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On a Sunday rainy morning in Hong Kong, I feel like right now is the best time to write some of my thoughts, a mini reflection on how I am doing and how I am growing as an individual and as a small business. 💫
If you are new around, It all started 3 years ago, with uncertainty and a little push from some old partner. I've found myself walking through the adventurous mud for 3 years. We started as an online shop, thinking from a safety POV (safety of investment). Given my background in digital and design, it feels like it is a called-out destiny to embark on this journey. Then two years down the line, with many customer requests, we've taken a leap of faith to open our physical shop. In which I am super grateful we did it.
I started this not coming from a business background but from the experience of design and passion. (I am learning my way around the business, which right now is to keep my head above the water )I believe in growing slowly and steadily. I started with hours of photoshopping of one product, till now one day with multiple products. And hopefully, I am fluent enough to manage my time to conquer some big things around the shop. And so so much more to recap on what I have learned along the journey.
But the biggest thing I learned from this journey is the criticisms. And how to synthesize them. Some people are very critical and judgemental because I realized it is because of my age, gender, and pre-assumed upbringing after digesting it. I have a mid-40s male customer coming in the second day of our physical shop opening, started to make a conversation in English.
He asked me, "Are you like super-rich? How could you have started this business given you look so young!". I am sure he is saying it without thinking anything about stereotype assumptions that he just pointed out.
I told him that I work side hustle from Monday to Wednesday, and I have a couple of partners to help make our dream come true.
He then asked, "oh, what kind of hustle do you do to support your business?". - Given that point, I find it very judgemental already; he is questioning everything my team and I have worked hard on. With some back and forth on discriminatory comments on gender, age …
I've finally realized there is only that much I can say. For me to "explain" our business to someone like him encourages me to be unconsciously judgemental to another female small business owner.
I am trying to say that I hope any female small business owner out there, who just started their business and who are thinking to start. Don't let this non-constructive criticism put you down. These particular events (and some others) took me a couple of months to unravel and digest to finally understand. Not all criticism is constructive. We must analyze it with critical and logical thinking. And after synthetically pulling apart, you will know what is helpful and what is not.