We are celebrating Glitter Me This & Co.'s third anniversary with the mantra, "Third time is a charm!" I am doing my best to not start this with the same phrase we all instantly use when it comes to the passage of time but I can’t remember a time in my life, outside of wanting to be old enough to wear makeup, when I thought the time was just moving too slow. But here we are and I feel like I just wrote my first-anniversary blog, so I just have to say it (forgive me!), “Wow, time flies!"
Back in our day (hi, Gen Xer here) we rushed our way through life, some of it because we had to and in my case, it was because I wanted to. At the age of 15, I started working for large corporations and I spent the next 35 years in corporate America. My father and uncle owned a drywall business and my mother was the bookkeeper, but it never dawned on me that they too were entrepreneurs. I just saw them as the bosses. It seems it was always rooted in me because I found myself early on studying the owners of the companies I worked for and dreaming about how I would change things for the better if it were MY company.
Back when I wrote a blog for our first anniversary I summed it up in one word - PIVOT! Little did we know that a pandemic was lurking just around the corner when we launched. I was focusing on learning all the things it takes to market your business because when it comes to e-commerce, the old saying “Build it and they will come” doesn’t work. I went into it with the idea that everyone would see the first post and fall in love with the concept, mission, and product of Girlfriend Therapy in a Box and instantly feel compelled to gift a box to a friend.
While I was working on the “like, know, and trust” concept that consumers require before purchasing, the world stops! Lucky for me, my creativity works better under pressure. So as we went into this pandemic and the unknown I was able to use our gift boxes at a moment’s notice.
Our most popular box was created from a call I received from my financial advisor, who called to ask if I had anything she could send to her best friend who was a nurse fighting on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic. The next day the Be Still Self-Care Box was created. It provided everything needed to sit back and relax once she was off work and it quickly became a bestseller.
Pivoting was not a new concept to me because I had spent the last 15 years as CFO of a company owned by two entrepreneurs who would throw new ideas at the wall constantly that required pivots almost weekly. I realized as long as we stay consistent, pivoting was the best way to survive 2020.
Little did I know as we went into our second year what was to come. During our first year building our female audience was the goal, right? I mean we were selling Girlfriend Therapy in a Box after all! As we were entering the holiday season, it dawned on me that not only was the box helping women show up and support other women, but at least 50% of these women were married, remarried, or in long-term relationships.
Who knows what women love to receive more than other women? Who hates shopping and has no clue what to buy? Men. So we decided to widen our audience and focus on men who needed gifts to give. The only problem is that all our social media was filled with female followers on Facebook and Instagram. Like so many others did during the pandemic, I downloaded TikTok and began making videos.
TikTok is a platform that thrives on authenticity, so I decided to go for it. I had already started a “Move Monday” series on Facebook, where I recorded my workouts and encouraged people to get moving. I love dancing to old school hip hop and gogo music that I grew up on in the DMV area. One night I set up my cameras in front of my backdrop where my table of gift boxes was displayed, turned on a Chuck Brown song, and danced like no one was watching.
I woke up the next morning to find this video went viral and had over 100k likes and it continued to grow. The Tiktok algorithm categorized me as the DMV GoGo TikTok girl and I loved it. By the end of our second year, I had gained 40k followers, with 65% being men, successfully sold out of our Valentine's and Mother's Day gift boxes, and gained a new persona as Glitterbug, the GOGO TikToker. The only way this grew is from CONSISTENCY.
This year was also probably the most change in my circle of people but I continued to tell myself what I was doing was working and to stay consistent, regardless if this fit into other people's lives or not. The world of entrepreneurship can be very lonely. It takes hours of dedication and it changes your world as you knew it. I choose to believe that things were removed to clear the way for this second half of life where I'm able to do what I am passionate about.
There were many accomplishments during 2021 including our growth online, several national Real Simple magazine advertisements, and a segment on a local Fox5 News station. But what meant the most to me was not only meeting my favorite DJ of all time, but living out the one dream I had in my 20s – dancing in a music video. The role may have been small but it included DJ Kool and dancing so that got a huge check off the bucket list that I didn’t see coming!
Last week I had lunch with a high school friend who is both a medical doctor and a life coach. She knew I was struggling and wanted to help. At the end of our conversation, she asked me to finish the sentence “I WANT…”. Without missing a beat, the word 'community' came to mind. She pulled back her head and said “Oh wow, interesting”. That night, I sat in bed thinking why did that word come out so fast without ever thinking about that question or the word itself.
Our third year can be summed up in one word - COMMUNITY. The sales of the gift box slowed down drastically after the holidays, I was working completely solo this year as my business partner needed a sabbatical to take care of other commitments, so needless to say without her creative marketing skills I was doing my best. Mentally this year has been the most trying. Working completely solo, inside the home, and wearing all the hats takes a toll on your confidence and allows negative thoughts to creep in that make it hard to stay motivated.
As an extrovert, I live by the energy of others. What kept me going was having an entrepreneur girlfriend to be each other's game day coach and have regular check-ins to share our accomplishments and issues. I started to realize that due to the pandemic the thing that started it all was missing - Girlfriend Therapy “in person”.
My original goal was to help you show up with the box when you couldn't be there in person. Pre-Covid I had kicked off Girlfriend Therapy Pop-Up Events, which brought women together so they could Sparkle, Move, Indulge, Laugh, and Exhale. I did a few small ones as the restrictions let up in 2021 but as the restrictions came back, I realized I was missing that SMILE!
This past year I felt it was the only way to “find my way back” to what this was all about. I hosted two large successful Galentine's and Mom’s night out events and the spark started to shine again. Then summer hit and business screeched to a halt. I took this time to do a little self-care and took some much-needed trips. In August, I decided to try something different. I hosted a Margarita Monday each Monday in a different location that circled me around the Capital Beltway in the DMV area.
I put it out in my Girlfriend Therapy Lounge Facebook group, posted it on Instagram, and did a few TikToks, too. I picked great restaurants, got there early, grabbed a large table and decorated it with my signature glitter, put up my Girlfriend Therapy Pop-Up sign, and waited to see who would come through the doors. To my surprise each week, new women I had never met, came with a friend or solo, joined in with new friends and old, and became girlfriends.
This was different. This wasn’t about dancing to the DJ like the party atmosphere I created with the bigger events, this was intimate. Women bonded over chips and salsa, and of course margaritas. Each week we gained new girlfriends that shared the same basic challenges and issues as all Gen-X women today. I was amazed by the courage of so many women to come out solo but realized they had already connected with us online and they knew they would be welcomed like old friends.
In September I decided to change the format. I would host smaller events that would not only provide a fun night out but ensured they would meet someone new and feel the experience the Girlfriend Therapy Pop-Ups were designed to do - create a community.
My purpose became more clear this year. While I may have lost long-term old friends, it cleared the way for me to provide the space for women who want to meet like-minded women to gain the friendships needed during this season of their lives. I finished this third year as an entrepreneur sharing the knowledge that I have learned with beautiful young minds from my high school, hosting one of the best events to date for Breast Cancer awareness, and realizing that I am ready to take the next step closer to building the community I have always dreamed of while still helping you show up when you can't be there in person!