I grew up with a mother and a father who both loved me very very much, but also always pushed me to have a very strong work ethic. They believed that whatever it is you wanted in life, you could absolutely succeed and get what you want by working hard and being a good person. I believe that their love and support has shaped me into the woman that I am to this day, and for that, I am forever grateful. I am also extremely blessed to have a husband and partner in life who supports all of my dreams and goals. Not only does he support them, but he makes sure that I am going after them and drops everything he has going on to help me achieve my dreams. I don't know how I got so lucky. Today, I felt very strongly about sharing my perspective on being a woman and owning a business in the wedding and event industry in Arizona. Like always, I want to be transparent... So, buckle up because here we go.
When Matt and I decided to start our company nearly 4 years ago, we had no idea how big our little dream would go and how much we would learn along the way. I had always worked for other companies or business owners, and never thought I had what it takes to be someone who actually owned their own business. But the more that Matt & I talked about turning our little side gig into a full time job, we realized that maybe we had what it takes to be successful and went for it. And when I say successful, I guess I mean pay for dinner and keep a roof over our head. Tremaine Ranch is our number one source of income. Matt and I literally put our blood and tears into this business. Not only because we want it be successful and we want to be proud of what it is we have set out to do, but because we need to in order to live. We have made some pretty terrible business mistakes, but we also have luckily learned so much from those mistakes to never (never ever) make them again. If we don't work or don't book jobs, we literally can't pay for our rental home or for food on our table. Neither of us have any income coming in from another source, so our success means our survival. We have lived paycheck to paycheck (or job to job) before, and it was really brutal. Lots of tears and a ton of conversations about if this is what we should be doing. Were we happy? Is this making us happy? It was a ton of figuring out if this is truly what we wanted to do, and at the end of the day, neither of us would change our careers and are thrilled to continue the struggle of owning and operating a successful business. We have met some incredible business owners, with the majority of them being females. Some of my closest friends and confidants are female business owners and entrepreneurs. My biggest cheerleaders, besides my family, have now become females within the Phoenix community. Seeing just how admiration has turned into deep friendships is something that I never thought I would be so lucky to experience. It's pretty great to have friends who work their butts off for their own success in your corner rooting you on, because they know the struggles and trails being a woman in business that one can go through.
One of the things we learned very quickly over the past year or so is that business and personal life are dangerous if mixed together. We made friends in the industry, lost friends in the industry, pretended to be people we weren't and weren't sure if we were cut out for owning a company in an event based industry. The internet and social media aspect of running our business was really hard on me. There was a ton of comparison in other companies who do what we did, other people who worked with others instead of me, and I felt like I was pulling inspiration from companies in my own backyard who were offering similar services to us. I was really bummed and felt a lack of creativity in my own company that I started to pull away and shut down. I realized that what I had been doing was comparing others' success to mine, and that is extremely unhealthy. Not only for my own mental health, but also for my success and ideas with our company. I wasn't quite sure what to do, and I have always struggled with being disliked. A good friend of mine pointed this out to me over a long, tear filled conversation... she asked "you don't like being disliked, do you?" and I just broke down. I'm not sure what it is or why I feel this way, but I don't like being disliked. I was comparing my success with others and I was trying to keep up in similar ways that they had been operating. But I soon realized that this wasn't ME and this was not how I wanted to run a business, or really live my life. After I realized what was causing me to feel down about our work and more importantly myself, I made the decision to delete a ton of people in the event industry in Arizona from instagram, and delete people on facebook who weren't my friends outside of work related events. I had even received a few messages from talented, locally owned businesses that I admire so very much about this and why I wouldn't be supportive or follow them. It caught me off guard! I was baffled that people noticed, but I had to be honest. I didn't want my personal life to be intermixed with my business life. But more importantly, I wanted to stay in my own creative lane and not focus on what those around me in our industry were up to. Seeing what people are already doing in Arizona was inspiring, but I didn't want my inspiration from them to be taken the wrong way. No one was ever intentionally rude or mean to my face, but sometimes you've got to protect yourself from yourself if you know what I mean...
I am SO proud of all of the creative businesses in Arizona. I LOVE what each, different company offers and know that we are all working hard to create an exciting market for Arizona to be competitive with the likes of Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York. I honestly thought I had ruined my career and what I've worked so hard to build because people were questioning my character from something as silly as social media. I had heard so many other people feel down about themselves and comparing themselves to others when trying to grow their business. They felt discouraged by similar companies in the same area and it was pretty eye opening how much better I felt when I decided to make the social media changes. Being a business owner isn't just great because I get to be a business owner, but it is so great because of the people I have who have made me feel empowered to stand up for myself and stand up for what will ultimately make me feel okay with me being me.
We have met so many people in the wedding and event industry, helped so many people, and have made some really great friends along the way. I have met female candle makers who are breaking the barriers by creating art for your everyday; Female florists who want to create something more than just another bouquet of flowers for your wedding or event; Female mixologists who want you to feel confident in creating craft cocktails in your home; Female bloggers who want to inspire and share their truths about life in a relatable way; Female photographers who stand on their feet 8+ hours a day while carrying a growing baby in their belly because they booked the job before they knew they were pregnant; Make up artists and hair stylists who work through their own insecurities to make others feel beautiful and perfect. I guess I should wrap this post up by simply saying that one of the greatest things about being a woman in this day and age is being able to celebrate the women around me who support me, understand my heart, and get that sometimes it isn't always about fake smiling and fake pictures, but we get to be real and transparent and THAT is what is so great about being a woman today. So, today, I wish every single woman out there a happy international women's day. You all deserve the world. So shine on; ALL you ladies deserve the world.