I Auditioned for my First Role in 7 Years, Here’s How it Went (and what I Wore)

audition outfit

I Auditioned for my First Role in 7 Years, Here's How it Went (and what I Wore)

by Veronica R.

Fair warning my friend, what follows is a story of serendipity, passion and heartbreak. Oh yes, and of course, a heaping dose of melodrama. But let’s just jump right in, shall we?

A few weeks ago, I woke up on what should’ve been a glorious sunny morning feeling… off. Just a few days prior, I’d been happily musing over the fact that I’d spent the beginning of my twenties meticulously ticking things off my bucket list: traveling the world, getting engaged, going to Fashion Week, growing a YouTube channel, learning instruments, etc. And yet, it felt like something was missing. 

The stage.

Performing and I have had an on-again-off-again relationship since I started (and stopped soon after) acting in elementary school. I’ve always struggled with pretty crippling anxiety but in high school, I joined the school Musical in my Senior year and overcome my stage fright for good.

Or so I thought.

Fast forward about 7 years, and somehow, my stage fright had come back with a vengeance. Still, I couldn’t deny how much I missed it. I missed the lights, the community, the energy. But most of all, I missed that electric moment right before going on stage. If meditation is the art of being fully present, than performing is perhaps my greatest form of meditation; in no other situation have I ever felt such a wonderful mix of electricity and peace. I knew someday soon, I wasn’t going to be able to deny this inner longing anymore, I’d have to take action.

I just didn’t think it would be so soon.

audition outfit

See, my brain’s version of “soon” would have been preferably… never. It would’ve loved for me to simply complain about this dilemma for the rest of my life, but never actually leave my comfort zone long enough to do anything about it. But someone up there must have heard my plea and they were terrifyingly efficient in answering the call (now, if we could just get that same level of enthusiasm at the DMV). Because the very same day I cried about all of this to my fiancee, I ran into an old friend who mentioned she was doing the costumes for The Producers. In fact, she was working for the same theater that I had last performed at 7 years prior. Excited, I asked her if she knew of any upcoming auditions.

“Well, we’re auditioning for The Producers on the 29th!” she said.

“Oh, okay! Of March?” I asked, as February was just about to end.

“No, like in 2 days.”

I was, at once, filled with both excitement and dread. Excitement because I was getting what I wanted! And dread because… well.. I was getting what I wanted. I knew I needed to do this. I had no choice. How could I complain all morning, but turn away the moment the solution was right there in front of me? It wasn’t ideal, but nonetheless, with 2 days to prepare, I ran home and obsessively practiced my audition song.

When that fateful day finally rolled around, a new kind of panic set in. The omgwhatamigoingtowear??? panic. How should I present myself for such a critical (in every sense of the word), moment? What exactly is the proper attire for your first musical debut in several years wherein you must both stand out but dress comfortably enough to dance and sweat and sing and not worry about a wardrobe malfunction?

I avoided choosing an outfit until the last possible moment, intentionally denying myself time to overthink it. Dressing instinctually, I chose the black-leggings-black-turtleneck combo so common in the theater, and to add a little pizazz, wore what I like to call my bad-ass ballerina flats. A lovely combo of nude, pink, unassuming flats with tough, black buckles and mismatched bows tied around my ankles. It’s my go to shoe whenever I feel the need to express that I’m multifaceted (which is often), and I hoped that would be the message received, not that I’m blind.

I raced to the audition and even made it there early. So early in fact, it seemed like no one else was there except for one other actor waiting in his car. The theater was locked, no lights were on, so I waited in my car too with a sinking feeling that something wasn’t right. By this point, auditions should’ve been starting by now, and that’s when my fear was confirmed. As the other actor was about to leave, he graciously told me the auditions had been moved to a completely different location. Thankfully, he kindly let me follow him to the proper place but forget about being early, now I’d absolutely be late. 

Regardless, I walked in with my head held high and introduced myself. Before I knew what was happening the auditions were beginning. I was up there, belting my heart out and dancing with no real training. Yet somehow, I felt so much more comfortable than I expected. It was over in a flash and I left the audition feeling like a million bucks.

The next day, while thrifting, I got a call I didn’t see coming at all.

theater outfits
winter outfits idea

“We’d like you to come back and audition for the role of Ulla,” I heard the lovely director saying in my ear. In a predominantly male play, Ulla is basically the only female lead. I couldn’t believe it. However, if I thought I was nervous before, now I was completely panicked. I had less than 48 hours to prepare a much bigger song in between working full time. I spent every spare second listening to the soundtrack, running to the bathroom to practice in the mirror whenever I could and belting my heart out on my commute. While before, I’d been able to tell myself that I didn’t care about getting a big part, the big part, once it was dangled in front of me, I knew I wanted it more than anything, and I was going to give it all I had.

Yet again, I found myself standing before the casting crew. A strange sense of confidence was taking me over and I pulled out all the stops I could. I danced, I shook, I shimmied and put on my best Swedish accent.  I had no idea where all of this was coming from, but I felt like for the first time in such a long time, I was really living the life I was supposed to be living, and dare I say it… maybe even had a real shot.

