang out with me for four weeks. So I would love to have you there go to quitter to sign up okay. Onto today's episode. I am so excited to have Jamie Kutchman Wynne on the podcast. Jamie has a beautiful business. I want you guys to go check out her shop Marigold and Grey.
It's at I will put that in the show notes because it's just honestly so pretty to look at, but what I'm so excited to talk to her about is her journey to entrepreneurship. Jamie started out in the corporate world and she started out in medical. If you know anything about that profession, you know how lucrative it is and how high stress right? Any sales position. That's a hundred percent commission-based, comes with a lot of stress. And Jamie was in that field for 11 years. And we'll talk about the turn of events that led her to quitting on a conference call without planning it and why after she quit. She realized that she didn't want to go back to that type of job, and it was time to jump into entrepreneurship. We'll also talk about the truth about entrepreneurship and what it's been like to grow her business, Marigold and Grey, which is a company that specializes in curated gift boxes for corporate events and weddings and life's special occasions, and how she's been able to continuously grow it despite fires that she's encountered COVID and all the other unexpected things that life will always throw at you. So I will stop rambling so we can hear all of the wonderful wisdom from Jamie. Hi, Jamie, thank you so much for joining me today!
Jamie: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Goli: I am so excited to have you, okay. I'm going to get into all of the beautiful things that Marigold and Grey offers, but before we go there, we kind of start back with your previous life and previous career. So why don't you let us know what your career kind of looked like in corporate America before you jumped into entrepreneurship?
So prior to starting Marigold and Grey, I did something pretty unrelated, I would say. And I did medical and surgical sales for about 11 years. I also did internet telecom sales prior to that, just out of college, but the bulk of my career, I would say prior to starting my business was definitely in hospital sales. It was on full commission, so pretty like high-pressure, high-risk, high-reward type of scenario. It definitely taught me a lot. But definitely not related to what I do today.
Goli: How long were you at in that type of sales?
Jamie: 11 years.
Goli: Oh, wow.
Jamie: Yeah, long time.
Goli: Did you like it?
Jamie: Yeah. So when I started, I would say I was in my early to mid-twenties and I was so elated to have this job. It's the job that everybody wanted. I had to go through countless rounds of interviews to get the job. And when I got it, I was just determined to do well. And it was extremely male-dominated. I think I was the only one, I was definitely the only female in my direct area and then even the only female in my whole entire division for many years. So imagine goating going to sales meetings and being in a room of like, I don't know, 30, 40 reps, all men and just me in my twenties, you know, so it was a very competitive male-dominated cutthroat environment. So there were challenges with that obviously, but I love the challenge of knowing that the work was not meant to be easy and finding success with that.
Anyway it gave me a very thick skin and I became very independent as a result. So I liked what it was doing to me over time. I wouldn't say that I liked the work, but to be honest, it was such a lucrative career that I just never thought that I could ever leave the years of work of paying my dues paid off. And I got to a point where it just became sort of autopilot. It was a very stressful environment, but I think I learned to live with that level of stress and appreciated the money obviously, and learn to put up with the stress that was associated with it. And I also never really realized or internalize the level of stress and risk that I was taking on because, for most of my adult life, I was working on full commission. So, you know, what you produce is how you get paid. If my clients didn't pay their invoices every month, I wouldn't get a paycheck. So I was internalizing all of this pressure and stress and risk, but not really realizing it because I didn't know any different.
Goli: But I mean, what you just said, like, I think a lot of people become acclimated to very high, intense high-stress jobs. And like you were saying, it kind of becomes autopilot or you just learn how to survive in it. And so you've already done that and you are obviously reaping the rewards, right? A lot of reasons people go into such high-stress jobs is because they make a lot of money. And so when you have that, what was the impetus of you leaving?
Jamie: So this is probably not really the preferred answer. For most, for most of your audience who probably you know, is kind of plotting their out or, you know, wants to have a set step-by-step plan for, you know, how you make your exit. This can sound crazy, but I never thought of myself as business owner material. I always thought of entrepreneurs as this unicorn type of figure. And I wasn't it, I thought they were born that way and I just wasn't cut out for it. So whenever I would, you know, come across the business owner or, you know, deal with one, I just was always in awe of them. And also pretty intimidated because I thought that they had this skill set that I didn't somehow have, the way that I ended up leaving was not planned. It was very spontaneous. I had worked for the same vice president in the same kind of sales division for, I would say 10 and a half years of the 11.
