Monday, December 12, 2016

Empowerment and Epiphanies

Starting one's own business is always daunting. Even more so when that business involves selling sex toys and becoming the "dildo lady." I started my Pure Romance business three years ago, largely for fun and product discounts. I wasn't interested in building a team or giving up my IT income. I wanted to make some new friends and I was promised cheese. (I'll do most anything for cheese.) After meeting other team members and going to trainings, my motivation changed. I started to want more. I wanted to offer more. To more women. So I did.

My business has changed a lot in the last three years and I love it. I've learned how to deal with the looks and the sometimes abrasive questions.

"Oh, it's one of those parties?"
"I'm just not that open about those things."
"I think sex is private."
"Let's face it, it just boils down to selling sex toys."

The last from my sister. While my friends were supportive from the start, my family was not. Which was okay. I wasn't doing it for approval and I'd been to enough parties to know what really happened and how tasteful they are. I figured they'd come around.

My business has introduced me to people I wouldn't otherwise meet. I've made friends across the country. I was able to go on a cruise to Mexico. I worry much less when I need car repair or new tires. I've been able to use party profits to donate to my favorite causes. My confidence grew. I've learned to let go of trying to do things perfectly. This year I'm close to doubling my sales from last year.

While all of those things are wonderful and reason enough for me to continue to grow my business, I've had some recent experiences that have validated that I am doing exactly what I should be doing. My Why, my reason for doing what I do, has changed a few times. The Pure Romance motto is 'Educate. Empower. Entertain.' I have those words in my head at each party and many times as I'm doing business chores. What I've heard from my customers shows me how I'm following that direction and those values.

One customer is very recently divorced and it wasn't pretty. I met her a year ago at a party and she was my hostess at a party over the summer. She called me while I was at national training to order a brand new product and later contacted me with feedback about her purchase. She loved it, and I was glad, but I was touched when she said that the only area of her life going well was the one involving me. Her sex life was better since meeting me than in the 11 years of her marriage. If a woman going through a divorce doesn't need a little self-esteem boost, I don't know who does. I also know that she voted differently than I did but checked in on me the day after the election, offering an ear or a shoulder in my sadness. This is the definition of women supporting and empowering each other.

I did a party this past Saturday with several repeat customers. I like to do a question and answer at the end of my demonstration to give my customers a chance to ask what they want to know about my business. Why I started. What it's like. How we get training. One of the girls asked what has been the most exciting aspect on my journey and my response was knowing when my business started to grow noticeably. How I don't go more than a few days without hearing from a customer with a question or a comment. This year has been really exciting in that way.

We talked a bit about the stigma of sex and parties and the business. I shared how knowing that I am in a place to help women is invaluable. And that's when another of the girls shared something that just gave me chills. She said that since she has been attending parties, she sees herself differently. Where she used to base her value on a man's assessment of whether or not she was attractive, she now dismisses that in favor of how SHE feels about herself. That she's just fine the way she is. That she doesn't have sex randomly with men in hotels. That her self-esteem was improved and her negative thoughts about herself have changed because of what I do. And, I'm sure, because of what she gets from the other women who share their stories at my parties.

And that - that is what I'm most excited about. Because it's SO important that as women we feel strong and capable and smart and desired and, moreover, that feeling comes from inside us. Knowing that I'm able to make a difference and to also keep these women safe from random sex quiets the naysayers, even if only in my head. And it's not because I lecture them. It's because I have products and a platform from which to tell them the truth.

This is what will keep me going. When a party gets canceled, when I fall short of my goals, when I feel like I didn't get the right message across. I know that these women's lives have changed. I know they now have a better foundation for self. I know they are learning to love themselves. It's what I want for all of  us. And it's how I know I'm doing just what I should be and I will continue as long as I can make a difference.


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