The Family Business

We started T.o.Y Soap with a very simple vision — we wanted something the family could do together, and hopefully someday (someday far far away)…be able to pass it on to the generations to come.  How we landed on soap? Different story, different day. But today, we’ll focus on the family.

Gordon will share his perspective on this, as well, as he does the daily grind of being a stay-at-home dad and probably has a slightly different outlook. You’ll get to hear from him on this blog when he gets a moment to breathe.

As for me (Allison), the thought of having a family business seemed, for lack of a better word, “cool.” I imagined the stuff you see on T.V. – the family spending a ton of time together, lots of laughter, the typical family dynamics, jokes and sarcasm loosely thrown around because, afterall, you’re family, and you can’t really be mad at family forever…

And what did I learn? Well, that T.V. has lied to me, yet again. Don’t get me wrong – I love many aspects of having a family business – especially the parts about spending lots of time together. That part, the T.V. didn’t lie about. But what would be the fun in reading about all the things I love? Probably much more meaningful (and truthful) to tell you what really goes on…

The picture above is our toddler. He’s helping us sort the soaps we’ll be donating to our community partners this month. Definitely a great story. But if I may set the stage a little more clearly. Gordon’s standing a few feet away, staring at the boy while he insists on lining things up his way; not dad’s way – the toddler’s way. Allison steps into the kitchen for her only 15 minute break of the day (she’s been sitting in the home office for the last 6 hours). She makes an unsuspecting comment to the toddler: “Are you being a big-boy helper to daddy?!” The toddler, of course, goes off on a very lengthy explanation about how he’s a great helper and details exactly what he’s doing with the soaps. Meanwhile, Allison catches Gordon’s roll of the eyes.

Uh – what did I miss? Gordon debriefs the moments leading up to this: apparently after a morning of refusing to listen, eating 10% of meals, talking at decibels that should only be reserved for football games, and exercising the toddler rights to negotiate on anything and everything, we end up here – gladly, but semi-defeatedly, putting the kid to “work.” I take my cup of tea, give Gordon a hug, and with a big smile: “Thank you, honey; have a good rest of the day.”

That’s the family business. On a Wednesday. And this repeats 7 days a week – because family businesses actually don’t have business hours. Imagine that. At any given time, on any given day, we are running this business. Yes, even as we lay our heads down to sleep: “Honey…I just had an idea!”

In all honesty, neither Gordon nor I would trade this gig for another — but there are definitely days when we question, “What did we get ourselves into?”

Then, there are days when we look back at pictures like the one above, and we laugh as we remember the context to that story. Our story. A story that probably would not have been as precious had we not run a family business. (I mean really…what toddler gets to sort and package soap?!)

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