Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Q and A...with....myself

 For me, personally, I LOVE behind-the-scenes info on how businesses run, how people get through adversity, and how entrepreneurship gets a beating heart. However, when people ask me about my own personal "triumphs" and struggles, I get a little wishy-washy. Really? I don't know....I just wake up and do my stuff....

But then I got to really thinking about it, and I think I might have some answers that will help. If nothing else, they will give some hopefully interesting insights into how a small business runs (one of the MANY ways!)

So, here is me..interviewing....me....
Q:How long have you been doing this?
A: Holy freak. I don't think I've never NOT been doing Damsel in this Dress. These seeds were planted LONG ago, in my childhood. I think that most people that end up "finding their bliss" KNOW what they should have been doing with their lives from the time they're young. I'm serious about this. In childhood, we have our most pure, unfiltered, unadulterated feelings, desires, and dreams still in us. It's the world, school, teachers, parents, and the media that unfortunately tend to beat it out of us. We lose hope. We feel shame. We give up. I loved something I read the other day about how "for the first two years of a child's life, we are so EXCITED every time they talk and walk, and then for the next 16 years, we just try to get them to sit down and shut up. " Wah, wah.
So, around to the point. I've been doing this "professionally" under the name Damsel in this Dress for about 11 1/2 years, and I've been making and selling costumes online for about 13 years.

Q: What is your daily routine? What does a day look like for you?
A: I'm VERY methodical about my mornings, and have created very specific rituals that make my days go better. I get up at about 3:50 a.m. to 4:30, depending on how my baby let me sleep. I put some "Deva Curl" gel back into my hair and rough it up a little bit (I like big and crazy hair) or I put a bandana in it, pinup girl style, and bobby pin it back. I always put on a smoky eye makeup, every single freaking day. I get to work  and get sewing. My crew comes in at about 7 in the morning, we have some type of morning meeting where we talk about the goals for the day, and we listen to podcasts, audiobooks.....anything that will keep our brains active and fresh.
We try to end work around 3-4 (so, about a 12 hour day for me) but generally, I spend my late afternoons and evenings fabric shopping, figuring out photoshoots, working out, and sometimes even trying to spend time with my kids.  ;)  If it's a crazy week and we're getting ready for a show...which is a LOT of the year, I will work late into the evenings, trying to re-stock inventory and tag and hang up the pieces.
Q:What is the biggest challenge of owning your own company?
A: ARgg. I'm ashamed to say it, but I REALLY let "haters" get me down. I'll be in this wonderfully creative mode, and I'll be excited about new styles, new fabrics, and new concepts! I'll be thinking about what customers suggested, and then I'll read something online and it will SHUT. ME. DOWN.  Anytime someone points out a flaw in my product, and then goes on to tell me how it ruined their life and how disappointed they are in me...I mean, holy crap, like language of a controlling, manipulative parent or authority figure. "I'm so disappointed in you, and because you are so bad, I'm going to punish you."  I believe sooo much in the golden rule, and I can honestly say that I'm proud of how I usually handle people that are trying to purposefully make me feel bad about myself, however, I'm just always so surprised by this type of behavior. I suppose we live in a world where customer service  is so bad that everyone feels the need to "escalate" and yell and "speak to the manager" to get anything done, but working with a small business is usually not like that. When I buy something off of etsy, and there is an issue, I KINDLY contact the person, tell them that I COULD BE WRONG, but here is this issue, and would they be so KIND as to help me? People in small businesses are generally so sweet and accommodating!
It's amazing how- if we expect people to be butt-faces, WE, ourselves actually end up acting like butt-faces so that THEY will act accordingly and prove that our "story" is true. On the flip side, when I expect people to be awesome and help me and care about me, I get exactly what I expect. Cashiers are friendly and sweet, servers at restaurants give me great quality and I tip them accordingly....the world is full of love.
Anyhow..this clearly needs a whole entire post by itself, but maybe it doesn't. I mean, I can't control others, I can only control myself and the thoughts that I think about others that seem to make me crazy. I'm working on letting go of the negativity. The negative stuff KILLS creativity, though. I mean, it really shoots it dead. Then it takes that much more energy and motivation to come back from the low place that you were.
 Q: What advice would you give to people that want to start their own company?
A: Once again, this needs a whole entire post itself! But, for starters, I think the biggest thing would be to work on letting go on all your perceived limitations and "reasons" for why you can't do this awesome thing that you want to do. Unless you're clear and coming from a place of love and pure creation, you will be shot down repeatedly by others and by yourself, because you didn't build that original foundation.  You'll start your own  little company, but when the crap hits the fan, you won't be able to sustain the strength and fortitude that it takes to push past the obstacles and become something greater.
It's so easy to say, "Yeah, I want to be an author and I'm writing this book" and then when people ask about it, you say, "Oh, well, it's not ready to show people."  You've GOT to show people and you've GOT to be okay with people not liking it, bullying you, trying to tear you down because you created something and all they can create is drama.
I heard it phrased like this-When you set out to create, you do so with a clean canvas. Start fresh, and without all the negativity and fear. Otherwise, you can't create what you want because the canvas is already mucked up with ugly stuff and you'll have to be creating alongside it.
It's EXTREMELY hard to let go of all of your "stories" about why you "can't" and why you "haven't" and the "I really need to's" and "I probably should's".  However, ALL of the "limitations" that we put on ourselves and products of our own mind. I'm not saying that you can sit there and be all like, "I've let go of the fact that I have no legs, and now I'm going to run a marathon! No limitations! Holla!!!" However, most of our self-inflicted barriers are not like that. All the same, you know what your own stories are. Just start questioning them, and trying to plow your way through them. Start bullying THEM like they bully you, in your own brain.
Q:Where do you see your company in five years? 10?
A: Holy night, I ask myself hard questions!!!  Well, let me see. I would LOVE to form some trust-filled relationships with people across the country and meet people that would be good at possibly managing a booth for us at festivals that we can't make it to! Obviously,I would love to do an 8 weekend long festival in Maryland or something, but I myself, just cannot commit to that many weekends. I would want to get an INCREDIBLY good team of people for my booths, no matter where they end up. I'm VERY picky about the customer experience in my booth. We work our guts out to make sure it's a "safe zone" and to make sure that women leave feeling 100% better than when we met them. We want to change their brains about their body shape and size. I want to always have women working who will LISTEN and not just try to "sell" as I really hate sales tactics.  It's all a tall order, and that's why I've been personally present at almost all of my own events. Do it "In House" and you can have better control of the results. It scares me to think of having a completely different crew managing a show, and hoping that they would love my customers as much as I do. Eek! *hyperventilate here for a second*  I know I'm not perfect, but I am passionate about the product, and I do genuinely like people, even when I'm in a grumpy mood! ;)
So...5 years? Doing some more shows across the country. 10 years? If I'm being honest here, I REALLY want to start some kind of "stick-it-to-the-man" small business school(I don't like the word 'school'....uh...boot camp?) where people come in and learn how to make passive income online doing what they love. That is the future. I honestly believe that with the rise of technology, there is the urgent call for more of us to quit the cubicle life, or whatever drudgery job that we thought we were shackled to! We have the opportunity to CONNECT, and CREATE, and INNOVATE and I know those sound like buzz words, but I freaking buzz with excitement when I think about more people being excited to wake up to their lives in the morning. We live in the best time!!! Right now. I would love to encourage people to take hold of their dreams and shut down the inner voice of fear. Do what you came to earth to do!!  WHO KNOWS what the world will look like in 10 years! All I know is that I'm excited to be a part of it.  People that live in fear and are miserable will continue spending their time trolling on the internet, and tearing down others. In the meanwhile, people that are excited to live and want to help the world will rise up and create things we never even dreamed. 

