My First Untenable Business (as an adult)

03.27.14

Shortly after Jane was born and I came out of my post partum haze I realized I was bored. I loved being home with my daughter but I needed a hobby and I needed one quickly. We bought a house when she was 6 or 7 weeks old. I spent a few months painting and decorating it and then I needed something else to do. There’s a limited amount of decorating you can do with 1,800 square feet and a minuscule budget.

So I started buying and selling things online. First it was the shoes that I’d outgrown in pregnancy. There were several hundred pair (that will never happen again) and since there are only 365 days in a year most had been worn less than 5 times.

A friend asked me to pick up a handbag for her as she was living in the Philippines. That quickly became it’s own business and I was buying and selling handbags to rich friends overseas. Between the Birkin and the Ligne Cambon line I was able to make a few thousand dollars on each transaction. I worked a few hours a week and one year my income approached Mr. G’s. Friends referred friends and my wait list was almost as long as Hermes’.

In 2003 Oprah put UGG boots on her Favorite Things show and they sold out everywhere. I had a garage full of them. I bought the $110 short boots at Bloomingdales with my Bloomingdales card and all the combined coupons I could get my hands on for as low as $80 a pair. They sold on eBay for $200 to $300 a pair. The sales associates at Bloomies loved me. Mine were never returned.

During this time I was also getting my master’s degree. It was the slowest degree ever obtained as I took just one class a semester. My mom would watch the kids one night a week so I could do it. Sometime around the UGG boot craze I met one of the professors at the business school. I explained my business to him and he said, “That sounds like a great hobby but it’s an untenable business plan.”

After clearing significant money with my untenable business we plunked it down and bought a larger home. I decided that I never again would ask a professor anything about business.

Then the recession came along. Martha Stewart was lambasted for carrying her Birkin to court. She was out of touch. CEOs wives were instructed to leave the couture at home and my clients started buying Coach. My clients were never CEOs. People who work for their money don’t pay over retail. They recognize the lunacy.

My business shifted again. I was buying and selling websites and truckloads of overstock. It’s a long and boring story but I became a jobber. I didn’t know what a jobber was until after I’d shuttered my business (it was totally tenable but I found that I preferred blogging to selling).

When there’s a conversation about women in business I jump in. I don’t have a typical career path. I’ve never heard the word no and thought that I had to pay attention. I’ve worked almost exclusively hand in hand with other women. Women collaborate well. Women see opportunity. Women know how to spend joyfully at every income level. If you don’t believe me go to the 99 cent store and then go walk the most expensive store in your local mall. Women know how to buy pleasure. Sometimes it’s a knick knack, a favorite color of nail polish or diamond earrings. We find the joy.

Reflecting on all of this came from a twitter chat that I stumbled onto this morning. Read and learn. Because there are inspiring women everywhere you look. We just need to ask the right questions.

I’m a Twexpert Giving Twitter Twips: Using the @ Reply Function on Twitter

06.11.13

This is a tweet that I wish you’d seen but probably didn’t. There are a lot of tweets like this one and if you haven’t been on twitter for 928 years (or four) you might not know that your updates aren’t being seen.

In the earliest days of twitter you’d see a stream starting with @whomever and there was no natural filtering of that. As Twitter became more popular it was impossible to understand who was speaking to whom as random strangers were popping in and out of timelines. Things changed and now if a tweet begins with @ then the only people who will see it are those who follow both the originator and the intended recipient of said tweet.

This is actually a great example. Franki used the “quote tweet” function on her mobile device and it added a ” before @JessicaGottlieb.

Because Franki’s tweet didn’t begin with @ everyone in her timeline was able to see it. Because my tweet that replied began with @franki_ the only folks who saw it were probably Franki and whomever else follows both of us (a small number of people to be sure).

When you want to have a sort of “inside conversation” on twitter use the @ reply, that’s what it’s for. Your followers will thank you. When you want to alert everyone you know of something wonderful that someone else has done try a tweet that looks like this.

 

You can use a . an ! or even just a word. You can add Look at @___ or check out what @___ wrote/did/painted/sang.

Just remember that if you start with @ your audience is much smaller.

