Esscents of Flowers Maintaining Mental Health
Well, hello there! It’s been a while and for good reason. As always, there’s been a lot going on with the business and me struggling with what boundaries and good mental health looks like while wearing my various hats. So, stick with me through this and let’s see where it lands…
At the beginning of this year, I had no events booked. Nothing… At that moment, I wasn’t too worried as I had come in to 2018 prepared to do some heavy marketing during the first quarter. Signing up to participate in wedding fairs was one aspect of my marketing strategy. There’s ample opportunity to meet a lot of newly engaged couples along with other businesses within your industry for you to network. The tricky part is knowing how to navigate these wedding fairs because they can be mayhem. There’s a lot of conversations happening with and around you, live entertainment, fashion shows, etc. To top it off, it’s crazy expensive to participate as a vendor. Exhaustion can set in quickly. You are constantly marketing yourself. There’s no room for humility, either you can do the job or you can’t. It’s quite simple.
Anyway, as you are meeting all the newly engaged couples and talking your little heart out, you manage to get them to write down their email address so you can contact them afterward. By the end of the night, you have dozens upon dozens of emails. So, you get home, compose a thoughtful email to all those you encountered and you wait for the meeting requests to start pouring in. You send a follow-up email about a week later just in case the recipient didn’t see the initial email, but…no responses. Mind you, preparing for a wedding fair is not for the faint at heart. If you want to attract potential clients, you want to make sure your table/booth is set up to look as appealing to the eye as possible. You’ve already invested time and money prior to even driving to the site. So, to not hear anything back, from any of the wedding fairs, doubt and self-deprecation begin to set in.
The first wedding fair, I chalked it up as a loss. The second wedding fair, I started to get worried. The third wedding fair, before even setting up my table, I felt defeated. I wanted to breakdown and cry because I felt like the first two didn’t produce any leads and this one was going to be same. But, I had to push through it because I paid for that space and I didn’t want to be banned from future events :) I remember unloading all my flowers and table accessories, driving my vehicle over to where all the vendors were supposed to park and walking back. During that walk back, I remember praying while holding back tears from staining my freshly made-up face :) You see at this point, it was May 2018 and I had no weddings booked. I remember wanting to throw all of this (the entire business) to the side and saying to myself that I had a good run. The truck, the pop-ups, all the excitement was good while it lasted. But, even though my feelings were of despair, I prayed that if I possessed this gift, then I needed for God to make some moves. I knew I couldn’t sustain the business without events or weddings. I needed some understanding as to why I was feeling like this, especially because I knew I what kind of service I was bring to the table. I needed direction, clarity, I was feeling off-track. Having a gift and putting in the work should equal to automatic success, right?
I finished my prayer, walked to my table and made it through the day with barely smile. I came home, still feeling defeated, but held on to that smile because that was literally all I knew how to do. That’s my coping mechanism. I didn’t know how to verbalize all the emotions I was feeling, so the easiest thing for me to do at that moment, was to suppress them. But, I kept praying, trying to understand what I was supposed to learn from this moment.
After a couple days of trying to figure out what my next move was, I received 4 inquiries. FOUR! And, the kicker was, none of them were from the wedding fairs. I can’t explain to you the feeling I felt, I thought I was being spammed. For real, I had to check my email and website connection just in case :) After verifying that all the systems put in place were working, there was a sense of validation and euphoria. Again, my prayer was that God needed to show me why He gave me this gift. I let God know that I needed Him to move on my behalf and He did!
I would like to throw this in here, this experience was bigger than me not having any weddings planned for the year to me now having multiple weddings booked. It was about how the very brief feeling of defeat and the idea that I have been wasting time trying to make a business work can stop you dead in your tracks. I went from feeling like it was a wrap for Esscents of Flowers to feeling encouraged.
Of course, this goes without saying, or at least it should. Your village is so imperative to your growth. I can honestly say that I have been blessed with being surrounded by a bunch of dope individuals. It’s so crucial to have people that support you and your dreams while they are on the path of pursuing their own. You encourage one another, help each other sort things out, you check one another when things look like they begin to go astray, etc. There’s enough space for everyone to succeed, and being surrounded by people that also believe that, only pushes me to be the best version of myself a majority of the time :) I can be trash sometimes and just know, I am okay with quite that…
All of this leads me right into talking about what mental health looks like for me while wearing all these hats. I think about balance when it comes to being a wife, a mother, working a full-time job, being an entrepreneur and more. As time continues to move forward, I realize that balance looks different for me than it looks to someone else. Balance also looks different to me now than it looked several years ago. Implementing boundaries in my life was the best way for me to maintain that balance. I know that I have a lot of roles and that’s okay. What wasn’t okay was exhausting myself in trying to figure out how to be everything to everyone while trying to maintain perfection. Perfectionism will corner you and make you forget that you are just as flawed as the person next to you. I recently learned that boundaries will feel good to you, but they may suck to someone else. And, that’s okay. I need to be the best version of myself so that I can continue to be what I need to be to those that depend on me. So, I am continuously checking myself, especially when I feel like too much is going on in my head. I make sure to remember the boundaries I set for myself and re-calibrate. It’s a constant process.
Okay, so now we are in late August/early September, I have been on my grind doing pop-ups, events, weddings and more. What looked like a make or break year for Esscents of Flowers was a test of faith, persistence and resilience! While I know that more challenges will soon come, what I learned through this process will only make me that much stronger to withstand the next.
I would like to make a hard transition for a second to talk a little bit and talk about what’s going on inside of Esscents of Flowers. If you are not aware, I have a mentorship component to the business. To help build this component out, my niece helped me a ton. Za'Ryah guided me on how to make the program successful. Well, within the last couple months, my sister, nieces and nephew moved out of state. Talk about trying to maintain mental health… We have always been within reach of one another, so to not have that kind of access is something else that I needed to learn how to deal with. But, what this also means is that I am in need of having someone fill that space. So, here is your call to action, if you know of a young lady between the ages of 14-18 that is looking to build floristry skills and/or looking to gain some work experience, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. I can give more details about what this looks like upon you reaching out. Please, email only.
Okay, enough. Thank you for continuing to allow me to use this space to be vulnerable and talk through my experience as I go through this journey. Please don’t miss us at the remaining pop-ups for the year. As the year begins to creep to a close, pop-ups for the year will begin to slow down. But, I am thinking more and more about providing classes in the winter, so stay tuned! Visit our website www.esscentsofflowers.com to find the remaining dates and locations for 2018.
Until next time,
Love and peace,
Ariana Marbley, Esscents of Flowers