Then, after a hearing a comment someone made before I left, I knew instantly I wasn’t getting the part. Even so, it didn’t hurt any less when I got the call confirming it the next day. The director offered me a part at least, which, I had to remind myself was my biggest dream just two days ago. I knew I should’ve been grateful, I was grateful. Still, after working so tirelessly, giving it all I possibly had and learning my best wasn’t good enough, I accepted the offer, said thank you and promptly burst into tears the moment we hung up.

Now, I can’t lie. That day, I was being quite the drama queen. I was exhibiting the kind of mourning generally reserved for situations like the airport losing your luggage with like, ALL of your favorite clothes in it. Because part of me was mourning something very special. Though it was short lived, I’d spent so much time getting close to the idea of Ulla. I had intensely imagined wearing her costumes, learning her numbers, her personality, her accent. But Ulla wasn’t mine to play, and saying goodbye to that dream was heartbreaking. 

Dealing with rejection and heartbreak sucks. But here’s the thing. Sometimes, it’s vital. Sometimes we think we’re comfortable where we are, but really, we’re just trapped. Fear is convincing us to stay put, to avoid following our hearts because it’ll only lead to trouble. However, I started to realize… maybe I wanted a little trouble..? Maybe I wanted the messy, imperfect chaos of life. Maybe I wanted my heart to be liberated, to lead me through the good and the bad. Maybe I wanted, not a boring, safe life, but a full life. Sometimes, when our hearts are stuck shut off to the rest of the world, we need something to break them open, to let new light in. 

And in that new light, I saw everything so clearly. I saw that this wasn’t the end of the road, but only the beginning. I saw the fire within me, awakened. I saw my heart breaking again and again if that’s what it would take to live my dreams. I saw more strength and courage within myself than I’d seen in a long time. I saw the person I was really born to be. 

And I can’t wait to become her. 

What New York Fashion Week Taught me About Living Your Deams

New York Fashion Week guest

What New York Fashion Week Taught Me About Living Your Dreams

by Veronica R.

One glorious morning a few weeks ago, my friend, Sydney, (hey Syd), who works in the magical world of fashion sent me one of the greatest texts I’ve ever received: 

“I might be able to get you into a runway show.” 

My heart nearly burst out of my chest. As someone who’d always hoped that one day, maybe, just maybe, after I became a celebrity (for doing who knows what… locking my keys in my car one too many times..?), I may be invited to the exclusive and elusive Fashion Week. It was a dream I wouldn’t even dare allow myself to fully dream because it felt so far removed from who I was. Rather, it was just a hazy image nestled into some dark corner of my psyche that I’d occasionally peek at when drooling over all the girls on Instagram who’s lives I desperately admire. 

Yet, somehow, my dream was coming true and so much faster than I anticipated! As I was drafting up my list of 2020 goals I would’ve added NYFW to the list had I thought there was even the slightest chance it could happen for me! It was an unforgettable experience to say the least, but perhaps most unforgettable, were the 5 lessons the experience taught me about living your dreams. 

_

New York Fashion Week guest
Green embroidered dress

1. Your Dream will Make You Feel Resistant – Do it Anyway 

After days of holding my breath, at 10:30pm before the big day, I get the confirmation. It’s no longer a maybe, I’m going to my first ever NYFW runway show. I see the all holy barcode hit my e-mail inbox and I can hardly believe it. And yet… almost immediately after I scream with delight, I’m ambushed by dread. An idea slowly creeps into my brain. 

Maybe I shouldn’t go… 

Why on earth would I think that when clearly, this was a moment I’d been waiting for forever and may never come around again? But to my dismay, worse thoughts were right behind it. 

Everyone will be mean to me, I hear it’s filled with snooty people… What if I get lost? I won’t know what I’m doing and everyone will be able to tell! Now I have to buy train tickets and metro cards.. I shouldn’t spend the money…

And the age old zinger: what on earth am I going to wear?!?!?!?! 

Thankfully, I’d been low-key planning my Fashion Week debut ensemble for years should this day ever come. Something bold of course, this is the ultimate excuse to dress up after all! I decided to channel Gucci and wear one of my latest thrift scores: an emerald green dress covered in embroidery, beading and rhinestones. I layered it over a second dress with a Peter Pan collar (1. for warmth 2. for cuteness) and styled it with a green belt, socks and heels. 

Creating the outfit had given me a burst of positive energy, but the moment I was done, my brain was back to convincing me not to go. I believe this is what Steven Pressfield has coined “Resistance” in The War of Art. It’s the idea that anytime we’re called to do something wonderful, make art, step outside our comfort zone, live our truest destiny, we essentially go through the hero’s journey. We get the call, but we’re afraid of it. We resist it. Some people go on resisting their whole life, feeling guilty for never leaving their comfort zone but fearfully staying comfortable nonetheless and regretting it once it’s too late. 

I wasn’t about to be one of those people. I was going to see this journey through to the end.  

_

2. “Self-made” Doesn’t Exist 

As I sent myself into a frenzy trying to prepare, I was shocked and touched by how everyone around me was not only just as excited, but willing to help make it all possible. My Mom offered to spend her Sunday morning driving me to the train station rather than sleeping in. My sister gave me her train tickets and Metro card that she could’ve used for herself. My fiancee also gave me his metro card and offered to pick me up from the station when I got home.

