Thank god I’m really tanned…

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I spent most of the weekend bathing in the sun and planning my next marketing move. Being a weak aspect of my skill set, I came to the conclusion while meditating in the sun that I need to step outside of my comfort zone and do some things that I have never done before in order to achieve my goal; letting people know that I have amazing leggings to sell! I need to identify all instances in my day-to-day routine where my habits automatically cause me to behave in a particular way, potentially allowing me to miss opportunities related to this venture. We all get caught in a behavioural rut and I am no different. So, it’s time I jumped off the cliff (once again) into new and unchartered waters.

To kick off this wild week of potentially awkward behaviours and encounters, I pulled a move I have never done before.

My nails are yellow.

This has never happened in my 25 years of nail painting history. I even insisted that she round out the shape from my decades-old square tip. My poor manicurist checked with me nervously three times to make sure that I wasn’t kidding. After reassuring her that I am trying something new, (and knowing that I tip well) she reluctantly started her process, somehow afraid that I would make her re-do it if I wasn’t happy with the results.

I love it! And I would have never known if I hadn’t tried! A (very) small, but important first-step outside of my comfort zone this week. When I get going, I can sometimes be hard to stop… 🙂

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A sudden craving for pickles…

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I found that I really needed this week to take a step back from my venture and just let the magnitude of what I have accomplished simply set in. I also needed to spend considerable energy this week on the practicalities of my actual paying job, which happens to fund this little adventure. Some choices in life are simply unavoidable.

And I am left feeling exhausted. I dragged myself to the office today with my only consolation prize being a massive quantity of hot coffee; the only quiet pleasure afforded to me at my desk while I plan out the activities of my day.

Oddly enough, I am finding this sense of exhaustion very interesting. On the one hand, I have an opportunity which fills me with excitement, takes me to new places that I have never been before, pushes me outside of my boundaries of what I think I am capable of, fuels my drive to succeed and feeds my creativity like no other. But it cannot pay my bills.

On the other hand, I have a job which drains me to no end, provides no opportunity for creativity and dulls my senses and instincts in order to accommodate for life within the corporate structure. All with zero opportunity for challenging and pushing me outside of my boundaries. Yet it pays my bills.

I’m definitely in a bit of a pickle here. Because I do enjoy having my bills paid. And BCBG is not cheap. And they are so damn convenient now that they have locations in all the malls around town…

So, how do I take my venture and turn it around into something that will actually pay my bills?

Now I need to buy a photocopier…

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You know, sometimes I even amaze myself. I seem to have this knack for starting a project with seemingly impossible barriers and then turning around and completing said project with flying colours.

This skill was yet again demonstrated to me last night while I was hanging the beautiful (!) shots from my website in my stairwell.

In the dark.
While drinking sangria.
And the frames I bought had the backing with those pesky two hooks instead of one.

The bonus of this little story was that I found out that I somehow own a level. Who knew?!

Ok-I’ll explain. I was in darkness only because I lack man-hands and one of my fuses is screwed in too tight and I can’t get it out to replace it. And the frames were on sale so I was more interested in the great deal then the actual mechanics that were lurking in the back.

The sangria, however, was completely self-inflicted.

All these events seemed to collide and cause yet another eventful evening in my home. And also reminded me that I am forever going against the odds in everything that I do. Did I mention this was all done while balancing on stairs?!

But the frames look so pretty on the wall. And I got to take a moment to step back and really see the fruits of all my labour.

My grin was pretty deep last night. And it wasn’t from the sangria.

Now what?

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Ok – now what? All I can hear are quiet crickets chirping occasionally in the background…
I must say, this has been a rather anti-climactic experience. It reminds me of New Years Eve at midnight. All this build up and excitement leading up to the moment and then as the seconds tick by, nothing really changes. No weird Y2K glitches have occurred. I will sheepishly admit here that my naiveté has gotten the better of me this time around.

