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The Bittersweet Symphony of (Boutique) Life

Gina Melvin

As I sit down to write this, I'm slightly embarrassed about how long it's been since i've done a blog post. I feel like it's some Dear Diary thing like I need to apologize for such a long time between my last entry. I actually really enjoy blogging and writing but you know between working full time and running a business-some things have to give.

   I digress- I have a point to this long overdue entry. Today marks 1 year of Shop Gina Celeste. 1 year since I (nervously) made my debut to my friends, family and customers. I've already chatted about what lead me to make this move to independent ownership and what things I've learned in my first 6 month. So for this entry I'm going to be a little vulnerable and share the things that keep me up late and silently paralyze me about this venture.

    I've struggled in life-finding my path. I had a soul crushing moment when I was 8 learning that I was NOT in fact going to be the next Kerri Strug (bonus if you know who that is) and win Olympic Gold. From there I thought I had it figured out going into college-but inevitable due to no ones fault (well except the recession of 2008) my path changed directions multiple times. I've worked in many of environments from management to accounting to marketing to sales. I've been hired, fired and quit many of places. My husband jokes with me, and I don't deny it, that based on my job track record-I can't really stay somewhere for more than 2 years. To some, you might be shifting uncomfortably in your seat with anxiety of my frequent job changes, but to me-it was a bittersweet factor of my life. Through these multiple positions, I've learned WAY more than many have via College or staying in a single career. But on the flip side-I feel like I've never truly mastered anything-like there isn't anything I'm particularly "good at". I also say this with an asterisk and say I really enjoy the position I'm in now- but it's hard to shake the nagging feeling that maybe this career path I've been on the past 18+ years is leading me into something more...independent.

   No this blog post isn't me announcing I'm quitting my job to run this boutique full time. However I'm not-not saying that isn't my ultimate goal. But I'll lie if I didn't say that that notion isn't both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. 

   A year in business has opened my eyes to so many things and also paralyzed me in the fear that I'm totally failing. To many in business, they judge success based upon the $ signs (or lack their of) on their reports. I'm not discounting that obviously you need to make money to be successful-but that's not what my driving factor is. For me- I am fueled by validation. Validation not just in the form of "good job" but in the response my customers have to a product I bring in, how many are tuned into a live show, how many come to an open house or I meet at an event. I'm fully aware that there are 1294382 factors that impact those things but to me in those moments- I think there's something wrong with me, like I'm not doing something correctly. I understand this might not make much sense to some,but it's like the little voice inside my head -again telling me that I'm on the path to again never master anything, never be "good at" anything.

   Coming from a world of direct sales before going independent- you're always pitted against each other and compared like "Oh so and so sold X amount"  "So and So hit this rank". So having that "foundation" has completely warped my sense of judging accomplishment. For 95% of business owners, this first year isn't great-heck it can take 5+ years to be "successful". It's a lot of learning, a lot of trail and errors and not a lot of profits. But because of this backwards notion I have-I feel like I should be a lot farther in this than I am.

   Now I say this on the "sane" side knowing that I'm basically doing this part-time, so I know I'm not going to be the same as the boutique across the street, but it's still challenging not to get caught in that comparison trap. When I see those close to me or customers choosing another store to shop at or talking about "oh did you see what so and so got in- look what I got at XYZ", it is a little cut into my validation-fueled heart. Again, I don't expect people to only shop with just me (heck I still shop other places) but I think I wrongly twist those comments or actions in my head as a swing at me and that's something I know I need to work on. 

   Ok now that I've bared my inner most fears - let chat about the positives!

 I've learned that the small business community and those who truly support small is awesome. I've made so many connections and met some great people in the past year. They've been such amazing resources when I don't know who to talk to or ask questions to and have help me to talk myself out of those dark places my head can go into.

   The new friends and customers who have also come have been amazing. I am still fueled by someone putting on a piece or finding something that makes them feel so amazing and beautiful.

I've also learned that I do have the potential to follow my passions and fulfill my goals. I've learned that as hard as it might be, that pushing through something tough-may only reveal something beautiful on the other side. 

So thank you-for helping to make this past year. Thank you to all my family, friends and my husband- I literally wouldn't be here without all of you. Here's so another of hopefully many more years to come!


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