In honor of Purpose Under Palms' one year launchiversary coming up on May 3rd, I wanted to let you know more about me + why I started this business, instead of just giving you a short Instagram post!
If you're new here,
Hi! I'm Kate, a watercolor artist + live painter.
Here's 10 fun facts about me + the story of why I started Purpose Under Palms:
- I grew up in the Appalachian mountains, just 30 minutes from Bristol Motor Speedway + 1.5 hours to Dollywood. Despite growing up in the mountains, I have always been in love with all things coastal.
- I'm a pickle enthusiast + the perfect companion for pickle haters - I will always accept the side pickle of your entree. Specifically dill, the sweet ones are wannabes.
- I'm obsessed with my little yorkie. He is my absolute soul dog + his nickname is Chicken Nugget.
- My other dream job, aside from the one I'm living, is to be a sea turtle biologist at the Sea Turtle Care Center in Charleston. It's on my bucket list to volunteer so that I can work with them at least once!
- I like to watch documentaries about the ocean for fun. Learning what's beneath the ocean + how it affects the rest of earth is so fascinating.
- I was a competitive cheerleader until I was 15. I truly learned so much from this experience that I still carry with me today.
- I love iced espresso + I always look up local coffee shops when I visit somewhere new.
- My husband + I grew up on the same street but didn't know + didn't talk to each other a single time until after high school.
- Humid weather is my favorite weather. Add that to the list of reasons I was meant to live at the beach.
- My biggest fear is spiders. I was the only one that screamed on the Harry Potter ride at Universal when the spiders popped out.
LET'S START FROM THE BEGINNING
I've only told this story in bits + pieces to a handful of people, so I'm excited to share with you how I got here (...hopefully without turning this blog into a novel). Keep in mind throughout this story that I am very much a Type A, do it by the book, play it safe kind of person.
Or was...keep reading to see how that has changed.
Since I was 10, I have wanted to own my own business.
Instead of asking for typical toys a 10 year old would want, I was asking for an L-shaped glass desk + a printing calculator that I spotted at Office Depot. I would play typing games on our family dial-up desktop (my current self is thankful for this) + I would write on everything because I loved an office setting.
I dreamed of having my own office one day.
In between the "seriousness" of playing office, I was also very creative. Zoom on PBS was one of my favorite shows growing up + I was always recreating the concoctions they made (if you remember the corn starch + water episode, you are my people!).
But, what does any of this have to do with the beach?
I have always been fascinated with water + the ocean. When this love began, my room was decorated in dolphins, which eventually turned into sea turtles (still my favorite animal), + my birthday parties were always ocean + tropical themed.
Other than my mom loving the beach, I don't really know what made me love it so much because I actually hated the way sand felt when I was younger. I think loving the coast is simply just a part of who I am!
Flash forward to middle + high school, when going to college + finding a career that makes you money is a constant conversation.
High school is also when I began painting with acrylics + started taking art a little more seriously.
I always did the best in the creative courses (though some would argue they're the "easy A" classes), such as art, web design, + consumer science. I was also in FCCLA (Family, Career, + Community Leaders of America) where I was able to use my creativity + love of business to compete with my group of two other classmates, where we won Gold multiple times for our presentation.
As most teens do, I changed my mind a couple of times on what I wanted to do as a career, but none of them were super creative. Lawyer, accountant, marine biologist, vet, teacher. The most common aspect I was looking for was to be my own boss. I eventually settled on accounting + wanted to own my own firm.
The fall after high school graduation, I began community college where I took mostly Gen Ed courses, but also threw in a drawing course + accounting courses. I very quickly discovered that I actually did not like accounting whatsoever + changed my major to Business Administration.
After graduating with my Associate Degree, I continued courses at The University of Virginia's College at Wise where I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 2017. A few months later, I began working a job that I absolutely loved.
HERE'S WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING
I worked that job for 3 years + loved it the whole time. It was so much of what I always wanted - my own office + an office setting. Genuinely, I could have worked there for the rest of my life + been perfectly happy. The only area I wasn't being fulfilled in was creativity, which is such a huge part of who I am. I also had this feeling like there was something more I was meant to be doing.
Technically yes, but...
While I was there, I also got married to my husband, Jordan. We both knew we wanted to live at the beach someday + I started having this huge urge to move to our favorite city - Charleston, SC!
When I say huge urge, I'm talking can't sleep, always thinking about it, crying because you feel like a piece of you is missing kind of urge. I consider it a calling, for many reasons I'd love to share if this story doesn't end up too long.
So here I am. January 2021. Promising myself that this will be the year that I step out of my comfort zone + start making dreams come true. Because dreams don't work unless you do.
The plan? Move to Charleston. Work a new job. Buy a house. Start a business. Pray that business takes off so I can do what I love full time in my favorite place.
I even already had "Purpose Under Palms" chosen as the name of my business, because I would be living with purpose under the palms.
