Our world is one where consumerism takes precedence and everyone is trying to sell us something - social media is overrun with “click here!” and shelves yell “buy this!” and “try that!”
When I was a child, and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d respond with my usual: firefighter, monster truck driver, photographer, business owner. Whatever I did though, I always knew I wanted to use my career path to help people. For a long time, I thought the only way I could do so was to choose a path that would likely stifle my creativity in the process but would ultimately help others. I chose to go to school for pediatric occupational therapy. After only one semester in college, I could feel myself slipping away. I called it quits and set my sights on new opportunities.
While working as a wardrobe stylist in Nashville, TN, I began making jewelry in my spare time. Shortly after, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. I decided life was much too short to not live out my purpose, and I needed to follow my dream of helping people after all, so I created a wholesale handmade jewelry line, circa1910, with the intention of cultivating self confidence in other women. In a few years time, circa1910 grew to be in over 100 retail stores nationwide and finally, I was able to help others while also fulfilling my own creative desires.
Eventually, I found that wholesale still wasn’t as quite as fulfilling as I had hoped, so I scaled back my jewelry business to retail only and sold online and at shows for a few years, always with the same intention.
Someday I’d own a different type of brick-and-mortar store where women could visit and find comfort. Friendship. Open arms. Kindred spirits. Healing. Strength. Inspiration.
I'll tell you what though… I’m a terrible salesperson. I took a job at Buckle (you know- the store in the mall with the incessantly insistent commission-based employees) when I was 18. I was so bad at selling that they put me in the back to work as a freight manager so they wouldn’t have to fire me. Selling felt- still feels- icky to me.
So why would someone who despises selling, open a retail store? Because if I opened a blank building and began advertising it as a therapeutic space to people, they’d think I was crazy… and I couldn’t afford rent. Plus, no one would show up because that’s just strange.
So here I am. Two retail stores in tow and my heart still on the cuff of my sleeve. Hoping that these little businesses are at least making a tiny ripple in our big ocean.
I still have hope that one day that ripple will grow to become a wave.