Honesty is the best policy.
Today was a pretty big day for me. For a while now, I knew I wasn't happy with the direction nesbits was going in. Sure, I set my dog treat business up as a stepping stone for a bigger dream, but I felt like I was no longer on the right path. I felt that all of the time and energy I had was going to production for the larger wholesale orders. It hit me two weeks ago when I received an email from a "dog parent" who placed an order online. He wrote:
Thank you note was a nice touch and I have to share a funny story. We were debating the ingredients on the sample bags we got before placing the order and when it arrived I checked again and remarked that, “this is all stuff that we eat”. (you know where this is going) I proceeded, with my dog watching of course, to take a little nibble off the corner of one of the biscuits. It is not my flavor of choice but curiosity got the best of me, hope that lightens your day a little and maybe brings a smile ;-) Have a great weekend and thanks for the prompt service, excellent packaging, and while not to my taste my puppy loves them ;-)
This simple note made my day. And I realized almost immediately that what I am missing in the wholesale is the personal touch and sure, if I had a team of people, it would make a whole lot of sense to continue having nesbits on the shelves of the amazing stores I have gotten into. But, is that the direction I want nesbits to go in? I sat with that feeling for the past two weeks.
I received an order yesterday from one of my best wholesale accounts. Instead of feeling a surge of excitement or anxiety (the latter of which has been more common lately) when I opened the email, I felt numb. That's when I knew there was absolutely no way I could continue in this direction right now. The only thing worse that feeling terrible is feeling nothing. So today, I had to get honest with myself and make the decision I knew was right. And then, I had to take action and tell my wholesale accounts - people who have become my friends in this process of delivering treats every month and participating in store events - the truth. The first email I wrote was to the first store I got into in Portland back in December 2014:
I wanted to take a moment to let you know that I will not be accepting any additional wholesale orders again until, at least, after Thanksgiving. It was a really hard decision to make and especially now to share with you. [You were] the first store that I got into here in Portland, and it's always been such a joy to visit and have nesbits on the shelves and counter of your store. However, in full transparency, as a one-woman show, it has been increasingly difficult to fulfill the wholesale orders in a timely manner with the love and energy I initially started with, while working on growing the other aspects of my business that I have wanted to expand. Over the next few months, I will be taking a step back to really look at the future of nesbits and how it can best grow into something that is fully aligned with who I am and why I originally started doing it.
I hit send and immediately felt like I simultaneously wanted to cry and vomit. What was I scared of? Mainly, of disappointing them. But also, wholesale orders currently make up 99% of my sales. Was it the right choice, business wise? Probably not. But when I am essentially the business and it's the right choice for me, I have to stand in that truth.
After what felt like forever, I received a response, and it was better than I could have ever imagined:
We fully support you in all that you do and will back you! Let us know if there is anything that we can do for you. I will make sure to order all we can until the cut off date. We love you and want you to be happy so what makes you happy makes up happy!!! I look forward to seeing you too!
I could have cried. I don't even know if this woman will know how much those words meant to me in that moment. They have my back? They love me and want me to be happy? Wow. What was there to be scared of?
I came to the conclusion that there's going to be a time, once you are able to be honest with yourself, that you can then be honest with someone else. That person is either going to be fine with what you said because they don't care that much or because you or what you do is dispensable in their eyes or they are going to fine with your truth - supportive even - because they love and care about you and want you to be happy. I think I was so scared of getting the first type of response that I didn't even think of the possibility for the second type of response.
So, I find that age-old saying is true - honesty is the best policy. But the only way you can be honest with anyone else, is when you are able to be honest with yourself which, in my opinion, is the trickier part. Matt and I would probably still be together if we didn't each take the time to be honest with ourselves and what we wanted in our lives as individuals and as part of a couple. I remember during a counseling session, the therapist asked each of us to describe the future we wanted. As I listened to Matt read his, I broke down crying. I knew, in that moment, that what we each wanted in our futures wasn't aligned. It was hard to be honest about that but we couldn't possibly have made a decision about the direction of our relationship until that moment, when we each stood in our own truths.
There's another saying - when one door closes, another opens. I'm not quite ready for any relationship doors, but I am excited for what other doors may open during this time period, as I take a moment to step back, regroup, and focus on what is important to me again.
PS Though honesty is the best policy, is too much honesty not good? Asking for a friend... :)