Smoke Perfume turned 10 years old on Feb 2nd! Smoke is both the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the most natural extension of myself and my gifts at the same time. I’m feeling so sentimental about this milestone, and wanted to share 6 guiding values that have gotten me to this point:
1) Listen to, and trust, your intuition. If I had run Smoke the way business books, coaches, society, and other people thought I should run it, it wouldn’t be the same company. In fact, the times I’ve tried to fit into someone else’s mold are the times I’ve been most miserable. The mistakes I’ve made that I’ve regretted the most were ALL times I didn’t listen to my inner wisdom. It’s a constant practice, but my biggest goal now is to always follow my intuition, and NEVER do anything I don’t want to do!
2) Give yourself, and your business, permission to change. Running a business is PERSONAL, and we are ever-changing beings. My business looks totally different today than it did 5 years ago, and it looks different today than I ever could have imagined. There’s so much freedom, growth, and success in allowing things to change, products to fall off, ideas to be scrapped.
3) Ask for help, in all areas! Running this business has shown me my strengths, and also my weaknesses. On a practical level, I outsource what I don’t enjoy or am not good at (LOVE my accountant), on a personal level, this project has brought up insecurities, internalized self-hatred rooted in capitalism and productivity, and more. I have had to learn to ask for help from therapy, to loved ones, to hiring, to a more sustainable work/life balance, to getting real about burnout, boundaries, and taking time off. If you don’t address those deeper things, they will rob you of all your joy, TRUST.
4) Release pressure and urgency. Capitalism keeps us spinning, thinking we need to do it all right now, but of course that’s not true, and it’s not sustainable for a small business. We can’t compete with large corporations that set these ground rules, and the less we try, the happier we will be. Perfume is a slow art, and I value letting it take the time it takes.
5) Define what success looks like to YOU. We are sold a narrow view of success $$$, but I've found that widening that definition has made me more grateful for my wins, and more aware of my values. Money is great, but so is a flexible schedule, a creative career, the opportunity to travel, and so much more. When we redefine our definition of success we find greater success.
6) Never stop learning, never stop growing! Everything that inspires you fits in your brand. I have taken so many meandering paths, and all of them converge in Smoke, from my work in the healing arts, to herbalism, to perfume, and more. It's a lie that we have to keep ourselves compartmentalized and separate.
Thank you all so much for being here and the support! I’m endlessly grateful to be standing here with such a vibrant community around me. My life is richer for launching this humble brand 10 years ago.
Yours with hope, Kathleen