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Our original launch date was set for April 25.
We were participating in a community parade on April 30 and wanted to to make our theme “The Grand Opening of Freddie and Co.” We had wacky inflatable arm guys, staff tees with the FAC logo, and sticker sheet handouts that had discount codes and the store’s URL.
While we were rushing to get the store ready for launch before the parade, I started quietly wishing to myself that I had more time. I really felt like What’s In Store needed some more love and attention, not to mention the actual store itself. One day in the kitchen, I ran into Ben Chestnut, MailChimp’s CEO, and he asked me how the project was going. He told me an anecdote about making mistakes in the early days of MailChimp that cost him some money and how he lived in a constant state of fear in the beginning.
I tried to play it cool, including not telling him about the stress-induced crick I’d had in my neck for 4 weeks or about how I could barely turn my head to the right or that I woke up sweating some nights thinking about things I might have forgotten or that I’d finally become the type of person I said I’d never be: the compulsive email checker. Ha ha ha ha ha ha *passes out*. Ben asked to see some of my newsletter drafts so he could help inject some fear into the process, which is pretty hilarious since the CEO asking to read and edit my emails was plenty terrifying by itself. Literally the next morning, I dismissed my alarm to immediately check my email (ugh), and, uh-oh, HERE COMES THE FEAR TRAIN. As it turned out, the manufacturer had a problem, and our socks — our first store product — would not be arriving on time. I’m embarrassed to share this, but for the sake of full transparency, before I even finished reading the email, I burst into immediate sobs. Like, sobs. The snotty, gulping, wheezing-panicked kind. After sending a couple frantic messages, taking a cold shower, and covering my blotchy face with concealer, I settled down enough to realize something.
Although we’d have to rush to come up with new stuff for the parade, we’d been given me the gift of time. We could take a breath and review all of our content. We could spend time polishing. We could take steps back and review the project’s initial goals and make sure we’re following them directly. Every business is going to hit snags. It’s painful, but inevitable. It doesn’t matter if you do everthing right. Like in this instance, the sock snafu was no one’s fault. There was just a manufacturing issue that popped up, and nothing could be done to fix it except to wait. This one wasn’t so bad, and we were fortunate enough that it ultimately became a good thing. I know we won’t always be so lucky, but I hope that we’ll be able to remember to be graceful as we try to recover from all of the rest of the inevitable future roadblocks.
PS — I never actually sent Ben those drafts and hoped he’d just forget, but now, he’s probably reading this. Sorry, Ben. I guess I had the fear.