Raising a family is hard but gratifying.
Raising a family while in the military is hard but gratifying.
Raising a family AND a business while in the military is. really. hard.
Kiki Rupert, founder of Honest Earth Candles and Gigglemug, is a friend of Tin Shingle, being a former member and forever business friend. We get to know the behind the scenes of what it's like running many types of businesses thanks to people like Kiki, and her articles in Tin Shingle's Diaries of Small Business Owners series. When we wanted to know what it was like to run a business, let alone grow one from scratch, Kiki was the first who came to mind. Last year, she had uprooted her family and was moving cross-country when her husband was re-stationed. Their family car broke down, and they basically had to buy a new used one on the spot.
We asked her what it was like growing a business as a military family with a husband in active duty (he is currently at home). Her words best describe it:
"My husband was deployed to Afghanistan a few years ago and sustained a debilitating back injury that he will be undergoing back surgery for in January. A couple years ago, we were relocated from Ft. Bragg, NC to Monterey, CA. I could write a book on growing a business and family while being a military family, but to some it all up in one word....overwhelming!
"While my husband was in class all day (he's an Arabic linguist) he was not able to be disrupted. So when the kids were sick or having some sort of behavioral drama at school or daycare, it was up to me to solely handle every pickup, doctor visit, parent/teacher conference! We went through a lice epidemic at my daughter's daycare for 2 weeks that I almost lost my sanity over!
"All while trying to make my Honest Earth Candles and Gigglemug products, and develop and test new products, and try to find markets to sell at - which can require a lot of registration paperwork, let alone showing up at the market.
"Plus, there's a lot that comes with a military move, from registering for new health care providers and school, to securing housing. The business was on complete hold while we drove across country and as soon as we settled in to California, we picked it up again.
"When you're a military family, there are more trying obstacles because when your spouse is deployed or on overnight trainings, it's all on you to keep the business running and the kids on schedule. And throw in those occasional times of being up all night with a sick toddler, you have to be one tough person to keep it moving. In many instances it was a matter of taking it one day at a time!
"If I wasn't already someone who prides myself on multi tasking and performing well under stress then I wouldn't have been able to sustain the business for the last few years."
Thank you to Kiki's husband for his service as a veteran, to Kiki and her kids for their sacrifices, and to all veterans on Veterans Day.