As the theme of the current issue is women in business, I’d like to reflect on the last 4 months of opening and running a ladies boutique store. First and foremost, you can’t depend on anyone to run your business as best as you can. Although a very basic rule, it takes some time to accept this mentally and emotionally.
Starting your own anything requires a deep passion of pursuit. Without that, you most definitively will fall in debt and more importantly, out of love with your business. Dealing with budgets, targets, and money in general felt as if I was taking a rough towel and rubbing it against my skin. But gradually, money began to put the business in perspective and in some ways my personal life as well. Hard-earned income is different than incomes that don’t require much of you. I used to teach English at a Japanese school and although teaching is one of the most challenging jobs, teaching your first language in a poorly implemented program is not very rewarding. I received an attractive salary but quite honestly, it didn’t teach me anything and I had no real value for it. Now, I nearly want to cry every time someone purchases something at the store. Little do they know the hours spent on traveling, selecting and displaying those fabulous heels.
One of the most important lessons I have learned in running my own business is to never dwell on a problem but move immediately to solving it. I find myself less affected by bad news, so much so that I recently told a friend that there is no such thing as bad news; only news and good news. I occasionally wonder if I have become less sensitive than I used to be and if that makes me less of a woman. But I recently put on the animated film ‘Land Before Time’ (Part 1) and still cried when Little Foot lost his mother. I think that counts for something.
The difficulty I have is finding the right people that share the same passion for what I do. Sales staff come and go and for someone as personal as me, it is challenging to deal with the ins and outs of relationships, even if they are your subordinates. It is a challenge to keep trusting yourself, believing that the decision you made by choosing Riesling for your logo font was right, that the items displayed at the front are coordinated, that you’ll find another salesgirl when this one leaves. But it’s a challenge I passionately accept because when I dress up a woman in the perfect dress, I know she’ll have a great story to tell behind it.
by Pooja Khiani