It is hard to put into a short blog how La Femme Rusé came to be but I will give it a try. You see, this story is very personal and that is why I have branded my business with a personal concept because how La Femme Rusé came to be had every thing to do with my great journey in life. I firmly believe that God has blessed me in so many ways and one of the greatest realizations I have learned about myself in the last 2 years is to never underestimate what God can do for you and where he will take you. My life is literally in a different place then I ever would have imagined and I am forever grateful that my journey has me right where I am at.
Born and raised in South Louisiana and proud of my roots, I have always seen myself as a go getter, never afraid of taking on a challenge and certainly never limiting my potential. Before children, Tim and I enjoyed our lives, loved our friends and were constantly reaching new heights. We accomplished a great deal together, both accomplishing our college degrees and graduate degrees... we were pretty accomplished and building careers. After living in Baton Rouge for nearly 10 years, Tim climbed the ranks as a special agent working for the Attorney General's office and I built a career in addiction counseling industry securing a great job working for a fast growing treatment company. I enjoyed being in management and was very proud to be a part of a leadership team that built a great business and also contributed to the betterment of lives.
As our thirties were settling in, we were faced with the realization that children were missing in our family and that Tim and I were ready to take the next step in solidifying our family. Tim and I had been ready for this step for quite some time but I was strapped with fear... I didn't know how I was ever going to be the kind of mother that I wanted to be. I enjoyed my career but my life was meant for more and I knew that being a mother was were I would really find my purpose. How was I going to do it though? How was I going to balance a pretty fast paced profession and be there for play dates, take the time with my children when they were sick... I was consumed with fear so much that this fear stalled our family from growing for years. I thought that the only way to ever be able to balance it all was to move our lives to our home town, Houma, where we would be near our families who could help us balance it all. The only problem with this is that we knew we would have a hard time fitting our professions into Houma and would be leaving behind a life we had grown to love in Baton Rouge.
Our first born, Gabriel, was brought into our lives in April of 2013 and our hearts were transformed forever. As I held that 5lb, 9oz precious, innocent baby I knew that our lives would really never be the same and that we truly did start a new chapter... I knew my career would change in some way and that there was no way my position would ever be able to fit the mother that I wanted to be into it. During this time, the company I was working for had been putting together plans to develop a treatment clinic in Houma and for a long time I prayed that I would be able to work out of that clinic and we would move our lives to Houma as I always dreamed. Raising my children in the South Louisiana culture... them going to the same private schools that Tim and I went too... spaghetti nights on Wednesdays with our families... them being there to help out... us being there to help them out... that is what I envisioned.
Shortly after returning from maternity leave I found out that there would be a position for me at the Houma treatment clinic and that the timeline to open the clinic was pretty short. I was so happy and grateful for my plan to be unfolding into a reality. Tim, on the other hand was worried. While he supported my vision, he believed in a bigger future for us and did not know how his career would ever fit back into Houma. Despite his feelings, he went along with the tide rolling and prepared our Baton Rouge home to sell and it did... quickly. We said goodbye to our home on Treasurer Avenue and our neighbors we had grown to love... and moved to Houma. I also said goodbye to my old professional self. The self that could get up and run to a different city for the day to work at another clinic. The self that managed teams of clinicians and worked in the management layer of a great company... I felt like I was giving up a lot but it was a needed sacrifice to fit Gabe into my career.
Our transition was not easy... and did not get any easier for us despite all of the wonderful variables being there. Tim was commuting back and forth to work nearly 4 hours a day and missed so much of our lives while trying to look for work closer to us. I was working late evenings to get the clinic running...This put so much stress on our family and our marriage. To sum up how hard life was for us during our that time, in one short blog... it is impossible. We were not happy at all. The clinic I was working for was thriving. I met so many amazing people and the work was less stressful... but our lives were sad. I struggled with postpartum depression so terribly and couldn't talk to anyone about it. I am summing up our lives during that time into one paragraph because that is all I want to it to be. I will never forget, praying to God to bring happiness back into our family...and telling Him that I was open to whatever it would take.
After 9 long months of trying to fit our lives into my vision, I accepted that our lives would likely go in a different direction than I anticipated and that we would likely leave our beautiful home town in order to embrace a new start. Tim and I decided to open up the geographical scope of his job search and within a week, he was contacted by the amazing company he works for now. He interviewed and out of 300+ candidates he was offered an amazing corporate position. We were excited to take on a new challenge and chapter in our lives. We initiated the house hunting and envisioned a new life in a big city were my main focus would be to care for our son. What we didn't know then was that the day we'd move, we would also find out that we were expecting another child... we were shocked at this unexpected twist in our plan as well!
