Earlier this month we hit our 2 year mark in business. While I can honestly say, I can hardly believe that we're still in business. I realize that we are hardly where I thought we'd be by now. When you feel like you're lacking progress it's easy to overlook how far you've come and what you have accomplished under all of your very relevant circumstances.
As I reflect on our progress my heart does get happy. You see when this started, it was actually just an event for my vintage brand. The concept of the word "Pop Up," was relatively new in the market with temporary retail platforms like Peerspace and The Storefront emerging.
I started SSE because I became frustrated with my own experiences as a brand at local pop ups. So I decided to create my own. I had no idea what I was in for. I knew little to nothing about event budgets, marketing, promotion, etc. All I knew was I didn't like how I felt investing hundreds of dollars popping up to not even break even.
The First event was June 3-4, 2017 and it was like a dream. Although, it was like pulling teeth to get vendors on board for this new market, that in the first week of recruiting vendors didn't even have a Facebook event page- we some how pulled it off and made magic. For every 10 emails I sent to potential vendors, I got 1 person to "apply," and even less to confirm. At that time, we didn't have a website or an Instagram account. I thought other brands who I knew had similar experiences to mine (as a brand) would be lining up for the opportunity. Not quite. At that time we encountered so many woes with: event venues, media partners, rental companies- the list goes on.
In looking back I realize my journey has truly toughened my skin and allowed me to earn my stripes as an entrepreneur. Admittedly, there are times I resent the struggle of entrepreneurship. The inherit uncertainty of planning any live event breeds an internal environment of chaos. From day one we've had to deal with no-show vendors, hung over event venue managers who won't pick up your call to open the door to the venue, being scammed out of event venue money.
I should seriously write a book about all the things that have and could go wrong in event planning. Yet somehow, we're still here and I can live to talk about it. Not only that, I can share my experiences to help other entrepreneurs. All the things I have been "through," have taught me SO much about event planning, marketing and promotion, relationships, team building and community. Yes, when I was standing outside of the infamous venue worried about whether or not the venue manager would show up, I was in complete agony. Hoping it wouldn't rain and that she would AT LEAST show up before vendors arrived. That experience taught me how to thrive under pressure (gracefully). When that event ended many of the vendors had no idea that even happened and while I personally told myself I would never put on an event again, they (the vendors) enjoyed their experience so much, they asked me to.
This walk has taught me more about me than I ever knew I was capable of. It has become my purpose and passion and while I still, often want to relent and hang up my event planning heels, I keep going. I realize that the only way out is literally through. I had to go through all I went through to get where we are now. I had to take feedback, criticism and straight-up rudeness. Because the truth is we are refined in the fire. The fire is what makes us. At this point I am rambling but I will end with this. Our generation (I'm 29) thinks that any form of hard trial means it's time to give up. NOT TRUE. I have had SO many opportunities to give up and never look back. Yet I don't, I keep showing up and with every event I keep refining, keep tweaking, keep growing. That is the only reason we've come this far and the only way we'll get to where we want to be. We have to keep, keepin on. Eat the meat, spit out the bones, Take our Ls and KEEP MOVING. That is the only way.