Sometimes I struggle with starting a blog entry. I let it hold me back all too often. It’s like I really want to write. I can figure out everything I want to say, and how to say it, but I can’t find the way to start off all WITTY like. So, that’s where I was when I sat down to write this last week. I delayed it because I couldn’t think of how to start. Then I remembered a conversation that I had with Cindy Lewis, Lewis Jewelers’ main lady! We were talking over text a few days after the Emily Armenta event. She was asking me about something totally different; she was actually asking me to model in an event at the store. Anyway, Cindy told me that Emily Amenta asked “what TV show is she in?” Well there you have it, my witty start.
I had to clarify with Cindy that when I spoke to Emily, I was trying to explain that in my former life, I think I was supposed to be somebody like Oprah! Lord knows I’ve had the weight struggles like O. (Although based on one of those Facebook personality tests, I was more like TV personality and talk show host, Wendy Williams. Go Figure!) I did tell Cindy to make sure that I wasn’t being confused with Delta Burke or something like that. I’ve been compared to her before. I made sure to have her understand that we were talking about SKINNY Delta Burke, not the later, much large Delta Burke. Truth be told, I have also been compared to Brooke Burke. I much prefer that Burke over the other, but hey, just as long as people are asking, right?
TV personality “me” loves interviewing or asking questions to successful business people. PEOPLE ARE REMARKABLE. I love digging in their brain, and finding out what makes them tick. In all of the times I have asked questions of successful entrepreneurs, they have always said that relationships have been the base of their success. VIOLA!
Same thing happened with Emily. When we spoke later that day at the event, Emily told me that her relationships had helped her create her business. She further explained, whether it was her relationships with vendors, retailers, employees, even customers like me, it was those relationships that kept her business going. I had heard it in her voice when she spoke to our group at breakfast that same morning. I could hear how intently she spoke about the various people who had been instrumental in her developing her business plan, mainly her college professor, her first employee, her banker, and now all the way to the Lewis family. Those relationships meant the world to her. I could tell when she met each of us in attendance that her conversations weren’t just about getting another sale, she was genuinely interested in listening to her customer. I don’t know if you noticed, I said “listening”. I actually had typed “talking” to her customer, but I went back and re-typed that word, and wrote LISTENING to her customer.
I also noticed Emily’s conversational style with us. She was so down to Earth, wanting to create a real energy in her relationships with each of us. I’m sure it’s partly because she is Texan. Being a fellow Texas business girl, I appreciated her ability to tell a tale. And her big, hearty laugh. The girl can chuckle. While she spoke with our group in a question and answer type interview, she could laugh at herself. Between she and Cindy, I wasn’t sure whose laugh was heartier. Emily even marveled almost at herself, when she recalled how things fell in place as she built her jewelry business. She told her story where you could absolutely see the picture she painted, her jalopy of a car, pulling up to Tootsie’s to give them jewelry for a client. It happened again when she talked about her handbag business getting started by accident. She was deeply moved when she talked about the relationships with artisans, and picking stones that were artisan driven.
What we kept going back to over and over again, in the entire conversation, was her relationships.
As I left the event that day, I recalled many of my talks with business friends. I have always loved my good pal Ray Guyton. He has typically been in the hotel biz. We often talk over tea or wine, and we talk about his various positions all over the United States. From hotel guests to vendors, to fellow employees to management, we shared one sentiment…relationships. In one particular talk, he made one point, to always “be authentic”. I loved that. I added in that some convo, “being authentic means being vulnerable.”
While listening to Emily, she wasn’t afraid to be authentic. Or vulnerable. It was refreshing to be REAL.
So, here’s to being Authentic today, and being Vulnerable. And being Remarkable. After all, we are building relationships.