I am participating in a challenge this week, one that’s forcing me out of my comfort zone and making me get a bit more personal with you. Today’s task is to dive into what we all do for a living- which for me is consulting / coaching. So I decided I would fill you in on how it all started a little over a year ago…
Back in 2015 I left my merchandising job at OshKosh B’Gosh, which was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. Not just because I loved what I did for a living, but because I had worked so hard to get there (and I wasn’t yet done). I knew in my heart that supporting my husband and being there for my children was the right thing to do, but my mind was already questioning “what’s next” from a career stand point.
Fast forward about a year, and life in Houston had calmed down a bit. My boys were happy, I could finally put Google Maps away, and I had found a tribe of women that I trusted and adored. One day I was texting with a former VP of mine who had recently took on a new leadership role within the food and beverage industry. At some point during that conversation she or I suggested that I provide "my thoughts" on the brand. Now, the funny part about this is that it was very nonchalant- no strings attached. I was to look at the website, go to a store, and let her know if I saw any opportunities. But that “thought” became 40+ hours of work and a 30-page PDF document. Why? Because that’s who I am as a professional. An email to her was never going to be good enough and let’s be honest- I missed retail.
As a stay-at-home Mom I was still keeping up with industry headlines, quarterly reports, and visiting stores to see how the brands were evolving. But in the end, I didn’t know what the design concept was, why they decided to make changes to their assortment mix, and how the front table was performing. All of which bothered me, as I used to be the one partnering with corporate on seasonal strategy vs. solely shopping it. So being able to dive into a new product category for a former mentor of mine was a dream come true at the time. But it also proved to me that I was born to do this. That 30-page paper took me two weeks to finish, just due to the fact that I had no sitter and a one-year-old at home. I was working during nap time and when my kids were in bed, but here's the thing... it didn’t bother me one bit.
In the end, I presented a strategy that spoke to the brands strengths, weaknesses, and growth opportunities. From in-store signage and social media marketing to website enhancements and overall brand aesthetic. I showcased what made their company stand out among the competition and where I felt they could improve to retain additional customers. And I did it without being paid and with no “credit” in site. I did it because this mentor of mine meant a lot to me, and I wanted nothing more than to see her succeed.
So with that, I launched my own consulting / coaching business where I could partner with creatives and up-and-comers to help them achieve their professional goals. And while I know I have some stiff competition from highly educated, established retail firms- I am still pursuing my passion and giving it all I got every single day. Not because I am afraid to fail, but because I know I can make a difference. No matter what my title is and what life may throw at me, I am incredibly fortunate to know that RETAIL is where I belong and let's just be honest- I couldn’t possibly love what I do more.
Here's to every single one of you pursuing what you are most passionate about. It's not going to be easy (trust me), but in the end loving what you do will make all the difference.
Have a wonderful Thursday everyone...