Starting a business (and I know I’m not the first one to say this) is like being on a nonstop treadmill: as some things slowly fall into place, others begin to fall out of place. There are rare occasions when things go well for a few weeks, but sooner or later, something crops up that has to be attended to right away. Last week however, was filled with crises, one after the other, and coming after a few months of work (and my wedding planning) I was so overwhelmed and couldn’t help but feel a bit defeated.
My Spring Collection photo-shoot was scheduled for Tuesday of last week. We (my photographer and I) normally plan the shoot for a weekend for the model’s convenience, but this time the clothes were not ready in time and my photographer was busy until Monday. The model was nice enough to take a day off work to accommodate our schedules (and my urgency to usher in the new collection at least a week before my wedding)!
Now here is a short recap of the days preceding the shoot just to give you a picture of my mental framework on Tuesday: a few weeks before this, one out of my two sales staff at the store told me he needs to take a few days off work from the 8th to the 11th. My weekly holiday at my store is Tuesdays, so I thought that between my other sales person and me, we could cover his shift and we’d be fine. On the 8th morning my second sales person called to say her uncle had passed away and that she would not be coming to work that day. I was okay with the news- this was unexpected and she was in tears when she called over the phone. I went to open the store myself on Sunday and actually got some work done too. The next day I assumed my second sales staff would come to work, but she didn’t. She didn’t call either so I found out late that she hadn’t turned up. I was so busy coordinating the production and making the props for the photoshoot that I decided to not open the store that day. I was so upset that she hadn’t even called however, and I think that was what started to ruin my mood. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to not have high expectations of the people who work for me. In my mind I felt that since she knew that my other sales person was on leave until Thursday, she should have tried to make it or at the very least call to tell me she cannot. I know it’s rare to find people who are accountable and who feel a sense of ownership- but it's hard to accept when I’m upset! I wish I had kept my cool, because I allowed my being upset to completely ruin my mood and I cancelled a meeting with a photographer from the Times of India that was scheduled for that afternoon at my store.
I was at a stage where I decided to just take each step as it came. That evening I picked up the model and we were scheduled to start shooting the next morning at 8am, after the make-up artist was done. We started on time, but by 10am, the electricity supply got cut off. A phone-call to the Electric Board supply told me that the power would come back only at 5pm! I called for a generator. There are less than a handful of companies that will rent out a generator for just one day, and almost all of them couldn’t send one right away. Finally one arrived at around noon, but after 30 minutes of trying to get it started, we realized that it wasn’t going to work. I called another generator, and my photographer called his friend who lived close by and who owned a generator. We used both generators and resumed our shoot at 2pm.
The shoot went well and I’m so glad we had such a patient and hard-working model who kept her spirits up right up until we wrapped up at 8pm. I have hired generators in the past as a backup, but we never had to use them so I guess I got complacent. Now I know better!
The next day I opened the store myself and my fiancé came to help out in the afternoon. On Thursday both my sales staff came back. I’m now on the search for another sales person. It’s important to have a full time backup, so now the chances that between the three of them at least one person will show up to work everyday is much higher!
Below are a few pictures of the creative shots that we took on Tuesday.
This newspaper boat took ages to make. I stuck sheets together to make this stiffer and thicker, and started making the boat from a 10 x 10 feet square.
The newspaper jacket with the pleats was meant to match the pin tucks and pleats on the cotton top, but with the lighting and the bold pleats on the jacket, the ones on the cotton top don't really show.