But the kindness didn’t end there. 

On my disgustingly-early-for-a-Sunday train, I coincidentally ran into my friends John and Bridgette, on their way to a parade in Chinatown just 4 minutes from where I was headed. The whole way there, they happily helped me take pictures of my outfit, very important for such a momentous occasion! Then there was Aaron, the sweetheart standing next to me wearing fabulous blue cowboy boots. We struck up conversation and as soon as he heard this was my first NYFW, he took me under his wing and guided me along as the seasoned vet he is. 

What I couldn’t stop thinking throughout this whirlwind day though, (other than OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG), was that somehow, despite the fact that I’m essentially, how shall I put this mildly… a f*cking nobody, I’d made it to Fashion Week! And in such an endearing way, it was clear that I couldn’t have done this alone. 

And then it hit me… “self-made” is a fallacy. 

We all have help, in big ways or small. When you fill the majority of your life with wonderful, supportive, caring people, they want to see you succeed just as much as you do.

_

Bevza 2020 runway show
Blue Cowboy boots

3. Nobody is a Nobody  

I walked into the bright, airy studio overlooking a stunning view of Manhattan and suddenly found myself seated next to some of my biggest inspirations. Was I seriously breathing the same air as Eliza Cardinal Tamkin from Man Repeller? Was I really sharing precious and limited but-cheek space with Stephanie Arant on the bench? Was I honestly having a casual conversation with Alyssa Coscarelli about her Miu Miu shoes? And part of me wondered… what was I doing there again? I began to realize what an ironic choice my emerald dress was… 

I was quite literally and obviously very green in this whole world of fashion.

Then it hit me: Yes, yes I am sitting here with all of these wildly successful and prominent people. And the reason they’re all here is because at one point, when perhaps they were still “nobodies” like me, they believed that they were somebody with something to say and something wonderful to share with the world. Thus, they grew to be the icons they are today. 

So if I could be there, in the same room with all of them, what’s stopping me from being in their position one day too? The space between us was drastically decreased, and it was humbling to realize that they’re all just humans. Talented, hardworking, successful humans, but humans. And I remembered that I too am somebody with something to say and wonderful things to share with the world. Aren’t we all? 

Because at the end of the day, “Somebodies” are just somebody, and nobody is a Nobody. 

_

Claire Rose at Bevza
Michelle Song at Bevza 2020

4. The Universe is Totally on Your Side  

Okay so maybe not totally… we’ve all had those days when your hair sucks and every light is red and you’ve spilled the smoothie you made in effort to “start the day right” all over yourself and you find yourself screaming “why have you forsaken me smoothie!?!” On days like that it feels like every force in the galaxy has it out for you. 

But seriously, not to sound completely woo-woo, but The Universe, God, Mother Nature, The Powers That Be, whatever you prefer to call it, is vast, right? So just as much as there’s space for unknown forces that seem to be having a good laugh at your expense, there’s absolutely space for forces of nature that are 100% rooting for you (get it? Nature?? Rooting!??) And I’ve noticed that the more we focus on our good fortune, and the closer we get to living our destiny, the more that good fortune grows.

This was one of those days where everything was just going right! Between having friends and family who even care to help me get into NYFW, randomly meeting my friends on the train and ending up in line next to someone so kind, it seemed like these were little validations that I’m on the path I’m supposed to be on. And as one last little happy coincidence, as I left the show on cloud 9 and walked towards Miu Miu to window shop, I accidentally ran into KarenBritChick, another one of my all time biggest inspirations. I’d been playing it cool and holding back much of my excitement all day, but when this happened, it seemed like all my dreams were coming true at once and… well… I totally fangirled. Oops. 

If I scared you with my overzealousness, I do apologize, Karen. 

_

Bevza 2020 runway show
Bevza 2020 runway show

5. You’ve Found Your Calling When You’re Eating Everyone Else’s Shit Sandwich 

I first heard this term in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (which is a serious must read BTW). The original idea comes from Mark Manson. He believes that “everything sucks, some of the time.” It’s up to us to decide what sucky things we’re willing to put up with, in other words, what shit sandwich we’re willing to eat, in order to do what we truly love. 

So the next day, after it felt like some Cinderella-status enchantment had worn off, I was back to my day job. I was regaling a few work friends with my fashionable adventures when one of them very frankly said “oh yeah, I went to that a few years ago. Hated it.” 

Ironically, his name is Frank. 

It was comments like these that had contributed to my Resistance before the show. For years I’d lusted over the idea of Fashion Week, and was disappointed every time I read an article or heard an interview with someone who revealed all it’s worst qualities. They didn’t like how tiny the benches were, they said everyone who went was stuck up, they said it was boring, etc. I half expected to find myself feeling the same way but all I could think was how exhilarating all of this was!

But that’s the thing. It all depends on your taste for shit. I was willing to loose sleep, spend hours traveling, walk around in the cold with my hands going numb and maybe even deal with some rude people just to be a part of the action. I adored waiting in line to watch slinky models march down the runway for 15 minutes with music pumping so loudly you can feel your heart vibrate. For many people I know, that’s a shit sandwich they’d never be interested in eating. 

But truth be told, I can’t wait to eat it again and again. 

