I’m not talking about a gift you can wrap, or something someone gives to you. These don’t cost money, and aren’t tangible.
I’m talking about the wonderful feeling that comes along with doing something special. The smile that lights your soul after the blood, sweat, and tears of hard work.
Many of you know that I sell dog (and cat) treats to raise money for veteran and first responder non-profits. My business is not-for-profit, financially funded by me with some family contributions as well. This includes ingredients, packaging, advertising, shipping, raffle items, etc.
There are moments when I ask: why?
Why do I do this? Why don’t I just write a check, like other people? Why do I invest so much energy into this creative volunteer venture, aiming to generate awareness and drive sales to fund something important?
Then a generous order is placed, and I grow excited to fulfill it.
It’s not simply baking the treats and shipping them off, but exactly what the ingredient label states – made with lots of ❤️ – and even more than that.
As I readied to prep for an artisan fair this weekend, I received that generous order. The timing was great because my place turns into a commercial kitchen in every way. Adding an order to the bulk batches is ‘all in a day’s’ volunteer work.
Our sanitation and ServSafe protocols are put in place. Gloved up we start baking, dehydrating, bagging, and vacuum sealing. Printing labels, sorting, and ensuring Miss Vivienne’s Official Paw of Approval, with a thank you for supporting our veterans and first responders, is on each one.
Once the online order was ready to fulfill, I ran through my checklist: treats, packaging, labeling, ribbons, samples, packing slip, personal thank you note, promo coupons – and lots of ❤️.
As I prepared the package for shipment, carefully wrapping the treats in bubble wrap with decorative black and white polka dot tissue paper, ensuring all items were included, I smiled.
It was that smile that lights my soul.
Ah, that feeling is a gift.
It’s born of commitment, tireless effort, and personal investment. It lives because of moments just like that – preparing a package to ship, or dropping off a raffle item. Moments that answer the ‘why’ and reaffirm my drive, and dedication.
The joy in my heart is immeasurable.
Whether it’s one, two, or more leads or customers – each one is special.
We may not be perfect in any way, but we are perfectly committed to making a difference.
Our generous ‘customer’ had left a voicemail, and I returned that call immediately and thanked her for her order. My memorable takeaway was, “I’m excited to give them the treats!” Ah, thank you.
Again, the smile that lights my soul. This is my why. This is what drives me.
As I packed the shipment, taped the box, and placed the ‘thank you for supporting our heroes’ sticker, I felt such warmth, contentment – and hope.
Hope that we build a base of loyal customers who want to make a difference as much as I do.
Be sure to look for the gifts that surround you. You may just find that the little gifts, are the biggest gifts of all.