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03.23.13

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A Week and a Half Without Social Media

02.6.13

I thought that I would miss Facebook. I really don’t. I thought that I’d miss twitter. Nope. I thought I’d miss connecting with my friends. I do connect with my friends and now when we text or talk we haven’t had the conversation already.

The hiatus is good.

Yesterday I got a text from Gib that read:

I’ve been enjoying your blog even more after your Facebook break!

Which made my heart soar, mostly because Gib gives it to me straight and also because he’s smart and thoughtful and I’m so happy to have a text from him rather than a Facebook update… which is odd because I’m supposed to think that text messages are impersonal but somehow they’ve become personal again.

I didn’t know about a school shooting until 6 or maybe 8 hours after it happened. Do you know how that affected my life? It didn’t.

I don’t know what other bloggers have written unless I’m subscribed to their sites or if they’ve emailed me. Some of them have publicists who email me updates and I’m not sure if I should be squicked out or following their lead. I’m staying with squick.

The only social media I’m really participating in is Goodreads. I’ve read more more books and less status updates. If you haven’t read Breakfast at Tiffany’s I’d urge you to do so, it’s a one day read, a short part of your day really. It’s showing at the Arclight next weekend and after reading and seeing them in rapid succession it might demonstrate why Capote never really liked Hepburn as Holly Golightly.

It’s dull here. I’m reading a lot, spending time with my family and finding opportunities for other bloggers. I’m drama free. It’s a nightmare for blogging but a boon for existence.

Audrey Hepburn

The Only Thing Better than an Hour of Tennis is Two Hours of Tennis

01.29.13

The Facebook, G+ and Twitter fast is going better than I’d ever imagined. I have seen a drop off of readership here and I’m sorry about that but I try to tell myself that at some point my friends will think, “I haven’t heard from Jessica in a while. Maybe I should check her blog.” Or maybe not. Maybe I’m missable. That’s okay with me too.

I had a tennis match at 9 this morning and typically you have 90 minutes on the court before someone gives you the boot. Sometimes that’s frustrating, sometimes 90 minutes is more than enough time to humiliate yourself. This morning I had a match with an actress. The pro had told me she was an actress and he’d also told me that he expected her to win the ladies 3.5 singles tourney (in which I’m competing). Actresses are my least favorite people, they’re sort of like bloggers with body dysmorphia thrown in and have a habit of actress avoidance.

The actress was very unactressy and that was just the beginning of a mostly perfect day. Of course she was tall and thin and she sort of lept across the court and she even beat me (but I really don’t think that will happen again). She was really nice, really fun to play tennis with (we were stuck at deuce a zillion times) and when we stopped to chat and catch our breaths she was really insightful and curious. So when I got a text that my 11am meeting was pushed to 11.15 and it was 10.40 and 4-2 I was thrilled to be able to finish the second set. Of course it was a 55 degree morning and my arthritis hates the cold so it was absolute kismet that I would have a 1.45 acupuncture appointment.

Is there any cliche I haven’t become?

From tennis there was a meeting with Glass Elevator and every so often I pinch myself because I realize that I’m working with women who are bright and creative and articulate and I’ve somehow fooled them into taking me along for the ride. We are SoClose to being able to share an exciting new project with the world that will have you laughing and loving the way we communicate.

And to round out the perfection it’s my husband’s first night away. I love that man but I love the first night he’s gone. I’m going to sleep diagonal after watching Downton Abbey or some other estrofest and in addition to not having put on any makeup I haven’t brushed my hair nor do I plan on it. That first night away is good for both of us. The second night I really miss him and the third night is downright lonely. The fourth night is miserable and I usually start inviting people for dinner and I’m thrilled to say that this time there will be no fifth night. He’ll be home for Super Bowl.

Which reminds me of my own pending travel and the fact that I’ve booked airline tickets for myself and my son but not Mr. G. His new work schedule has been so awful that we are doubting that he’ll come along for spring break so rather than buying and not using a ticket we’ve decided to roll the dice and if he can join us he will. Jane will be in London and Alexander and I will return to Amelia Island with a friend of his. It’s our first time doing anything like this and I see it as a sign of marital strength even though it has me feeling lonely and overwhelmed in advance.

2013 will be the year of independence. Unwanted independence for both of us. I’m not worried about if we can do it. I’m just a little pissy that we have to.