Fear Less Series | Chapter 1 – Quixotic Vintage Shop
The Fear Less Series opens a conversation to help women in business draw strength from their fears.
To help grow their own business, or find a connection with women going through similar thoughts and processes to better themselves every single day.
Fear Less Series – An Introduction
There is strength in fear, if you know where to look.
Fear is often looked upon as such a negative, especially when it comes to our own business.
We’re afraid to talk about it with peers, afraid that it will make us seem weak or like we don’t know what we’re doing, when in fact we should be celebrating fear. Not just ours, but others’ too.
You might be surprised by the common ground you find in this space.
Next time you want to start a conversation, instead of sharing what’s new in your business, what if you shared a fear you’d overcome that week instead?
Could this spark a deeper conversation and a closer connection as a result? Would it humanise us more, away from the perfect portrayal of our businesses from an outside perspective?
Ask yourself, when you’ve shown strength in fear, where has this led you? How did you grow?
I started this project after I began a journal on my own fears.
Before bed, I would take the time to write about one fear I had overcome that day, how I did it and how I felt before and after.
The strength in reading my own words back to me was indescribable. It also helped me to have gratitude and appreciate just how far I’ve come, and how quickly these little steps of progression through fear can add up over time.
This sparked two ideas – talking about fear could help others AND talking to others about their fears could help me and others too!
So the Fear Less project was born.
Are you ready for Chapter 1?
Chapter 1: Quixotic Vintage Shop
In this chapter we chat with Eileen about her journey with her business Quixotic Vintage Shop. Her story explores the fears of judgement, comparison and rejection.
I did everything on my own terms and how I wanted my shop to be, and not how I thought people wanted it.
What do you do / what is your business?
I run Quixotic Vintage Shop – set around the 90’s fashion era and the iconic styles of that time. My pieces are inspired by super models, the grunge era and relaxed and flattering fits for the female figure.
I sell both vintage clothing thrifted from op-shops, markets and garage sales and reworked vintage pieces that are cropped, altered or embellished.
My other love is finding and collecting vintage material where I make one-off hand-made items and custom designs.
My items are only available through Instagram, where I post around 5 nights a week.
Do you have a team or are you a one woman show?
It’s just me! I curate, photograph, post and sell!
How do you feel about your business now?
Great! I’m proud of where I’m at, what I’ve achieved so far and that I’ve been able to sustain myself with something I thought I could never do.
I didn’t think it was possible.
Quixtotic Vintage Shop / Shoot by Chasing Chi
What was a scary early step in your business that now seems small and insignificant?
Literally, just posting up a new item.
I would over analyse it – ‘this photo is s***, no-one is going to pay this price, etc’ and then I’d get butterflies every time I’d upload.
This was back at the start, but I still remember how much my stomach would turn, it was that bad. Then when I had a break and took a step back and focused on my branding, I did everything on my own terms and how I wanted my shop to be, and not how I thought people wanted it. I started choosing items that I was confident in and that I liked, and this didn’t make me as nervous.
Is that how you overcame that fear?
Yes. I started being true to myself. I stopped trying to do what everyone else was doing, or thinking what was right. I also made a point not to stray from my own vision.
Has there been any other aspect of your business that has scared you or stopped you in some way? Or has held you back, even now?
Making my own designs. It scares me because making something that I like and want to make, it’s my idea and my design.
The first one I made was my bell flare top, and it was hard because I would post it, and everyone could see my work – friends, family and strangers because it’s social media right! So knowing I was putting something out there that I made and the possibility that it might not sell and no-one would like it, it got to me. It still does. I’m vulnerable in that moment when I put everything into each of my designs. If no-one likes it, then everyone knows that no-one likes it.
So, you’re afraid of other people’s perception of your work and ideas without knowing the outcome?
Yes! Then…when someone commented SOLD and NIL, NIL, NIL (next in line) after it, I was like, oh!
That first sale gave me the confidence to keep going.
How do you feel now?
Definitely more confident. I still have that fear in my mind but now I can deal with it.
Quixtotic Vintage Shop / Shoot by Chasing Chi
How does fear affect you? Emotionally, physically, mentally?
Oh, all of the above! *laughs*
How? It overruns my thoughts, my mind goes into overdrive. I care a lot about what people think or their perception of me.
The thoughts running through my head are – I don’t want them to be let down by me or disappointed in me, or think that I don’t care. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, the fear freezes me up so then the work is sacrificed because I keep being in that mindset and not fixing the issue or overcoming it.
