This month on the RG blog, we’ve featured women who serve the Kingdom through a variety of callings. One of our favorite partnerships is with our friends at Scarlet & Gold. Hopefully, you’ve seen our scripture memory cards that we’ve collaborated to produce. Here is a little secret you may not know, I mentored the owner of S&G when she was in high school (that makes me feel really old!). Megan Smalley is a precious friend and a redeemed girl. We love how God called her from a life centered on self to a life centered on Jesus. -Marian Jordan Ellis
Hi! I am Megan Smalley, the owner of Scarlet & Gold. I am a Texan by birth and an Alabamian by marriage. I have known Marian for over ten years now. She was my high school Bible teacher and mentor when I was the bratty, rebellious teenager searching for my identity. I grew up in the same school and church my entire life, and both my parents worked there. Every time I got in trouble at school, both my parents knew instantly. My parents always told me if I got in trouble at school, it would be twice as bad when I got home. They ran a tight ship with four kids in a seven-year span. It blows my mind that four kids can come from the same two parents and be so different. Growing up, I was the child that pushed the boundaries. If my parents told me no “because they said so,” I told them yes “because that reason was dumb.” Only fifteen months younger than my brother, who was afraid ever to break any rule, I don’t think my parents were quite prepared for raising a child like me. I vividly remember getting in trouble and having “come to Jesus” meetings with my parents, who stressed “it would be so much easier to look the other way and not have these conversations.” As hard-headed as I was, my dad continually told me he knew if I stewarded my personality the right way, I could do big things. He has always believed in me, repeatedly held my feet to the fire when I stepped out of line, and constantly pushed me to be my best. To this day, I am so grateful for the example my parents set for me. My dad is an amazing leader and has taught me so much in how he has guided our family.
When I think about that bratty, mean, rebellious teenager I once was, I hardly recognize her (thankfully). I decided to go off to Auburn for college, one of the best decisions I have ever made. Going to school ten hours from home, I knew only my brother and no one else. I couldn’t rely on mom and dad for things. I had to grow and learn to stand on my own two feet. This was the time in my life when my faith started to become my own. Growing up in a Christian school, I was spoon-fed the gospel my entire life. I witnessed so much hypocrisy and allowed my heart to be hardened. Being in a new place, far away from mom and dad, I had to figure out what I believed for myself. I had to find a new church and new friends, choose my major and decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. During my five years in college, I learned so much about myself and the Lord. He provided so many amazing opportunities that helped prepare me and shape me into who I am today.
For as long as I can remember, I have had an entrepreneurial spirit and dreamed of running my own business. By nature, I am a very impulsive person. I get ideas in my head and want to run with them immediately. I have had lots of great business ideas (or so I thought) over the years, but none of them ever panned out. So when I decided to start Scarlet & Gold on the side, I think most of my friends and family rolled their eyes and chalked it up as “another one of Megan’s wild ideas.” I was in full-time pharmaceutical sales at the time and loved my job. I made great money, had great benefits and never saw myself walking away from it. Well, four months into running S&G as a hobby, the Lord decided He had other plans for me. Our company had cutbacks, and I was the only one on my team laid off. My dream job (at the time) was ripped right out from under me. After lots of prayer, my husband and I decided that I was going to spend my paid time off trying to grow my business and also applying for other jobs. When my severance ran out, we would see which doors the Lord opened and make a decision. Well, after the three months came and went, I had no job offers. During this time is when my business took off. I felt a deep tugging on my heart that this was the road I was supposed to go down. The thought scared me to death. My husband is a teacher, so I have to contribute to our income. I also knew trying to grow a business meant pouring every ounce of profit back into it. Consequently, I spent the first year and half trying to make money other ways so that I did not draw a paycheck from the business.
I think that some people look at our social media and think that I live a glamorous life. But let me be honest… my life is far from dazzling. Owning my own business has been the most amazing blessing, but it has also been one of the most challenging seasons of my life. I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders to oversee this gift from the Lord well. I have a team of girls that look to me to guide them. I have people that depend on me for their livelihood. I have never been a boss before, and let me tell you, managing a bunch of females isn’t easy. During this season of life, I have learned to trust the Lord like never before. There are days when I don’t know if the money will come in to pay the bills. Days when I have to have a hard conversation with a team member. Days when I have to make a major production decision that will require a huge financial investment. At the end of each day, all I can do is give everything over to the Lord, knowing that I have done my very best. I have learned how essential prayer is to guide every single move that I make. God knows how many days I feel completely incapable of making the decision, having the conversation, fixing the problem, or inspiring my team.
One of my spiritual gifts is communication. If you have ever met my mother, you know I get this from her. I have a huge heart for pouring into my team, and I believe that in order to be successful in business, we must communicate well. So, I try to live out this principle and teach my team to do the same. I would rather have them over communicate than under communicate. I am also a very passionate person. And because I believe that what I am doing is what God has placed in my hand, I am soooooo passionate about our mission. It is not just a job for me. I believe that what we are doing is Kingdom work. Our mission is to empower and encourage people through our commitment to excellence in everything we do. I believe wholeheartedly that we must always do our best, as though we are working for the Lord. So I do not accept laziness. I want a team full of women who are so passionate about planting seeds through our products that they light up at work. Passion for Jesus and for what we do just oozes out of them. And the Lord has blessed me with exactly this kind of team. One of my team members is about to leave for an exotic vacation, and she told me she was so sad to miss work for a week. She’s already having “work FOMO” (fear of missing out). You want to know why? Because Jesus is in every aspect of our business. In the way we love each other, the way we serve our customers, the way we work hard, the way we don’t settle for anything less than our best. I am so proud to call myself the owner of Scarlet & Gold, not because of any recognition that brings but because every time I look at my team, my heart almost explodes from pride. We all love what we do and are so grateful for the opportunity to serve Jesus in this capacity.