And he was amazing. And he believed that sales reps because we were working on full commission, we deserved to have a lot of autonomy, our accounts, and deserve to own the relationship with the client entirely. And he wanted us to do well. He wanted us to succeed. He didn't believe in micromanaging because again, we were shouldering all of this risk and he very much respected that. And the work ethic that went with that and he retired. And when he retired, somebody came in that replaced him. That could not have been different in terms of philosophy. A lot of micromanaging, a lot of wanting to go in and control accounts that I had had relationships and, and controlled for many years. And one day he, he had this kind of what I would like to call a busy assignment. Meaning he, every, he had everybody on the team fill out this spreadsheet with leads for something.
I don't remember what it was, but anyway, I, all I know is that I just stopped my day, stop meeting with a client to go find a quiet place in the middle of a hospital to call into this conference call line, to speak to him. And I didn't fill out the spreadsheet. It was busywork. I was slammed with client work and I just didn't do it. And in my hierarchy of my day, I always served my clients first and then internal work like that. I would do second. So I didn't get to it. And I just said, I'm sorry, I didn't, I didn't do this. And he said, you know we are going to circle back to this Jamie in, in, you know, whatever amount of time, because you know, you didn't complete the assignment. And I said, actually, Frank, we're not going to circle back to this because I quit.
Goli: Oh, wow.
Jamie: I think it had been the dissatisfaction with the job had been brewing for a while. My clients were pretty ruthless in a lot of cases and I was starting to have physical manifestations of stress going into meetings. I would sweat before meetings. I would get an upset stomach. I was popping. Pepto-Bismol like, it was like, I don't know what candy, I guess. And so I think it wasn't just this one meeting, but it just came to a head during this one conference call and I quit over the phone. So it was my manager and my VP on the line and me and I quit. And then the next rep called into the line to take their 10-minute segment. And so we had to hang up, you know, and they called me later in the day. And they're like, what are you thinking? You know, we didn't know you were that upset.
And when we were talking about it and they're like, they were saying, you know, we can transfer accounts and we can take the difficult, like the, like really stressful kind of verbally abusive accounts away from you. And, you know, and I said, you know what? This is not just about that. This is about me needing to take the next step. This is about me needing to have some self-respect. And I started crying on the phone with these two men, which was humiliating. I started crying in a way that was the kind of cry that you never want to do in front of anybody, let alone people at work. Right. It was like... You can't even catch your breath. And it showed me that I was holding all of this in for so long and it just came out and I just said, you know, it is time for me to go and do something different.
Goli: I'm sure so many people relate to this and I think just the idea that you were just taught to push through, you know, just put your head down and do what you're told works. Not supposed to be fun. And I think what you're saying, I mean, we've had countless interviews where people talk about the physical manifestations of their stress, or whether that's panic attacks or anxiety or hives all over their bodies or whatever the thing is. And we ignore it. And when you're on the outside looking in, like, I don't know for you now having a couple of steps, when you look back and you realize like how insane it is, like what we put ourselves through, but when you're in it, it just is normal because it's day to day. And it's crazy that when you have certain moments like this and you realize, Oh my God, I'm holding on to so much more than I even realized I was.
Jamie: Yes. And it all played out with me sobbing on the phone and my VP, who, by the way, I only knew for six months. So I barely even knew that it's not like they were like, quote-unquote family or like work-family. I didn't know them at all. They probably thought I was a complete lunatic. Right. but it became very clear that it was, it was time because like, how do you come back from that? Right. And nor did I even want to, but then I had to go and tell my husband what I did. You know, he's like, Oh, you know, don't worry, you brush up your resume. You have so much experience, you know, and you know, you just like, you'll find another job in the same field. And maybe you can work for like one of your biggest competitors and just get a fresh start.