Physically, I avoid the work or it does really get to me. I start to get a headache, I can’t concentrate and I become unproductive. I procrastinate and fall into the cycle of overthinking again and making myself feel sick.
What kind of things do you end up doing when you’re avoiding the obstacle?
I end up sitting there and thinking or I go to sleep. Or I replay the whole situation in my head and come up with worst-case scenarios, what-ifs and conversations where I wished the situation panned out differently.
How have you ended up changing that mindset or physical situation?
I talk about it.
I talk about it with close friends or family – my support network. It makes me feel good that I can get my thoughts out of my head. You can have it all out on the table, so to speak, and get other people’s perspective. When you’re overthinking something – you only see your own perspective and that’s often the most negative.
Would you say conversation, or sharing your fears has made the impossible seem possible?
You’re your own worst enemy. You come up with your own road blocks and say ‘Nah, I can’t do that.’ Then you speak to someone else, and go, ‘Oh, actually, maybe I can!’. You see the other side, the positive side and the opportunities that come with it.
Seeing where you were when you first started and where you are now, what’s an aspect of your life where you’ve felt you’ve changed or become better as a result of overcoming your fear from running your business?
I don’t know if this will sound odd *laughs* – but I’ve become happier.
Why do you feel that?
I’ve changed the environment I was in before, when I was unhappy. Which is not easy, and not everyone takes that opportunity either.
I’ve also grown as a person. There’s qualities I didn’t like about myself, that I used to have that I’ve now let go of or worked on.
What are some of those qualities?
I’m more open-minded, while I’m still a sensitive and emotional person, it’s not to the point where I let it into that negative space and overrun my mind.
How I react to certain situations, I don’t hold onto the past as much anymore. I don’t have the resentment or regret that I used to have.
Do you feel freer as a result of this happiness and changed mindset?
Yes, and it shows! I have a better relationship with my family, and it’s nice seeing how much support I do have around me and with my business now.
Quixtotic Vintage Shop / Shoot by Chasing Chi
What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is trying to overcome fear in their business?
Only one piece of advice?! *laughs*
You can have more!
It’s okay to make mistakes.
It’s okay to be passionate about your business and your work, and I know this is hard, but don’t compare yourself to others. That’s a lot of what I did at the start of the year, stupid s*** like that. You’re you – you only have your ideas. You’re unique in your own way and it will show.
Be careful when you put people on a pedestal, because when you dig deeper you usually find they’re exactly the same as you – they’re just human.
I’m also not saying that I don’t still fall into the comparison trap, but the difference is knowing I’m doing it and stopping myself. You have the choice. You don’t have the time to waste that energy on negativity, you just don’t.
What are some ways that you coax yourself through fear?
I look back on my feed and I see what I’ve done and created. To see where I am now compared to my own past and see my items have sold, I then remind myself that no one else is like me and I’m happy with that.
Reminds me of the quote – the only person you should be comparing yourself to is who you were yesterday.
Yes, exactly. I love scrolling through my past items and seeing that transition where I had that break and reset in my style and where you can see I made it more personal and from there you can see it’s almost like a completely different business and that’s what does make me happy when I see that. That’s the s***! *laughs*
I love how I’ve got to that turning point – I can see that change in my mindset and my business. It’s there and it’s a good reminder of my journey.
Do you think moving through fear or working with fear is necessary to grow in business?
Definitely, if it doesn’t scare you a little bit then it’s not worth it, it’s not growth, it’s not doing anything for you.
So do you welcome fear?
Ohhhhhh…*laughs* well if I’m nervous or if I’m scared I know it’s something I really care about and I know it will better me, change me or I’ll learn from it.
What’s your current relationship with fear and your business at the moment?
Oh yeah! It’s up there at the moment! I’m in the transition period of preparing to launch more of my own designs, and this will be a direct extension of me. I can hide behind my vintage pieces, but my own designs where everything is created by me, that’s my biggest fear. The fear is still there that no-one will like it and no one will buy it.
So what’s the worst thing that could happen?
Just that. That no one would like it. No one would like something I’ve put so much time, effort, creativity, money and sanity into with the fear that no one will like it.
Okay, with this fear you currently have of nothing selling – how many of your designs have you sold so far?
I feel that this is a fear you can send back to the universe, because while it has served you well, you’re well past it.
Yeah, I think you’re right.