Tag Archives: startup

The Downfall…….

I almost don’t know where to begin.  Everything with CTA’s developement and progress was going better than I could imagine, and then a bombshell hit me, impacting every single aspect of my life; most prolifically, Cargo Train head-on!

December was a great month for the company.  I was planning a half a dozen new projects and excited to bring in the new year living a dream that I had spent my life daydreaming about, and in January of this year, that dream came to an absolute stand-still.  It’s the first time ever did a personal situation ever effect my work.  Most specifically, my marriage.

When I began building this company, doing all of the research, logo designing, networking, etc…my husband would tell me that he was so excited for me, and that he would be disappointed if I ever stopped fighting for my dream with launching Cargo Train, and I foolishly believed his words, until I slowly began to see that the further I took Cargo Train, the more friction began to build up between he and I.  I was totally perplexed.  He was telling me this, but his actions were showing me something completely different.

I knew things were getting bad when my family members started reaching out to me, and telling me that my husband was “overbearing” and “controlling” me.  Having what I thought was a solid marriage and family life, I didn’t want to believe what they were trying to tell me.  From that night, I began watching him closer than I ever have….looking for clues and signs that would somehow validate what my family was trying to tell me.  So I said, “fuck it”, let’s find out, and I simply went out with my friends one night to a cafe that I had been going to since I was 14 years old.  Something I haven’t done since getting married, being a new mom and starting CTA (common sacrifice when youre a self-funded solopreneur…the social life is always the first to go), my daughter stayed with my mother that night, and the night was going smoothly…..that was until I came back home around 1:30am.

With my daughter sleeping in my arms.  I opened the door and walked into the living room; I was completely devastated with what I saw.  My house was a disaster!  I kept my cool, and calmly put my daughter into her bed, and then went from room to room, guaging and “taking in” what he had done just because I went out against his wishes.  I walked from the kitchen to the dining room table to find one of my boxes with a knife sticking out of it, and that honestly scared me.  I took it as an immediate threat for my safety, even thought he had never been physical with me before, I knew better than to underestimate someone’s ability to do anything.  My stomach plummeted, and instantly thought of my office on the 2nd floor where I ran all of Cargo Train’s admin and shipping.  Inventory was kept in a room down the hall from my office which doubled as my make shift photography studio……everything had been destroyed!  My equipment, my files, the items I had been prepping for sale that week, my props, supplies…..he destroyed everything out of a senseless act of pure jealousy.

I almost didn’t know how to react.  So many emotions were hitting me at once.  All I could think of was the magnitude of the sacrifices I had made in order to live my dream:  time away from our daughter, saving money for more inventory or supplies instead of buying things for myself.  The hundreds of hours I had dedicated to the progress of Cargo Train.  Severals days every week only sleeping maybe 2-3 hours before going into my dispatching job (midnights), then coming home and taking care of our daughter while he worked 12+ hours, all the while, playing “perfect wife” cooking the meals, cleaning the house….I was cinderella without the fancy dress and my prince charming being my worst nightmare —I was just…..devastated.

He killed my dream.  He took the one thing I loved as much as being a mother……my ability to adequetly operate my company.

To me, CTA was just like having a 2nd child.  I created it, nurtured it, supported it, sacrificed for it, dreamt about it my whole life….I saw CTA no different than my own daughter, of course the only difference being that I would never sacrifice my daughter’s well-being for Cargo Train, she always came first…regarless of the dreams I had.  So mentally, he took one of my children from me.  I swallowed hard, and walked into the guest bedroom, where he was passed out on the bed, and I calmly informed him that he had 48 hours to remove himself from the house, or I was going to do it for him.  The hardest part was the confirmation of all the “feelings” and “signs” I had been noticing for awhile, but refused to acknowledge. What “good wife” would? I was in denial because I loved him as much as I did.

This was my husband, the man who made an oath to love me and be there  for me until the end of time. Never expecting ever that he would be the one that was sabatoging my every effort, every step of the way!  Placing roadblocks in front of me, and getting more and more constricting when I was overcoming, not only, being the underdog entrepreneur of St. Louis, but all the extras he was throwing at me as well.  I kept reaching goals, and his resentment towards my ambitions kept growing!

I am still coping with the aftermath and the separation to this day now nearly 10 months later, and the struggle didn’t end in back in January…..little did I know, they were only the beginning!  The worst was still to come.  It probably took me about 2 weeks before I had the strength to walk back into my office and begin salvaging what I could. Being a self-funded startup, I knew I had no extra finances to replace what was destroyed.  I cried….a lot, the pain from the betrayal was bad enough, but battling both the loss of my company and the loss of the “ideal” family life was overwhelming. Faking smiles for my daughter so that she didn’t have to see how sad mommy was all the time, and that daddy was to blame.  I didn’t want to push my feelings and thoughts of my ex-husband out on her, she still very much adored her father, and coming from someone who never had that privilege, I wasn’t about to take that from her…..so I would lie day after day and say mommy got mascara or my infamous liquid liner in my eye…it made for a perfect excuse for the tears.

