In March I left my wonderful, safe, well-paying, dream-job-for-somebody. My work environment was not a positive one, and though I had been trying to make this the career-for-me for a long time (and succeeding, I had a great career), I just didn’t feel like the beauty industry made me feel good about what I was contributing to my society. I still have a beauty section here on this blog because I think anybody who loves themselves is going to think about how they are presenting themselves to the world. But I really hope everything here encourages readers to utilize beauty tools in a balanced, self-caring, and fun way, rather than a needy way.
I was terrified to leave this terrific, successful brand and lucrative beauty industry, but something didn’t feel right at my core. Instead, I wanted to work to give something ultimately quite simple and basic to my community– a peaceful, positive, inspiring space to connect with others, and self-reflect. I know, I’m not creating a non-profit or changing our laws– I don’t know how to do those things right now. But I thought I could figure out how to do this cafe, and do it really well. With amazing, responsibly sourced coffee, a thoughtfully bright, balanced, sustainable interior, a locally-derived, healthy, (and really yummy) cafe menu that would offer people delicious snacks that would really nourish and feed their bodies, rather than just satisfy their carb and sugar cravings.
And things started, terrifyingly but excitingly, falling into place. Alberto and I noticed a space, (1 block from his apartment!) that had been empty for a year. The rent turned out to be perfect for me, and it was big enough to create a small yoga studio in the back. I started researching and dreaming and learning. I created a kickass business plan (what?) and Alberto and I drafted a sweet little interior plan. We negotiated for a month and half, I registered for a business corporation and opened a bank account in its name, I gathered people and ideas and purveyors. Last week I personally ran the final negotiation call with the landlord (with rapidly beating heart, I was so nervous), and everything was set. The broker had been contacted for the landlord to deliver the commission fee, I scheduled appointments to sit down with wholesale retailers, and we reached out to a couple of construction companies.
I had been feeling a lot of nerves and worries in this process, but when I felt like it was really happening, I was so happy, and so excited. In the past few years of my career, despite being extremely successful, a couple of former bosses have played some real mind games with me, and I think a lot of my confidence has wavered. And working the last 6 months as a humble barista (though truly important research to learn how to run my own place), has also done a bit of a number. It’s difficult for me to not feel demeaned by the work sometimes, considering the way many New Yorkers treat the human being on the other side of the counter.
I felt proud of myself again last week when I was starting my own business. My place is going to be great, and my team is going to be happy. I couldn’t wait to call my mom and tell her what I had done and what I was doing.
Friday morning, before I was to meet with the landlord to actually sign the contract, before a busy day of meetings for my new business, my lawyer got a one-line email that the deal was dead, the place had been signed to someone else.
So that was my sad news that caused me to feel a bit reckless. I was very sad all weekend, back at square 1, feeling like this was going to be impossible. Especially as I’ve been back behind the counter, serving New Yorkers in someone else’s restaurant.
But the other day on my bike-ride back from yoga, I passed another space up for rent, and I asked my broker to inquire. And it felt good to be back on the hunt.