Now, I am left pondering my next move all while scratching my head and looking a little perplexed. I spent quite a bit of time wandering aimlessly yesterday trying to process all of my thoughts. I had assumed that a launch would be my final task in this venture; that all work completed over the last year would simply culminate to this very moment and the ultimate fruition of all my e-commerce goals and dreams would come true…in essence, the ultimate rookie mistake. Launching has been, in reality, simply the beginning of my journey and that I have really only accomplished half of my task by bringing these leggings to market. I have developed, designed, produced and successfully created a platform for them to be sold. A major feat in of itself. But, if no one knows about my leggings, all this work becomes useless and could be simply filed under the “very expensive hobby” category.

So, now comes the next major phase in this venture – marketing and networking. And it just so happens that these two critical skills are also my two biggest weaknesses…

The furrowed brow has to stop – I can’t afford Botox.

Rainy day…

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Pro=beachy waves from all the humidity.

Con=I’m wearing a silk kimono wrap. Completely inappropriate and dangerous with all this moisture flying around.

Biggest Pro of them all=June 30th is fast approaching and my site will be up. A little rain and grey skies are no match for the sun bursting out of my soul right now.

Thank you to all my new and old followers for indulging me by reading up on my little journey 🙂

Rain, schmain. I could care less.

FAQ? How about ‘Never’ Asked Questions…

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I am tinkering right now, refining the details of my site by studying other sites and the features that they offer. Not that I want to copy what others are doing, but there is certainly a standard that exists in the e-commerce world and shoppers are naturally accustomed to certain layouts and data fields. I keep reading about all these “abandoned carts” that I need to avoid creating; of which makes me think of some pathetic dark and dirty repository somewhere on the outskirts of the city, hidden from view, and piled high with the unwanted and discarded. Just like the island of misfit toys. Like I would want to send my leggings to such a terrible and lonely place like that…

I have glossy photos thanks to my shoot. I have a blog like every human on the planet. I have inserted the standard legal data for my terms and conditions and privacy policies pages which exist for all businesses to use and be protected (?) by. But I see that I am missing an FAQ page.

Well, ok. Now I am stumped. No one has asked me any questions about this business or its operations ever, let alone on a frequent basis…

I guess this is where I can explain why I am limiting my quantities. Why my styles will always be changing. Why I have to take baby steps and test certain logistics before I can take over the world! (hehehe). These are all details that I have stuck in my head and I understand their rationale but the customer will be completely unaware of.

After proof reading all the legal stuff and snapping back from the blurred page, it is all feeling a little dry. And I think I need to inject a little more of my humour into the site. And this might be an interesting place to start…

I try to make it look this easy!

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I spent the better part of the day yesterday debating the merits of plastic bags. Needless to say, I can sometimes get too caught up with the tiny details of any project.
It all started out so innocently. I needed to buy my shipping supplies and have been thinking about the end presentation and packaging details for my designs. What impression do I want to convey when a customer opens that box from me? (I am that person who hates to tear at thick paper and ribbon on a beautifully presented and thoughtfully wrapped gift. But this is me). I have to take into consideration that there are many people who do not care if that package arrives on their doorstep all neat, gorgeous and colour-coordinated. And, at what cost? How far do I go? I needed to find some balance. And true to form, I naturally gravitated towards the most expensive option without even trying.
The sheer amount of trinkets and options available to me are astounding. I need tags. But which ones? They come in all shapes and sizes and colours and thickness…. Then, there’s the plastic shopping bag. Do I want plain? Cheap? Biodegradable? Coloured? Printed? I had to make it easier on myself by just picking plain white tissue paper because I couldn’t bear the thought of having to decide between the hundreds of metallic and textured options…
After an unknown time wasted on the internet (big surprise there) I secretly wished that there weren’t so many choices available to me. And I need to weigh the amount of time and energy and cost associated to this aspect of the sale. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the little details which help to separate a satisfactory shopping experience from those which are great.
And I like to make a nice impression…

