“People often forget how great the relationship was or how good you were…but they will always remember how it ended.” –S.P

A dear friend once said these words to me and they’ve resonated with me ever since. I’ve tried to apply them to as many aspects of my life as I could…only to realize that not all goodbyes are bad…some leave room for greatness.

After much contemplation, I’ve decided to move on and more forward WITHOUT Fashion Caravan. I started this baby 2 years ago exactly and I’ve decided it would only be fitting to say goodbye on December 8th which marks our 2 year anniversary. No, it wasn’t an ugly nor a bad breakup but of course it makes me a little sad letting go. I started this venture in hopes to make friends, meet people and gain some insight into this CRAZY world of entrepreneurship-I gained SO much more. I’ve learned from mentors, made new friends and learned the ins and outs of business that NONE of us think of when purchasing a $15 scarf that we try to bargain for $10. I’ve learned to never undermine the behind the scenes of anyone and also understand all the faith, hard work and lonely nights that go into creating a business. Fashion Caravan was like a best friend to me. She became my friend when I didn’t have many and introduced me to all of her friends who are now such wonderful peers, mentors and friends in my own circle. Fashion Caravan grew out of loneliness and despair and with time, brought with it a ton of light, hope and opportunities. I am eternally grateful.

I’ve learned so much about myself, about business and about others through this venture. I’d never be able to put it ALL down in words but here are 4 monumental lessons I’ve learned through it all:

  • Make your business about YOU. By you, I mean, what works for YOU. Don’t compare yourself to the filtered images of others. Don’t compare yourself to the number of followers by others. Don’t compare yourself period. It will eat at your happiness and often times, you will lose sleep obsessing over your perception of another person’s success while they may be feeling the SAME EXACT way. Many don’t speak about it but a lot of us suffer from the evils of comparison. It’s inevitable and at some point it will catch you…but before it swallows you, be mindful of it, and take the measures necessary to protect your heart and mind. NOTHING is worth it. If you need to stop following someone, if you need to deactivate your account, DO IT. DO YOU and you will ALWAYS be successful.
  • Moving on is not failure; it may be the best damn decision of your life. Naturally, when you launch a business, you assume your first business/baby will be it. The most “successful” entrepreneurs gave a go at a number of things before hitting “home”. Not ALL businesses are meant to be wheels of revenue. Some may pay you well while others may teach you lessons that will help you in your next venture. Whatever it is, EVERY SINGLE business has a lot to teach you if you pay attention. If your passion dies for your business….move on. I am. I never started Fashion Caravan because I was passionate about scarves or accessories. I started this business with the purpose of learning ABOUT business, about people and creating a network for myself that wasn’t handed to me. My business was successful because I achieved that and much more. As my business achieved its goal, I don’t see reason to hold on to something I am no longer passionate about. If you have a chance to make a semi graceful exit before starting to look sloppy, do it. Your reputation will thank you later. For all of you who are no longer passionate about what you’re doing…move on. Nothing is permanent, nor are you. The relief will be worth it.
  • Give gifts, as often as you can and as much as your business permits. The blessing of giving some of your best work for free is indescribable. I don’t mean to give all your products away for free to everyone at all times! I genuinely attribute Fashion Caravan’s successful to faithful customers. Those customers know who they are and you should remind them of being in your thoughts by occasionally mailing a surprise package or a thoughtful note. I know I was able to come this far primarily because maybe somewhere, someone prayed for me after opening a surprise Eid gift/card. If possible, allocate a percentage every year that is reserved for gift giving. It doesn’t even have to be a customer. It could be someone who follows you and stays engaged via Instagram but hasn’t purchased anything yet. You may not always know their reasons for not purchasing your product-make their day. It could be a speaker who inspired you or better yet, one of your competitors. In my opinion, gifting is the reliever of hearts.
  • Last but definitely not the least, have a life outside of your business. While some claim that to be successful, you need to LIVE and BREATHE your business; I disagree. I think you need to live and breathe the values you hope to translate through your business but NOT your business. A few years down the road, you will look back and wish you attended that birthday or that getaway with your girlfriends. A successful business indeed requires sacrifice but not at the expenses of those things and people that mean most to you. Narrow those things down. Sit down and ask yourself, who and what IS truly important to you? Is your family important? Your friends? Time with your partner? Financial stability? Be real with yourself. Many are often not prepared for the sacrifices required and BECAUSE of that, they sacrifice the WRONG things. Sometimes, we think that once we make a certain amount of money, our business will be on cruise control and THEN we will have all the time to spend with our families and travel and you name it. You cannot buy time. Today you have one goal or priority, tomorrow it’ll be another. Instead of sacrificing those you love today in order to buy you time with them tomorrow, just spend time with them today. It is pretty simple.

So whats next for me? I don’t know and I’m okay with that. I will definitely be writing more and you’ll still be able to find me on my personal website to come. It’ll be a space where I share my thoughts and lessons on faith, relationships and business. I’ll be ranting a lot more on Chai Weekly-be prepared.

I’d like to finish this letter by thanking EACH AND EVERY SINGLE one of you who supported Fashion Caravan, guided me, gave me advice, helped me, listened, and were patient with me. After the lights go out, it will only be your kindness that I will remember.

Love,

Annum

(Yes…I’m going to host some mega sale/shopping party, don’t worry!)

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