You know sometimes when you feel like the planets finally align, the past starts to make sense and you think, oh.. THAT’S why that happened!! Well, here’s that moment. If you are a loyal blog follower I may repeat myself some so do bare with me. Oh and I do plan on rambling for a bit but I do promise I will finally get to the point…
Our lives have somewhat played out a bit backwards. As freshmen in college, my hubby and I got engaged. By sophomore year, we tied the knot and by junior year we started our own company. Starting our own countertop company, A Polished Finish, Inc. (APF, Inc.), while still in college was not the easiest thing in the world I must say. It certainly was not easy watching our friends enjoy UGA college games every Saturday while we juggled working nights at a local restaurant and working days on school work and at jobsites. Although opposites attract and in most ways, we are certainly opposite, we both share a love for hard work, entrepreneurship and making homes beautiful. It’s a bit of a blessing and a curse. We both thrive on craziness and love to stay busy.
By 2005, Mark had just graduated college, I was about to do so that May and our company had taken off. At the age of 23, we were selling over $2 million annually and honestly didn’t really know what to do with ourselves. Rather than with money, we built our company from blood, sweat and tears. More literally than I would’ve ever imagined. Neither of us came from money so it was a bit of a hay day for us both. Our weeks were more stressful and busy than I thought humanly possible so our weekends were our time to “play hard.” We bought a house, and then a second home, traveled A LOT and blew way too much money. I mean, why would that ever end right?!? Umm… insert 2008.
Well, let’s go backward one more time. Several years into building our company, I had a baby girl. Addison was born in December 2007. After having worked since the age of 14, staying home with this beautiful, sweet, amazing little blessing was somehow really, really, really difficult. I wanted it. More than anything I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Yet somehow, I was unhappy. Really, really unhappy. I never understood why and in the midst of trying to understand myself, I became even more down. By 2009, the economy had tumbled, my husband was beyond stressed, I was unhappy and things got really rough for us. Really, really rough.
In 2010, I started working on my vision for Addison’s Wonderland. I found such a huge outlet in designing bedding and children’s rooms and for the first year I loved every second. Once it got busy, needed funds to grow and A Polished Finish got super busy again, things were like woah. Mega woah. I think Mark and I saw each other in passing, our minds were going in separate directions and our marriage took a huge hit. By 2012, Addison’s Wonderland had somewhat taken off, I spent most of my year preparing for and filming Shark Tank, Mark was slammed with work, building a new showroom for APF and oh yeah, I was mega pregnant with Winter. To say it was a blur would be a slow comparison. I honestly don’t remember much of 2012.
In February 2013, Shark Tank aired and shortly after I had a huge awakening moment. I loved Addison’s Wonderland bedding company. Like it was more than I ever dreamed. I was able to design, create and build my dream all on my own time and my own vision. But at the same time, it was too much on me, too much on us. Owning one company is hard enough, but add another and the stress of it all just wasn’t worth it anymore. Maybe I’m sharing too much, maybe not enough but either way I wanted to give you a little more insight about me and my decision to leave AW. I do hope to continue again one day. Addison always said she wanted to work with mommy when she grows up so maybe my little designer will join me one day.
What I’ve learned most through it all is that nothing is worth stress on your marriage and stress on your family. What works for some doesn’t work for everyone and for some reason, Mark and I work well together. We started at age 16 when we both got a job at our local Red Lobster. From there, we worked together at every job since the age of 16 and for some crazy reason, it works for us. And since I can honestly remember, we have always said one day, when we “retire” (lol!), we will flip houses together. Well, we certainly aren’t nearing retirement but like I started this post, the planets have aligned for us. Our girls have gotten a little older and a little “easier”, our company APF, Inc. has grown by leaps and bounds once again and we are in a really good place in our lives. So, we have decided to take the leap. Next month, we are launching our house flipping company, AW Properties. Eeekkkkk!!! We are both over the moon excited and so ready to start this adventure together. Yep, it’ll be crazy and yes, we will be going a mile a minute but we will be doing it together and for some crazy reason, it works for us.
So without further ado, meet our first flip…
Oh and if you want to really, really follow along on our crazy journey, follow us on Instagram at @awproperties! I will definitely be sharing lots on my blog but we will be documenting it all on our IG page as well.
Our first “official” flip is in the North Georgia neighborhood of Big Canoe. Our plan is to continue “flipping Big Canoe” as there are LOTS of 1970’s homes that need some mega updating. I am SUPER excited to add our unique touch to homes and bring something fresh, new and very colorful to the house flipping community. This is a 3BR/2BA condo on the golf course. It is two stories and very spacious. I hope you will follow along on this crazy journey!
XOXO, Brittany Hayes