Walking Tall

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I have developed a love/hate relationship with my legs over the years. I don’t really have a problem with it per say, it’s more the reactions that others have. And while walking around this weekend, I felt this dissonance rather strongly and with acute awareness.
Now don’t get me wrong, the positive attention is amazing and strokes my ego like no other can. My legs have a natural pull to them and can be hard to ignore – especially in a short summer dress. A man hanging out of his car window hollering at me is, in my opinion, not the most creative method to get my attention (really…you are driving AWAY from me!!) but is also strangely exhilarating – especially given my age. I often giggle quietly as couples walk past me, man trying ever so hard to hide the path of his eyes and woman staring at me with a mix of awe and anger all rolled into one. Cue the nasty glare. Tourists have even taken pictures of me as I walk past thinking that because I am tall and thin I somehow must be famous yet they are unsure of who I am exactly. Now, THAT is a VERY odd experience…and leaves me sad that I have somehow duped them into thinking they got something really neat from their trip. But it has also given me insight into what it really must be like being a celebrity and the lack of privacy or consent. People smile at me more. Doors magically open for me. The positive effects of my legs are truly endless!
But, there must be a sense of balance and my legs are no different. The anger in women’s eyes is palpable. The comments that are not necessarily meant to be negative often come off as being just that. When a short man tells me (somewhat angrily) that I should not be wearing heels because it is simply not right or fair always seems to illicit the same response – that “ why I should be forced to wear ugly shoes because YOU are genetically average?!” Yeah – I’ve even mastered that line with the deadpan look too. Or the stares that are not necessarily in awe or envy but more in oddness and sadness. “It must be hard to date” I’ve been told. Children who state the obvious rather loudly to their parents as they look at me embarrassed for their child’s simple honesty. You could say that I’ve had to develop a thick skin over the years. And why it has taken me years to get over the stoop/slouch in my back in an awkward attempt to blend in.
Now that I am older (and wiser?), I can relish in both the positive and negative attention as it makes me different from the rest of the crowd. But, it has taken me many years to come to terms with my ability to stand out. And now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Little secret – I am easily pleased

Long weekend in Montreal for new fabric sourcing!

Even though the weather is going to be stunning and I am going to be stuck indoors climbing on bolts of fabric in dirty, stuffy, hot warehouses, I can assure you that nothing is bringing me more pleasure than this thought right now.

And if I can find a fluorescent melon shade, I think I just might collapse with sheer joy.

What can I say – it takes very little to please me…

Day 60 – Last day of the dare! I did it!

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I seem to be forgetful of exactly how much I have accomplished over the past few months. It doesn’t seem like THAT big of a deal. Am I cocky? Maybe a little – this isn’t a new personal insight. But, I truly don’t notice my progress in this venture until I have to describe it to a complete stranger.

And this is what happened yesterday at the salon when I wandered in to pick up some products. I really needed a quick blow out. There was a special. I couldn’t resist despite not knowing whether she was capable or not. I like to live rather dangerously…

The conversation began on a tentative note with the usual general comments about the weather and liking my dress and shoes – “wow! I love your purse”… Then came the “what do you do for a living?” question.

Well, I do a lot of things…

Next thing I know, her genuine excitement forces me to show her a picture from my photo shoot, as I am describing the entire development process of my leggings and how I have made sure that I have educated myself on each step of the process so that I am aware of what’s to come and what I ought to expect from any individuals that I decide to hire. I see her jaw dropping and prying me for even more information than is really necessary in my awkward, new-found friendship with this complete stranger.

And, in my head, I am listening to the absolute nonchalance in my voice. It doesn’t match her obvious interest and excitement in her voice. And then I realize that I am belittling myself in my accomplishments. I should be enjoying this moment and show how proud I am of my accomplishments regardless of its success or not. Why am I somehow shying away from taking any credit for what I have in fact achieved?

The appointment ended with her asking for my site because she has a friend who happens to be over 6 feet tall. I happily oblige reminding her that my leggings will be for sale beginning on June 30th. When I left the salon, I had a feeling like I had just jumped over another personal hurdle in this whole process – to finally assign a sense of ownership and pride in myself for my accomplishments.

Now I better deliver on what I have now promised to this woman or else I can never show my face at this blow out bar ever again!