If you follow May Babes equestrian on Instagram, chances are you saw my stories from last week. The topic was similar to what I wrote in my latest email regarding the Off Course breeches.
But I didn’t share my whole weeks’ events with everyone there, and I think it would be a nice time to do so now; in space that isn’t only your inbox.Social media is a bear. I will be honest-if it wasn’t for the customers I am fortunate to speak with through the platform, I wouldn’t be there much. I finally had this discussion with myself last year as I grappled with how to handle social media as a business owner that has a lot of moving parts to manage alone as a one woman show. I decided to start having weekly themes to make it so that I had a plan, and it was something tangible my customers hopefully felt as well. I say all of this because last week, on Sunday evening I decided that Evolution would be the week's theme.
Well played foreshadowing, with a tip of the hat to the higher powers as well.So, as you know by now, I had a rough week. Aside from my son flipping a go-cart and spending an evening getting him checked out in the ER (he’s fine, thankfully) and the breeches’ built-in underwear graded incorrectly, there were many things that sent my universe into a bit of a spiral.
My filly Charlie had her patella lock up on her earlier in the week-3 times. While it is not serious, I did learn the art of putting it back into place ever so gently. For a coming two year old she is a wonder, and handled it all like a day’s work. We have started some exercises that build up the quad muscles that keep that from happening, so in my mind after this occurred, it was “mission accepted, and back to normal” but that was only the beginning.A day later (of course in the late evening) she decided to cut the same leg, close to her hoof (heel bulb). It bled quite a bit but I was able to make sure it was ok and she will be fine. Alright universe, I am starting to listen….to what I am not sure. I remember asking the universe what sign I was missing. I thought perhaps it was to slow down. But I did feel like every sign was pointing to stopping a ball from rolling downhill, an idea I thought was not feasible.
Then the Off Course breeches (at the time still named the Ges 2.0) were stuck in customs. For no reason really they told me. I had the correct paperwork, they just needed to be cleared by a person on a computer and it wasn’t until I called for the fourth time and spoke with an amazing woman (I wish I had asked her name!) that she pushed the hold through. That made me feel like my week was going to improve, but THEN my son rolled the go-cart. After a long night and not much sleep, the next mid-morning the breeches had been delivered, but by noon (and after I had sent out an email about them being in stock!) I noticed the flaw in the sizing of the built-in underwear while taking inventory. This all happened by Wednesday.
Life is like handling a horse, you're only under the illusion you have absolute control.
What I did next was something that I have not been good at in the past, but I am learning to do more of: I reached out for help, and asked my friends and asked what I should do. I talked to the Gelders Gals-yes the two phenomenal women who I named the GG shirt after- yet another reason I am blessed they’re in my life. I talked with my friend Cortni, who showered me with humor and kindness and made me feel less shitty. She also told me (something along the lines of) there are no rocks to crawl under in Kentucky, but that otherwise I was welcome to visit. I text my best friend Nica, who gave me grace to experience mistakes and accept them. And I spoke with Jaya, a radiant friend who felt compelled to use her extra time to call and give me hope that all was not lost.
What happened then and also later is an exercise in gratitude. It has also changed my business forever. I had an outpouring of support from a Facebook group I am a member of thanks to friends there, that I was just not expecting. Through gratitude I accepted I had control over so many things, but ultimately things happen. I think my biggest worry in life is that people won’t take me seriously, or see me as legit. I don't know where it comes from, but somehow mistakes and my abilities as a business owner are closely tied together, no matter if it's my fault or not. I don’t mind my life appearing as a menagerie because it is- I have kids, a business, 7 horses and we own cattle, but I also don’t want to be seen as a mess. I can simultaneously not give AF what people think of me and also be sensitive to every word.The people who have supported my business in one way or another, showed up last week. It didn’t erase the challenging week that occurred, but it forever changed the way I will look at business. The most important revelation of last week (aside from seeing I cannot control all things all of the time) is that it showed me what my customers want more of. I try my best to keep my head out of the sand, but also have some blinders on in an effort to remove too much comparison.
However, I do not want to be someone who doesn’t grow simply because I cannot get out of my damn own way. I will be making more breeches without the built-in underwear. Full stop.My love for my invention, the story behind it, the YEARS I have spent working on it and how it is intertwined with who I am cannot be undone just because I offer another particular product. I am happy to provide what I created to those who welcome it. I am also incredibly grateful for the customers who have shown me that they believe in my vision, but are not ready to yet take the leap. Maybe they will someday, maybe not. Is that what really matters- now I think not. Both sets of customers provide me joy, clarity, and gratitude. Plus they gift me a very unique thing I only noticed last week: an opportunity for evolution.
Prior to choosing evolution as my weekly theme, I had a different one in mind. I thought really hard about it, almost as if there was really no other option but to choose that word. It has been on my mind this year.. When you’re a business owner with two young children at home with you for the entire summer, lots of things swirl in your brain. Every year my children grow, develop and change. I’ve had to grow to be accustomed to that being my reality, truly. These two beings that are experiencing the world on their own with their own reactions to it, can be a challenge but it is also a blessing to experience it with them. How could I always want to evolve to be the best mom but not look at my business the same way?And with that one transient thought, the universe started sending me things daily that reminded me of what needed to be done, but even as I saw them, I dug my heels in harder to avoid it. Kelly from Avenue Equestrian recently did a thoughtful Instagram post about branding. She spoke about branding being a wonderful and beautiful thing, but one that sometimes we jump into when our business is young. Then things change and we grow and in turn, have to rebrand. Is rebranding really a euphemism for evolving in business? Or maybe just one of the tiny parts of what evolution means as a business owner and person?
As you can see, the past week did a number on me. It changed what I think the trajectory of the business is and will be, and it makes me want to lean in, rather than be afraid of it. The reality of the matter is that evolution can be both negative and positive, you just have to test and try to determine where our north star resides.
Is my north star my breeches with built in underwear and my GG shirt? Two weeks ago I would have answered a resounding yes. Today, I sit here thinking of my customers and realize that they have always been and always will be my true North. My products are what I can do for you- what I can create in my brain only, and my goal is to add to you, my cusomer's life. But your value to me and my value to you goes beyond that.
But the customers, you, are my direction and my path forward. If I hadn’t had such a terrible week, I might not have evolved enough to see that.