Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reflect, Review, Renew... No Rush.

NYC 2009

re.treat     noun
       a. A period of seclusion, retirement, or solitude.
       b. A period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, 
      or study.

I've had an interesting "Retreat" the past two days. On one hand  I was exhausted, so as much as I wanted to honor my 3rd anniversary of leaping from Maui towards my Heart...I had a hard time decompressing. 

I did splurge on a bottle of bubbly...and found that champagne helped calm my monkey brain down.  

I got a little deeper today.  I realized that the hope I had for this Retreat was to Reflect, Review, and Renew and attempting all of that in a day and a half (seeing as I slept half of the first day) seemed too much.  I then realized that when I leapt from Maui I landed in Arizona with my family for the next 6 weeks before then again truly launching to NYC.  So I decided to honor the next six weeks...live in a Retreat-Like atmosphere.  Fill these weeks with Reflections, spend time Reviewing what I have done.  What works.  What doesn't. What I want to try.  What I need to let go of, etc. and come out in May Renewed and Ready.

One of the things that rose to the surface today mid-writing was that I felt like I was feeling the need to suppress joyful news.  I've hit some major markers lately and I feel like I have wanted to muffle them because those around me or those I'd normally share such things with are going through such rough, rough seasons.  Looking for work, having to move from their homes, their business models not working, real stuff.  It's kinda hard to celebrate and have a champagne moment when the person you care about is going through that.  I completely understand.   I have been there and still am there at times (was there just a week ago...what a difference a week can make).  I have such a heart for this.  I want to see people shine and follow their dreams.

And yet I have worked so hard for my markers.  So diligently with much sacrifice.  

I came to the conclusion that it IS important to share such things.  I am no different than anyone.  And these moments are to be joyful and more than anything...HOPEFUL.

Hope is the key here.  When it seems like everything is shutting down...seeing that there is hope, that there is light, there is blessing, and there is harvest...well, I think that is worthy.

So with that said, I share some of my reflections:

Back in my Haiku home...envisioning.

. I am SO glad I took the leap from my Beloved Maui home.  Do I miss it?  OF COURSE I MISS IT!  Was it the best leap ever for me?  Absolutely.  Not only for my business but taking that leap has given me the courage to leap and leap and leap again.

. Just over a year ago I was able to take the leap to be with my family when they needed me most.  So important...SO SO blessed to have had the opportunity.  

. Last autumn I leapt all the way to Paris!

. And how about my business?  I have seen such amazing growth since arriving in NYC.  I have learned much that I was able to blend in with what I had brought with me, mixing those together has allowed me to truly express my point of view in a topper.

. I have seen hats I designed go to knighthood ceremonies at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, my hats headed to the Derby and Ascot.  I was able to help with hats that went on the national tour of Mary Poppins.  I created a hat that went to the Tony's, have had my work grace the shop front windows of two prominent hat shops here in NYC, one of which I was a team member for the first 2 1/2 years.  I have been blessed.  I learned so much.

But I didn't come here to stay a student.  I came to NYC to launch my line.  The only true way to do that was to leap, yet again.

My launch at The Chelsea Holiday Bazaar

And so I did.  This last leap was a biggie.  As big as the first.  As unknown as the first.  Could I possibly survive in NYC solely on my hats?  Well other milliners do...why shouldn't I be able too?  (My hope.)

My 1st table at The Market NYC

I just made it through the winter.  It was a rough winter at that.  Cold...very cold.  And even with that and not being a true cold winter weather hat designer I still survived...and to top it off, I survived mostly on non functional cocktail hats.

My Official Shop located at The Market NYC

Since December's launch, through the venue I started at The Market NYC, in Greenwich Village, and with my Etsy store, and my two retail shops in the city, I sold 49 hats.  That's amazing to me.  12 of those were functional felt hats...cloche, fedoras, wide brims.  37 of those were cocktail hats...some evening, some just fun.  