And I said I don't need a resume for what I'm about to do. And I had already decided in my head that this idea that I had, which is now Marigold and Grey, which was planted about a year and a half prior that I wanted to make a go of it. And I know today with full certainty that had I not snapped, quote, unquote, the way that I did that I had not had that little moment of just breakdown. I would not be sitting here today. I would not be doing what I'm doing. There would be no way because I'm too risk averse. I'm I was raised to believe that you just push through and that honesty and work ethic are the most important things. And you do what you gotta do and you reap the rewards for it. So I never would have done it.
Goli: Yeah. I mean, it's amazing to think like if your supervisor hadn't retired, would you still be there? And you might've still been there, but a lot of people would have done exactly what your husband had said. Right. Like a lot of people would have maybe had this meltdown and I'm sure those people that have had that, or like have quit without really having a plan, like kind of on the spot realize they can't do it, but then quickly go into the fear of like, well, I need a job or I need to make an income. And, and what you said earlier, which is the same exact way I felt, you know, I think when you're a good worker, very much feels like entrepreneurship or business owning is just, it could as, as might as well be on another planet, like it's not available to me. So when you have those thoughts, how do you deal with the own doubt and fear of like, wait, am I really going to leave this industry that I have all this experience in? And then I make really good money in to go try something that I have no idea if it's gonna work or not.
Jamie: So I think once my husband got over the shock of what I had done, he actually said something to me that, that really resonated with me. And it was cold water being splashed on my face. And he said, you know, you're basically already running a business. If you think about it, he goes, you know, you've been managing clients, you've been selling to clients and then keeping those clients happy. You've been working with, you know, internal people at your company. You've also been working externally with your customers. You have all of this knowledge of product and service, and you've been shouldering the risk of not knowing what your paycheck's going to be month to month. It was a lot of that is business ownership and you're already doing it. And I never thought that way, but, you know, once I decided that I wasn't going to put my resume out there and I was just going to like at the end of the time.
So I gave my, my previous company six weeks because I don't know the depth of the relationships that I had with the clients and the amount of revenue that was being generated every year, I needed to stay for six weeks. And I told them that I would just to make sure everything transitioned properly, but like minute one, after I was done with that, I just like hit the ground running. And I realized that, you know, while business ownership is not easy, some of the elements were coming to me much more easily than I ever thought. And I feared it for the wrong reasons. And I doubted myself for the wrong reason. I think a lot of people have that in them. They already have a certain combination of skills that apply to business ownership. They won't call it that, right, because they think you have to be this again, unicorn entrepreneurial person that has everything figured out that isn't true. You have to have a certain amount of skills that you're good at the rest of it. You need to know enough to get by and then work your, you know what, off until you can hire people to do what you're not good at.
Goli: Absolutely. I love that you say that because I think we all have a tendency of downplaying our strengths or ignoring our strengths and focusing on what we're weak at. And especially when you're jumping into something new, you want to think of all the reasons why you can't do it or why it doesn't work. And it's amazing when you think about everything that you do bring in all of the value that you can add, how much, any position, anything you want to do, you really can, if you're focusing on that stuff. But we usually aren't. And I had the same exact thoughts about entrepreneurship. And I remember when I was going to like a tech startup meetup and there was like these startup owners and they were just like going on and on about how much they work and how much they work. And like how hard it is to like do a startup.
And I just remember like them talking about, I don't know that they work like eight 70 or 80 hours a week. And I was just thinking to myself, not that I that's the lifestyle that I want, but I'm like, yeah, I do that all the time as a lawyer. Like, why is that? Why are you like giving yourself a Pat on the back? I think we're in a hundred hour weeks regularly and nobody even bats an eye. Right. And that's when I started thinking like, maybe I can't, maybe I do have it. Like, I have so much of a work ethic or discipline. And I, I clearly work hard and I clearly can figure things out and I'm, you know, semi smart and whatever. And so when I started seeing that was when I was building up my own confidence to be like, maybe I can start a business.
