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“What is a small business can do?”


“What is a small business can do?”

Kate Noel

At about age two and a half, one of our four children began asking questions with the oddest sentence structure, “What is eyebrows can do?” 

“Well, they keep sweat and dirt from running down your forehead into your eyes,” I explained–everyday–for weeks in 2013. I love these questions because they are as simple as they are funny, and they make you look for an answer. 

Since last fall–2017–we have been on a journey with Lingo, to define and understand what our next generation would look like. Hang it up, dive deeper, change gears. We considered it all.  That December, something wonderful and fortuitous led us to exhibit at a festival in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and in turn an introduction to a handful of small business owners and artists whose aesthetic and love of good products was just like ours. 

They were years ahead of us in their trade, yet they would embrace us, and understand our mission, and be patient with our questions about how to grow. We’d meet on and off for a few weeks that winter, and each time we did, I’d worry that they’d realize that we were a small business.

But one day, on my drive back from the most beautiful “everything” store owned by my new friend–and mentor–I shook my shoulders and thought, wait, yes. We are a small business and THAT is why they like us. They see our excitement, they identify with our quest to fill a niche. And I began to smile–it was my very own Sally Field moment.  I arrived home to my husband, and I told him I’d had a great meeting with one of my small business friends–my new colleagues.   

And suddenly the momentum was there, and we started to see that jumping in and embracing and asking questions and admitting that you are small but mighty is key to a fundamentally wonderful success.

The other night, awake in the wee hours, pouring over images of new product flats and web designs, I chuckled under my breath in my delirium, “What is a small business can do?”

And I breathed a wonderful sigh when the answer came out: everything.

Thank you to our mentors and cohort of Pucci Manuli and Eric and Christopher for seeing us, believing in us and pushing with us.