Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm writing about failure. I heard this line the other day, “There is freedom in failure” and it resonated with me so much. We think of failure so negatively, but it doesn't have to be that way. I happen to have some first hand experience with this.
About ten years ago, my first jewelry business "failed." Yep, that's right! grace + hudson is actually my second jewelry business. You’ve probably heard me talk about this before, but I'll tell the 2 minute version of the story for those who are new to my Weekly Journal. I quit my lawyer job twice, once in 2017 to start grace + hudson and once in 2010 to open a brick + mortar jewelry store in New Jersey where I grew up. I closed that store after just one year and had to go back to being a lawyer. Some would label that a "failure" but, looking back, I realize that grace + hudson wouldn't be what it is today (and maybe it wouldn't even exist!) without that first experience. Let me be more specific. When I had that store in 2010, brides-to-be often came in looking for bridesmaid jewelry gifts. They all raised the same complaints and were looking for similar things. I have never been married myself, so there was no way for me to know how hard it is to find classy jewelry with sophisticated, subtle color to match a wedding. At a giftable price point. That can be worn again after the wedding (so it truly is a “gift” and not just something to wear in the ceremony). Having that first “failed” store was a crucial step in me building a successful second business that focuses on classy, giftable jewelry. Aside from learning about this need in the marketplace, this first “failed” store taught me so much about what it takes to run a business. You can read all day long about what it takes to start a business (and you should because knowledge is power!) but until you’re in the thick of it, you just don’t know. It’s just one of those things you need to experience first-hand. All the mistakes I made the first time around taught me how to be better this time around. So it goes without saying that I don’t for one single second regret opening that first jewelry store in 2010 even though most would label it a “failure.”
After that first "failure" I felt such freedom! Freedom to take risks. Freedom to follow my heart. Freedom to try. Why? I realized that I wasn't going to die! I say that with laughter but I'm serious... so many people avoid following their intuition and their dreams and their ideas because they are paralyzed with fear. In response to this, I always say, "Ok, let's get real here. Bottom line, if you do this, and it doesn't work, you're not going to die from it. I promise." Sure, you might encounter some difficulties along the way, but - like me - the difficulties and the "failures" might be leading you to your big success. You might need the hard moments you're actually trying to avoid. They might be appearing to teach you something very important you'll need for the big success.
I think - for most people - once you "fail" in a big way, you're not scared of failure ever again. You realize there is a silver lining to every situation. You learn to focus on what you learned from the experience, not how you "failed." Is it really a failure if it grew you as a person? I think most people would say "no." And no one can ever take those important lessons from us. No one can ever steal our growth. These lessons and life skills can never be stolen. And, bonus!, a lot of the skills and lessons you'll learn through "failure" can actually apply to other areas of your life, too. Maybe the "failed" business you started taught you patience, and now you're more patient with your romantic partner. You see what I mean?
I wish you the freedom to try! The freedom to fail!
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P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I only have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, but I'm adding more on a daily basis. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!