Jamie: That's exactly what it is. I worked a lot before. Right. A lot. I work a lot now more than I did before, but it just feels different. It feels like it's for a purpose. It feels like it's for a reason, but make no mistake. It is harder. The pressure is even more. Because in addition to just me failing, if I fail, I fail my employees. I affect their livelihoods. I impact clients who are spending a lot of money with us and relying on me. So any failure of mine has this ripple effect that it never had before now, before it impacted my household and our finances and all of that. Well, if I fail now, that happens also. But now it has this ripple effect of more people, more lives impacted. So it, it is bigger. It's definitely not easier. And it's funny, the people that say, Oh, you're so lucky.
Like you get to make your own hours. You don't have to work if you don't want to. Well true. But if I choose to not work for like one day, I'm going to have to make up for it. And other day, you know, you, can't just where people that say, Oh, you can take like the whole summer awful. Yeah. I can take the whole summer off, but what's going to happen to the morale of the business. Like, I, I'm really a big believer in an owner, you know, needing to be present in the business for many years before they could even start taking a serious, serious step back. And, you know, you can do the things to scale and you should be able to delegate. Yes, but you also should be present. And when you're not present and I don't mean physically present, I mean, from a leadership standpoint, bad things are gonna happen. Things are going to slip. You're not going to have the edge that you have if you're present and in it and showing people that you care and you care so much. And then that makes them want to care too.
Goli: But so then what is the upside for you? Like if you're working more in the pressures more, and you're saying like, now there's this ripple effect. And I think maybe people listening would be like, yeah, why would I jump into entrepreneurship? Like, what have you seen as the upside of leaving that high paying job?
Jamie: It's creating something from nothing. I think it's one of the most special things that you can ever do. The sky's the limit with it. You know, I felt like it was limitless before, but it wasn't because it was really me and my activity right now. It's my activity, but I can scale this business and have other people working. So if I'm not working that one second, the business is still making money. And that's really powerful. Also the ability to give people a place to work that, you know, hopefully they like, that's an harmful to me that feels impactful. And just having something that is my own, that I can feel day to day, the impact that it has on other people is it makes all of that work and sometimes fatigue very much worth it.
Goli: Why don't you tell people what Marigold and Grey is and let us know, like, how did you come up with this idea and how did you know that this is a thing you wanted to jump into?
Yeah, that's a good question. So the way that I came up with the idea or the concept for the business is back when I was planning my own wedding in 2012, all of our guests were coming in from out of town and they were required to get a hotel to stay overnight. So I felt kind of this feeling like I wanted to greet them with something pretty special because they were making the sacrifice of time and money to come in and share this occasion with us. And I wanted the gifts to all be really special and Virginia theme. Cause that's where the wedding was. I remember having a really hard time finding, you know, unique like artisan kind of types of items to put in the gifts. And it just took me a long time. And then once I did, I had to have all these different items shipped to my house.
And then there was this confusion over, you know, who is going to put them together. When were they going to get put together? How many did I need to order? Because you know, you don't know your RSVP list until, you know, a couple of weeks out. So then naturally the whole process becomes a last minute task. And the couple of weeks before a wedding, as a bride, you're not in the best frame of mind typically, you know, you're super stressed out. And so you know, long story short, we, I tasked my wedding planner with putting them together and just getting them to the correct hotels, where we had room blocks. And somehow I don't know what happened, but they ended up at the wrong hotels. Half of our hotel blocks got them, half of them didn't. And so guests were talking about it at the wedding talking amongst themselves, did you, Oh my gosh, can you believe those amazing welcome bags?
And they're like, we didn't get one. Why didn't we get one? This is really embarrassing. The light bulb went off on my head then. And I thought to myself, you know why I outsource everything else for this wedding, but I can't outsource that. That's a little ridiculous. And then I thought, Oh, if I started a business, I would do that. And then of course I put it to rest because we go on our honeymoon, we come back I'm right back in the swing of work. You know, I just never thought I could take that risk never in a million years. Did I think I would actually do it.
Goli: When you decide that you're going to do it was the original concept that the business was going to be like, was just going to be you ordering and like creating like an Etsy shop or like, how are you going to start this?