Q: Last question. What are some things that help you in your daily life?
A: I'm glad you asked. I made a collage.  Here's the stuff from going through the vertical rows, from left to right.
top left: KT TAPE!!!  Sitting and sewing all day has jacked up my back and my wrists and all sorts of things. I don't even know what this tape is or how it does it, but HOLY NIGHT, it literally takes away all of my pain. I thought I would have to just live with lower back pain for the rest of my life, but all I do it take two strips of this tape and put them on either side of my spine, and I am a rock star.

middle left: Family. Obviously, that's the key to my success. This is an older picture, without my baby, but honestly, they're the reason I do everything I do.

bottom left: You can get zipfizz at Costco or Sam's Club. I love the dang stuff. I have a hard time drinking enough water, but like these fizzy tubes of goodness.

middle top: This just represents my general love for high quality makeup. Do yourself a favor and just spend the extra money. I PROMISE, it pays off in the end. My favorite brands are Urban Decay and Make Up For Ever. Nobody can make me feel bad about my love for makeup. But what about looking natural and feeling beautiful without  it on?  Guess what, I don't feel beautiful without a bra on either. Let me feel what I feel and you can feel what you feel, and we can all be friends. (by the way, I do recognize that my grammar in this blog is atrocious. I was just looking at the sentences above and getting nervous about my high school English teacher leaping out of nowhere and doing grammar karate on me or something...)

middle bottom: I still have my first pair of Zella leggings. These things will not freaking die. They are 3 1/2 years old, and I hold them up to my pair that I got two months ago, and they look exactly the same. The fabric is just incredible. Truly. Oh, and if you have anything nasty to say about people wearing leggings, please refer to my previous blog.  Anyhow, you can get these things at Nordstrom

right top: I love all kinds of kale chips forever. Plus, they get stuck in my teeth and make me into a total kissable babe.

right middle: Sharpie markers are the best. Even when my kids use them to create murals on my newly painted walls. Nothing can shake my love and loyalty to these things.

right bottom: Ah, yes. My sister, Emma calls this "Chocolate Yardwork" but don't worry...it's like if yardwork tasted good! I mix it into all of my shakes and smoothies. It's got like....70 types of organic green things jammed into it, and the company grows everything in Kansas. I love all their products, and love this one especially!!! http://www.iherb.com/Amazing-Grass-Green-SuperFood-Chocolate-Drink-Powder-28-oz-800-g/31248#p=1&oos=1&disc=0&lc=en-US&w=amazing%20grass&rc=92&sr=null&ic=9

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