New York City buildings
green embroidered dress

Embracing the Suck – How to Overcome Perfectionism

a girl dancing in a white winter outfit


MY STRUGGLE:

I’m prone to biting off way more than I can chew. First of all, I’ve always been a bit overly ambitious and wildly creative. For as long as I can remember, I’ve occasionally experienced these surges of beautiful creative energy where I’m dreaming up millions of ideas all at once. 

One minute I’m casually thinking of what I’ll wear tomorrow and the next minute I’ve decided to start an ethical clothing conglomerate whilst becoming first female president and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. 


This sounds fantastic, right? Well sure, sometimes it is! But other times all of those ideas and goals are overwhelming. My brain is flooded with so many things that I have no clue where to begin. Because I can’t focus, nothing gets done. It often feels like I’m filling this figurative box with millions of half baked dreams and the bigger the box gets, the more I feel like crap about myself. Suddenly, all I can see is this pile of woulda, shoulda, couldas and nothing I can really say I’m proud of.

I start to believe that all I’m ever going to be is someone who talks about great ideas but never really does anything great. 

Right before the New Year, I was hit with one of these times. 

girl wearing a long white coat and a chunky scarf


I had so many wonderful intentions. I was going to film every single day for my YouTube Channel! I was going to churn out weekly blog posts, daily instagram  posts and totally crush this whole internet thing. 

And then I hit a wall. 

I was wildly stressed out. I started to hate anything and everything I did and overthink even the tiniest of details. I’d spend hours working on a thumbnail for my YouTube channel just to decide it was horrible and delete the whole thing. I wasn’t content or at peace with anything. 

Nothing was what I wanted, but truthfully, I didn’t even know what I wanted. 

By mid December I had already gotten sick twice. I’m not often sick, and I took this as my bodies way of telling me to slow down.  I’m the type of person who feels guilty for taking breaks, so sometimes, unless my body starts to physically shut down, I won’t allow myself to rest. (I know, it’s a totally horrible habit!) So at last I finally understood: I needed a break. I decided to stop all my social media, spend December with my family and friends and quit worrying so much.

a girl modeling in a white winter coat and long scarf
After I took a step back to really examine myself without the pressures of keeping up with social media, I came to a major conclusion; the reason I get myself to such a level of anxiety is because I am beginning to let fear driven perfectionism control my creativity rather than inspiration. Because I am so passionate and driven, I worry that if I don’t create enough, I’ll become irrelevant. I worry if I don’t work myself into the ground, it means I’m becoming lazy. I worry that I’m wasting my time, or wasting everyone else’s time, or that I’m doomed to be an utter failure. I often get caught up in the comparison game. I look at all my favorite content creators and by the time I look back at whatever I’m doing, I think, this just isn’t good enough. 

In short, I fear that if I don’t do everything perfectly, I shouldn’t do anything at all. 
a close up image of black boots and a winter scarf


But I’ve made a decision: I am only going to create from a space of joy and inspiration. 

And that’s not to say I won’t ever share the struggles and low points of my journey. Because sometimes that’s the truth, and it’s important to share that. But when I start noticing that the only reason I’m driven to create is because I’m afraid, rather than inspired, I know I need to reset myself a little. 

I’ve never wanted to spend my life surviving, I’ve always wanted to spend it thriving.


THINGS THAT HELPED ME:
1. STAYING HUMBLE

First of all, as creators these days, I think many of us are making a pretty big mistake when it comes to how we view our creations. The standard for content has become extremely high, so for my fellow perfectionists of the world, this fuels our perfectionism. 

It’s no longer just about creating things by our own standard of perfection, now we have to worry about everyone else’s. 

But recently, I had this revelation. I was feeling really nostalgic so I started rewatching all the videos that very first inspired me to start making my own, 

and I realized that literally all of my favorite YouTubers once made videos that sucked. 

Back when the internet was just becoming popular, the standards were so much lower which gave the seasoned veterans we all know and love now, plenty of room to grow and make mistakes. So we might look at how far they’ve come and think we should already be just like them, but that’s like trying to run before you can crawl. 

a girl walking a white winter coat and white jeans with scarf
a girl wearing a white winter coat and long scarf


And guess what? All your favorite artists, and singers and basket weavers and any creator of any kind, once made things that sucked! They had to pay their dues, they had to give themselves time to learn and grow and make mistakes so that they could ultimately become the people they are now.  

There’s a quote out there that says “don’t compare your chapter 2 to someone else’s chapter 20.” And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. 

I’m still only in the very beginning stages of my journey. I haven’t put in enough time and effort to be where I’d like to be yet, and that’s okay. The moment I stopped resisting that, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I still have so much learning to do and many mistakes to make. 

So from now on, my plan is to just kind of… embrace the suck!

I no longer feel pressured to keep up with the status quo and I refuse to feel ashamed of anything that isn’t “good enough.” Instead, I’m kinda jazzed about making mistakes because I finally understand that it’s the only way I’ll ever get to where I want to be. 

portrait of a brunette girl wearing a chunky scarf

2. CLARITY COMES FROM ENGAGEMENT, NOT THOUGHT -Marie Forleo

I also realized (for like the millionth time in my life), that I learn best by doing, not by thinking. One of my all time favorite people to learn from when I’m feeling really confused is Marie Forleo. One of her biggest mantras is “clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” So yes, ultimately your goal is to get better and better overtime. But the only way your going to do that is if you allow yourself to actually create. Even if it doesn’t come out right, even if it sucks, it’s all just adding time into your craft and that’s a beautiful thing, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. 

