The Truth About My Small Business...
As we celebrate All About Me's 23rd Birthday, I would like to share this with you.
Business owners are told not to have an emotional attachment to their businesses if they want to be successful and profitable, which by that standard, I am not a model businesswoman. That is okay with me though because I'm not a "business" woman, I am a Small Business Owner. To me, there is a difference. I am not part of a major corporation. I don't work for investors solely driven by numbers. I don't have foreign affiliates pushing for mass distribution for market control. I do something I love and enjoy, for people I care about, in a community that is my own.
All About Me is a major part of my life. I love it, like a child. I have watched it grow. I help nurture and care for it. I make sure it stays honest and true to what it stands for. I am determined to make sure it remembers its roots and appreciates the people and community who helped make it what it is. I never let it feel forced to be like everyone else. It has been a part of my world, my family, for over 2 decades. Not only is it my passion, but it was a dream of mine to do this and it fit so seamlessly into my world and my heart. I have spent all of my adult life in the fashion industry, and almost just as long on the retail side. Sure, it comes with criticism and has its downfalls, like most industries, but it has a much bigger positive impact that outweighs all of the negative.
Customers are the heartbeat of AAM; they keep us alive, in more ways than one. For the one disgruntled customer or one that just doesn't like our style, they are unequivocally outnumbered by some of the most kind, happy, excited, loving and supportive customers. A customer may come in as a stranger, but almost always leaves as a friend. There are stressed women, looking to decompress with retail therapy. There are tired moms raising kids and just want to feel like themselves again. There are new moms looking to take a break and feel outwardly beautiful for a moment. There are women trying to embrace and dress their new bodies after weight loss or weight gain. There are women trying to reclaim style and confidence after struggling with their mental health. There are women who want to put their best foot forward on a first date. There are professionals who want an outfit that makes them feel empowered. There are stay-at-home Moms who just want to remember what it feels like to get dressed up, just because. There are grandmothers who want to learn how to style themselves to feel youthful. There are high school seniors who want the perfect dress to celebrate a major milestone. There are women who beat cancer and want their image to exude the strength they feel. There are women going through a divorce that just want a pick-me-up. There are women that want something special because they are going on a date night with their husband for the first time in years. There are women going to that long-awaited concert and want a look that matches the moment. There are brides searching for that perfect shower or honeymoon outfit that will be part of their lifelong memories. There are women that received their first paycheck or finally received that raise and want to treat themselves. There are groups of friends having a girls' night out celebrating their friendship and want their look to match the excitement. There are women grieving a loss that just needs something to wear, while hardly able to carry herself from bed. There are women searching for the perfect birthday outfit to celebrate another year of living life. And of course, there are women that just love to shop at AAM! All of these are real scenarios, real customers and real moments that make what I do more than just a business transaction. While we are not curing a pandemic or claiming world peace, the small moments of watching these women look at themselves in a mirror and smile, or leave feeling happier, renewed, confident, appreciative, relieved or excited, goes beyond just the clothes. It is the positive side of fashion that overlaps with emotion and creates a relationship I value. Knowing that someone trusts me and AAM to be part of their moments, good and bad, breathes life into this place. That is why customers that come in strangers, quickly turn into friends; and that is why many times, those friends become more like family. That is why I love this industry. That is why I love my customers and that is why I love being a Small Business Owner.
My question to you is to think about the places you choose to support. Where are the places you go when shopping for groceries or clothes? Where are you stopping for that morning coffee or that happy hour cocktail? What restaurant is your go-to when you want to sit and enjoy a meal? What about when you are searching for seafood or fresh, local meats? While our fast pace society craves convenience and economic impacts breed frugality, it is nearly impossible to avoid the dominating chains, big box retailers, fast-fashion sites and corporate powerhouses, remember this:
You are the heartbeat of your local, Small Business Community. I feel confident in speaking on behalf of most Small Business Owners when I say, we do this because we love it and because we CAN allow our emotional connections to be the pulse of our businesses.
Thank you for 23 years of love + support and being part of my dream.