Being brave enough to address things in life that upset you is one thing. Being brave enough to face them, is another story. Facing things, people, and opinions can seem more difficult than the biggest test you ever took in your life. Someone has to address the elephant in the room- uncomfortable or not, learn from each scenario you find yourself in. Grow from the lessons, and become stronger, and smarter.
So- here comes Brittany’s truths about owning a business.
First- Someone recently made the comment “I think you forgot where you came from”. On most occasions I can let comments roll. I can ignore, I can laugh it off, or brush it off. Whatever, right? They don’t know me, and they must not know my business- which is totally fine. HOWEVER- that struck a nerve with me, it knocked the wind out of me, and it put me into a mood that I don’t like.
SO- I just want you all to know, I am very aware where I came from. I know where I started, I know how I got to where I am, and I pray multiple times a day that I can keep growing, and not return to where I came from.
BUT- where did I even come from? Where did I start? Why do I not want to go back? Not that you all need to know it all, but I am an open book so here is a refresher of where I came from. I came from working 80-100 hours a week, on an ambulance. Exposed to some of the most awful shit in the world we live in. (I say the world we live in, because I have never served in the military, I have never been and thanks to this great country hopefully never will be in a situation to see what our military see’s and does when they are out protecting us). Anyone in the fire department whether volunteer or paid knows that it’s not for the faint of heart. You either get it, or you don’t, and there is rarely time for you to stand around thinking about what to do, and when. Oh, and make sure no one is trying to hurt you in the meantime. You stay on guard all the time, and the expectation is that you’re perfect on every call, every time you treat someone, and if they feel like it’s not good enough, they will let you know. Many times, in this life it wasn’t good enough, but on the rare occasion you did a great job, and you can go home proud. After many years in this field it starts to ware on you. Your body, your mind, and your well-being. You feel detached from society, you are always run down, and you rarely- if ever make time for you. For you to recover from your last shift, for sleep, for proper nutrition, and time for your family. It’s hard, but that was my life. I still go back to it from time to time. For one reason, to keep me humble. For another reason, I want to make sure I can still do it. No matter the reason, it’s a choice I can now make to do part time if I want to, but because of the success of the business, I really don’t need to. That isn’t me being arrogant, it’s simply me knowing that I busted my ass to get out of that life. That’s me knowing that if I wanted to save my back, my sanity, and my family that I had to figure something else out.
SO- there you go, that’s where I came from. If you think you knew me or know me- I promise you there are a few sides of me, you have never seen and hope you never will.
I take a lot, like so much pride in The Teal Antler. I appreciate everyone who has ever liked, commented, purchased, walked into my store, or downloaded my app. We have grown so much since I started FROM MY HOUSE. Don’t think I forgot about the nightmare of shipping. And doing Facebook lives without comment sold. Did you know we would spend like 5 hours invoicing after a live, and it took a few people to track comments while I was live. We built our lives from the beginning, and now much like our jean line- our live sales are a staple. WOW, I’m super proud of that.
STAFF- what a scary topic. How terrifying it is to bring someone in on your business. You want to think that people have your best interest, and the best interest of the business in mind, but boy is that not always the case. I’ve been told I trust to quickly, or too easily. I think I now see that maybe there was some truth to that. I guess I have always felt that if you put your heart and soul into something, and someone expresses they want to help build that- that they are sincere. FACE PALM- wrong.
No matter what you think or feel in your heart- people usually are only out for themselves. When we opened the store, we had one employee. We paid them under the table, and we shared store hours. I did all the social media, and we busted our asses to get noticed. With that comes growth, and you either go, or you grow. People will approach you about seeing what your building and wanting to be a part of it. People will seem upbeat and positive, and they will say and do whatever they think you want to hear so they can get ahead.
We hired a few more people, and the team was rapidly growing. Working with all women is a challenge, but I think we all worked hard to keep it moving with the end goal in mind.
