Thursday, December 25, 2008

Can You Invest? A Little Moral Support, That Is.

Greetings all from Chicago! I am home for the holidays, while Tanya is in PA and Chin is in Boston. As I mentioned in the last post, my mission over the holidays was to pitch Saus to my family members in order to inspire them to invest. Well, my efforts were futile for a while, until I realized that the challenge was to get them to listen first.

Let's start off with December 21st - my sister, her boyfriend, and I drive out to our older sister's house which she shares with her husband and 11 year old son, my nephew. We had gone to a Christmas show, had deep dish pizza (Lou Malnati's), and had our cousins come over after for a small party - overall it was a great time. Finally, the right opportunity arose for me to show my sisters and cousins my business plan. They were all sitting around the table with the laptop smack dab in the middle of it and I opened up my b-plan. "Hey guys, you want to check out my business plan?" Sister 1: "How about later"? Cousin: "Yeah, we'll look at it later." Sister 2 (sees how pathetic this is and comes to my rescue with an oxygen tank full of pity): "I'll look at it, Renee!"

Now let's talk about the morning my mother and I had breakfast and discussed my "situation" in Boston.

Mom: So what's going on with your job?

Renee: Well, right now I'm doing a temp assignment until I can get the business started.

Mom: Oh. So why don't you come home?

Renee: Because I'm starting a business. I told you this.

Mom: Start it here.

Renee: I can't. The market is there and so are my partners.

Mom: Ok. So why don't you work for a while before you start your business?

Renee: Mom, the times have changed. When you were working, it wasn't out of the ordinary to be at the same company for 30 years. There's no guarantee for that now. There is no such thing as job security, or ownership, or a sense of belonging. In my opinion, the only way to go is to start a business.

Mom: Yes, you're right.

(2 minutes later)

Mom: Why don't you find a job in Dubai?

It's tough to explain the concept of starting a business at the age of 22, let alone the concept of the business itself. My parents are pragmatic, conservative, and were brought up with the notion of: get a good education, get a good job, make surefire investments, then retire. Moreover, I am the baby of the family. And I'm not joking - my sisters are 38 and 36 respectively. Ah, yes, I have Youngest Child Syndrome. YCS is a terrible affliction that prevents its victims from being taken seriously...ever. Unfortunately, it is tough to treat and cure.

With a little patience (and some tears), though, YCS can be remedied.

First, I expressed my concerns surrounding support for Saus to my sister and her boyfriend, Rudy, who is a delightful addition to our family. My sister was compassionate and Rudy saw that I was upset, so he told us a story of when he was in Lebanon working for his family's jewelry firm. Long story short, Rudy had some ideas to modernize the company's marketing and operations by striking on a hot opportunity and trend at the time. He cultivated the idea and began to put it into practice, but was ignored and finally, was ordered to leave the factory altogether, by his own cousin, no less. Rudy quit the business, found another line of work, moved to America, became a Gemologist, and is now pursuing his career in jewelry...oh, and he has a kick-ass girlfriend with a great family. Wow. My point? He took rejection and used it to motivate himself. Oh, and he also suggested I watch Rocky as inspiration.

But then, something happened on Christmas Day. I was feeling down about myself, like I had failed somehow. I tried to bring myself out of this self-pity, but I was upset and angry that I didn't have my family's support for the endeavor. My mother saw that I was upset and I explained to her why. She then had my father sit down at the table with us and asked me to discuss the business. I gave them the details, everything from the concept, to my partners, to our financials. I answered their questions and to my surprise, they were impressed. They asked how they could help, and I told them I wanted their emotional support first and foremost...this, they granted. This support alone meant everything to me...more than the Sperry Topsiders and Brooks Brothers leather gloves and Jo Malone perfume I received as gifts the night before (you think these retailers will one day give us free stuff for the mention? I hope so). It means more to me than any monetary investment they should decide to make.

So, as a Christmas gift to our readers, all 8 of you, we give you a little inspiration, encouragement, and support. I believe in our idea, the seedling it is, enough to evangelize it to others, even the most doubtful. After all, isn't this what the season is all about?

Merry Christmas


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