Jamie: So I took savings from my career and I decided that I was going to launch an e-commerce platform that was going to allow people to build their own wedding welcome gifts. So we built this site and, you know, you could go and you pick your packaging. So like, whether it be a box bag, basket, whatever, and then you advance to the next stage where you can add, you know, food. Then you add to go to the next phase, add drinks, next stage at keepsakes, which were like, you know, location themed items. And then you could add a gift tag, ribbon color on and on, and then check out. And then we slash I at the time would build all of the gifts and ship them or deliver them to the wedding location. The model was really meant for weddings. So wedding welcome gifts and very quickly what happened after I spent all this money on this website is high functioning, very expensive website, right?
It became very clear that people wanted custom gift design. Like I had undershot the market, they wanted a higher level of service. They didn't want to mix and match. They didn't want to think about it. They wanted to come to me and tell me, this is my color scheme of my wedding. This is who's coming. And how many people and can you create something for me? That's beautiful. And so more and more, I was doing custom gift design, not so much e-commerce on the website. Then companies discovered what we were doing. And they said, wow, like this is not traditional cheesy corporate swag. This really looks nice. I want this for my corporate event. And then very quickly it exploded into corporate gifting. So we do weddings today. It's a much smaller portion of the business. We do, you know, the high end, like 1% of the 1% of weddings, but the bulk of the business is now corporate gifting. We also have an e-commerce shop, but it's no longer mix and match it's predesigned gifts. You can order one at a time. So you can either do fully custom gift design in bulk with us. Or you can order one at a time off of our website for any occasion, like new baby engagement get, well, you name it.
Goli: I love that. I love that so much because especially with entrepreneurship, but I think so many people are like trying to think their way to the end goal, right? Like figure out the entire plan. And I'm going to know how to build this business, or I'm going to know how to get there and what I hear time and time again, what happened with me, what happens with everybody is like, you will never know until you start doing it and you start seeing like what people want and what they actually don't want and where it goes and how to pivot from there. And so a lot of times, like we have this idea of like what it's going to be. And so often I think businesses have so many iterations before it finally becomes the business that we all see and like love. And I feel like you sort of have to take that leap of faith and know that you will figure it out as you go.
Jamie: You're absolutely right. And you know, that people say, Oh, you know, test the market, test the market. And I think for me, I was so anxious to prove that I quit my job for a good reason that I wanted this big splash and I wanted it to be super high tech. And the, the website was beautiful. Like I was very proud of of what it was, but had I tested the market first, Oh, I could have saved so much money, you know, to have to then disconnect the site later, because what was happening is people were coming to our website. They were getting confused. So maybe they would land on the build, your own tool. Didn't know we did custom and then they would leave or maybe they landed on the, build your own tool. And didn't know that we offered gifts like already predesigned one at a time. And then they would, you know, click and leave. So I said, what would happen if we disconnected the, build your own and just see what happens? And it killed me to do, because it was my baby. Like I worked on it for so long and, and we disconnected it and it was very quickly obvious that that was the right decision.
Goli: Obviously you've had to figure out so many things like while you have a lot of the stuff that you brought from your past career and a lot of the work ethic, I mean, just learning how to do all of this stuff, right? How do you, I dunno, inventory, how much inventory do you need and how do you shipping and what can you ship to different States? What has been the process of you kind of dealing with these obstacles or figuring out this entire, like, not just the nuts and bolts of the business, but how to run a business.
Jamie: This is not going to be a very kind of MBA or sophisticated business answer, but a lot of trial and error and a lot of hiring good people who are problem solvers. And that's really what it comes down to. You need to work hard and be a problem solver, and you need to hire people who are good at what you're not good at and make sure that they're excellent problem solvers in whatever area that you hire them for.
Goli: That's amazing. How many employees do you have now?
Jamie: So right now we officially have four going on five full-time and then we range between, I would say five and 10 part-time people that kind of flex in and out, depending on our production levels. It's pretty incredible. I mean, to have a business is still pretty small.
Goli: When you think about the fact that you can employ that many people, it's a pretty amazing accomplishment.
