You get a lot of information and pretty pictures thrown at you on this website but we haven’t really discussed our origin story. Let this be a lesson for anyone who is thinking of starting their own business. The inspiration can hit out of nowhere…
Just over two years ago, Aaron and I were celebrating our five year wedding anniversary. We’d somehow conned my brother and sister-in-law into looking after our kids for 24 hours so we could go stay at Barnsley Resort for a day and a night to celebrate a half a decade of wedded bliss (albeit with diapers and toddlers and no sleep thrown in there). On the way there we were having a familiar conversation about how much Aaron hated his job. He’d worked his ASS off in a sales position for years, having some great successes (the reason we’re in our house now is because of a massive sale he engineered) but some terrible losses. No matter how hard he tried, he was always up against the rest of the employees at his company and, if they screwed up, he lost the account. This had happened MULTIPLE times and he was at his wit’s end. So, I said, “what do you love to do?” He replied, “I love writing and video games.” Over the next 24 hours we explored the grounds, ate and drank ourselves silly and talked it over (keep in mind I’d also just had double eye surgery – a removal of a cataract to correct damage done because of a torn retina and LASIK in the other eye so I could see – and was about to start a new job with my current employer so there was A LOT going on).
The next day, Aaron created this blog.
It started off as just a venting playground, with video game reviews, band interviews and a whole lot of heart. But we weren’t getting ANY attention, even when Aaron was interviewing some pretty heavy hitters. And then, 2020 hit. It was a shit year for everyone and, with all of us working from home, Aaron decided to stretch out his ears again because who the fuck was seeing us? So, after ordering some plugs online and realizing he could do a better job himself, he started making his own plugs and in October 2020, we launched our Etsy store. We had a pretty good run up to Christmas sales-wise but personally we had just lost a baby and I pretty much spent all of December in and out of Kennestone hospital, first taking the abortion pill and then taking it again when it didn’t work the first time (the baby had stopped growing after six weeks so this was to initiate the process). Then, after an appointment on Christmas Eve, I was told I would have to have D&C surgery…on New Year’s Eve. To say we were glad to see the back of 2020 was a gross understatement.
I was looking for something to help me get over all of that and at the beginning of the year I started creating fun bath products for my sensitive-skinned kids. I was having so much fun playing kitchen scientist that I asked Aaron what he thought about splintering The Ghost Generation offering into bath and skincare items and he was completely up for it.
So, April 2021 was another big step.
After learning SEO, trying to make ANYONE pay attention to us on social media and not getting a damn sight anywhere, we lucked out by getting into The Battery’s Farmers Market. In Atlanta, The Battery is a huge hot spot and on our first outing in May we absolutely killed it, thanks to a huge amount of little girls that liked our bath bombs and jewelry. We would get SO many people saying they liked the ear plugs but they didn’t have stretched ears. And so, taking that art style, Aaron pivoted and started creating keychains and jewelry. The Battery ended up being a complete bust after that weekend, with a huge lack of promotion on their end and a bunch of people who were apathetic at best, disrespectful at worst. Luckily, we found an alternative with the Smyrna Handmade Market and have found our home (where you can find us every Sunday until October 17th when the season ends).
And now there’s a subscription box.
We’re trying here. We’re trying to create beauty and products that are safe and affordable for you but also bring a bit of joy. We’re 80s kids with a whole plethora of pop culture references that have transferred to our product naming. We make ourselves giggle with the inappropriate things we could name our products but don’t and the things we actually do say on this website. I get to create playlists every week that hopefully have you dancing in your car on your way to work or rocking out in your home office.
We are The Ghost Generation, a generation that has been left to fend for itself. Get married, they said, have kids, they said, but what they didn’t tell you was that once you had spent the money buying into all that crap that you would be left alone, a generation that remembered what it was like before the internet when people actually talked to each other, when personal interactions mattered, when there was a support system to help guide you through this fucked up thing we call life. So, we wanted to bring that back to the forefront. Don’t spend a shit ton of money on fancy products that do fuck-all for your skin but they’re jam-packed with horrible chemicals that MAY cause cancer. Have access to jewelry that makes you feel good and know that it’s the only one of its kind in the world (because god knows everyone looks like each other nowadays). Fine, if you have to use Instagram, at least our packaging is pretty fucking awesome and would look good on anyone’s bathroom counter. Throw one of our Rainbow Boombox bath bombs in the tub for the kids and watch their reaction because it’s better than anything you’ll see outside of Christmas morning. You deserve these things without getting smacked in the face repeatedly or knowing that it’s important because a Kardashian is using it.
Having a small business is hard but we hope our origin story helps YOU.
We know we’re on to something and if ANY OF YOU out there are thinking about launching your own small business because you have a great idea, I hope we can be a ray of sunshine and encourage you to fucking go for it. It’s not easy, social media can be a burning landscape where people’s dreams go to die, but if, at the end of the day, you’re passionate about your idea, nobody, not even yourself should hold you back. And if you’re REALLY lucky, you’ll have amazing people in your life who believe in you and want to help you succeed. In our case, that’s Rogue Bison Consulting which is spearheaded by Bob Barra and Jason Bean, Bob being a former co-worker of mine and who championed for me to take over the Director of Marketing position at our former company nearly a decade ago. Shocking twist: everyone else thought I was too young (I was almost 32 at the time and had been managing their million dollar catalog business for several years at that point). He’s always been in my corner and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him so it’s fitting that he’s here again to give us a push, be our cheerleader and, with Jason, lead us to be a better company.
I’ll leave you with a clip Jason made us which you’ll be seeing on social media over the next few weeks. Get on board, help us out, and if you need advice, we’re here. Because if we’re not in this together it’s a lonely fucking road out there. – Laura