When I was in the sixth grade, my Mom bought me the most amazing pair of tennis shoes ever. They were puffy-on-top high tops in silver, and covered in a metric ton of silver and blue glitter. She referred to them as my “Michael Jackson shoes,” .. maybe because they matched his glove? No idea really – but as an 80s kid, that description was as good as any. Sadly I have big feet (a women’s 11 or 12) and to get these shoes, she had to special order them for me. The day I got them, I went BONKERS with joy. Literally jumping up and down, shouting out of the car window about how amazing my Mom was, and having what can only be described as a knock down, drag out tantrum of sheer JOY. I didn’t want to put them on because they were so amazing, so I spent a ton of time looking at them in the box with my eyes shining. To this day, my Mom remembers my crazy reaction to what I thought were the MOST beautiful shoes in the world.
I was – for the first time in my life – A KID WITH COOL SHOES. (Because when you’re 12 years old, there’s really not a lot of funky footwear in the Women’s size 11 section. For that matter, as an adult, there’s still slim pickings for funk factor in that size.)
I’m now 42 years old … and I’ve never forgotten those shoes. As it happens, glitter is back in fashion – though of course I’d argue that it never left. You can now find glitter covered things everywhere, from “unicorn” lattes to journal covers, phone covers, water bottles and as it happens… shoes. Last week I went shopping with one of my daughters and we found the sparkliest tennis shoes EVER (pictured above). They aren’t high tops, but I fell in love with them on sight and even though they didn’t have my size (They are too big. That never happens!) I bought them anyway. For the massive sum of $17, I got myself some sparkly, FABULOUS kicks covered in silver glitter with a hint of blue glitter. From… wait for it… K-Mart (which as everyone knows, is the House of Cool.)
Since then, I’ve barely taken them off. Rather than look down at my phone when I walk, I now look down at my feet and admire them. I actually move my feet around so I can watch them sparkle in the sunlight. Yeah, I’m THAT dork you see waiting at the stop lights doing a somewhat awkward foot shuffle while you sit in your car, see me grooving and think, “WTF? Does she have a spider in her shoe?” (Answer: NO BUT I HAVE AWESOME GLITTER ON MY FEET AND IT MUST BE AT MAXIMUM SPARKLAGE AT ALL TIMES.)
By now you’re wondering what the hell glitter covered shoes have to do with either baking, or business, or both. When I started this article, I wondered that too. Let’s be honest it was mostly me bragging about my new shoes, but whatever.
Here’s what glitter covered shoes have to do with baking, with business, with life:
- Sometimes it’s the smallest things which bring us the most joy – and we should really REVEL in that. Find the small things which make you happy – and EMBRACE those things as fully as you can. Don’t apologise for them. Really, REALLY take the time to enjoy the stuff which makes you happy. I am getting WAY more value out of these shoes than the $17 I paid for them. Got a favourite ice cream? REALLY savour the first bite and let it roll around your tongue. Love your freshly laundered sheets? Take a minute before falling asleep to do sheet angels on them. Like the sound of rain on your roof? Stop and LISTEN really closely, let the sound wash over you. I think we take the small joys for granted. We shouldn’t. We should literally BATHE in the gloriousness which is small, awesome stuff.
- As it happens, KMart had 3 colors of glittery shoes on offer- silver, black and rose gold. The cool part? I could easily afford to buy all three if I wanted – and THAT is what financial freedom means to me. I don’t want a life of financial freedom where I never have to think about money. I want to think about it a LOT – how to invest it, who to share it with, what communities to support with it, the good I can do in the world with it and so on. Instead I am building a life of financial CHOICE, where I can choose to buy the one pair or all three. And sure, all three pairs is only $51 (a freaking BARGAIN if you ask me)… but still, I want to be able to easily afford them all – OR afford to walk across to a fancy store where $51 will buy me a single shoelace. I’m building a life of CHOICE, and within that choice is where the freedom lies. (I didn’t buy all three. I’m not a fan of rose gold, and the black wasn’t glittery enough to make me feel the glitter feels. The point is I COULD if I WANTED to.)
- Screw the haters. I’ve often been told I walk to the beat of my own drummer, do my own thing, I’m brave, I’m independent, I’m unlike anyone else, I’m an original blah blah. People like to throw those expressions around as compliments but we all know it’s thinly veiled judgement about you making choices which are not the “norm.” I’ve reached a point in my life where I simply DO NOT CARE if people are going to judge me for wearing glitter shoes (or anything else for that matter) because in the cost benefit analysis… the JOY I get from wearing what I want is A SQUILLION TIMES MORE important than whatever rubbish people will say about me. And the joy is going to LAST LONGER than the few milli-seconds of hurt their stupid commentary causes.
- A few people commented (in a not-so-kind way, and accompanied with a disapproving head shake) that these shoes are really ‘teenagery.’ I fail to see the problem here. Teenagers are fun, bold, occasionally irresponsible, slightly mad humans who get to run amok and live off their parents for free food and housing plus experiment with drinking and piercings and stuff. I’m cool with that. (Mom, I’ll be over for dinner a bit later… but don’t wait up.)
- It’s what’s under the glitter that matters too – and it matters just as much. Just like a cake, if the outside looks good but the inside is a dry, falling apart mess… well, we’ve got a problem. It simply isn’t enough – for cake, for shoes, for humans – to be all that on the outside, and a whole lot of nothing on the inside. Build a solid, brilliant foundation THEN cover it with glitter (edible or otherwise). Quality matters – so build comfortable shoes, learn to bake decent cake (and support it with dowels please), and always, always be a good human. (Side note: I totally expected that for $17, I’d be leaving a trail of glitter everywhere I walked. Which I am COOL with, in fact I really like the idea of a glittery trail behind me. However, much to my happiness-slash-disappointment, I have yet to lose a single sparkle.)
- Not everything has to last forever to be awesome. I have no idea what the heck happened to my Michael Jackson shoes. I suspect I wore them out and then my Mom trashed them (or glitter became temporarily uncool to me, which is UNTHINKABLE but then pre-teens are also sometimes idiots). Same is true in business. You can run your business for the rest of your life, or just for the next few years. It’s not TIME which makes something worthy of pride, worthy of importance, or memorable. Don’t trash life experiences (or shoes) because they only lasted for a little while. Some of the best relationships I’ve had, jobs I’ve had, people I’ve interacted with, desserts I’ve eaten and business ideas I had only lasted a very short while but they still added loads of value to my life.
- BUY THE DAMN SHOES. It’s easy to deny ourselves small treats. Here were all my excuses: I didn’t actually need new shoes. I didn’t have a special occasion to wear them to (other than, well, LIFE), it wasn’t in the budget, people might judge me, where will I store them (insert eye roll. DUH, I WILL STORE THEM ON MY FEET), my kids might steal them (okay this is a real problem), there are starving children in the world, the money would be better used on my mortgage…. and on and on and ON. FUCK THAT. Sometimes, you’ve got to just buy the shoes. And feel NO GUILT.
I know, I know, I’ve spent an entire article talking about glitter covered shoes – and maybe for you, it’s a little hard to see how this article has anything to do with your baking business.
Here’s the thing: EVERYTHING HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH YOUR BAKING BUSINESS.
Small businesses are never, EVER just about business or money. They are about the people who own them, run them, work in them. They are about the people who love them, shop at them, and tell their friends about them. You can never separate the people from the business and THAT is why small business is awesome – because it’s personal.