Allowing perfectionism to get in your own way is only keeping you rooted in the same stagnant place while time keeps pressing on. 

a girl wearing a white winter coat and long scarf

3. IT’S OKAY TO CHANGE DIRECTIONS 

And finally, I realized that whenever I move back into this space of fear, I starve my creativity because I don’t allow myself to explore anymore. I keep getting caught in this idea that I’m not allowed to change and move in new directions. For years, I’ve had the idea drilled into me that one day I’d have to find my one thing, the thing I’d settle into and do for the rest of my life. But truthfully, that’s just not me. I am multi passionate and I love life! 

To me a full, rich life is one that is filled with all sorts of adventures!

I keep worrying that I’ll never be successful if I don’t stay boxed in, but you know what? I don’t think I define success by numbers. I define it by fulfillment and my well being. 

Not being authentic is not only doing a disservice to yourself, but to the rest of the world as well. 

a brunette girl in a winter coat and scarf

I can’t say I know exactly who I am yet, but I feel I’m getting closer to the true me all the time. My plan for this next year is to just keep trying to find her. I hope for many more adventures. I aim to follow whatever directions my creativity leads me in. I plan to find myself and my voice by doing, not by worrying. And I’m sure there’s going to be plenty I do that doesn’t come out quite right. 

But for once in my life, I’m going to embrace the suck. 

a girl dancing with text that says how to overcome perfectionism



10 Things I Learned from my First Pop Up Shop

 

a bunch of people smiling and laughing at a pop up shop


10 Things I Learned from my First Pop Up Shop 

WHY I STOPPED HOLDING BACK 

Earlier this year, something shifted in my brain and I decided to finally start taking myself seriously as a business woman (you can read about why here.) I’ve been plugging along for about six years, working to grow a YouTube channel, Instagram and of course my blog. And somewhere in the back of my mind, I had always dreamed that someday, when everything truly began to take off and I was this world famous success story, I would start a business. I could see the headlines already!

“Girlboss, Veronica Reitz, Starts the Fashion Line the World Has Been Waiting for at the Mere Age of 18! (in addition to curing cancer, traveling the entire planet and starring as the lead role in the latest block buster hit!)”
Is that an extremely long headline? Yes, yes it is.
Am I overly ambitious? Yes, yes I am.
The only problem with being born with so much determination though, is that it’s often accompanied by a healthy dose of perfectionism, fear of failure and fear of rejection.
Which means that “the mere age of 18” came and went, right along with ages 19-24. And as I was reluctantly stepping into my 24th year, I felt a whopping sense of guilt and an existential crisis starting to creep onto the scene. I hadn’t achieved a fraction of the things I planned on achieving by then and despite the fact that I’m still quite young, I felt time slipping away at an uncomfortable rate. It seemed to me that this was now or never.
 
I was done waiting around for someone else to give me permission or tell me it was time. 

If I wanted to start pursuing my career as an entrepreneur, it was time to get serious.

a bunch of people smiling and laughing at a pop up shop

 

HOW IT CAME TOGETHER 
I had a bit of experience selling things on Etsy and Ebay, but I was never clear on my branding or my goals. However, after years of changing blog names, trying different styles and finally finding my own voice, I was ready at last to open up the Wear is She Now online boutique! And I felt a celebration was in order! I’ve always had a penchant for Pop Up Shops. I love the novelty of them, the excitement factor that comes from knowing it’s only there for a limited time and the creativity behind them!
 
So I imagined hosting my own Pop Up Shop/launch party! 
Essentially, this was going to be a yard sale on steroids. I didn’t have the funds, the know how or the inventory to rent out a proper space. But my friends and I had done some yard sales in the past and gotten really creative with them. I wanted to try taking things up a notch and use this as a chance for some exposure and trial run for something bigger in the future. I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, but I’d spent far too much  time avoiding my dreams because of my perfectionism.
At this point, I was ready to take the plunge no matter what. 
From my experiences with yard sales in the past, I noticed that the biggest issue was attracting the right clientele. I was selling my pre-loved clothes and a lot of the potential customers who showed up weren’t interested in buying them. They were more excited about little knickknacks and comic books. I took this as a challenge to find an incentive for my target demographic to come!
So I came up with this idea to host a raffle. I knew I wanted to market it on Instagram since that’s where a majority of my local following is, so I wanted to raffle off something that would be valuable to those following my page.
 I came up with “The Insta-Famous Starter Pack: everything you need for a flawless feed!” 
My dream was to fill it with gift cards to some of the most Instagrammable places around and other exciting goodies that any instagram lover would die for! But I was already pouring a ton of money into something I knew I would be lucky just to break even on, so I referred back to all the stories I’d read of clever business owners getting their crazy ideas funded and did something I’d never done before.
I pitched about 15 local businesses to see if they’d be interested in collaborating on my endeavor. I was prepared for all of them to turn me down. But to my surprise, nearly half of them said yes! 
By the end of it, the basket was worth over $200 and the most I’d spent on it was $6 for the actual basket itself. I built a selfie station and made up 2 ways to enter the raffle.
1. Follow me on Instagram and share your pictures from the event using #wearisshenowpopup.
2. Buy anything and automatically get entered!
I figured that this would help increase sales and marketing by encouraging people to share! It didn’t exactly work out that way, but we’ll get to that later.

