Vulnerable, intentional, slow. Above all I try to be real. Recently I've been letting a bit more of 'me' shine through on social media. The weird, wonderful, quirky side that makes people laugh; at me or with me and it feels so liberating. To be me. Unfiltered. It has made a world of difference to how much I'm enjoying Slow Trading. You see, before I opened the new space, I felt as if I was failing at the whole mum/work/life balance thing. I was a distracted mum, fumbling through the Instagram rabbit hole, forgetting the goals I had set for this business. Failing to remember the reason I started Slow Trading.
It was never about competition. I'd never worked a day of retail until our first Pop Up in December and I think you need to know a little bit about something if you're going to be competitive. It was more about filling this void inside me to engage community. To gather like minded people in one space. It was about bringing conversation back to retail. Creating the kind of retail space that I wanted to experience; community, conversation, change.
To do all of this well I had to believe that this little dream I'd had for so long could work should I believe in myself enough to just let it happen. Yet here I was 'working' from home on something that was supposed to be this beautiful coming together of Australian made all the while my daughter was missing out on beautiful, valuable connection and play time with her mum. I was stuck.
The only way I was going to get out of this hole I'd found myself in was to open a space. Once that decision was made it felt like a weight had been lifted. I was following my 'business plan' and it felt so right. There was/is certainly risk with opening a retail space. Something for so long people thought was a good idea to avoid. I too thought I might be able to get around the whole bricks and mortar, monthly rent, overheads money pit. But it didn't feel right. For some reason I wasn't able to make Slow Trading the online store work on its own. The decision to open this little space was made a bit easier by having a nice nine month time frame, to really test the waters. It's either going to work or not. If it doesn't, back to the business owner behind the computer and phone screen 24/7 (can you tell I didn't enjoy it?)
The freedom that has come with this new part of the Slow Trading venture has been really liberating. I actually realised that I love routine. I love knowing that Sunday- Tuesday are real mum days with my little girl, Wednesday is survival day with Frankie in store with me. Thursday-Saturday is my time to shine, to talk to customers, create some content (I'm getting better at pressing publish) drink cups of tea on the couch with new friends and sell beautiful Australian made apparel and wares to beautiful like minded customers to enjoy for many years to come.
I have also come to accept that Slow Trading is a niche idea. The Australian made, Ethical Clothing Accredited brands that we so carefully chose, work really hard to bring the best product to the consumers at a reasonable price. I understand that unfortunately this still isn't affordable for everyone. But can we change our mindset and buy fewer, better made pieces? I'll leave it up to you. I'm not here to change the minds of everyone, but I sleep well at night knowing that the hours and hours of thought that go into each and every product, mean that our customers will be able to enjoy and appreciate these special pieces for a long time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has and continues to engage with us online (I still love you all) and stepped foot inside our new space. Thank you for the conversations, brand recommendations, encouragement, kind words and purchases. I am so looking forward to seeing the next Slow Trading chapter unfold.
I wrote this little entry over three and a half months ago and here it still sits, dormant but still so relevant. I've only just worked up the courage to publish it. Why? Honestly, it's a little case of overthinking, a big pinch of fear of failure and a dash of what if no one responds? I don't know why writing, the one thing I've always enjoyed doing, that allows me to express feelings that would otherwise be buried deep within, has me feeling all kinds of vulnerable. What is it about the modern way of marketing and advertising that has us/me second guessing our every move? I caught myself today, as I wrote and re wrote a caption for a photo I'd planned to upload tonight. Enough of the over thinking. If anything is going to get the attention of your audience, it's a good dose of real. So I jumped on here and I'm pressing publish.