When we finally made the decision that we are moving, I kept second guessing. My inner planner was freaked out by the thought of change + the unknown. I had to keep reminding myself of my favorite quotes, "A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there" + "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone".
So, I finally told my manager the plan. Then the realness hit me when I got home + I cried. A lot. I felt like I was letting go of something amazing, which I was, but it was to chase after something that I've dreamed of for years.
A few months go by, + while I was still second guessing if this is what's right, I also had such great peace about it. For me, that's how I know something is meant to be. I always trust my gut, no matter what.
I literally waited until the last possible minute to turn in my two weeks notice + cried in my manager's office. *shocker* But I finally pulled the trigger. Honestly, that was one of the hardest parts of this whole journey.
The very next day, we made the drive to Charleston.
LIVING THE DREAM
Once I arrived, I had 8 days to browse all of my favorite CHS things before starting my new job. My husband, dog, + I were soaking up our new life. I sat in the parks + painted, just like I always pictured myself doing.
I was on cloud 9.
Then I started my new job. I won't go into too much detail, but this job was not for me. I was shocked, because it was similar to my previous position. I toughed it out for a few months, thinking it was just the life change + I'll eventually get settled.
Nope. It got worse. My anxiety was at an all time high. I was depressed, I'd be sick on the weekends thinking about it, + I wouldn't even eat supper some nights because I stayed nauseous. Which made me even more sad because not long before, I felt like I was living in a dream. I couldn't even think about starting a business, but I was still painting commissions on the side.
Why couldn't I have just switched jobs?
I could have eventually, but we were in the thick of finding a house. Changing jobs in the middle of a pre-approval is a no-no. So we kept house hunting, but couldn't find anything we felt right about (this was also in the middle of the crazy high market with low interest rates). We ended up making an offer on a dream house, but felt uneasy about that too, so we were kind of glad we didn't get it.
You know me, I always trust my gut.
We continued to house hunt, praying we'd find something soon so I could do something different. But then. My husband was offered a position back in our hometown that would give me the opportunity to start a business full time, along with the area having a lower cost of living. We'd have to sacrifice, but I'd get to do what I love. Technically, being able to work for myself full time was the dream, but it wasn't at the beach like I hoped.
We had less than two days to make a decision, so we went with the one that gave us the most peace at the time - moving back home.
PURPOSE UNDER PALMS WAS finally CREATED
I turned in my two weeks notice + a weight lifted off my shoulders. A complete 180. I'm thankful for the friendship I made there, but I was happy to be moving on.
I was also sad to be leaving my dream city + the beach, but this is one of those stepping stones in life + I had to trust that it was supposed to work out this way because again, we had peace so we knew something was right.
I hit the ground running as soon as we got back + completely submerged myself into learning about opening a business.
Two months later, Purpose Under Palms was a registered legal business! YAY!
I spent the next 5 months continuing to learn, educating myself on tax laws, designing products, + building a website.
PurposeUnderPalms.com launched on May 3rd, 2022!
Almost one whole year ago.
Within the past year, I've painted countless commissions, been featured in two magazine articles, started painting live, have my products sold in stores around Charleston, got to be a featured vendor at a Charleston wedding planner luncheon, made talented new artist friends, + learned wonderful lessons along the way.
Part of me feels like I've had this business for forever + the other part of me feels like it just started yesterday. While my business has grown faster than I ever expected, it was also a long time coming. I put my heart, soul, sweat, + tears into it, + it has truly been the most fulfilling journey of my life so far.
That is why your support means so much to me.
STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
I can either say that this didn't work out the way I wanted, or I can say it worked out exactly how it was meant to.
God's plan is always bigger + better than anything we could plan for ourselves. I had to learn to trust my faith even when it didn't make sense + even when it wasn't necessarily what I hoped.
God gave me exactly what I wanted, just not in the way I expected.
I still got to start the business I've always wanted.
I truthfully believe that Him pushing me to move to the beach was the only way I was going to start a business. I loved my job so much that I never would have quit if I hadn't left my hometown. I also wouldn't have gotten to be an artist full time (this soon) if I hadn't moved back home.
While we still plan to live at the beach, I have learned the value in taking it one day at a time, trusting your faith, taking risks, + stepping out of your comfort zone.
As Joanna Gaines said,
"When you take a step out in faith, when it makes absolutely no sense, I think that's where the greater reward is. There's no telling where that will take you."
This story might seem mediocre in many ways, but it has also changed my life in ways + I will always be thankful. There are many, many little but significant moments in between the major details that really tie this whole story together, but you'd be reading for hours if I typed them out. If you ever want to chill + chat at a coffee shop, I'd love to tell you everything. :)
Your support, both before + after I started Purpose Under Palms, has been one of the main reasons it is where it's at today.
Every single like, share, follow, purchase, + word of encouragement means the world to me. Thank you so much for being here.
1 Peter 4:10