Jamie: Yeah. Thank you. I look at it and you know, sometimes in order to see how far you've come, I have to force myself to go back to where I started and, and look at it. My husband and I recently sold house and our put our house on the market to move and moved into a new house. And I started my business in the old house. And so right before we moved out, I went down there to the room, to this vacant room that was you know, it was wired to be a theater room in our basement, but it never quite happened because I took it over to, to use for the quote unquote studio space. And I just thought about like, wow, I can't even believe that I started that here where I had one desk. Then my first employee sat next to me.
And then we hired one more person who was with us in that room. And then we started doing shipping in the guest room next door. Then it started swelling upstairs. And we did all of our photo shoots in the living room. And we had to move the living room furniture every day. And then we started filling up the foyer and then it got to the point where it became obvious we needed a commercial space when we were starting to getting pallets, dropped off in the yard and you know, no way to bring them inside. We don't have a dock at home, you know? So it became very obvious. And you know, even then at that point where like visually, it was obvious right in front of me that I couldn't grow anymore without taking that next leap, I was still afraid. And I still said, you know, in confidence to my husband, I I'm not ready to do this.
And he said, yes, you are probably wanting to get out of the house, right. With all this stuff. But he said, yes, yes, you are. It's it's trust me. He's like, it's, it's time to do it. You need to just do it. And I think that that is worth noting because as a business owner, even if it's the right decision, it still doesn't have to feel good. It's not always going to be obvious. It's still might feel hard. And it's always going to feel like a risk because it is nothing is guaranteed and you have to keep taking the risk over and over again, you don't just take a risk for starting the business and then it's over and you're home free.
Goli: Yeah. I honestly love that. You're saying that because I, I get people all the time where it's like, I just need to figure out the thing that I'm passionate about. Like once I figure that out, then I go and I'm like, no, you won't. Because then it's the fear of like, well, what will it work? Or, you know, and then the next stage is like, should I invest in this? Should I scale this? Like, there's a, you know, the saying new levels, new devils. And it's like every stage, every decision, the fear is always there. And I think for so many people that are waiting to not feel scared and I'm like, then you'll wait forever. They're never getting different going to go.
Jamie: No. And that's why I like to talk about that and kind of confess that to other people, because it's so important. Once I realized that you can feel scared and still do it and have it be the right decision. It was really kind of freeing because then you're not waiting for something to be obviously the right decision.
Goli: Totally. And most of the times, it's not obvious because like you just said, cause there's no guarantee. And actually that brings me the next thing, because I think a lot of times, you know, people are so scared that like, well, we don't know what's going to happen. And I think obviously this year more than ever just confirms that like with COVID and I hear a lot of people now don't want to quit or don't want to like start this thing that they want to start. Cause we're in this pandemic and obviously you couldn't have predicted this. And I think a lot of times, again, like we're trying to solve for all the problems before we take the step. But the reality is, is like, you'll never know what you're going to be hit with. And so you just have to kind of go from there, but what is your experience been like this year with COVID? Has it affected your business at all?
Jamie: So we've had a really interesting whole, like last 12 months last September. So a little bit over a year ago, we had a really serious building fire in our building. And the space above us is where the fire originated. And it was very serious fires, like 75 firefighters. The roof had partial collapse. Anyway, long story short, there was so much water up above the level that it ended up completely flooding and destroying our studio space. And I lost almost all of my inventory. We had to vacate the property immediately ripe right in the middle of our holiday season, we did move to the adjacent space, which I had just signed a lease for three weeks prior to expand and worth noting. I was afraid to expand. And I said, you know, I'm not ready to do that. Oh my gosh, it doubles our rent.
What am I going to do? What if we don't fill it out? And you know what? It was a little message to me like, yes, you can like, yes, you are ready. And thank goodness you were ready and you pull the trigger, even though you were scared, because guess what, if you had it, your business would be homeless right now. So is a little reminder, like, you know, take those risks. So we moved, we thought we were going to have 6,000 square feet. We had 2,500 square feet to execute holiday. We pulled it off. We did it. And then as soon as we were recovering from the fire, we were drastically underinsured, which is a whole nother podcast episode about how to prepare for that kind of thing. But anyway we came out of the fire and went right into COVID and I thought to myself, you know what?