We purchased our beautiful home in the lovely suburbs of Houston in a town called Spring. The charm and beauty of the area quickly grew on us and we settled in nicely. Madeline Anne was born in February 2015 and I knew that I just loved being a mother to these two precious angels. She was stunning and such an easy baby. Our hearts were overjoyed with love for her. As being the mother to our children (plural) settled in... I knew that they would be my everything...But I also grew more aware that I wanted to reconnect with my ambitious and creative self... something was still missing from my life and I knew that there was more to come.
As a mother of two babies, I needed a little outlet. If you have been there before in your life, you can understand how important that can be. An ability to express myself creatively while using my love for crafting was what I wanted to do! For mother's day, Tim brought home a die cutting machine. I was super excited and quickly got busy crafting... making birthday banners and paper crafts. I knew that I needed a bigger identity and my love for my French heritage inspired my new business name... La Femme Rusé, The Crafty Woman.
One day my I spent way too long attempting to cut balsa wood with my die cutting machine. After many unsuccessful attempts, and lots of googling, I stumbled across the art form of laser engraving. I was completely awestruck at the amazing things that I could do with a machine like that. The only problem is... well, you don't just have a hobby as a laser engraver... the machines are extremely expensive and can be fairly dangerous. Tim and I searched and searched for how to get me into that industry and we decided to purchase pretty old Epilog 30 watt engraving machine. I was so excited but we knew nothing about how to operate this machine. After installing and ventilating the machine in our garage studio, Tim stayed up all night trying to get it up and running. He eventually woke me up at 3 am to show me our first pass with our new laser. It didn't come out the greatest but I will cherish that wooden box forever. We realized quickly though that this new journey would not be easy. Learning the variables... settings... substrates... what wood engraves the best and at what setting... all of these things would be self taught... with two babies. Boy this will be an adventure. I spent a lot of time in the garage studio and got better and better at building graphics and engraving them on various items... mainly keepsake boxes! This was so much fun and I knew that I was called to make this a business.
Tim and I took some time to create my website and we launched right before 2015 holiday season. Not knowing what to expect and believing in my work, Tim and I were overjoyed at how our consumers loved our products and valued our customer service! We hit the ground running and have never looked back. Over this past year, we have accomplished so much. We retired our 10 year old Epilog and purchased a brand new Trotec Speedy 300! Our machine is a very professional laser engraver and a state of the art piece of equipment. My dream to expand my catalog to decorating beautiful ceramics has become a reality and now I am also kiln firing vintage graphics onto the finest dinnerware. I have taught myself how to maneuver through graphic designing software that was foreign just 1.5 years ago. Tim and I have recreated our website to feature our new expansion and we are beyond excited to share it with anyone who will love what we do.
So 2 years ago, I only knew how to be a social worker and a mother... Now, I am sharing my love for people and connecting with others through La Femme Rusé and am having a great time in doing so. I have met so many new people and have had so many opportunities that I know are only made possible because I let go of my old vision for my life. I am forever grateful that my plan did not work out because I never would have imagined the opportunity to own my own business and create such beautiful products that my customers love. I never imagined that I could do this all and raise my two precious children. It is by no means easy... but so rewarding.
All of the chapters in the book of my life have taught me lessons that have enriched me as a business owner. First of all, NEVER underestimate what you can do... When you see any product or service that impresses you, remember: SOMEONE HAD TO CREATE THAT... SOMEONE HAD TO MAKE THAT... They were you at one time. NEVER be afraid to start from the ground up! I have worked with some extremely ambitions business men in the addiction treatment industry that taught me about fearlessness. I have watched determination take a company from bankruptcy to one of the fast growing companies in the region...all because of determined business owners. ALWAYS keep your heart open to something different. When things are not right, God will let you know. Keeping your heart open. ALWAYS have a reminder of how far you have come. Below is a picture of of the first pass on the first box engraved by our original Epilog. Of course it is nothing to write home about... but I will keep it forever. Now that we are creating beautiful things... I see beauty in that old wood box. The beauty is not in engraving perfection for sure... but the beauty is my acceptance and excitement of God's adventure for me.
I am most grateful to Tim, who always believes in me in more than I do. Every time I get consumed again by fear... he brings me back to focus. We all need someone like that in our lives. We have spent a great part of our lives loving all things Disney and he brings me back to this Walt Disney quote:
"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things."
If I would live life in regret or spend effort trying to make it what I thought it should have been, I wouldn't be here. By just moving forward... looking for the next solution, the next opportunity, the next right thing to do, the next way to make your life happy... you can accomplish some amazing things!!
Even if you don't know what your dream is... that is ok! Put your family first and keep your heart open to whatever God has in store for you... you just might be surprised at how awesome it is!
Wishing you much happiness and a wonderful holiday season~
The Crafty Woman