THE BIG 'YES' DISGUISED AS A 'NO'
by Laila Ghattas
One of the biggest lessons this year came with the opportunity to experience the gifts found in what seemed to be obstacles, delays, and just plain 'NO'.
My healing work now includes a clothing line that helps women love their reflection again.
It’s an exciting expression of my creativity while holding the intention to support and encourage self-esteem.
As a Happiness Specialist, the new clothing dovetails beautifully into established personal growth programs to create a richly textured vocation that satisfies me all the way down to my toes! Talk about a mid life surprise.
When I left Bali last March, my tailor told me he may not be able to continue working with me because his big US client had arranged an exclusivity contract with him and although my orders were small, it may no longer be possible to fulfill them. But he would try.
Upon my return home the positive response to the new collection affirmed my heart felt intention to help women feel gorgeous while being comfortable.
Each event attended was more successful than the previous. Reorders where also growing. I could see and feel the momentum building, it was taking on a life of its own.
Divinely flattering Everywear pants and the matching tops SOLD OUT. Who knew?!
When I approached my tailor for a small reorder, he confirmed the new contract forbid it. I contacted the LA designer (whom I’d met at the Bali factory the year before), and literally begged her to allow me a tiny order which was 5% of her monthly output, just so I could maintain the momentum of interest and continue to support myself till I returned as planned to Bali winter 2017.
She responded, “Absolutely not.”
Frankly I was stunned that someone who once was a start up herself and a fellow female entrepreneur would cut me off from my livelihood. "Welcome to the cutthroat world of fashion", a friend in the industry told me. Seems factory exclusivity while tossing out all other clients is not uncommon.
Although he had given me his word to help relocate my manufacturing, my tailor had no contacts to offer. This was another shock to my system.
Eventually the US designer suggested a possible tailor to try but cautioned with warnings of unreliability in delivery, quality and consistency. I spent the summer distracted seeking alternatives. Plans for a blog, newsletters, improved web sites, branding under my name, these marketing priorities all fell away.
Returning immediately to Bali became the only option.
What’s interesting is if I hadn’t experienced the consistent and overwhelming enthusiasm for Laila Goddess Comfortwear earlier in spring, I may have thrown in the towel saying to myself this is surely a sign it's not meant to be, it was fun while it lasted. Just stick to growing my therapy business.
But my heart was totally convinced otherwise.
Cashing in all my aeroplan and airmiles, I very reluctantly left Canada early September to go save my company and find a new factory.
Utterly ambivalent about having to invest money, time and energy into this trip during my favourite late summer month, with no guarantees that I’d find my solution, or get inventory made in time to bring home, an unfamiliar feeling of resentment lodged inside me.
People said "Oh how lucky you're going to Bali!", when all I wanted was to be home for September weather, fall colours, and October Thanksgiving while continuing to build momentum, earn a living and attend events where my clothes could find new homes.
Not too surprising I suffered from a nasty respiratory virus caught on the plane. While bedridden with fever and jet lag fatigue first week in, delaying meetings, production plans and desperately wanting to go back home, little did I know my reward was waiting.
In summer I reached out to a number of conctacts in the Bali clothing industry who might have ideas. A Canadian shop owner I'd met last winter casually referred me via Facebook to a wonderful Balinese man who graciously invited me to his home to meet his family on a very special Hindu Ceremony celebration at end of my first week.
After we discovered he and his wife couldn’t help me with my specific production needs, he was inspired to suggest what ended up being the most perfectly aligned and fundamentally improved solution- quite beyond my imagination.
My history with the original tailor had been riddled with production mistakes causing concerns and hesitation about risking larger order investment.
I was blocked about expanding and I knew it. However I was attached to his familiarity, he was trustworthy and had supported me so beautifully in other areas. It was clear that without his specific help and ideas, especially guiding me into fabric design from the start, this venture would not have gotten off the ground.
Yet I had to let him go.
Into my lap landed a large, well staffed factory headed by the most amiable, reliable, experienced businessman. My confidence exploded as the new factory melted away fears regarding reliability in communication, accuracy and delivery.
My largest ever order -including making patterns and test samples- was produced in 12 days (vs 2 months).
Confidence was so high I effortlessly attracted the first Canadian wholesale order at the same time, and the factory managed to produce that also!
The more interaction I had with the new manufacturing partners, the deeper my conviction was that I’d just won the lottery.
I'll admit tears of joy ran freely those last two weeks. Quite the change from weeping buckets of discouragement upon arrival and through my illness.
The new collection was well made, consistently sized, gorgeous, and quickly started to sell upon my return to Canada.
The unexpected cherry on top was that the extremely mild weather in Southern Ontario prolonged the autumn colour brilliance. I didn’t miss a thing as Indian summer days waited for me...
What became clear in Bali was that I had actually asked for this to happen to me.
My deepest desire was to grow, to have reliability in production, I yearned to have confidence to expand into the wholesale market.
More ease was what I longed for. That meant releasing what was hard.
At a much deeper level I now understand that when I am truly committed to ease while being aligned with my heart’s vision, no matter what happens, no matter what I have to let go of, no matter what it looks like, however disappointing, scary, difficult, discouraging or unnecessary something seems, even when I'm sick with fever so far away from home, the path is unfolding for the highest good.
No doubt more challenges await, yet my soul is comforted by this extraordinary demonstration of how the best always manifests at the exact right time.
Hope you feel it too!
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