My Business, My Rules! Why Other People's Opinions Should Not Affect Your Professional Choices.
I have had my fair share of conversations with other artists, friends, family and colleagues, but the discussions that inadvertently stand out to me are those of the Doubting Thomases and the Negative Nancys.
I have this friend... let's call him 'Rex'. Now before I get into this, it is important to state that I ABSOLUTELY love Rex. However, there are times we speak about my plans for Molly and he somehow finds a way to reveal a slightly pessimistic outlook on things. Honestly, if I wasn't confident in my ideas and vision, I would definitely second guess all the business decisions I've discussed with my dear, Rex. It's the side eyes when we speak. The slight interrogations to clarify that I've thoroughly thought out my ideas. The droplets of doubt. But most of all, it's the silent suggestive look that shows his readiness to offer unsolicited advice. Frankly speaking, as much as I know his concerns are well-intended, they are very much distractions from the joys and accomplishments that I wish to share.
I met with a group of male friends (btw why is it always men who have the most to say about how a woman should operate? Ugh), and it was honestly an insightful 40-minute conversation about my GR1 model, but it really left a sour taste in my mouth for a few reasons:
For one, telling me to lose my intent to make my brand exclusive in its initial stages and " just take the L" by underselling my shoes so that "we" can make money quicker was practically bogus. Since my designs in The GR Collection are a little more complicated, the hours used to create one pair will be considerably higher than your traditional pumps. When I first handcrafted the GR1 prototype, it took me almost 7 days to complete. If I were to go by the minimum wage for my labour, I would be asking for $840 per pump and that's just for the labour. Factor in the cost of high-quality hides and fabrics, my packaging requirements and additional shipping rates, my clients would be paying well over a $1000 for a pair of The GR1 pumps. However, since I have partnered up with a factory that can facilitate large orders and handcraft my designs efficiently, I am able to produce and retail my first model in The Gemini Rebirth Collection at a fraction of this price.
Just because you can envision the potential demand for my innovative designs does not mean that you should try to convince me to focus my attention on the quantity of sales rather than the quality, luxury and life-time experience of my valued buyers. I esteem my designs very highly and believe that each award-winning model in The Gemini Rebirth collection is a prestigious collectible. I know that they will provide my clients with a unique and refreshing excitement each time they alternate between colour tones and attachment pieces. Furthermore, as a bid to prove my unwavering belief in these designs, I have spent close to $11,000 working on acquiring a design patent that will not only protect the mechanisms of this particular collection, but be able to prevent future replications of each model.
So, telling me that I "need to take the L" and that I "need to be represented by a man", because "women are too soft" while trying to undermine my labour in your 'attempt' to offer professional advice is highly disrespectful. It is the drive and very connotation behind the dualism of the twin sign- Gemini, and the reasons behind my opposing, yet complementary concepts. Women are strategic and mindful, resilient and respectable, nurturing and protective, but most of all, we are both soft as a rose petal and tough as a concrete slab. I live for unconventional, contrasting features; for refined femininity and unmistakable elegance. This collection, to me, is the epitome of footwear for today's modern lady. It is an usher for graceful defiance in a society that urges women to conform to predefined norms. Rebellion does not always connote negativity, but in this case, it is simply the confidence to live in your truth and on your own terms, because I AM the definition of power. I am every woman.
1. It's YOUR vision. YOUR dream
As much as those around you may support and even empathize with your struggles, sometimes unsolicited advice may create a diversion from your original plan to the ideals of your advisor. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you shouldn't take the advice of others into consideration and evaluate which suggestions could potentially improve your ideas. I'm saying you should know how to identify when it's simply interfering with or obstructing your vision.
2. Trust your instincts
Ever heard the saying "your gut feeling is always right" ? Well, 99.9% of the time I have found that to be true- judging from my life experiences. I have no intentions of second guessing myself or any of my thoroughly analyzed business decisions at this very crucial stage of my life. Frankly, I would much rather learn from my failures than wish I had trusted my initial judgments... I know I'm not alone on this one.
To all the hard-working entrepreneurs building empires, working tirelessly and losing sleep over your wildest dreams, have you ever been in a similar situation? If yes, what was your reaction and how did you deal/move forward from this?
As always, it's been a pleasure baring my soul and freeing my mind on The Journey To Molly.
Until next time,