And then just to double down on the whole incentive thing, I bought a cheap cotton candy maker and gave away free cotton candy to anyone who wanted it.

little girls selling lemonade and cotton candy at a Pop Up Shop

I spent the next two months pouring every ounce of my free time into planning, building, marketing,

and personally inviting potential customers. I made flyers and hung them all around town in places I thought my target demographic might see them. I revamped my website by purchasing my own domain name, updating the design and adding a “shop” tab. I bought a white tent, a bunch of decorations and had my dad help me build a lemonade stand out of palette boards that a friend of mine kindly gave me. I printed out a butt load of coupons for 20% off my online store and handed one out to every single customer.
In the end, things didn’t come out exactly the way that I’d hoped. But I was kind of prepared for that. I knew that no matter what happened, it would be a learning experience and it certainly was! So today, here are 10 things I learned from my first Pop Up Shop!
 
WHAT I LEARNED FROM RUNNING A POP UP SHOP 
1. THE BEST WAY TO LEARN IS BY DOING
I could have spent several more years planning, dreaming and scheming until everything felt right. But guess what? It rarely ever feels like the right time. When you’re about to embark on a new journey, it will always feel scary and you’ll most likely question yourself to the point of analysis paralysis. There will always be a million reasons not to do something, but you have to push past all that and just START. Your creative brain can come up with a countless amount of scenarios as to how things will go when you do take the plunge, but no information is as valuable as the information you get by just going for it!
KEY LESSON LEARNED: Stop making excuses and start doing.
2. THE MARKET TELLS YOU WHAT IT WANTS, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND
I decided to host my shop for 2 days. On the first day, I was shocked and quite disappointed to see that much of my hard work was lost on people. My sister had set up her own table in the back of my shop to sell some of her old tchotchkes and I never expected it generate the response that it did. Right as you walked up to the yard, you would see my giant white tent covered in streamers and a big balloon banner that read “Wear is She Now.” I had set up the clothes and shoes like a real store, with mannequins and everything!
 But despite my best efforts, a majority of people blew right past all my hard work to pick through my sister’s miscellaneous assortment of trinkets. 
At first, I was extremely frustrated and upset. What was so special about a used coffee mug with a picture of a moose on it? But I was only coming from my own perspective. Sure, that’s not what I would be looking for, but if that’s what my customers wanted, then I had to deliver! So the next day, I put my pride aside and interspersed a bunch of random knickknacks throughout my clothing displays. I thought it looked messy, and not at all how I envisioned it.
But guess what? My sales almost doubled. 
People stopped to take a look at the random stuff I put out and when they did, they also took note of the clothes. It got their attention, it was what they wanted, not what I wanted. Any entrepreneur will tell you that one of the most important abilities you can possess as a business owner, is the ability to listen and I learned that first hand that day.
KEY LESSON LEARNED: Don’t let your pride and vision get in the way of listening to what your customers want.
3. ALWAYS PROVIDE VALUE 
Another vital ability to cultivate as an entrepreneur is knowing how to provide value though everything you do. Yes, I was hosting an event, for the launch of my new business endeavor. But at the end of the day, it really wasn’t about me and I learned this multiple ways while running my Pop Up Shop.
First of all, the way in which I approached the local businesses I was hoping to collaborate with for the raffle was very careful. I did not go to them and talk about myself and my brilliant new plan. I introduced myself, yes. I told them about the event, yes.
The key was, I lead with why it would benefit them to be a part of it. 
I offered to do something in return for them and let them know that this would be helpful for their own marketing efforts. I doubt it would have been nearly as successful had I approached them with a sense of entitlement.
Secondly, as I mentioned before, I had to learn to provide exactly what my customers wanted. First, you have to listen, but then you have to give. Once you know what people are looking for, give it to them! Your vision is valuable and important but it’s not as important as your customer’s needs.
KEY LESSON LEARNED: Everything you do should be an act of service, not entitlement.
4. BE CRYSTAL CLEAR
Like I mentioned previously, I spent a lot of effort building a selfie station and putting together the raffle basket, but as much as I hate to admit, few people noticed them. I had set up the selfie booth in the back, behind a lot of the displays and quite far away. There wasn’t much drawing attention to it so unless I specifically pointed it out, it went unnoticed.
I had attempted to display the raffle basket a little more boldly but I realized later that many people were confused by it. I had forgotten, yet again, to think from the perspective of my customers. They weren’t expecting to come to a yard sale and enter into a raffle or strike a pose at a selfie station.
They had no idea that the basket was worth over $200 and that I’d worked my ass off to put it together. 
When I noticed that no one giving it a second look, I greeted each person and told them right away that we were hosting a raffle and that a bunch of local businesses donated to it. You have to respect your customers time. Many of them are in a rush, they aren’t always paying attention and it’s your job to make that they are.

