Hi, this is Leekei, and today is the third episode of our Mindful Mondays series. Every Monday I share with you a specific foundation idea, a small dose of inspiration to help you quickstart your week. The idea behind that is simply because I’ve noticed that many fashion business owners are often struggling with the foundation and the Mindful Mondays series is here to help you get over that struggle. These episodes will sometimes be about a sustainability issue, about a business foundation concept, sometimes like today, about a mindset concept.
In today’s episode, I want to share with you a story.
When I first started off with my brand, I took part in a tradeshow in LA, Los Angeles.
Taking part in a tradeshow is a way to show your brand and to connect with wholesale buyers such as local boutiques, independent concept stores or bigger stores.
As I have already told you I had no prior experience in the fashion business when I started off.
I had no idea how wholesale business works, about the buying cycles and I had no real connections.
But I had allocated a small budget for a tradeshow, so I looked up on the internet to find one we could participate in. I found this one that was located in downtown LA. The cost to exhibit at this tradeshow was fairly low compared to the others, because it was the first edition of this new tradeshow.
I thought that it was a good idea: a startup business supporting another startup.
This tradeshow was located at the CMC, the California Market Center, downtown LA.
Since there were other more established and more expensive tradeshows on the other floors of the CMC, I thought that it was a smart idea to join the cheaper tradeshow as wholesale buyers would come to our floor and pay us a visit so they will have a chance to discover our brand.
I couldn’t be more wrong.
Not only the organizers did not promote this tradeshow properly to wholesale buyers as they were supposed to do, but they did a very poor job at fitting up the space of the show, so it was not appealing at all.
So during this 4 days of the show, we had a very poor attendance, but I had plenty of time to get acquainted with the other business owners and to chat with them.
However, I managed to get a small order from a boutique in Santa Monica.
So the story I could have told myself is that I wasted a whole week of my time and my team’s. We wasted our energy and lots of money for a small results that did not even cover the expenses for this tradeshow. It was such a bad experience.
But I chose to tell myself another story. Here is the story:
We did get a first order from one lovely boutique in Santa Monica that not only allowed us to say that we are selling our brand in LA, but it was also a great place to gain brand exposure in a very good boutique that helped position our brand to the level we were aspiring to.
We spent 4 full days chatting with other exhibitors and it was such a great opportunity to learn from other business owners and sales people. During these 4 days, we learned so much about the fashion wholesale business in the US that we were able to build a strong US wholesale strategy that allowed us to sell to some of the best boutiques and stores throughout the country.
We also gained experience in preparing for an overseas tradeshow and in setting a booth.
The journey of a business owner is long and it is paved with obstacles and small and big wins. It is sometimes demoralizing when things do not go the way you were expecting them to go but if you decide to dwell on the negative thoughts for too long, you might not see the small wins that you have achieved. And even if you felt that you have not achieved any small wins, which I doubt, at least you’ve learned something that you could do differently in the future or that you have discovered a new idea, a new concept or a new direction.
It is very important to pay attention to all the small wins and to learn how to grow from there. There are so many examples in your business. Think of a time when you did not reach the outcome you’ve expected. Was is a smaller outcome you can celebrate? If not what did you learn?
We need to train ourselves to have a better narrative of our lives.
So we need to practice everyday.
Here’s a practice we can all do: Think of when you go to bed at night, when you feel frustrated about all the things you have not finished. What if instead, you decide to celebrate all the things that you have accomplished during the day? It’s a better feeling, isn’t it? Practice that when you go to bed tonight.
In the meantime, have a great day and a wonderful week ahead.