And actually said to my team out loud, we did not go down for a fire. We ended up doubling in size that year. We did not let any clients down. We are not going down for a virus, right. We're just not, we're just not going to do it. And that's kind of become our mantra. But all of our corporate events canceled all of our weddings canceled in March. And I had no clue what we were going to do. And I was up all night worrying about it, losing sleep over it. So that's the custom side of the business for events. And then all of a sudden in the e-commerce side, the consumer side of the business just exploded. Oh, I couldn't figure out what was going on. You know, I went into our e-commerce platform and I read, cause every gift box you buy, you can include a handwritten message.
So I went in and I sat there and I read every single note card message that was being submitted with every single order. So I could figure out why are these people ordering so much more than they were? People had no way of connecting. Floral shops were closed and life was still happening. People were still having babies and their moms wanted to be there with their daughters, for having their first child and they couldn't travel. So they were sending baby gifts. Weddings were getting canceled and brides were devastated and people were sending Brad gifts. People were losing parents to COVID. They were sending sympathy gifts. It was if they were sending thinking of you, guys' health, health care packages. I mean, healthcare worker packages, and then mother's day hit and people couldn't get together for mother's day and they couldn't send flowers. And so it was just going through the roof.
And so that explosion ended up tidying us over revenue wise until our clients. And like we got together and figured out how to pivot. So as they went to virtual events from corporate events in person, we help them figure out, okay, how are we going to use the gifting process to make your virtual event really special? Because you can't greet them in person like you used to, you can't pull out all the stops and, you know, roll out the red carpet like you did. How are we going to make this a gifting experience, amazing and ship it to their home ahead of the virtual event and get them really excited about it. So that's become a bulk of what we do now. And we also do like large scale employee appreciation campaigns for people wanting to gift all of their employees and also their clients to stay top of mind. But the end of the day, regardless of why they're gifting, the common denominator is that they're wanting to use our service to remain connected when they can't connect in person. And it's, it's really powerful.
Goli: I love that. It's such a Testament to the fact that there is, you know, when one door closes another one opens, but it just is like a lot of times you have to be willing to pivot with the times and figure it out. And I think especially as a business owner, oftentimes what you say it, you know, as like this is a mantra, but really is we do a lot of work on mindset on this podcast. And I think when you've decided, like we're not going down, like I'm going to, we're gonna figure this out. You put your brain to work, to figure it out. You know, like a lot of times when I think we don't realize when we have like these defeatist attitudes or thoughts where it's like, well, that was a pandemic. I can't do anything. Right. Well, there's nowhere to go from there. So I think it's amazing to see that when you're willing to try to find the solution and put that to work, that there might be ways that you maybe were missing.
Jamie: Oh, so incredibly true. I will never forget it when we were probably, I don't know, a week or two out from the fire and we're sitting in a space, so next door, it was being actually gutted. So it was a construction site that was being renovated for us to take over, but it clearly wasn't ready yet because they weren't expecting us to have to move in. So soon it was in a shambles. At some point we didn't have a bathroom, we didn't have air conditioning and it was September. So here in DC, or it's really hot still, we didn't have proper lighting. It was a mess. And almost all of our furniture was ruined. So I remember we're having our team meeting in the morning and I'm looking around and my staff is sitting on upside down trash, trash cans. Right. And they're, and they're sitting there fine, you know?
And I said, okay, before we get started with, you know, our task list and what actually has to happen today, we are gonna write on this large piece of paper on the wall, what went right yesterday that didn't have to, and we're going to sit here until we have a decent sized list and we're going to look at it. And then tomorrow we're going to turn around and we're going to do it again because you guys, we are accomplishing things that shouldn't be accomplishable if that's a word. Yeah. And somehow some way we are pulling this off and we are making things happen that I can tell you, not everyone would be able to do. And it's because of attitude. It's because of teamwork. And again, it sounds super cliche, but when you're in the thick of it and you're in the middle of a disaster, you walk into your studio, the, the electricity's off and water is raining down on all of your work and all of your inventory attitude. Sometimes it's all you have.
