People ask me all the time what it’s like to own a business and the best way to describe the day by day is to compare it to being a marathon runner. You sign up for a race and commit yourself to a training schedule. There are days you just don’t feel like running but you know if you don’t stick to your plan, you’ll never make it thru that race. So you get on your path and pound out the miles doing the hard work each day to reach your goal. Some days are easier than others and it’s the tough days you question why you signed up for such a grueling event but just when you want to quit, an easier day comes along and you have a renewed energy to continue.
Race day arrives and you’re feeling pretty good. You’ve put the tough work into your training and you’re ready to show the world what you’ve got. You take off when you hear the gun and for a little while, you feel as if you’ve got this. But mile 11 comes along and suddenly, your stomach feels a little woozy. In training you’d stop, grab water and continue but this is the race, the REAL deal and you have a time you want to make. So you gulp a little water as you continue running and keep your mind on your goal.
Mile 15 arrives and you have a renewed energy. You got this, you say again and again and your goal is totally in sight. Then mile 18 hits. You start cursing yourself and telling yourself this is stupid!
Why did you sign up for such a ridiculous race and what is the point of it anyway?
But you don’t stop, oh no, you put your brain on auto pilot and you keep running. Mile 23 you notice people are actually cheering you on. Complete strangers make you feel proud of your accomplishment and seem amazed by your determination to finish.
Their support buoys you up and before you know it, you see the finish line ahead.
The thing is, for an entrepreneur, there is no finish line. You don’t get to stop and you continually grab for those small doses of hope, support and encouragement to keep you going. You have days when you really want to quit and you think, this is stupid! There are even days you’re filled with complete fear but there’s no time to panic because people depend on you to be the calm one in control. Fear must be pushed aside if you want to succeed and the only way to do that is to drop the drama in your head and get on with it.
After owning MAJAMAS for all these years, I still have my ups and downs. We started as a nursing collection sold mainly to new mamas. We designed a tank top that was so unique, it was patented and we started a revolution in the maternity market making beautiful clothing women could feel good about wearing long after they had their babies. But 2008 hit and suddenly maternity clothing was a luxury women couldn’t afford. They made do with their regular clothes and many bought from the cheap, “fast fashion” stores to get themselves thru those nine months. Fortunately, nursing clothes have a function so if a woman wants to go back to work while nursing she needs discreet tops and dresses. Many of our maternity-only competitors didn’t make it but, MAJAMAS survived. Unfortunately, many of our brick and mortar retailers didn’t.
Between demand and the rise of online shopping, little ma and pa stores closed and our business went from selling hundreds of them to selling a handful of bigger retailers. But we didn’t panic, well maybe a little, but we also expanded. We had many women over the years asking us to make a garment line that didn’t have that maternity stigma. So we designed a collection using our silky fabrics and whimsical prints all women could wear and we call it MAJAMAS Essentials.
Ah, but the race is far from over my friends.
We found there are few to none baby lines made in the United States so we re-launched our Shirley & Victor Baby by MAJAMAS collection. It still has that retro vibe. Yep, we kept that bowling shirt-saddle-shoe look that is incredibly loved by our customers.
Maybe it’s due to our increased social media presence. Maybe people just found our web site easier to navigate but like that marathon runner, we have begun to notice the crowds cheering us on. MAJAMAS has its own support network of fashionistas, environmentally conscious consumers and those who appreciate what we do and how we operate. We are feeling like we got this but I know there are many hills ahead in this race. I refuse to let those frighten me and I’m more determined than ever to win this marathon.
So as we enter a new year, I want to encourage other entrepreneurs to get in and stay in the race. Take a vow with me that you will remind yourself you’re fully capable to make your business succeed.
For those who aren’t as independently minded, support your local businesses and independently run companies. Yeah, ya hear that a lot but it’s really important! You may not be running that marathon but your support and cheers from the sidelines fuel those who have that crazy commitment to run the race. It helps them reach their goal and if the goal is positive like making an eco-friendly garment line (um, hello!) or anything that helps our health or environment, your support helps to make the world a better place.
Thank you for that support and from the entire MAJAMAS team, we wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous year ahead!
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
How do you take the bull by the horns?!
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this week!