I thought I would write a blog post on where I Am Happy, I Am Here started and the story behind it. I have talked about it before but never like this, I am a little hesitant as I feel like I’m a very private person but I do feel like the story is an important part of my brand and my message.
Trigger warning: this story contains anxiety, depression; suicide & I talk about losing a loved one.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Just shy of my 18th birthday I lost my father to depression. It was a life changing, devastating time and it was a complete shock to everyone. It was honestly like I was in a bad dream that I wasn’t waking up from.
After losing my dad I rode the waves of grief and I still do now. The first years I found to be the worst. They included all the firsts and seconds. The first Christmas without him, the first birthday without him, the thoughts of "This time last year he would be here" or "This time two years ago we were together" etc. It was really hard.
I tried many things to help me understand and to help me get through it. The best thing I did was see a psychologist, she was incredible and really helped me through the early stages of the grieving process. I also had such supportive family and friends who helped me so much.
I also tried to do things to help my mind and ease my anxiety. I remember creating a wall in my bedroom and sticking photos of things in my life that made me happy. It was my gratitude wall. I would look at that wall each day and just try to shift my focus for that minute or so just to feel gratitude for what I had. I felt like my dad would have wanted me to be happy, so I tried.
As the years went on, I continued to focus on gratitude as I felt it helped me. I started writing in a gratitude journal, which was a blank notebook back then. Each day I would get my notebook out and write in depth about everything I was grateful for and why. I would sit in that moment and really appreciate what I had that I was grateful for and I felt that practice helped me.
I also had a saying that I would use when I woke up each day which was “ I Am Happy, I Am Here”. I would say that to myself (even if I felt like I didn’t want to) each day and I felt it was a way of acknowledging the new day that I was given and feel appreciation for it. I also feel it was a nod to my dad as he would have wanted me to be happy and this is obviously where my business name came from. It has so much meaning behind it to me.
It was roughly 12 years from the time he passed to the time I opened my business. During that time I always had gratitude journals ( which were always blank notebooks, until I made my own ). Sometimes I would go through stages where I wouldn't write in it for months but whenever I felt I needed to, I would always grab it back out and write in it.
It's such a simple practice to do each day but I personally really feel the difference in my anxiety, my mood and my mind frame when I write in it.
In 2017 I decided I really wanted to create my own gratitude journals. I wanted to create one that had questions set out in it & something really beautiful so it would keep me motivated to keep writing in it.
After working out how I wanted it to look, I had it professional designed by a beautiful woman who I still use now. I sent the files onto a manufacturer (I found on Alibaba) and had some samples made.
I still remember the day I received the samples, I had some friends coming over for dinner and I had the samples on the dining table, I remember thinking that I must put them away before they come over. I was kind of embarrassed to tell people that I had a gratitude journal.
When they arrived one of my friends picked up the journals and started looking at them ( I forgot to put them away )… She asked what they were and I explained. She then told me that I really should start selling these, as she wanted to buy one and she would love to give them to her friends and family as a gift. I thought to myself, why not. I’ll buy the minimum amount I could and just give it a try. The thought that maybe they would help someone else was motivating to me.
So, I placed an order and they arrived a few weeks before Christmas in 2017. I started to promote them on my social media. I also wrote on post in a group I’m on, on Facebook that is for women in business and to my surprise that post blew up. People wanted to buy journals for their work colleagues, for themselves, for their friends, for their family. I couldn’t believe it. The orders started rushing in and before I knew it I had 5 friends over my house helping me pack journals and send them out. I had bags full of journals I was taking to the post office. It was like a dream come true.
I actually remember before I even thought of launching this business I went to a medium/physic called Janine Louise, she is amazing. I have connected to my dad through her as well. I remember Janine talking to me about a business I will have & that she sees orders everywhere in my home. Up my hall, on the dining table, on every single surface of my home and that is literally what happened when I opened my business. It was crazy.
I also want to say that I totally realise that this is not what normally happens when someone opens a business. I feel like I had a unique product, it was just before Christmas so timing wise it was great & they were affordable.
After that big Christmas & New Years rush I sat back and started working out figures because I wanted to order more journals and I realised I was selling my journals for basically cost price ( as I offered “Free Shipping” , which just means I have to incorporate the cost of shipping into the cost of the journal ) … So I really didn’t make much if anything from that and over the years I have had to increase my prices to cover my expenses. I still feel like even after 4 years I have so much learning and growing to do.
Over the 4 years I have kept improving our gratitude journals and I am at the point now where I am really happy with them. The cover has changed from linen to a PU leather ( fake leather ) that doesn't get as dirty as a fabric cover. The quality of the pages inside are beautiful and all my journals come with a 14 Day Gratitude Challenge booklet.
I created this booklet which has 14+ different topics on things you can feel gratitude for and write about to get you thinking outside the box. The topics aren't things you may think about everyday but they are things we can feel gratitude for and once you start seeing gratitude in all different places, it's a really beautiful thing. There are in depth explanations and examples as well. My goal was to really teach others about gratitude and I hope that this booklet helps.
Its coming up to our 4th birthday and I am at the point where I am really happy with my journals, the material, the paper quality, the way they look, the booklet that comes with them. Everything is exactly how I want it, I feel like now is the time I can start focusing on other products and my new brand I Am Happy, You Are Here – which is a baby brand of I Am Happy, I Am Here which will have products mainly for parents and I hope to have more products in the I Am Happy, You Are Here range as well that focuses on mindset & self care.
This is where I will finish this blog and I want to thank you for reading my story
I also just want to say before I go for anyone going through anything in life where you are feeling anxious or depressed or if you have lost a loved one. PLEASE PLEASE reach out and get professional help. You are so worth it, you are so loved and you are so important. You deserve to be happy and there are people who can help. Please speak with your GP and I will leave a link here for Mental Health Australia and it has so much information on it about all the different resources which can help
I know I have talked about how gratitude journaling has helped me and how it makes me feel and while I do encourage others to give it a go to see if they like it. I really want to stress that I would never recommend journaling over seeking professional help. Professional help is the best thing I ever did and I think it’s really important for others to seek that help when they need it.