KEY LESSON LEARNED: Don’t make your customers do the work. Make everything clear, simple and noticeable.

 a man and a woman taking selfies at a Pop Up Shop
source: instagram

 

5. KEEP TRYING EVEN AFTER YOU FAIL
Failure is a hard part of every journey, but it’s also an extremely necessary one. In fact, we often learn the most from our failures. There was a lot that didn’t happen the way I expected or hoped, and a lot that took me by surprise, in both good ways and bad. But the most important thing you can do from there is keep going. Don’t let it break you or discourage you. It’s all part of the process. Playing it safe keeps you from failing but it also keeps you from growing.
The goal is to move on and do things smarter next time. 
You don’t want to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. You want to gather information for the purpose of using it to make you better and brighter so that the next time you try, because you will try again, you get a little closer to your goal.
KEY LESSON LEARNED: Failure is not the end, it’s part of the process.
6. DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL 
Being such a head strong, determined person means that I have a tendency to get a little blindsided by my own ambition. Sometimes, you can be screaming the right message to the wrong neighborhood. I love to be big, and bold and extra and I don’t do anything half assed. I put my heart and soul into this Pop Up Shop and I worked my ass off to market it to the right people. But at the end of the day, while I saw this as my first Pop Up Shop, my break out moment taking the world by storm, the world saw it as just a yard sale. And most of the people coming to yard sales, didn’t understand what I was trying to accomplish. They attract an older crowd, one that doesn’t often understand the value of selfie stations and Insta-famous starter packs.
Don’t get me wrong! There was a handful of lovely people who totally got it and shared nothing but wonderful words of support! But I’m talking majority here, and most of the people that turned up were not interested in a young woman’s pre-loved clothes. Some of them even confessed that they were confused by my display.
 
Some mentioned they didn’t stop by at first because they thought it was a private party while others literally laughed when I offered them free cotton candy or a chance to win a basket of goodies worth $200+. 
I realized something very important. I could spend all of my time trying to rebrand what yard sales have been for as long as I can remember, or I could pour all of that hard work, time and energy into a market that is already built to appreciate that kind of hard work. I believe in myself and my ideas, but I was trying to reinvent the wheel. My goal was never to continuously have yard sales anyway, but it taught me a lot about about letting your creativity roam in the right spaces and it pushed me to want to take the next step of my journey.
KEY LESSON LEARNED: Spend your time and energy wisely by showcasing great ideas in the right space.
7. DON’T EXPECT EVERYONE TO SEE YOUR VISION 
Sometimes, when you have these fantastic, passion fueled visions, it’s hard to imagine that others won’t be quite as excited as you are. You may be met with negativity, or worse, silence. But don’t let this discourage you. Plan to show and not tell.
People have a much easier time coming around when they see the proof and that’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way. 
I was sitting on my couch literally shaking with nerves and excitement to send out the big text I’d prepared a month prior, announcing my Pop Up Shop to my friends. I had imagined the moment over and over in my head so many times. Everyone would be so thrilled for me, right?!
Wrong.
Hardly anyone answered. It was a bit painful and disheartening, but I had to wise up. It’s no one else’s job to be as invested in your endeavors as you are. You will have to earn most people’s enthusiasm by actually delivering on your incredible ideas. And if you’re lucky enough to have anyone that supports your visions right off the bat, treat them like the absolute gems they are.

KEY LESSON LEARNED: You have to be fully invested in your passions before anyone else is.

a man and a woman taking selfies at a Pop Up Shop

 

8. CHOOSE YOUR TEAM WISELY
This is one of the most important lessons I learned throughout this whole Pop Up Shop experience. I rarely want to trust anyone else with my ideas and visions, but the reality of running a business is that you need help. But more importantly, you need the right help.
Your team can make or break you so when choosing who you want to be a part of your journey, choose wisely. 
I learned a lot about who I can count on, who is unreliable, who’s willing to be helpful and who is unable to follow directions. In the midst of a crisis, will you and your team be able to cope? Does your team work well together?
At one point during the first day of my Pop Up Shop, it felt like everything was going wrong and the stress of it all broke me down to tears. But my boyfriend swooped in, helped me figure out every situation that was going wrong and wouldn’t let me return to the shop until I called myself a girlboss “like you mean it!” and started smiling again.
I’m grateful to be with such a supportive partner, but this isn’t always the case. It’s very common to have plenty of friends and family members, people you really love, who disappoint you, or who even go out of their way to make things harder for you. It’s sad, but it’s a reality.

KEY LESSON LEARNED: Every person you love does not have to be a part of your team, but every person on your team should be someone you love.

man holding pizza in front of lemonade stand at Pop Up Shop
My wonderful boyfriend bought the whole team Pizza 🙂

