An Introvert Pretending to be Extroverted, Vending at Festivals.

Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is never easy. The higher the motivation and greater the passion for the thing that drives one to expand one’s horizons; the easier it is to take that step into the unknown. Stepping into the unknown is a venture that inevitably leads to personal growth. Growth can sprout from obstacles and difficulties surmounted or disasters one must learn from then recover from. Almost everything about starting a business and building a brand from scratch has been a challenge promoting personal growth.

One of the things we have been doing to get our merchandise out there for people to see is setting up at different vendor events around our area. Needless to say, I am most comfortable with my own company, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book. When I go out adventuring, I like getting out on the trails and soaking up the peace and nourishing atmosphere of the backcountry. The in your face, constant need to speak and interact with strangers, that defines public sales is a challenge I am slowly growing into. I, like our business, am a work in progress.

Each event is its own little biosphere. The layout of the venue, the focus of the festivities, and the group of vendors sharing the space contribute to the atmosphere. I always go in with a mixture of expectations and fear, hoping to do well and fearing that we will not. It’s an adventure with no guarantee of success and it’s different each and every time. So many variables influence the outcome, from foot traffic to weather, that setting up and laying it out there is fraught with uncertainty. I sit or stand with my offering as people flow by. When people stop and look, checking out our wares, I engage, my enthusiasm sometimes catching. The interest and encouragement we get is as important to our mental and emotional well-being as the funds are to keeping our fledgling enterprise afloat.

Learning the best way to present the merchandise to the ever changing audience has been another challenge. One size does not fit all. The exact same setup has different results depending on where you are and who is coming around. Modifying the setup to engage folks becomes a necessary ritual at every event. I have fond memories and despairing memories. Some events I just knew when I booked us in were going to be great, they were not. Some of the events I went to just knowing it wasn’t going to amount to much surprised me. We took away different lessons from each of our events learning what works and what not to waste time on again.

I have learned much and I am still too new at this to be entirely comfortable. The support of my family and friends has been and continues to be one of the pillars that keeps the venture viable. I am looking forward to all the challenges arising from this undertaking. My goal is not only to establish a company that might grow into something great, but to live my life in a manner that touches others with something positive. I refuse to be satisfied with getting by. There are places to go and things to see and things to be experienced. Thank you for being a part of it.

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