It's been a bleak winter as far as "me" money and "me" time.  I have spent most hours working and 94% of the $ on paying bills.  But I LOVE that I am paying my bills through my own work!  That is SUCH an amazing feeling!  And every time I start to feel low and freaked out...I think about those numbers.  I think about how I made it through December, January, February, and thankfully March.  I think about what an accomplishment that is.  Not only in NYC and paying what I do for my home rent but doubling my expenses starting mid-January by opening my shop.


And what a blessing that shop has been to me.  It's been 2 1/2 months of seeking balance as I attempt to be there present 5 days a week.  I tried taking one of those days at home for a true studio day but that didn't seem to work.  But somehow...I have found a rhythm.  It took being sick for most of March but I came out with a bit more balance.  And I will continue to keep the balance happening.

I work a lot.  I take Mondays off.  Tuesdays become a studio day.  And then a few mornings during the week before I head in (any blocking or sewing machine work)...but I have a lovely studio within my shop for all the hand work.  Helps with an 8 hour day.

What I am loving the most is seeing what people are attracted to.  It melts my heart that the hats I love to make are the ones they are choosing.

Melts me.

And March was such a hard month on my spirit.  I just about felt crushed.  Caught what seemed to become walking pneumonia and that lasted WAY too long.  Then just as I got better, still exhausted, my brand new phone was stolen out of my hands on the train ride into the shop...totally throwing me off. And yet I am so blessed.  Besides losing a piece of expensive equipment, I wasn't harmed.  Grateful.

And the sales slowed down in March...I spent most of March catching up on all the made-to-order online hats sold, and custom hats ordered.  Once done with those I realized I had misread the GIGANTIC calendar I have and lost a weekend I thought was there (really thought I had 2 more weekends in March) to gather my end-of-the-month rents.

This was last Tuesday's revelation.   Pretty frightening.

Again...this was a call to God.  I drew in closer...it was the only choice as panicking and crying weren't going to help.  Well last week was the topper of amazement.

I got to my shop on Wednesday.  Hat shop FULL of hats...so many hats...twas beautiful.  I put everything at 50%.  I needed A LOT of $ by the 1st (today).  I only really had Wed - Sun.

Wed.  no sales.  Kept calm-ish.

Thurs. 1 client/2 hats and then on Etsy 2 hats sold

Fri.  Client from day before emails with buyer's remorse.  Hats are beautiful but she doesn't think she will wear them.  Asks for a refund.  WHAAAAAT?

I (panicky but keeping it professional) email back...all sales final but you can come and exchange only.  I also give her a thorough list of all the places and events she can wear these hats to.

I am late that day to the shop because at this point, with the MOUNTAIN of a number I need and this email...I have a true massive meltdown.  I am a weary warrior.  BUT...I am a pro.  I pull it together and go in.

Friday cont. -  a woman comes to my shop.  She found me online through the Market's facebook page...she comes specifically to buy hats, thrilled for the sale...buys 2.

Then another customer...they buy 2 hats.

Sat. - customer/2 hats (this one is the Swedish Diplomat working here in the city at the United Nations.  Super lovely lady.)

While packing up her hats another woman waits.
She chooses 2 hats.

Sun. - I am almost at my goal...a HUGE goal ... and a vendor and cohort in my section The Underground at The Market NYC...she gets her hat...takes me just above the number I needed.  God gives me a little extra.

The woman from the email never comes back to exchange...she chooses to keep the hats she loved when she purchased them.  They looked fantastic on her.


That's 15 hats in one week!
That's God!
That's AMAZING!!!
That's Harvest.
That's what I am grateful for and just want to shout it out for the world!!!
That's what can happen when you take a Leap and Follow Your Heart!
That's how I KNOW I AM ON MY PATH!

That's an Awesome Week!
And Awesome End to Winter!
And Awesome Reason I took the Launch!
And An Awesome Reason to Celebrate this Anniversary.

I love my courageous dream believer.

I toast her.  I toast her vision.  I toast her friends and family and support team.  I toast God.


And now to bed...tomorrow we start again...

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