I hear a lot of people with their small talk. Sometimes it’s directly said to me, sometimes it’s just noise I hear from being in the background.
You know, it’s a tough world. People are cruel; girls are cruel. Running a business is hard! I can’t for the life of me figure out how people make it! …… Ok, let me back up. Hard work, dedication, perseverance, lots of sleep lost, lots of stress, but remaining positive, is how people make it. I guess what I should say, is I don’t know how people remain positive in this cruel world of running a business. It’s got to be exhausting to work on you, your business, your success, and have to constantly worry about how to be better than the next girl boss in line. Let’s cut the shit, excuse my language. Let’s all just take a minute to realize we are not competing with each other, were competing with ourselves. What in the world do I actually mean? Come on Brittany, you’re not making any sense. Well, I mean…. If we are spending countless hours to build our business, to build our empire, to build our dream, we cannot worry about anything or anyone else.
Do you care what people think about you? Seriously. Do you care what people think about how you dress? Do you care what people think about what you drive, or the house you live in? What about where you work, and how much money you bring home every week after taxes, bills, and whatever other expense your daily lives require? The answer is always No, but we all know we mean yes. I see how people will jokingly make comments about how much money people make because they live lavish lifestyles, that they wish they could afford. I mean, don’t we all want what we don’t have? More money, a bigger house, (I’d prefer smaller at this point) a three car garage, ten acres of land, a yacht, a butler….. I could go on and on. My point, every single person we meet in life is working on something. Most people are striving to be better, and working on their individual goals. At some point I had to ask myself, when do I just work on me? When do I focus on my family’s needs, and manage our want list all at the same time? How do I be successful in owning a boutique right now? Let me tell you, this is a tough business, its growing every day, Girl boss’ are getting their feet wet, and going for their dream! I LOVE IT! Competition is high. Or is it? You got Online boutique after online boutiques, Brick and mortars popping up (an actual store), fashion trucks (not huge in my area currently, but they do exist), LulaRoe (which I still love), and a few other brands that have popped up lately that mirror the Lula way. I already told you guys, if it wasn’t for my best friend, I would simply be buying all these styles from some of our local shops everyday (which I do still do), instead of searching the sites for hours to bring my customers the latest and greatest styles.
It’s HARD. It is so hard to try and sort through new clothing releases, and new accessories, the shoes… oh my the shoes. Trying to decide that if what I love, will be a good product, or if my taste is truly in a class of its own. All this time spent looking for new merchandise, and hoping it sells, is hard. It’s always a challenge, and I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t always work. It doesn’t always sell. It could be the cutest top ever, and everyone loves it, but no one buys it! MINDBLOWING, BUT you overcome, you keep going, and you hope that at your next event, someone will put their hands on it, and LOVE it just as much as you! Another struggle I face is that I am online based. Why is that a struggle? Then I don’t have to face to face with people so much, right? WRONG. This is one of my largest heartaches. I LOVE the online life, but I think we can all say that it’s much easier to pick out one piece of clothing on a site, and check out. Then, when you go into a store, you get to see it all. You can touch it. You can try it on, and you’re more likely to purchase more stuff! It’s like the target affect, “I didn’t need any of this, but since I’m here looks like it’s coming home with me”. (Everyone should at least be grinning at that last statement, I don’t know anyone who can’t relate). The uniqueness of an online boutique is that it gives me privacy. I only let people come shop on days that I want to have hours for a stop and shop. I can make a huge mess in my boutique, and leave it for days. As long as I can find what I need when an order comes in I am good! (Bad, Bad habits). The other side that I don’t get from being online based is face to face time with my customers. I LOVE every single one of my customers, because you are supporting my dream (we will get back to the point soon). You are buying from me. You are putting your trust in me, that I have picked out quality clothing, and it’s a fair price! When I say fair, I mean it’s a price I am comfortable with paying myself. I don’t get to know your face though, I get to know your name, your address, your style preference. So while I may not recognize your face when you come to a stop and shop, or show up at an event I’m at, it’s not because I don’t know who you are. I know you well, I just miss out on the face to face aspect of owning a store!
When I meet people for the first time, some have questions, some have hugs, and some are shy! Hahaha. Some questions I often get are about other local boutiques around my area. Have I heard of them? Have a shopped there? Do I know the people running it? How do you compete with them? How do you choose your pricing? Aren’t you worried they will do better than you? Do you think they sell more? Do you think the prices are fair? Do you know them personally? Do you like them? Do they like you? Do they copy off of you? Do you copy off of them? How do you make sure you don’t get the same styles? ………….
Are you starting to see where I am going here??
While I will be the first to tell you, that when we first stated this boutique, locally for us, we were kind of unique. We were different than the current trends were at the time. We were winging it, but do you know what else? Someone else was also working on their goals to do exactly what we were doing. Does that mean we were in competition with them? No. Did it sometimes feel like we were? Yes. Did that slow us down? Absolutely not.
Females are funny. I don’t know why God made us this way, but we are catty. We are emotional. We hold grudges. We don’t forget anything. We take things much more personal than the male species. We care more. Putting your blood, sweat, and tears into a business, and something you are so passionate about, will cause you to wear your heart on your sleeve, and feel as if everything is personally against you. WE HAVE TO STOP.
At some point along this journey in the past several months, I have learned that we all need to come together. We need to support each other, and we need to be more caring to each other. I’m running a business, and so are thousands of others, just like mine. So why am I on this tangent of competing with no one? It’s exhausting to run my business, and care about what others are doing to run theirs. If someone loves my ideas, and wants to use them, go for it! If someone likes my styles, and wants to try them, I promise when you ask me about why they have the same stuff, my response will be, “because look how cute and amazing it is”.
Ladies, you do not have to be running a business for this to hit home for you. I truly hope that I can impact even one of you reading this, to step back, and re consider your actions, and words now and then. I’m not trying to come off as, “Everyone is a jerk, do better”, and preach that I am so good at everything I just said. It took me a few months to realize we need to be better supports for each other.
I see a lot of people with their work out groups, with their eating healthy groups, with their stories about how I got better groups, and I LOVE THEM ALL. I love when people are showing compassion and support to each other. What I don’t love, is when I see support online, and hear bashing in real life. Who are we hurting? What good does it do? Again, due to our nature… we act like this. This doesn’t mean we can’t get better. I am mean. I have bad RBF. I hear that ALLLLL the time, BUT I am working on it. I’m trying to be a better support to people who need it. Even when people don’t ask for help, or express that they need something, you can be a good judge of character, and offer support. It may take someone a day to come to you, or two years. I promise though, they appreciate it, and it makes people feel better, when they know someone cares.
Most importantly, what are we teaching our children? Are we teaching them that they should develop their own opinions and thoughts on things, but then forgetting these things when we open our mouth to talk about someone, or something? Are we teaching them that they should take care of themselves first, but always lend a hand to someone who is worse off than they are at the current time? Do we remind them that things won’t always go as planned in life, but there’s always going to be a way to make it better, but it’s not always going to be easy to do?
I want to teach my kids that they can be brave, and strong willed, and opinionated, but they cannot be cruel, and should try their best not to judge. Lastly, that when they find themselves competing to be better than someone, or out do someone, it better have a sport involved, and not an ego about where they came from.
So, yes- this is another topic close to my heart. This is a PSA that I am only competing with ME about ME. I am doing my best to support other people in their journeys, while understanding I’ve never walked in their shoes, be kind always.