It’s important that this is always a safe space. Like any journal I’ve ever owned, this one is full of transparency, openness and the revealing of weaknesses. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Because if we want to grow, we first have to release. So it’s about to get really REAL.
Flashback to January 2018. As I stood on the sunny balcony, looking out on a peaceful sea view in Cyprus, I tried to congratulate myself. After all, today was the day that the Gazelle London collection would drop on ASOS.
This was more than a dream.. this was a miracle.
As I stood on the balcony, the buzz of gospel in the background, I felt my heart pound. I had done what I always been predisposed to do in the past… run away so I can bury my head in the (literal) warm sands of some sunny destination.
I tried to congratulate myself. It was the stuff my dreams were made of… This would be the moment Gazelle London would blow up. ASOS believed in me. My family believed in me. My friends believed in me. And I… well… I was scared.
Everyone told me to shout about it, to smear it across my website, my emails, my social media but that didn’t feel like me. I wasn’t comfortable with self-promotion or what I naively deemed ‘showing off’, and so apart from a couple posts on Instagram I stayed pretty quiet, and waited for ASOS to tell me we were “all sold out”. I waited despite doing nothing at all, and as a result heard resounding silence.
Naivety. I did nothing, but I expected ASOS to.
ASOS didn’t use their marketing spend to promote me. After all, why would they promote the first, independent, black-owned… black-woman owned, brand they had ever stocked on their site? Why would they promote a little brand that would no doubt get lost in the sea of huge stationery brands with huge budgets that we sat alongside?
They had after all given Gazelle London an opportunity, and had not (like some other retailers that cannot be named), suggested I dilute the ‘africanness’ of the brand to suit their western market. So that should have been enough right? I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that whilst I received much congratulations, and whilst we eventually sold out, it wasn’t in the way or to the people I had had expected it to be. It seemed, that You, my Gazelle London family, only liked buying directly from… Gazelle London!
My mother always told me growing up that ‘no one is going to give you a hand out, you have to make your own path’. I didn’t get a hand out.. but I did get a hand.
God set that up for me, but this was a clear case of not being prepared for the blessing that I had been praying earnestly for. A rookie error.
So here are some #notetoselves that I hope help you in your journey of life:
- Be careful what you pray for. The bible says that the ‘prayers of a righteous man have power in their effect’. God may answer your prayers if you pray fervently enough, but make sure that prayer ends with “please grant this to me in the right season”. If you’re not ready the blessing can easily become a burden.
- You don’t need to say YES to every opportunity that comes your way. If it doesn’t make sense (or bring you peace) let it go.
- Keep your expectations in line with your output. The saying that ‘what you put in, is what you get out’ is no joke. You will have to leave your comfort zone. Faith alone cannot bring you to the center of your purpose; but mixed with consistency will bear you much fruit.
Until next time,