Failure On The Path to Success

Kelsey Darby

Posted on July 05 2018

Let’s talk about failure. You know, that thing we all do, but none of us want to talk about or go through? It’s my first blog, so why not dive into the deepest subject of my entire life story! But before we jump into that dreadful, seven letter word… that’s talk about its beautiful, life of the part, always has perfectly symmetrical eyebrows; twin sister…. Success. We all want it, we dream of it and most would do just about anything to get it. At age 19… I found it. Well… I found the key, but I would find later on that you will not be successful until you find the door that the key fits to. So there is 18 year old me. I had skipped out on the college route to work at a local hardware store and “save money”. But truthfully I spent it on beer. Shocker, I know… but this 18 year old had barely graduated high school and had been fired from 3 previous jobs… this was progress. And then… came Aubrey. My daughter. My saving grace. Now I could turn this into a novel and get into the details of my life from age 18-25….but let me give you a brief run down and skip to the juicy parts…

  1. Age 19. I decided I wanted to be more than a stay at home mom. So I went after my lifelong dream. I started a boutique. Well, almost. That was the game plan but 19 year old me did not exactly have a savings account… or a job. So I rummaged through every relatives garage, barn and attic. I revamped décor, furniture and made custom signs. There was a lot of spray paint and rhinestones used in those days. I found my first step to success. Facebook.
  2. I ran this show out of my home until the age of 24. I sold millions… yes millions… the loser employee, teen mom with no college degree did this from her living room! In 2014 I bought my first store front. Everything kept growing and growing. By now, I am a mother of two!
  3. In 2015 I opened my first “warehouse”. That year we did almost $2 million in sales! I opened and we were on fire. From the outside… but on the inside I was literally on fire.
  4. I fell into a long state of depression… which is a story for another day. I lost my heart for my business. I felt alone, empty and unworthy of the life God had blessed me with. I faded away from my life long dream. Our numbers started falling and I began reaching for anything to keep my passion alive. I bought a jewelry company and in 2016 I opened my second store front. Neither one brought me what I was seeking. I wanted to feel as successful as I appeared. To the world I had it all. The beautiful life of social media masked every bit of who was at that time.

In 2016 we crashed. From on top of the world, we fell… hard. I let go of my employees. I closed my second store front and warehouse. I was in the middle of a divorce. My sister had survived an attempted suicide and was living with me. My father spiraling downward from his long term drug addiction had landed himself in jail. When it rains it pours right? I wanted so badly  to be the strong, independent woman the world saw me as. But I wasn’t…and into my hermit shell I went. I was embarrassed and ashamed at what I had let my dream become. How can you have the world in your hand and let it slip away?! I’ll never forget the day I was laying in my bed, staring at the wall (probably having a pity party)…and the lights went out. I picked up the phone to call the electric company and my phone was disconnected. I’ll never forget that feeling of rock bottom. I walked into my kitchen and slid my back down the kitchen cabinets onto the floor.. and I cried. I prayed out loud to God, begging for a way out and then it hit me. I am in control. This is his plan and it took me hitting rock bottom to see it clearly. I was broke. Like Coinstar trip kinda broke. I was in debt and I had bills up to my ears. But my passion was back. I knew I would have to fight my way out of the hole I had dug myself. So I sold it all. The jewelry company. The second store front. My closet. My organs……. Just kidding. But I promised myself that no matter what I sold… no matter how valuable… when I made my way back to the top I would replace it. It’s funny how rock bottom will change you… I have yet to replace a single thing. I payed off all my debts and begged the bank for a loan of $10,000. Once a few odd and end bills were payed. I had $7500 to start over. I had a second chance at my dream and I was going to give it every bit of hell I had in me. All the struggles, the shattered pride, the tears shed, the sleepless nights and everything sold came to an end. My sister built her life back with an amazing job, home and perspective on life. My father, for the first time in so many years is now living a sober life with a different view on what he once took for granted. And that’s the beauty of rock bottom… the only way to go is up. We all three had faced rock bottom in different ways. Failure is never easy in any aspect of life. But when you choose to learn from failure… that’s when you truly succeed. I think about that year every single day of my life and am grateful for every bump, turn and wall I hit on this path. It lead me here. To that door I spoke of in the beginning. The key I had been holding on to since the age of 19 finally revealed the true meaning of success. It is now 2018. The Lace Cactus was announced as being the Global Boutique of the year. We have recently made our fourth warehouse move due to growth in the past year. An amazing staff whom I call family. My heart is bigger for this business than all of my previous years combined. I live and breath this dream. I am grateful for every second of this life that I once took for granted. I have never hesitated to owning up to being human.  We all fall… but do you choose to rise? Life has never been handed to me. If I want it, I’m going to have to earn it. Staying at rock bottom was never an option. I’m not embarrassed of my story or the mistakes I have made. If I take away inspiring one person to not give up, I have succeeded.

  1. Always chase your dreams. Never settle in life. You only get one.
  2. Don’t be afraid of failure.. failure is most often the stepping stone to success. And if you fail. Do not be hard on yourself. We all fail. It is how you choose to use that failure to learn, that will open those windows when doors close.
  3. Be human. It’s ok to not be perfect. None of us are. The less you focus on what the world thinks the more you will see what really matters in life.
  4. DO NOT EVER QUIT. If it means something to you.. NEVER give up. There is always a way. You may have to make sacrifices but the outcome will prove to you what was important all along.
  5. Don’t turn your back on that friend or loved one in need. Sometimes even the ones who appear the strongest need a helping hand or words of encouragement. Just be kind.. to everyone. You never know if that smiling face you see is struggling with suicide, over coming a loss, or fighting for their dream.


-Kelsey Darby (CEO of The Lace Cactus)

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