Hello beautiful readers!
So I wrote this blog a few weeks ago, but was reluctant to publish it because it is a bit different than my usual blogs. I usually tend to just focus on Reclaimed Rose events, merchandise and community events. I have been going back and forth deciding if I wanted to share more personal information and business information in my blogs, and alas I decided to take the plunge. I am publishing this hoping I get good reception and if so, I will carry on with more blogs about business insights, my life as a maker and lady boss, and throw some tutorials in the mix as well.
I wrote this content the day after the Reclaimed Rose Spring Open House, and man, was it a fun day! I went to bed that night just buzzing with happiness. So many things have been running through my head the week prior in preparation for the event, and I would love to share some of my thoughts with you. Although a lot of this may be related to small business, I feel like it could definitely be applicable to each and everyone’s daily life. My two main mantras that I hope to express with this blog is: “you do you” and “kindness matters”. I hope you will read on as I explain.
So, as most of you probably know, Reclaimed Rose developed on a whim. I was literally sick of working jobs that left me feeling exhausted at the end of the day because I was overflowing with disappointment and a lack of personal fulfillment. With a huge boost from my husband, and my doctor basically telling me I need to de-stress my life, Reclaimed Rose became a reality. It was a huge leap of faith in myself. And at that time, my self esteem was really run down. But I did it anyway… and it was the best decision I have made.
Don’t get me wrong. The stress is still here. The financial responsibility is huge and at times daunting. I have become a workaholic. But the difference is I love it. So, it is all worthwhile.
For 2017 I decided I wanted to invite a few new local artisans into Reclaimed Rose. All of our artisans are incredibly talented people who each add their own flare to Reclaimed Rose. It is really lovely to collaborate with them and I am honored to host their products in my shop. I decided to branch out and look for a few people who are relatively new on the handmade scene, who aren’t overly saturated in our local market, but whose products I really believe in. And I found some great new people! It has been a joy to work with other artisans new to the scene because we are all learning and growing together. We can share information and resources. And this pretty incredible thing happened just in the past few months… people started to look to me, yes little ‘ol me, for advice! How humbling and flattering!
So, as these budding entrepreneurs have been getting to know me, they start asking me questions. How did I get started? What are my ultimate goals? What are some things they can do to grow their brand? Who should they network with? All with all these excellent questions, I am left reflecting, and in turn, becoming inspired by them and their own answers.
The top of the list questions I am always asked revolve around one key word: SUCCESS
How do you measure success? The definition is so incredibly vast depending on who you ask. I have found that through my experiences, I have started evaluating my success differently than most other people in business. It’s not always about the sales at the end of the day, or the number of people who walked into the shop. It is about the experience of the visit with a customer, the sharing of information, networking, inspiring others, creating relationships and so much more. When I let people get in my head, focusing on the bottom line, I become my own worst enemy. Those are they days I drive home in tears. Those are the days I lose all creative juices. It takes a while to shake it off. And I am still learning to let it go.
You will always find someone who is critical of you. I have been told all of the following in the past seven days:
Your shop is too crowded; Your misusing your shop space and need a better layout; Your prices are too low; Your prices are too high; Your graphics don’t look good; Your photos are too busy; You’re not advertising enough; You’re too nice; You don’t plan ahead enough; Your priorities are wrong
All within the PAST WEEK! I was rejected by two other business owners in the past week alone as well. These are just some of the disappointments, critiques and opinions you will get consistently as a business owner. Some things you take into consideration, some things go in one ear and out the other. Rejection and criticism are inevitable. It’s how you handle it. You hold your head high and carry on.
Which leads me to my first mantra, “you do you”.
What does “you do you” mean? It means be true to no one but YOURSELF! Your brand is in your head and heart. Only you can define your vision, just like only I know what Reclaimed Rose truly is. If someone copies your creation, it can be infuriating. But it came from your mind, and that is a limitless resource. If your design starts being replicated, take it as a compliment and move on to your next great original design. Let them have it. You have bigger things ahead of you.
We can all learn and grow from each other when it comes to marketing, tweaks and finessing, but the ultimate branding of yourself and your merchandise, that’s all you. Don’t let other people tell you what you need to be. Some of us want to be small "ma and pa" shops. Others are swinging for the big leagues. That’s your path. Don’t let others steer you away from that.
“Kindness matters” - that is a pretty simple concept. But what does it mean to your business? I am not just referring to being nice to the annoying customer that loves talking your ear off about her 12 cats and never buys anything (although that is important). I am talking about kindness to your peers… to your competition… even to your haters.
Collaboration is an enormously important concept to me. My most successful events and relationships can be credited to collaboration. When we work together, we can move mountains (super cheesy, but it’s TRUE). And collaboration is hard. Different ideas, personalities, levels of experiences, expectations, goals and preferences… but you have to compromise with those you collaborate with. You have to work on that common goal regardless of differences. There are other business people that move in the same circles with me that have burned me in the past. My family and friends know them well. But my customers have no idea, and they never will. There are those who have reached out to collaborate with me and I had absolutely nothing to gain from it. But, I did it anyway. There are those who came to me under the innocent muse of friendly conversation, and then used ideas I shared with them to compete with me. These are more inevitable situations you will constantly face. Start conditioning that skin, ‘cause it’s going to need to be thick.
So in this challenging/frustrating/stressful game of small business, you are probably asking yourself “why am I doing this”? We don’t get paid for our hours of time. People aren’t always nice. We’re missing out on afternoon birthday parties and sleeping in on Saturdays!
Well, it’s simple.
This is the only job you will ever have where you have 100% control over the vision, the success and the triumphs. You get to do what you love. You get to meet people everyday who are approaching you because something you made is so awesome they can’t go without it. You are turning your dreams into a reality and no one can take that away from you. And every now and then you get to go to bed buzzing with so much happiness you feel like you may explode.