The Big Beast Challenge
I recently committed myself to a challenge where one part of me is asking, “What were you thinking?!” while the other part of me is saying, “Rock on! Let’s do this!”
Let me explain…
Two weeks ago, I made a furniture delivery to the owner of a retail store. I have been working in partnership with this owner for almost a year in an experiment of being in the business of wholesale. The furniture pieces I delivered were all unique pieces that were painted to highlight the individual and unique qualities in each one and they were well received by the clientele at these two retails shops. I was a bit worn out though, and was slowing way down with the production of painted furniture pieces.
The delivery is never really just a quick “stop and drop” kind of trip. It’s a “park, get out and talk to for hours” kind of trip. I can’t help myself. I’ve sat for hours on an antique stool listening to the shop owner even thought I walked in her door exhausted, sweaty, dehydrated, sun burnt and starving. The owner is one of the most interesting and knowledgeable people I know in the creative antique, vintage and salvage industry. She is also a business woman at heart and is a bottomless well of invaluable information that she is more than willing to share. She has been a mentor of sorts and has generously given me so many opportunities. She is a prime example of women helping women and I am eternally grateful to her for taking me under her wing.
While talking with her on this last trip to her shop, she mentioned that she wanted to makeover her two retail shops and the different display elements that she’s using as anchor points. She described to me the kinds of pieces that she was looking for and I immediately thought of an industrial style wooden shelf I built that I nicknamed “The Big Beast.” Actually, its true nickname was something inappropriate but said with gritted teeth and a violent snarl, it sounds like “beast”…kind of. Okay, it doesn’t sound like “beast” at all. So, let’s just go with Big Beast so I don’t have a record number of offended and scandalized people running to unsubscribe to this blog.
It was a formidable monster of wood with big metal rolling casters. I built it inside my house and then realized, the moment it was completely finished, that I might not be able to get it out any exterior door the house had because of its massive size. I had a panicked moment when I thought I might have to disassemble it in order to get it out of the house. It was made of pine but was still heavy and barely manageable. I sold it at a market to a caterer and was relieved that I didn’t have to wrestle it around anymore. Did I already say it was a beast?
The retailer took one look at an Instagram picture of the Big Beast that I took at a market and decided she wanted not one, but two, Big Beasts with a possibility of six more. Six more Big Beasts. Six. “Can you do this?” She asked.
In the title of this post, I used the word “challenge.” But the challenge is with myself. I’m pitting me against myself. This is an amazing opportunity to help a retailer with the makeover of her shop, to gain exposure for my little business and, more importantly, to push myself out of my comfort zone. At my core I know I can do this, but the fear of failure was nudging me towards saying no. The fear of failure was telling me “you are tired, this will be a lot of hard work, you can’t pull this off and you definitely cannot make six Big Beasts.”
So, I said yes. I told the retailer that I would do it.
My challenge starts this weekend, bright and early on Saturday morning. I’ve already bought the wood for two Big Beasts so that I would be fully committed and unable to back out. I’m also telling each and every one of you that I’m doing this so that when I hit that moment of “what was I thinking?!” I can lean on you to tell me to shake it off and get back to work.