It’s been a daunting task – mostly because it is the one place my otherwise controlled perfectionism reigns. Even though I’ve had plenty of offers of help, I choose to do it all myself because I have the vision inside my head and I want it the way I want it.
I’m really possessive that way.OK – maybe a wee bit egotistical even.
I want it to be awesome.
Bodaciously delicious and fun.
I own that about myself and will be the first one to openly admit it.Even when I whine on occasion about all the hard work that goes into it.
I live, vicariously through my store.
And for me,my store is more than just a store with a bunch of inventory to sell. It is a sacred space – a place to gather women and start conversations. It’s an outwardly creative expression of me – who I am, what I’m about, what’s important to me and the message I want to share.
It’s my canvas.A work of my finest art.
A reflection of me.
And personal and at times, self indulgent.
I’ll be the first one to admit that too.
So, last week I’m bustling around and getting a lot done - finally feeling a little light at the end of my chaotic boxes to be unpacked and stuff to be put out tunnel when a woman walks in off the street with a briefcase and suitcase full of jewelry in tow. She introduces herself and tells me she wants to show me her wares which (as she emphatically assures me) will fit perfectly in my store and sell like crazy.
I look at it and disagree.
She goes all arrogant and patronizingly pushy/shovey with me and ends by saying, “Dani, in order to be really successful, you need to think outside your box and be brave enough to order something that isn’t your personal taste because being successful isn’t about carrying just what you like or don’t like, it’s about carrying what your customers would like.”
I look at her dumbstruck.Oh no, no, no sweetheart.
You better back that truck up.
“You see all this?” I ask motioning around me, “It’s mine and I own it - and because it’s mine and I own it, I get to make all the rules and decisions and define success on my terms – not yours. I’m the Queen and this is my domain and you have no right to come in here with your unsolicited advice and try to take what’s mine from me. In fact, I’d suggest you take your own advice and think outside your box – being brave enough to accept that not everyone wants to buy what you are selling just because you’re selling it.”
My point here isn’t about some woman who walks into my store off the street and tries to force me into buying jewelry I’m not interested in buying. Nope – it’s about life in general - the principle and the practice behind this specific incident.
It’s about all the people who sit on the sidelines looking in, paying more attention to what we’re doing than what they’re doing; waltzing into some portion of our lives thinking it’s their right to tell us what we should be doing instead of what we’re doing, or how to define the things that aren’t theirs to define in the first place , trying to sell us something we didn’t ask for or don’t want and then manipulating us into feeling bad or wrong or guilty for not wanting it or buying it so we’ll buy it.
No thank you.
Your truth isn’t necessarily mine, just as my truth isn’t necessarily yours. What makes each of us come alive, what brings us joy, what brings laughter or tears, what we want surrounding us and filling our spaces is as personal and individual as we are. What you are inspired to build might not be what I’m inspired to build, but I will respect you for what went into building yours if you can respect me for what went into building mine, instead of trying to tear it down and change it.
And -when you have walked along a similar path and shared similar experiences, I’ll listen to where you were, where you are now and what you did (for you) to get from there to here with an open heart and mind. I might even change some things based on your experiential wisdom. But I won’t listen to apples trying to speak orange.
Just so we're clear y'all.
So today, I’ll open my doors and I’ll serve you cookies and hot chocolate at my fourth annual "Holiday Open House". I’ll talk and laugh with you, and tell you stories about everything on the shelves of my store. And yes, I’ll hope you love the things I love as much as I love them and you’ll find something you can’t live without and you’ll buy it. But if you don’t, I’ll hope you at least had fun while you were here and cheerfully wish you a happy holiday as you walk out the door.
And I'll be thinking about that saleswoman telling me what I needed to do to be successful - and I'll laugh. Because honestly, I think I have a really good handle on it. By my terms and definition anyway.