It all sounds great on paper, but for many women feeling confident and worthy every day is a struggle. Let’s face it, with everything that we are up against, body image, motherhood, messages telling us that we should aspire to perfection it can be tough out there for a woman!
Be confident they say, it will change everything they say – yeah right?
I mean most days, once we get the kids out the door and our butts to work, we’re lucky if we can trade up our yoga pants for something with a zipper and pull our hair up in a messy bun. Finding time to make ourselves look and feel good ( like we should ) is seldom a priority and what it usually comes down to is what we can pull together with the little free time that we have.
Live this way for days, months, years… you can start to lose sight of who you are as a woman. And that essential confidence – you know that stuff that makes you feel like you can do almost anything – slowly fades away.
What does this have to do with the story of Dress Your Lashes you ask?
Well, practically everything! These days – I am the proud owner and operator of a thriving boutique, a well known small business in the city of Medicine Hat. But – when I started Dress Your Lashes back in 2011, I was that version of a female; someone who had lost their confidence somewhere along the way. How did I find it again? Interestingly enough, it took 6 years of building my own legs as an entrepreneur, battling with my own confidence and what it really came down to was a box of sunglasses in the back of my car and this gut feeling that I was meant for something more!
I’ll have to be honest with you when I say this, I ALWAYS knew that I was going to have a business of my own. This desire to be self-employed and build something was instilled in me by my father who really was an inspiration to me in so many ways. While I was growing up, he’d involve us kids in his own business ventures, having us work the photocopier or answer the phones. What he was communicating was that being our own boss gave us freedom.
This is why, when I was in my early 20’s – a young mother, with no College degree – I had the guts to open my first business, “Staged to Sell”. It was a modest venture, decorating homes for real estate open houses. Initially, it was a success and I held my own. But Medicine Hat was limited in opportunity for such a niche’ business and I soon discovered that I was in over my head. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that my first adventure in entrepreneurship was a complete failure… but it certainly wasn’t a success. I found myself, for a brief time discouraged – I took some time to “brew” if you will, figuring out what my next move was going to be…
Looking back now this period of time between when I had “Staged to Sell” and “Dress Your Lashes” was when my confidence was at an all time low. We were always broke – and struggled financially, like many young couples we lived pay cheque to pay cheque and worried about the future. – But, despite this discouragement, I still had an inkling – that something good would eventually come. I remember taking what I could for our saving to buy items from second-hand stores to sell on eBay and make a few extra bucks. It seemed crazy, but I had a good eye for fashion – knew what people (women specifically) would buy – and couldn’t help myself,I was a raised entrepreneur – my father’s daughter threw and threw.
And honestly, you know – that is what it came down to. I couldn’t help myself – I just had this little spark. Remember that box of sunglasses in my back seat? Well, that’s where Dress Your Lashes really started. They had been given to me by a friend, second-hand sunglasses left behind by an ex. I knew that somebody would want them and I put them up on Facebook for sale. Next thing you know I am driving around with sunglasses in my car, selling them to ladies all over the city. When I ran out of those, people asked me if I had some more? So, I went out and invested in my first batch of inventory.
It seems pretty amazing looking back now – buying inventory, listing it for sale, I moved my product, by all means, necessary working day and night! But one thing I never compromised on was customer service ( I was driving to people’s houses for goodness sakes!) and honesty. Yep, even then – when someone asked me what I thought about how they looked in an accessory, I’d give it to them straight. I can sit here and say, I never sold anyone anything that didn’t suit them or make them look fabulous. And even to this day, at Dress Your Lashes, this is a commitment we uphold.
Some people may wonder – why this is? Why I am more committed to making women feeling and look their best rather than just moving merchandise and making hot dollars. For me it all comes back to that very first component “confidence”. How does that woman feel when she puts that bracelet on or reaches for that brand new pair of sunglasses? What is she thinking about herself while she snapping on her earrings, decorating herself for the day?
I am not a crazy person. I know it is just metal, fabric and a bit of sparkle. But somehow when you pick out just the right pieces and arrange them on your skin – something special happens; your spirit rejoices – your confidence returns. And if confidence is that secret ingredient – that THING that can turn a bad day to good, or an underdog into a smashing success story – then i think that I owe it to the women I come across to give them that gift.
Here we are, I am telling the story of Dress Your Lashes now 6 years later. That’s 6 years, two locations, multiple highs and lows and hundreds of happy customers – tears of joy, moments of absolute fear and several brave chances later… When I think about what I do, and the little details that make my store special and different – it always comes back to that very important component, confidence!
When I was a mother with nothing, scouring for the perfect piece of jewelry that I could resell online to buy groceries – I didn’t have much but I had enough confidence to believe that it could work.
These days, when I drive to work excited and open up my store – I look around at what I have created, and I am overwhelmed with a feeling of hope. This hope is what we give has a gift to every woman who walks through our door. I promised this from the first day, “She’ll never leave feeling worse than when she arrived…”
And when we get the opportunity to take someone and transform them, with a little bit of glitter – something special just for her –
When she feels again like a whole person! – Confident.
That’s when I know that I have succeeded.