A hot summer morning in Vienna. I had just finished setting up my stall at the design fair and the first visitors were slowly making their way through the market. This was my second pop-up store. In 2020, I did a trial but it did not involve me being at the stand, I just placed the products. This time, it was about me explaining everything about Pelagona, its mission and its products. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. I had practiced my pitch for the products. (I am a planner after all and hate being unprepared.) How would the people react? What if they questioned my pitch, my products and, ultimately, myself?
The first strangers approached my stall, I could see how their eyes went along all my products. “These baskets are gorgeous,” one of the two ladies said and they kept walking. I took two of my business cards, greeted them and started explaining our mission. At first, I could hear my voice tremble a bit, but when I saw the smiles, all my doubts were gone. I guess this is what you call “jumping in at the deep end”. I just kept talking and showing products, handing out my promo material, selling my products. I was so busy and immersed in the whole thing that the hours flew by and I forgot to eat (and even to drink – side note: not a good idea on a summer day 😉 ).
One of my biggest barriers which I create myself is overthinking. I make up countless scenarios in my head and write hundreds of lists. On the one hand, this means that I am always well prepared, on the other, it also clutters my mind and takes energy away from stuff which probably matters more. Furthermore, I sometimes forget about the lists and never end up actually doing the task I planned out.
The weeks leading up to the popup, I was busy preparing the promotion material, the layout of the stall and making sure that the last products arrive in time. (Last week, I wrote about the new towel collection on Pelagona and how Covid affected the production.) I was nervous because it was my first real popup and I did not want it to look like it. I wanted it to not only look professional, I wanted it to reflect our corporate identity and create the feeling of a tribe – one which loves to travel, appreciates design and cares about sustainability. My partner joked that I would probably be the best prepared seller at the market. Of course, I cannot compete with others who have years of experience. But I finished setting up my stall one hour before the start of the market – maybe he was right. When I looked around, I knew that my stall looked inviting. I noticed how visitors caught sight of it and walked towards it. All my doubts were gone. Another proof that they had been completely unnecessary.
For someone like me, jumping in at the deep end is the best strategy. I cannot overthink, I just have to function and do it. And if I do, I realise that it works out most of the time. I am a perfectionist and a notorious over-achiever. Hence, I do not aim at 100%, I want to give 150, 200%. What I fail to realise is that probably my 100%, or even only 80% may be more than the 100% of other people. Hence, I should not waste my time doubting myself and my business. If we give everything, things will turn out fine. And if we have fun doing it, we naturally create a positive vibe which people want to join – and where they are more likely to buy our products or services.
If you also suffer from imposter syndrome and self-doubts, I hope this helps you to also take the leap and jump in at the deep end. It is summer after all, just enjoy the big splash and have fun!
Have a positive week ahead!