This is what you do when you are bombarded with setbacks

To: Those who feel discouraged

From: Autumn Grant (As told to Lauren Brill)

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To those who feel discouraged,

Life is hard. As a result, I, too, have felt discouraged.

For three days last week, I was a mess.  Physically, mentally and emotionally, I was exhausted. I honestly didn’t eat for those three days, as I kept crying because I felt like I was going to lose it all.

Then, I woke up on Wednesday or Thursday and decided, “This is where the negative mindset stops.”

That was the moment I realized how strong I am. It’s also when I recognized that I overcame too much to throw in the towel now.

Four years ago, my father, who I have always called Poppy, got very sick. With a ruptured appendix that went undiagnosed, he was in the Intensive Care Unit for 23 days. The months following he continued to face many health problems. As an only child and a daddy’s girl, I was so scared because I thought I would lose my father.

Autumn’s father, who she calls Poppy.

New to Nashville, I was working in office management while my family was still in Illinois. Unable to get back home as much as I would have liked, constantly I was trying to figure out how I could help. One day, I woke up in the middle of the night and had this random idea to make bath bombs and sell them as a medical fundraiser.

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Bath bombs consist of Epsom salts, essential oils and different flower petals, helping you relax and offering relief for sore muscles. It’s like a hug in a little bath ball.

As soon as I started making them, people wanted more and more. Not only did my dad miraculously survive his illness, but I decided to start a bath and beauty business called The Kind Poppy.

“Poppy” is to honor my dad. “Kind” is because our products are good to the environment. Also, we give a portion of our earnings to charity, selecting a different cause each month.

For three years, I had a growing business, making more than 70,000 bath bombs by hand and selling them online and in our store in Franklin, Tennessee.  Then, in March of 2020, it felt like my whole world just started to unravel. For about six months leading up to March of 2020, I had terrible migraines. It was as though someone took a pencil and stabbed it through my brain. One day, it was so bad, I had to lock the door of my store and lay in our changing room, where I uncontrollably cried in pain.

That first week of March, I was finally going to get some answers, but a tornado hit our area first.  The tornado completely blew away many of our neighboring businesses. While our building survived, we had a lot of damage. Plus, all around us, there was no electricity, gas leaks and no water. 

Later that same week, doctors diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.), a chronic illness that impacts the central nervous system.

If that wasn’t enough, the country began to shut down days later because of a global pandemic.

There was a point in March where I just lifted my hands and felt like surrendering. I was cry-laughing, as I got hit with one challenge after another. 

But I didn’t give up.

Autumn is the founder of The Kind Poppy.

I took the time in quarantine to research M.S. and online marketing. I built up my online presence, while also taking some time to get the rest I needed. When I went back to work full speed, I looked for a new space and found creative ways to market to our customers under less than ideal circumstances.

In August, I moved into a new store. I started offering local delivery and in-store pickup. We do private shopping hours, allowing people to reserve time before and after we open to the public.

By necessity, I have become more fearless, reaching out to influencers and brands that previously intimidated me. I realized the worst they can say is “no.”

While all of those tactics have helped, we are still among the businesses across the world struggling to hold on. Our reserves are drying up. I am very scared, but I didn’t come this far only to go this far. And what gives me so much hope is all the support from people in The Kind Poppy community.

After I publicly shared our struggle, our customers began leaving encouraging comments and buying products. Actress Sabina Gadecki stopped by the store and promoted us on her social media.The president of Kinder Beauty Box, a subscription company we’ve previously worked with, reached out to me and wrote a thoughtful email. He told me he loved The Kind Poppy and asked what he could do to help.

What can we all take away from this letter?

Just knowing people are out there rooting for us has been huge for me.  As hard as it is right now, I can’t wait to hug my customers, host events, get out into the community and also breathe, knowing we made it to the other side of all these obstacles.

Until then, I think I was given this mountain of challenges to show people like you that all mountains can be moved, even yours. But you don’t have to do it alone. 

Last week,  I felt like I’d never find a way beyond my mountain, but just days later, I am starting to see the tunnel. Thanks in large part to the help from others, I’m beginning to see the way through all of the struggles of this past year.

So, I want to remind you that when you are so tired and feel like you have nothing more to give, get up, keep fighting and remind yourself that you are worthy and can do this.  No one said success would be easy. But don’t get discouraged. Get to work!

The same way people are rooting for me, I am rooting for you.

We can do this!

Autumn Grant
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