Reflections on 5 years, small business and a change in course

Our five year anniversary was this month. I mentioned this in a few places, but didn’t post a big birthday to-do, even though it feels like a huge milestone. Truthfully, I was contemplating this milestone and my business in ways I hadn’t expected. When I think back on how DLC launched back in April of 2014, with a party called Tea & Tees, a collaboration at my favorite former Arlington tea shop, it feels like ages ago. I see so many ways this company has grown, changed and found success. At the same time, as I look at the work we’ve done in the past year- deep dives into branding and customer experience, process improvement and one amazing Studio Manager, I feel overwhelmed by the things there are still to do. Things that will help us reach more locals in the DC area, create better back-end processes and make new products. Suddenly that felt….uninspiring. I know, that doesn’t seem to make sense, right?


Five years in business, any business, will teach you a lot. If I was starting over today, I’d know the systems I’d set up from the start, processes to put in place and how to better curate a product line. I’d learn to trust my intuition about the opportunities I should take and those I should hold a firm ‘no’ on. In short, I’d take the lessons I learned achingly slowly over the past five years and do it better, clearer, faster. I’m not starting anew today, but I have come to the realization that DLC has run its course. This company took me places I never could have dreamed when I had a 6-week old baby and a dream of working for myself. I wanted freedom from the nine-to-five, work that I found inspiring and creative, and the flexibility to create something. I got those things. 1,000% I got those things. And as has happened to me several times in life, this big decision to move on came swooping in what felt sudden but also felt true. The thought had been churning deep down for quite some time, with questions of “are we successful?”, “is this fulfilling?” and “am I making enough money?” Those deep questions were held at bay as I worked hard to continue refining my business, building partnerships and hoping we were on the cusp on a big milestone. I wasn’t sure what that milestone was, but I knew it had to be one that would make all these years of hard work worth it, maybe an explosion of customers or a runaway product. And then recently that whisper deep down spoke very clearly: I don’t feel like that is coming. I know it is time to move on.


I am so proud of what I’ve built and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. I’ve learned more than just how to run a business, I’ve learned so much about myself, how I work well and natural talents I have. With that I’ve also found the flip side- environments I don’t thrive in, tasks I’m not good at and the overall balance with life and work that I need. And because I have learned to listen to my intuition and the truth it brings, I have to acknowledge that I don’t have the energy needed to push this company forward. I have a deep desire to do new things, use my skills and talents in new ways and frankly to take some time to breathe. All of all of those things have led to today.


So today I’m officially announcing that District Line Co. will be closing in 2019. The details are still being ironed out, but we are targeting this summer to be officially closed. Until then, we are planning to celebrate what we’ve built for five years with a fabulous farewell sale to let you scoop up the last of the DLC line and thank you for a great run!


Beginning immediately, you can save 25% on everything sitewide with the code FAREWELL25. This is the only discount we’ll offer so hop to it for the best selection. To sweeten the farewell deal, every order of $100 or more will get a free 6-pack of Local Love notecards. Good until inventory is gone!


You can shop all existing inventory on our website. This is all we have and all we will have, so we invite you to scoop up some extras of your favorites and help us go out in local style!


I also plan to continue writing about my experience as an entrepreneur and the emotions of launching, growing and closing a business. If you’re interested in that conversation, keep following along on our blog and make sure you’re signed up to get updates in our newsletter.


From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank each customer, fan and supporter for five great years!

Lisa

 

Comments

  • Posted by Danielle Droitsch on

    Lisa-you built something great and will be leaving behind a legacy of the coolest t-shirts in the DC area and beyond. A major accomplishment and a wonderful thing to have offered our entrepreneur community. And now you can take all of that and figure out whatever comes next! I loved the blog and your honesty and know you’ll find the best and most fulfilling path for whatever comes next. Kudos to you and District Line.

  • Posted by Kacey on

    I hope you look back on these five years as “That time when…I launched a business from scratch, developed a local cult following, slipped a key into the lock of uncharted territory, and opened up a brand new world. And also created some amazing t-shirts.” I am so freaking proud of you for every decision you’ve made for yourself and this business. Good things are coming—they are just different things!

  • Posted by Sapna Delacourt on

    I can’t wait to see what comes next for you. I’d also love to learn more from your experience. Let’s have lunch, Girlfriend!

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