I don’t like the word “fail” as it applies to life’s circumstances. To “fail” would be to say that there are scores being kept – that there is a way to “pass” in business, as well. I prefer to hold tight to the belief that life is a series of lessons, and what we choose to glean from those lessons will continue to mold and shape us as we grow.
With this belief in mind, I embarked on the grueling, though necessary, process of self-reflection – navigating through the haze of the previous two years. It would have been easy to bask in the disappointment of my “failure,” over-thinking every decision and second-guessing every conversation. It could have felt therapeutic, in some odd way, to rehash each decision made and yearn for a do-over. It would have been even easier to do nothing, falling into the trap of self-loathing and guilt, knowing that the decision to shutter my retail operation cost my family dearly – both financially and emotionally.
However, I learned from a young age that every perceived failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. With that belief in hand, I began challenging my mind to flip every disappointment on its head – learning from my previous habits and decisions and building on that knowledge for present acceptance and future gain, and slowly beginning to answer the question, “What for?”
Feeling inspired to carry forward the knowledge and experiences I had gained in the retail industry over the past decade, I saw an opportunity to build an online business concept that would assist companies in selling their overstocked goods to retail boutiques. Because buyers weren’t “going to market” like they once did in the retail industry, qualified buyers were not seeing companies’ brands and inventory. Moreover, while society largely understood the subscription box model, no one was applying that model to the wholesale space. What if I could place full size samples in those buyers’ hands? What if I could build an online platform that supported a box they received at their doorstep? What if I could create the experience of “going to market” in a subscription box concept?
In February 2018, we delivered our first subscription box. Having brought together a small group of boutique owners, we tested and piloted the new concept, and it was well received.
Five months after sitting alone on the cold, concrete floor – packing up and throwing out the dreams of a decade – a new opportunity was on the horizon. After taking time to self-reflect and learn from my successes and failures, I approached this new endeavor with a new mindset and a realistic glimmer of hope.
There was more to this dream than just the launching of a new business concept. I knew that this time around, I would do things differently from the inside out. This time, I would place utmost value in knowing myself before knowing the concept. I would go into the venture owning who I am, what I am, and what I am not. I would build btqBOX not with the wild optimism that I once brought to life with MODE, but with a guarded and honest optimism that would not guarantee the future – because that can never be done – but allowing for careful application of the hard lessons I had learned in pursuit of smart beginnings this time around.