It's Sunday morning and Robert and I are packing up the truck for a very exciting live event. This afternoon, from 1-4pm, we'll be at a west elm pop-up in Santa Monica, CA, just a few blocks from the beach—and a short drive from our old apartment! The weather is going to be 74°F, clear and sunny.
west elm is a brand that helps people express their personal style at home, building a sense community with designers, makers and customers. They know the value of handcrafted, locally-produced, responsibly-sourced products. And I'm so proud to partner with them!
Handcrafted HoneyBee first came to west elm's attention in June, when I was invited to pitch in person at two west elm LOCAL locations. Through the west elm LOCAL program, each store curates the offerings of local makers, showcasing their work in pop-ups and permanent displays.
The pop-ups are a terrific chance to meet the people behind some of your favorite designs & products! For Robert and me, it's going to be an opportunity to get to know our customers better and introduce ourselves to tons of new people.
But it almost didn't happen.
You might not believe me when I tell you this, but I am incredibly introverted! You see, I've spent countless hours writing blog posts, creating videos and talking to customers about what we, as a company, stand for. I've given interviews for local TV newscasts, print media, podcasts & blogs. I've sent more pitch emails & postcards than I can count.
But…I'm still pretty uncomfortable giving a live-pitch to a major retailer.
It takes a lot of energy for this introvert to put herself out there in front of a stranger. But to put my baby out there for that stranger to judge? The entire process is waaaay outside my comfort zone!
To complicate things further, the last time I live-pitched Handcrafted HoneyBee was a year ago at Etsy Open Call. If you've been following us for a while, you know that the Etsy Open Call event was transformative for our business—it literally changed the direction and focus of our brand. (Etsy interviewed me recently about it for their After Open Call series.)
But that transformation only happened after we heard a firm, persistent "No" from all of the retailers we pitched. It was especially hard for me to hear that "No" in person, after pouring my heart into the pitch. So you could say that I was feeling…reluctant about another live-pitch event.
When I look back on this past year—at how much we have grown as a company, how much I have learned as a businesswoman, how many more customers we have served and how many more lives we have touched—I realize that those moments of discomfort and disappointment are what made everything else possible.
So I walked in to the west elm LOCAL live-pitch session, confident in myself, in my vision, in my worth—no matter the outcome of that particular pitch. But more importantly, I walked in there knowing that I was doing the hard work of bringing a Big Dream to life.
Just like the girls & women that this company is dedicated to serving.
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