TOMS & How they Shaped my Business

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Life of an Entrepreneur

 

Day 193. November 13, 2013

I had just bought my camera the day before and now it was time to get serious. If I wanted to run a business, I needed to start with the basics.

Q: What service would I offer?
A: Photography

Q: Why?
A: Because… I wanted to buy a camera. Which I now had.
Because… people are the most interesting subjects.
Because… I’ve always loved taking pictures.
Because…

Because there had to be a better way of running business. My experience with wedding planning and wedding photography had been a solid C. (Though, our wedding was off the charts!)

If marriage was a celebration and if photos were what people counted on to cherish this day for decades to come. Then, the photography experience shouldn’t be a C. It should be an A+ or better!

I could do that.

Q: Then, what sets me a part?
A: …Umm…

 

As I worked through these questions, I thought back to the Summer of 2010.

I was going into my Sophomore year of college and had just been given a new leadership position. I was excited about the new endeavor, but also knew I had a lot to learn. When the opportunity came to go to a Leadership Summit, I jumped at it.

The Leadership Summit was 2 days, jam packed with front line thinkers, educators & entrepreneurs like Tony Dongy, Christine Caine and Jack Welch of GE. However, the speaker that had the largest impact on me, was from this new company that had just started a few years earlier in 2006.

 

As Blake Mycoskie took the stage I grew curious.

I had heard of TOMS before, but I knew nothing about the founder. I was surprised. He looked young! On top of that Blake announced that TOMS had given away their 1,000,000 pair of shoes that summer.

I was practically falling out of my seat. Whatever he was doing was not only successful, but it was also making a difference in the world. I wanted THAT.

Three years after the leadership summit, I sat there thinking about all of this and I worked up a business plan.

It was scary!

However, I knew two things. I wanted to create a better experience for my couples AND I wanted to make a difference in my community. Especially, to organizations working with “at risk” youth.

 

Full disclosure. It wasn’t easy.

Creating a better experience took lots of trial and error. I’m so grateful for the couples who took a chance on me in the beginning and helped me to grow.

Making a difference in my community, was terrifying.

Giving to organizations financially when I wasn’t turning profit yet. When, what I needed to be doing was investing back into my business. When I was working 3 jobs on top of this side hustle…That made zero sense.

However, if I wanted to have a TOMS size impact in my community, I had to start on day 1.

I was committed.

 

Over five years later, I wouldn’t change a thing!

One of the top thing I hear from couples before booking is how they love our commitment to giving back. The top complement I receive from couples after their wedding is about the experience they had. 🙂

Together, these are the two things couples talk about most and I hear about from referrals!

 

People want more from the businesses they work with today.

To set yourself apart in a saturated market and grow your tribe, align your skills with your heart.

Think about it this way. There is nothing particularly special about canvas shoes, but there is something remarkable about TOMS and their One for One commitment. It’s an idea people love and a movement­­ people want to join.

They join by purchasing a pair of TOMS and becoming part of the movement. Then they wear their shoes and tell their friends about TOMS & the story behind them. The movement and the business grow.

These were crazy things to think about, but TOMS was proof of concept. It’s something I’ve worked to apply to my business and I’m so glad I did!

 

To all the entrepreneurs out there, think differently.

It is possible to do more with your business, but it starts with you.

How will you love and serve you clients? How can you share your heart with your tribe?

Wherever you’re at, remember, you’ve got this!

 

Much Love Friend,

 

 

July 31, 2019

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