9. STOP WAITING AROUND 

One of the proudest lessons I learned from trying my hand at a Pop Up Shop was realizing just how much time is wasted by telling yourself you’re not ready. Remember how I mentioned that I pitched 15 different brands to help me out with the raffle? Well right before I pitched my first one, I was dragging my feet SO. MUCH. I had given myself a ton of silly restrictions and conditions before I could ask.
For example: “They won’t take me seriously if I don’t have business cards.”
But I had direct messaged them all through Instagram, so having business cards didn’t even matter. I realized that I was just looking for a bunch of excuses and using perfectionism as a way to procrastinate because I was afraid of rejection. And then one day, I just did it. I didn’t feel ready, I didn’t feel professional, but I asked anyway. And more people than I ever expected to, actually said yes.
KEY LESSON LEARNED: Be mindful of the stories you’re telling yourself as to why can’t do something. The biggest thing in your way is often you.
10. YOU GET TO DEFINE SUCCESS
No matter what happens, how you define success is your choice. There is no Success Police coming to monitor your results. Even your failures can be considered successes but at the same time, even the most magical moments in your career can be painted as failures if you’re always looking at the glass half empty. Any time you’re putting yourself out there, trying something new and going against the grain, that’s a cause for celebration if you ask me! There was a lot I had hoped would go differently during my Pop Up Shop, but there was also a lot to be proud of. I say, if you learned something, that’s success in it’s own right. It’s not that you aren’t successful at smaller levels, it’s just that your success begins to get bigger and bigger as you grow too!
KEY LESSON LEARNED: Success is relative to each person. Don’t forget to celebrate even the smallest wins!
So there you have it beautiful boss babes! I hope this was helpful for whatever goal you might be trying to achieve! Just know that I’m rooting for you and I’m here to answer whatever questions you might have! Good luck on your journey and remember that the world is your runway!
With peace, love and pixie dust,
-Veronica

The Secret to my 2018 Productivity- The Seasons Within me

There are few things I love more than the changing of the seasons. As someone who is constantly chasing newness, (new cultures, new foods, new ideas,) I adore the feeling of a fresh start. Often by the time a new season rolls around, I’ve had my fill of the last one and now I’m PUMPED for whatever the next one is about to bring: spring flowers, summer BBQ’s, autumn pumpkins and winter holidays (to name just a few.)

source: Pinterest

Unbeknownst to them, two of my biggest life gurus are Chip and Joanna Gaines. They are magical unicorns who seem to radiate nothing other than success, positivity and all around fantastical-ness. They are arguably reclaiming “The Midas Touch” as “The Gaines Touch.” One of the things I love most about them though, is how they constantly discuss the different “seasons of their lives.” This idea recently sparked something within me. I began to notice that there are seasons within myself as well: a season of cleansing, a season of curiosity, a season of creation and a season of calm. Shaping my life this way feels much more conducive to achieving my goals than the ways I’ve tried in the past. I am a bit of a self-growth nerd and always looking for innovative ways to be the best me possible.

(Yes, I’m a Capricorn.)

Last year, I tried focusing on 12 different goals for each 12 months of the year. This proved to be semi-effective, but didn’t render the results I was really hoping for.
But for 2018, I’ve been testing out this new methodology. Rather than segmenting my life into 12 pieces, it feels more natural to honor the seasons my heart and mind tend to move through at their own pace.

A Season of Cleansing-
This season is marked by detoxification, preparation and creating space.
This generally coincides with springtime as it seems to invigorate all of us enough to do massive bouts of “spring cleaning.” The new year is still ripe and we all want to freshen things up and make room for a better us. I take this time to detox everything from my wardrobe to my diet and purge my life from any bad habits and toxic people. So yeah, don’t piss me off in April. Jk
… kinda.

source: Pinterest

A Season of Curiosity-
This season is marked by discovery, consumption and animation.
As that need for detoxification beings to wane, suddenly I have the urge to consume, filling up all the space I’ve just created. I think it’s a pretty natural process especially in such a consumerist society. We naturally tend to want to fill everything from silences to empty closets. However, this year, instead of consuming more STUFF, I’ve chosen to satisfy this hunger by devouring knowledge. And “devour” is the perfect descriptor here because I have been absolutely ravenous for books lately. I explore every avenue of curiosity by taking classes, reading, asking questions and all so that I’m well prepared for my next season.

source: Pinterest

 A Season of Creation-
This season is marked by action, energy and determination.
This is the time I put all my knowledge to good use. It’s easy to become a perpetual student, as understanding the process of something is generally much easier than the actual application of the knowledge. This season is perhaps a bit fierce, akin to a blazing day of summer though they don’t always coincide. But it’s a time to take action and turn all that brain food into the energy that propels me into my dreams.

source: Pinterest

A Season of Calm-
This season is marked by self love, coziness, and giving.
It’s the time to scale everything back, understand what worked well, what I could do better and learn to be mindful again. I enjoy the fruits of my labor, the little things and get adamant about creating equal parts “me time,” and time for loved ones. It’s selfishness and selflessness in harmony.

source: Pinterest

Each season blends into the next and they often include elements of each other, especially the one immediately preceding or following it. Just as some spring days feel hot enough to be summer, a day within my energetic season of creation can feel a lot more like a day within my season of calm. In this way,  I remain balanced (well.. at least I try to. This is all sounding a lot more zen than I usually feel.) I don’t force myself into starting a new season until intuitively it feels right. Sometimes one needs to be much longer than another but when it’s time to move on, I know.

Anyway, I’m curious to know (as I’m currently in the Season of Curiosity,) if this resonated with any of you. Do you feel moved by any specific “seasons” throughout the year and if so, what are they? Let me know below or on Instagram or Youtube!

Signing off with peace, love and pixie dust,
-Veronica