A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend the launch of SoloMag, the brainchild of Jacqueline Parker. More on that cool woman in a later blog posting. I am drawn to people who glow. Call it the law of attraction, call it what you will. As such, I was drawn to Monica Graves.
She is radiant as a baseline…but when she talks about her business, she pretty much hums. Why? Quite simply, she loves what she does. And she’s very good at it. Her company is glamjulz and she sells her stunning creations in over 100 stores across Canada.
She started her first business at 16 painting t-shirts then moved on to painting murals but realized somewhere along the lines that these weren’t particularly lucrative. To supplement the income of her artistic pursuits, she took up some babysitting gigs. Believe it or not, that lead to an offer of work at Canada Post (time and time again…it’s who you know!). It wasn’t where she was planning on going in her career, but it certainly served a purpose. On the one hand, she recognized that she was denying her creative side, but on the other, the steady income was a toasty security blanket.
Along the way, she was offered a sales position with the organization and they encouraged her to go to business school.
Canada Post taught me about another side of myself…I already knew my artistic side pretty well. Art comes from within me and the more comfortable you are with something the easier it is to create. So for me, it’s pretty easy. Business lives on the other side of the brain and I found it was a new world of learnings.
I’m so happy that I was able to go to business school, thanks to Canada Post. If I had have pursued arts school, I’m really not sure where I’d be now.
Instead of letting the creative part of her lay dormant, she picked up the beading tools that she bought on a whim with a friend and started creating what she loved. Turns out, what she loved was what people wanted.
Before long, she had a sales person taking her creations to market and her husband was running glamjulz full-time. The pace of full days at Canada Post until 6pm and then creating stunning baubles until midnight started to take its toll on her well being.
Monica needed to take a step back and evaluate…and like all forks in the road, it was hard. On the one hand, she told herself that if she took the plunge full-time into glamjulz, she may well become the huge success that everyone around her told her she would be. On the other hand, who says no to Canada Post?
Three years ago, pretty much out of the blue, Monica was offered a package. Even though on some level she believes she manifested the situation, she still felt the three “s’s” pretty acutely: surprised, shocked and scared. She was faced with the choice: “should I stay or should I go?” This is not a fun choice to make. Canada Post had been a grounding force in her life…and now it was slipping away.
After the offer was made, she spent some time comparing herself to those around her. Then, after some values assessment and soul-searching, she saw the situation for what it was…an opportunity. With the support of friends, family and a much bigger vision of where she wanted to go, she was able to see what was now available to her. She took the package and immersed herself fully into developing glamjulz into the going concern it is today. Her creations adorn the necks, wrists and earlobes of the likes of Fergie, Paris Hilton, Elisha Cuthbert…and after pilfering my jewellery box, my daughter too. Monica has a robust bridal consulting business and her work has been featured on shows like “Rich Bride, Poor Bride”.
I now have power and am doing what’s right for me.
Could this have all come together without the Canada Post package offered to her? Monica knows that she would have made the shift eventually. She would have found some way to make it work. Because, underneath it all, she gets the value of knowing her values. Her advice to others thinking about making the leap into a new business venture?
Know your values and rate them in priority. When things are thrown at you, you’ll know how to handle it. You also need to really believe in yourself. It’s how energy works…write your business plan like the success is already happening.
And for those people who want to make a shift but simply don’t know what that shift could be?
Go back to your childhood; tap into what excited you as a kid. Notice what it was that set you apart from everyone else. It’s knowing our differences that helps us to see who we are. Something in there is magical.
And in Monica Graves’ case, not just magical, but shiny and beautiful too.