Industry Indignation: My Pet Peeves Of Running A Lingerie Business
Posted on 07 June 2017
(Mrs. White from Clue circa 1985)
Ok let's see if I can do this without getting fired up.......Hi! I'm Kristina and I consider myself an even-tempered person. Sure, I may stress out easily but I also make a conscious effort to keep an open mind and adapt to change. How else are we supposed to survive in this ever-evolving world, right? But despite my measly attempts at meditation there are still things about running a lingerie business that really - excuse the expression - get my panties in a bunch. Things that if I don't vent about every once in a while might just make me explode.
Before I start spouting off let me just reiterate that I've been working in the lingerie business for almost 20 years (20 years!) and it is my chosen forever career. But accepting the fact that not everyone has the same kind of work ethic as I do has been a trying experience. If you are thinking of starting a lingerie business - or any business for that matter - I encourage you to read on and learn from my annoyances. And if for some reason this kind of stuff doesn't bother you then you'll have to tell me..... what's your secret?
Getting trolled on the internet is can be extremely upsetting but as a business where everything you post is about lingerie you can imagine how more sexually explicit those comments can get. Big surprise, but the overwhelming majority of these trolls are men. Men who think it's their duty to police women's bodies. Sorry (not really), but I don't care what you think about the models on my website. Almost as much as I don't care to receive unsolicited dick pics from you when I’m trying to run a business. And those derogatory comments on my Facebook are just going to get you blocked so how about take your toxic masculinity elsewhere?
Everything to Everyone
Like many of us I grew up being taught to strive for perfection. If you're perfect then people will like you and life will be easy! So naturally I used to kill myself to become the most perfect employee possible. I worked 12 hour days, gave up weekends and yes'd my superiors to death. But for what? After years of damaging my health and sacrificing my happiness I realized that I was pursuing a silly fantasy and that perfection is just an illusion. Fast-forward to my new business and it didn't take me long to realize that the same principles apply here. I wish I could be the "perfect" store. I wish I could offer my customers every size in every color for super cheap. But sadly, I'm just a small bootstrap business and boy are these bootstraps tight! I had to realize once more that I can't be everything to everyone and that trying to be perfect will take me back down that same sad road (and bankrupt me in the process).
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When your life and career revolve around lingerie you're going to meet a lot of brands. It can be tough to keep track of each person you meet when new labels pop up every season. With all the competitive turnover, it's no surprise that these brands fight for attention and at times take their networking game a little too far. One way I find particularly obnoxious is when they sign you up for their email newsletters without your consent. Just because I gave you a business card does not mean I want you to saturate my inbox with your emails. I don’t have time to search for the unsubscribe button on all these emails and it will inevitably make me second guess working with you. So for the sake of our partnership (and for my sanity) please ask before bombarding me with your agenda.
And while we're on the top of emails can you please answer mine sometime in the next decade? It is insanely frustrating when I'm doing business with someone and suddenly the correspondence just stops. Was it something I said? Is it my breath? Or are you just so busy that you can't take a second to write back a quick response out of common courtesy? Hey, I understand that we're all really busy and things can get lost in the shuffle but when there's a serious problem and you ghost, it looks like you think your time is more important than everyone else's. Maybe I'm just from the old school way of thinking but I believe in treating all people with respect and courtesy.
Liar Liar Panties On Fire
If there's one thing I hate more than misogynistic trolls, striving for perfection, saturated inboxes and being ghosted, it's liars. You know...... those brands that come on the scene claiming to be a "disrupter" of the industry or bringing some new "innovation" to our market. Because I can guarantee you that 10 times out of 10, those new ideas and revelations are something that industry vets have been working on for years. Just because you see these new brands written up in magazines, advertising on billboards and boasting millions of Instagram followers doesn't mean that they're the real deal. It simply means that they have access to a lot of money that most small businesses aren't fortunate enough to have. Lucky for you that you are privileged enough to be gifted millions of dollars, but playing like you worked for years to get here just takes away from the small brands who have sacrificed so much.
(From the Dove Real Beauty campaign)
I support body positivity. In fact, as someone with body dysmorphia, I overwhelmingly support body positivity. But what I don't support is people who promote body positivity with a self-serving agenda - especially if they already fit societies standard of beauty and haven't experienced the deep scars of body shame before. Whether it's to sell their product or just an excuse to force their own narrative into everyone else's story - these faux spokespeople of BoPo are intent on whatever they can get from the movement under the guise of being supportive and spreading self love. Hey, I'm sure that for many the sentiment is real. But for others I have to wonder: if they dropped the sales agenda, would they still be pioneering for this movement?
Welp, so much for writing an even-tempered post. Thanks for listening to my bitching! Hopefully I haven't pissed anyone off too much and now if you'll excuse me - I have some Zen to search for.