Chinaberry is celebrating its 25th birthday this summer and the experience is not unlike any parent's when her child reaches her mid-twenties. Where has the time gone and how in the world did she grow up so fast?! And how did she turn out so well-adjusted and healthy despite my foibles as a parent? And how did it happen that the right people showed up in her life at the right time to assist her in growing to be such a capable, caring person?
Just as we can't answer that first question about our children and time, I don't know how to respond as far as Chinaberry goes. Time flies and it is as simple -- and wondrous -- as that. Actually, I don't have the answer to that second question, either. Over the years, we've found out after the fact that -- at least according to ''the experts'' -- we unknowingly made numerous business mistakes that they say Chinaberry as a company should never have survived. I guess we were just being watched out for, if you know what I mean, just like our children manage to come through it all most of the time.
But that third question -- the one about the people in our lives who support us and assist us as we grow -- is an easy one. Those people are you, our customers: from that very first person who sent in an $18.72 order -- and with it a vote of confidence in what our mission was about -- to those who wrote long letters and became my friends, to those who have spread the word and helped us grow, to those who have raised their children with Chinaberry and are now turning to us with their grandchildren in mind. You have supported us, loved us, been patient with us, shown us the way, and stood by us through all of our changes and challenges.
And while so many of you have sent photos of your families and written love letters to us over the years (we've saved every single one), we want you to know that we consider you the best, most appreciative customers any company could wish for.
We couldn't have ''raised'' Chinaberry without you!