Every now and then something or someone throws a wrench into the equation, but we worked hard to keep it simple.
PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS COME AND GO-
Whether it’s a customer, let me explain- people shop in cycles. Spend a couple months with us, then go shop somewhere else for a while, and now and then trickle back around, and guess what? SO DO I! Did you guys know I actually like to shop with other boutiques. Even local ones.
Or whether it’s an employee- Sometimes people don’t work out. That could be due to many things. Money, schedule, personalities, or a mentality that doesn’t fit into the team’s vision. While in a perfect world I want everyone to work together, to be nice to each other, to respect each other – that’s just not real life. I was taught young in life that you don’t always have to agree with someone, but you should always hear them out, and with an open mind. Listen to reply with their opinions, and thoughts in mind, and not just to respond. Put thought into your words, because once they leave your tongue, you can’t get them back. You can demand respect, but you truly need to work to earn it. These are all things my parents taught me, but probably without even meaning to.
WHEN PEOPLE QUIT YOU-
Again, maybe a customer, maybe an employee, let them go. Dwelling in the past doesn’t do anything for your future. It’s not on you to figure out where you went wrong, because maybe it wasn’t you after all. Growing and running a business has cost me a lot of things. Mostly people. For one reason or another and chasing people can be exhausting. What is it they say? No response is a response? OUCH! That one hurts, bad. I had to train myself to know that not everyone thinks like me, and not everyone gives chances like me. Friends, employees, and employees I thought were a friend- all people I’ve lost. Years of my life- gone. I can’t do anything about it but learn.
WHEN YOU QUIT SOMEONE-
Do It whole heartedly. DONOT keep bringing up the past, don’t keep shaming someone because something didn’t end on the terms you hoped, and for the love of all things, do not attempt to create a following to share the feelings that you have, because you are angry. Don’t try to destroy relationships, don’t try to recruit “haters”, just leave the rest of the world out of it.
I AM ACTUALLY PRETTY POSITIVE-
Let’s be honest, people talk. They always have, and they always will. Girls talk even more, and women empower. Let that sink in. If you want to lead, lead by example, and not by hate. If you have problems with someone, address it in private. Did you know most people are followers? It is so much easier for someone to jump on a bandwagon, and not have to put any thought into things then it is to take time to understand a situation, a person, or how something got started. I have put my whole heart into building a positive space. For my staff, for my customers, and friends, and for my kids. Girls especially are so easily molded into their surroundings. Somehow though, I’ve been thrown into a category of petty by some. If you truly know me, you know I almost always say what I am thinking. I think honestly- while not always the prettiest, is best practice. Are we all guilty of sometimes saying things that maybe we shouldn’t? Yes, absolutely. We all get caught up in the moment. Maturity is being able to step back and know you don’t always need to comment on a situation, or a person.
TALKING BEHIND YOUR BACK-
You are reading this, you are guilty. Me typing this, I’m guilty. So, please don’t ever claim perfection as a human- it’s just not human nature to be able to shut up in a certain situation. If you think you don’t ever partake in this, go check your text messages with your closest friends, then go check your FB messenger. Then, check your blocked list on FB, your contacts, your snap chat- whatever else you use. If you don’t have anyone blocked- great, if you do, ask yourself why… Then consider who you’ve vented to about why that person is blocked… get it? No one is perfect.
This topic is so close to my heart. I need everyone who reads this to understand that if someone wrongs you, you can still carry on your day without belittling them and causing unneeded conversation. If you feel you have been wronged, don’t return the feeling. It’s not a game of who’s ahead, it’s a game of who’s mature enough to understand that people deal with things differently, and there is no right answer, but there is dignity. Respect shouldn’t be earned by making yourself shine brighter. Just be freaking nice. So, there- If you are so passionate about something, don’t give up on it, but also don’t bring others in on it. You truly don’t know what people are going through, and surely you don’t want to be the one responsible for making them feel worse about themselves.
Just be kind.