Reflecting on a Decade of Small Business Ownership

Hi Take Care community!

I wanted to take today to reflect on an important milestone for me and the shop. This month marks a decade of small business ownership for me, and while I am often one to let moments like this simply roll past, I think it’s important enough to acknowledge… and dare I say, celebrate? 

I can say with every confidence that I never, ever thought I would be a small business owner. I moved to DC after completing my Master of Public Policy degree at Oregon State in order to find my dream job in environmental policy. Much to my surprise, I arrived and felt like a fish out of water, like I wasn’t bold enough or tough enough to make it in the intense world of policy here.  

That sentiment is so funny to me now. After owning a brick and mortar retail shop and spa (which we opened 6 weeks before covid shutdown), I truly believe I can do anything I set my mind to. When folks champion shopping local, it’s often phrased like this: “you’re supporting someone’s dream!” Yes, I am incredibly blessed to get to have this job. But in addition to someone’s dream, what you’re also supporting is someone’s creativity and determination to offer you the best services, the best product, and the best experience because their community means so much to them. It takes so, so much risk, grit and willingness to fail in order to succeed. 

Beyond that, small local shops (usually) don’t answer to investors or boards or shareholders. We answer to you! We succeed because we have forged a bond with you that is sacred. I am so grateful for your trust — and that bond is something I will never sacrifice to save a few dollars. Each and every one of you is so much more than a customer. You are part of my shop family and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to know you and help you find ways to nourish and take care of yourselves. 

I know some of you know this but some of you may not. Take Care started as a casual comment to my husband, Trevor —“If I ever owned a skincare shop, I’d carry Herbivore Botanicals.” By the way, this was when Herbivore was selling their products on Etsy with labels printed from a computer printer that bled ink when they got wet… and look at them now! I started off operating out of my closet in our shared studio apartment in Brookland. Yes, the closet that two people shared was also the space where I kept inventory, printed labels and packed boxes. It was a masterclass in efficient use of space! Our first popup was at the pool at my apartment complex… and no one came. Not a one. 

What compelled me to keep going I truly have no idea. Actually, that’s a lie. I know what it was. It was unadulterated adoration for botanical skincare, a passion that existed inside me for many years but I didn’t know how to nourish. Once I acknowledged it and even momentarily entertained the idea of creating a space for it, everything else was history. 

After a year of constant popups (I can't even tell you the number of times we drove home from a New York popup at 3am!), we opened our first studio space, which we literally refurbished from the ground up. It’s where so many of you discovered us before we opened the shop. I’d spend afternoons when I wasn’t working at my job learning product photography and meeting people from all around the dmv just hoping to find a beautiful, natural product to support their wellbeing. It was a magical time of passion and growth - that all led to taking a giant leap of faith and opening the shop we have today.

Take Care grew from the most modest of seeds and continues to be here because of you and your unwavering support. I don’t believe there is a more incredible feeling than that… truly. Of course, in addition to you, our amazing customers, I happen to have the most incredible spa and retail team around. I am ever grateful for them and their shared commitment to this space. 

A decade of learning, connecting, growing and having the humbling privilege of being alongside you on this journey has been the greatest honor of my life, second only to my family. Thank you for the wildest, most unexpected and gratifying ten years of my life. I look forward to many more and cannot wait to see what the future holds for us! 

With love and appreciation, 

Becky Waddell