I’m in Stores!
Since launching my Wonderful Wild Souls into the world, I’m happy to say that I am officially in two stores in downtown Lafayette, Indiana and one in Greencastle, Indiana! (See this page for a complete list). But how have I accomplished this as an introverted, non-people person with some anxiety issues? Well, I was super nervous to approach anyone, but as a business owner, I have to think about spreading awareness about my brand. If no one knows about me how am I to make money - hmmm...
The first store I approached was obviously the hardest because these were uncharted territories for me. I had never pitched myself to anyone about anything.
I have watched my husband, Jonathan, talk to everyone about his blossoming business, Sweet Revolution Bake Shop, and I have picked up some tips and tricks from the way he presents himself and how he segues conversations. I’m not a big “people person” per se, but when you own a business, you have to be able to tap into that energy.
For me, it’s hidden in a deep, dark place that I didn’t know how to access until I just dove in head first. And I am not a big “dive in head first” person, so that was a new challenge as well.
I was so so so nervous to approach my first store because “what if they say no,” “what if they don’t like what I’ve done,” “what if I don’t remember what to say...” blah blah blah, the list goes on in my head as I walked up to the front door...
...aaaaand without stopping I walked right past it. I had a big rock in my stomach and my hands were shaking and my heart was racing. Like I said, new territories and all my head could think was “I don’t know what’s about to happen and I can’t control the outcome.”
Jonathan was walking with me trying to encourage me, so we walked around the block again, and as we got closer and closer and closer... aaaaand right past the door I went. I kept rehearsing in my head what I would say and how I would introduce myself and what I do (Mistake #1 OVERTHINKING. Per usual.)
I finally forced myself to put one foot in front of the other to find out what happens next. Step, step, step... I grasped the handle and opened the door... aaaaand she was already preoccupied with another customer.
So I had to walk past the front desk, give a brief nod and “hello” and wait my turn... Prime time for overthinking to occur.
But as I was roaming around and seeing all the other people in there I was thinking... “These people are all going to hear what I’m going to say. I’m not prepared for that. I’m only prepared for the one person.” This was a new ball game - worrying about what other people think of me? That’s my specialty. But I have to remind myself - it’s my work and I love it and it doesn’t matter what other people think because if I feel good about it, I will be making myself happy and that will attract my audience.
As I was waiting and waiting and waiting which seemed like an hour, but I’m sure it was less than 5 minutes, I began to feel my breath quicken and uh oh, here we go, tears rolling down my face. Overthinking spun into overdrive.
Jonathan was standing with me saying, “We can come back later. It’s ok. We can do this another time.” But I feel like if we do this another time, I have failed and I’m afraid I’ll never come back or be able to get my business off the ground. All of these thoughts just RACING around in my brain along with a multitude of others.
I found a corner of the store and hid until I was able to calm myself down and walk out without anyone knowing I just had a mild anxiety attack.
Overcoming these feelings can be so difficult. I couldn’t even look at Jonathan as we were walking out and I went one way and he went back to the bakery to help out with the afternoon rush. When I got in my car, I immediately called my mom and I cried the whole way home.
I was mortified.
It took me two and a half hours to run around our house frustratingly cleaning things (does anyone else do this when they’re upset??), have my mom throw my own advice back in my face, do some yoga to get some endorphins flowing, put on a pretty sun dress that I felt awesome and confident in and drive all the way back downtown, march into that store and score my first wholesale order.
My FIRST wholesale order.
She was so sweet and loved my illustrations and loved the bright colors and immediately got on my website to fill out the wholesale form while I was standing right there.
I couldn’t believe it.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely started off shaky, but as I kept talking, I gained more confidence in what I was saying and her positive response helped me get past my initial irrational fears.
All that build up, just to talk to a super nice lady and have her order a bunch of my postcards.
BUT that journey taught me that I do have the strength to dig deep down and be a “people person.” I can do this. I can run a business. I can talk to people about what I do and my brand and all the hard work I have put in.
Because I have lived it. Because I’m passionate about it. Because this whole process has been a learning experience and what’s life if we’re not learning?
It was only a few days later that I was running all over downtown Lafayette, introducing my brand to businesses and showing my samples of my work and getting positive responses and new opportunities.
And within just a few weeks I’m in three stores with several more on the horizon.
And that’s what a little bit of anxiety and a lot of passion has the power to do.
If this post can help one person feel a little bit better about their struggles, then I have done my job. We all have struggles and we all have the strength to overcome them.