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When it all turns to poo

Wednesday, 4 Dec, 2019

Nine weeks after having our newborn – and learning how to manage both he and a toddler – I finally found myself back at my desk in the studio. I sat our littlest one in his rocker next to the baby monitor, which showed our older one asleep in his bed back up in the house. I turned on my computer and I instantly had that ‘I’m winning at life!’ feeling. There was washing on the line, dishes were done, toddler asleep, baby content… I even had a nice hot cup of tea in hand. 

Fifteen minutes in (just enough time to get all my programs up and running, and files open) there was that wonderful happy sound coming from the monitor. Our eldest was awake, and that ‘winning at life’ feeling left as quickly as it came. I love him to bits and don’t begrudge him a moment of my time, but I just felt so deflated, disheartened, and disappointed, because I didn’t achieve anything that I had planned. I barely got started. I felt like I failed. How do other people do it? I wondered.

So that was last Monday. And today, at the exact same time of day with our toddler asleep, I’m writing this with a sleeping baby on my chest. I did have plans to be back at my desk in the studio. Yet again another plan, another opportunity goes by ‘undone’. But have I failed? No. Success isn’t always what you think it will look like. And failure doesn’t always mean following a plan to a T.

Plans are great, and vital to achieving goals, however I’ve come to the realisation that like the saying ‘life is a journey, not a destination’, I feel like success for me at this point is also a journey. I’m learning to navigate the constant distractions, changes, hurdles (and nappies), and roll with them. I chose to start a family and a business together, and I didn’t exactly expect it to be easy!

But what I learnt last week is that I just have to keep showing up, keep trying, and things will happen. Things will progress. I kept hearing myself say ‘you can’t do this (‘this’ being: mothering two little ones whilst attempting to launch a major shoe label), and honestly I could list a million and more reasons (read: excuses) why. But I know deep in my heart that I’m meant to be on this journey, so I asked myself: Do I really want to launch my first collection in 2020? The answer was a big fat YES. So, I told myself ‘keep trying, keep going Zan, and roll with the punches’… and that I did for the rest of the week. Here’s what happened:

💫 Tuesday evening, after a hectic day and with a very unsettled newborn in tow, I took a trip into town and walked the new David Jones shoe floor. I was looking forward to it all day but, as I was backing out of the driveway, our little one was screaming in the back of the car, I was tired, and I was feeling blah about my postpartum self. It’s not as though I was going to an event or anything (I wasn’t planning on meeting anyone other than my husband) but I certainly didn’t feel in the right frame of mind to head out. But I’m glad I did. Level 7 in the new Elizabeth St store is ah-mazing. 🙌🏻 Shoe heaven on earth! It was so inspiring and important for me to take myself out of the day-to-day environment of household chores and get back into the spirit of my dream. No wonder there was contention and distraction for me getting out the door.

💫 The next morning, I woke up to an email from Italy with photos of our latest buckle prototype. This was soooo exciting! I almost couldn’t believe my eyes… I had been waiting on this since before our Littler Cub was born. This was real progress, a huge stake in the ground towards launching. (I can’t wait to show it to you all either… but it’s still in testing phase and will then need to be patented before I can reveal any more about it!)

💫 then… later that same day, I heard from a contact that one of the country’s top shoe buyers was going to be in town over the weekend, and they may possibly have time to meet with me! This would be an incredible opportunity, one that we had tried to line up a few times previously but timing never seemed to be right. I had a long list of questions that I knew this person would be able to answer, and I couldn’t believe that after the start of my week, this was how it could finish up. Sure enough, by the end of Friday, our casual coffee meeting was confirmed (along with babysitting for our eldest!) for the next morning. 🙏🏻


The Meeting

In one word, it was amazing. It was more than I could have anticipated. An absolute font of knowledge, she proceeded to share everything she could think to tell us about how the retail side works, what commercials would be involved, lead times, freighting, cashflow and marketing support, the works. And an open line for ‘any time, any question at all’ going forward…as she spoke, I couldn’t write down notes quickly enough! Fortunately, Andrew was with me, which meant he could bottle feed our little one while I asked questions and just generally gushed with excitement. But then we swapped, so he could jot down the notes and I could hold our little one… and that’s when it all turned to poo. Yep – my lightly coloured linen dress was slowly but gloriously painted in a delightful shade of baby-poo brown! It somehow seeped through his nappy, through his pants, and two layers of a protective towel, right into my lap. It was almost too funny not to share, but I kept a straight face whilst laughing inside (even though she was so lovely, I knew she would not have minded at all). 

So that’s my story of how an incredible opportunity and meeting suddenly turned to poo, literally… in the most ‘mumpreneur’ way possible!

But that aside, it was a truly amazing week that wrapped with the first of what I hope will be a series of conversations, followed by a long and fruitful working relationship. I might have even asked for a photo to mark the occasion… but that’s one I can’t share until a little later. 😘

Zan xo

P.S Thanks to all who have done my survey – I’ve had heaps of responses. If you haven’t yet done so, or wouldn’t mind sharing it with your friends and colleagues, I would be very grateful. You can find it here.

P.P.S I’ll soon be looking for some lovely ladies who may be interested in participating in a small focus group. If you are interested, please let me know here. And thank you to those who have already offered, I’ll be in touch soon!

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