Yesterday, in an odd half hour between finishing one job and going for my lunch, I started on some of the backlog of shredding of my accounts from ten years ago. Yes, that’s right – 1999! It felt like a time warp. Suddenly I was back in 1999, remembering vividly what I was doing in my business just then.
When I first started The Loom Room, I developed a range of bridal fabrics which I had commercially woven and then took around bridal couturiers to sell. It was a difficult way of starting out! Many couturiers were enthusiastic about the fabric and happily accepted my samples book, but wouldn’t order until customers placed an order. Fair enough! But despite the couturiers’ enthusiasm, not a huge amount sold – I just about scraped by. One couturier explained why.
‘Every bride comes into my shop wanting to be different’, she said. ‘And yet they all leave with duchesse satin!’ It was all down to what she called peer approval. Very few people are truly independent – willing to make their own decisions and feeling confident in their choices. Most people like to feel they are making their own choice but actually rely on friends and relatives to choose for them as they don’t want to feel they are making a choice which will not be approved by their nearest and dearest.
I think most of us know that feeling of needing others’ approval. The dress we buy for a special occasion, the lipstick, the shoes, the holiday we book – we quite often turn to other people for ratification of our decisions, and we can be swayed by their reactions. I know my Achilles heel is books. I read book reviews and can decide on whether I want to buy a book simply because of that review! Then if I read another one which contradicts the first, I’m in a quandary! Mind you, then I usually go and buy the book to find out for myself! But you know what I mean. We can so easily be dominated by someone else’s opinion or authority, regardless of the validity of that opinion or authority.
I stuck on the bridal fabrics path for about 15 months before my young son reminded me of his need for me to be at home and I changed tack. I did wonder when I started on that particular path why there were so few independent fabric suppliers and part of me had doubts, but the other part thought that this was a business opportunity that just hadn’t been filled yet…. Another lesson learnt the hard way.
So now, as I shred that part of my weaving history, I can look back on the lessons learnt,both the good and the bad and appreciate how far the journey has taken me.