Goli: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I feel like attitudes all you have all the time, you know, it, it's amazing. The Henry Ford quote, whether you think you can, or you think you can't you're right. It really is just, you know, if you have already decided it's not going to work, there's nowhere else for you to go from there. So you're just not, you know, you're going to give up. So I love that. It's such a great example. So this has been a wonderful, and I think it's not only inspiring, but it's just like so refreshing to see people talk about the truth behind their journey and you know, the fact that they still have fears. And I'm just wondering if you have any final words for somebody who might be where you were back at the medical sales job, you know, bearing the brunt of a lot of, I dunno, workplace things that you maybe shouldn't have holding onto a lot of these things and just pushing through and knowing there's something that you don't want to do this, but not knowing what else to do.
Jamie: Yeah. There's a lot of glitz and glamor surrounding doing it the way that I did it or doing it the way that someone else did it when they just up and quit. Right. And then it becomes a success story. There's a lot that is discussed surrounding that, that makes it look really glamorous. But I w I would like to say that, you know, people that are, that choose to do kind of a side hustle or something on the side, there is absolutely no shame in that. And starting slow. You don't have to go all the way, right. To make a lot of progress. And I would even challenge people to say that that's the smarter way to do it, because then you can be choosier about the clients that you take and build a better portfolio faster, because you're not forced to take jobs that aren't your ideal just to pay the bills.
So if you think about it that way, there's absolutely no shame in doing it. And then I think you'll know when the tipping point is when it's time to go full time when your business is stunted, because you have a full-time job. I think that that starts to become the tipping point. I would also say that, you know, for people that just can't get themselves to take the plunge, think about where you're going to be next year, looking back and another year of not doing it. And wouldn't you like to avoid that sickening pit in your stomach that you're going to have when you just wasted time, because you're not getting any further along doing what you're doing now, if you really feel like you're stagnant and you're in a place that you don't like not going to change, going to keep getting worse.
Goli: You're absolutely right. On both accounts. I think it's, we live in such an amazing time where you can have a side hustle, you know, and I know hustle culture is a little bit problematic. And so I don't mean to say that, like, you have to like go to work and then come home and then build something from seven til 10 at night. But you can, if you want to write, if there's something where you realize, like I need to leave, but I, I can't just quit. I need the financial security of my job. We, in the first time in history live in at a time where you can build a business on nights and weekends and you can do it slow and it doesn't have to be a rush. So I love that. Yeah.
Jamie: There's no shame in that whatsoever. And in fact, guess what things take twice, as long as you think they're going to building a website and they cost probably four times what you think they're going to cost. So having more money in the bank saved up is not a bad thing. You know, it's really the way to go. So, so there's really no shame in whatever path that you take. And if you decide to take the plunge and go all at it, there's no shame in admitting to people that you are a small business and that you're starting out. I don't know anybody right now, especially in this climate that doesn't want to help a small business. One of the most rewarding things about this job, and specifically what I do is that I am a small business in myself, right? But our work, we support countless small businesses by choosing to include their goods.
You know, what they create in our gift boxes. So one gift box from us could literally support six plus small businesses at one time, right? That is what is gratifying. And it's harder because smaller businesses, they have stock outages. They don't always know some of our vendors that we work with. They don't even have they have not even gone full-time yet some of them, and we work with them and they do great things for us, but it's harder to do it that way, but it's so worth it. It's so gratifying to be a small business that then buys from and supports other small businesses. And especially during COVID to have the growth that we've had, even during a pandemic, we're going to double in size again this year. Wow. That's incredible. Thank you. And to be able to have our vendors, some of them have even emailed and said, thank God I really needed this PO really badly. Like you have no idea how bad I needed this order. It's worth everything.
Goli: I love that. Jamie, thank you so much. Where can people find you if they want to come check out what you're doing and follow along and maybe purchase some boxes?
Jamie: Sure. so our website is and then we are on Instagram @marigoldgrey
Goli: I will put links to all of those in the show notes, in case you can't write it down. Thank you again, Jamie. This was wonderful.
Jamie: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. This is definitely a topic that I have a lot to say on, so I very much enjoyed it. Thank you.
Goli: Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes. It'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at lessons from a quitter and on Twitter at Twitter podcasts, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.