A few years back, an out of town customer joked about Memphis just being a bunch of gold chains and hustlers… I politely bit my tongue and smiled as I continued to ring her up… she didn’t know the offense I took deep down. I love my city and each and every part about it. Little did I know, those words would stick with me and actually take on a whole new meaning.
Tonight I began to ponder about my blog, my city, myself … the lady’s comment oddly popped into my head. I realized that, by the definition of the crotchety tourist, I AM Memphis except my Gold chain is fake (made of alloy metal) but I assure you, MY HUSTLE ISN’T.
This is the year of transformation for me and I am excited to be completely transparent about the change. Transformation number 1, the blog. I have traditionally written about photographed fashion, beauty, other products and businesses. No worries, I will still be featuring fashion and beauty,after all, it is a HUGE part of my life being my daily job and all. But I want to be completely open and transparent about 3 other very important segments in my life; my passion for business, my family, and my spirituality. This first post will be about business…not because it is most important, but because there has been TONS of changes this past week, hence the reason for my absence here on the blog…and my explanation of my HUSTLIN’
Most people think from the outside looking in that my business life seems so successful and perfectly smooth. The truth is, it is a constant hustle. Of course when we are in the upswing during our seasonal periods, about 5 months out of the year, there is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, but as for the rest of the year, I am one minute away from a panic attack and a disappearing act. The only thing that keeps me sane is the constant hustle of launching the next big promotion, reading blogs and watching vlogs to teach myself the latest business strategies, perfecting the brand of my business, re-merchandising my shops, building my email lists, searching for new style customers, reaching out to fashion publications to guest write for exposure, and the list goes on.
The pressure is ALWAYS on because my little cluster of businesses are the main contributor to our income. Of course I have planned for the future with IRAs and a savings account, but like most small entrepreneurs that have started their company soley on their own funds, I also have a huge line of revolving credit and a business loan. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. Right? Having this much skin in the game keeps me constantly striving to improve, streamline, and grow.
Right now I have 4 brands in my portfolio. The Attic Apparel boutique, The Ivory Closet Corp. (4 stores total in this brand), Adel Amor Cosmetics, and Ellen Anchor fashion (soon to be The Ivory Closet Brand). I am not stating this because I am trying to “toot my own horn”, but to point out, like most entrepreneurs, I can’t quit my brain. The ideas are constantly flowing and I have an unstoppable urge to see them all come to fruition. Unfortunately, I came to the realization that I had spread myself too thin. There just didn’t seem like enough hours in the day. I was constantly driving from one store to the next, one appointment to the next, and back and forth to and from my home office. Trying to master everything but really only doing everything half ass, inefficiently, and ineffectively. It didn’t take long to realize that I needed a miracle. I needed more time in the day! Being one who NEVER takes no for an answer, I set out to figure out the impossible. First, I put a dollar amount on my minutes. Sounds crazy, but when you are trying to assess your efficiency, it’s a must. Then I began to keep track of how many minutes I spent running from photo shoot to photo shoot, meeting to meeting, shop to shop. I was loosing a minimum of 3 hours a day from a mixture of traveling and distraction. Those 3 hours of non-productiveness equaled quite a loss monetarily month over month. Do I cut some of the activity out? No…it was all nessecary activity for my business. Do I hire someone to do these things for me? No. Most of these things required the brain behind the brand to steer the ship in the right direction. AH HAH….I can give myself more time with a creative studio/office space.
So this past week, I have been moving into my new warehouse/studio/office space. I’m not going to lie, the added expense is super daunting, but I already feel more at ease. I can finally get up every morning, go to work, and STAY PUT! All of my vendor meetings and business deals, video shoots, product shoots, concept shoots, and inventory will all be held at the office. The space is GREAT and honestly, although I have only been in there one week, I have gotten back so much time that I actually have an extra 30 minutes to eat lunch! WIN!
So while it seems I have added a whole other piece to my business…and bills, I fully believe this is an investment in my brands growth and my sanity. The sanity return seemed to be instant but the growth will take a little time and of course, my crazy Memphis hustle.
Needless to say, I wear my gold chain with confidence and represent my city proudly. I am so honored to say I am a woman entrepreneur in Memphis, the city identified by a dream and one who has supported my dream, my hustle, and even my gold chains 😉
Gold Chains – The Ivory Closet | Top – Falling Into Place
Keep up with live feeds on my Instagram and business FB and IG pages. I will be documenting this new business sector/venture and stay tuned for more candid posts on my three part transformation. Oh and…if you want your own gold chains, leave me a comment and I will get you the hook-up! I can special order more of where this came from.