That night in January changed me completely…..inside and out!  I turned to fitness as an outlet for the pain and increidble anger I was stuck with and as a way of preparing me to become a single mom, and all that was to follow after the separation.  Even though, CTA was growing up beautifully, my ex-husband was still the bread winner after my “night job” closed for business; so I relied solely on Cargo Train to fill in the financial gap.  The next several months after we separated, I lost everything one by one….the car (repo’d), the house (expired lease), sold many of my possessions just to make ends meet for me and my daughter, and accepting that I was about to become homeless for the first time in my life.  I had to send my daughter to stay with my mother while I began this very…….long……road….back to where it was before everything came tumbling down.  I am still working on that as I write this.  I am still homeless, but looking forward to a new apartment within the next month, and when that happens, you bet your ass, Cargo Train will be coming with me.  I will pick up the pieces, and this time around, it will be on my own terms, not under the dictation of another!  Some dreams come and go, but real dreams never die! Not a day passed that I didn’t think of my dream that was taken from me.  Real dreams stick with you when there seems to be “no hope”, always know……THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE!

Today, I am working hard and looking forward at relaunching Cargo Train Apparel (hopefully) by January 2015. Until then, I am focusing on the crucial steps I need to take in order to reach this massive goal; only this time around, it will be on my own terms, and not under the the controlling dictation of someone else.  ():-)

–After some time had passed, I later asked my ex-husband (after we regained our civility for the sake of our young daughter) why he did what he did, and his response….”I couldn’t accept having a wife more successful than me”  –My lips pressed together, I simply just nodded, and responded, “Ok”

Ridiculous!

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To Whom It May Concern:

Image

You have to take negative situations and find a way to turn them into positive solutions, and I feel that this has been accomplished by dedicating many years into designing a company that has a simple, yet powerful, mission statement — Unite first class with secondhand.

This letter is to provide you with an insight of what we do, what we plan to accomplish, our current projects and efforts, and most importantly, how we plan to become an established brand and a recognized leader within this booming industry.

We have all felt the financial crisis affect each of our lives in one way or another, including myself, regardless of: social status, financial situation, or educational background. Everyone from the struggling college student to leaders of local Fortune 500 companies; we’ve all had to take a step back to reevaluate our own unique challenges, and begin to utilize more cost-conscious decisions as consumers, as well as, business owners. This company is designed to do just that without the need to sacrifice quality, service or value to our customers, and doing so, in a cost-conscious and sustainable manner.

Cargo Train is an apparel exchange company, privately owned, that offers clients and guests to: buy, sell, trade, and consign a wide-range of new and pre-owned, designer and name-brand merchandise, such as: clothing, fashion accessories, jewelry and select interior decor items at industry competitive prices. What we do is nothing new, but HOW we plan to utilize our resources and network, will clearly set Cargo Train apart from local competitors.

If you are unfamiliar to the resale industry, these types of businesses are commonly known as “thrift” or “secondhand” stores; however, Cargo Train is designed to be much more than this common ideology, and even more, we strive to be the first resale provider of its kind offered to the residents and visitors of our target location. It would not only be a great addition to the resale industry, but more importantly, a great addition to the City of St. Louis due to its focus on community engagement, That will benefit, not only our clients and customers, but several local charities and non-profit organizations. We are a company that continues to create innovative ideas that give back to our communities and actively pursues a ‘pay it forward’ attitude.

As I continue to publicly promote this company through the means of several social media platforms, local news publications, word-of-mouth advertising, and launching an informational website, my biggest challenge is locating a strong financial partner and/or investor(s) to secure start-up capitol, and take this company to the next level in its physical and social developments.

My strategies are primarily based on direct observations and market research from a vast background working for top private retail labels, including global retail giant, Hennes and Mauritz (H&M); where I focused my time in the areas of: visual merchandising, loss prevention, customer relations, and employee growth.

The location I have chosen is based upon on-site, real-time area analysis collected over a time span of three (3) years; with a heavy focus on high volume pedestrian traffic. All aspects of the primary location offer the most idealistic conditions that will make Cargo Train a successful venture, and offer the future opportunity to aggressively expand through out the Midwest region.

I have further discovered through my research, the primary location I have selected is found to be an open market opportunity. There are currently no known competitors that specialize in apparel exchange within a 5 mile radius of where Cargo Train will be located.

Again, this venture is time sensitive, and taking advantage of the open market availability will quickly set Cargo Train’s foundation within the City of St. Louis and officially become part of a 13 billion dollar industry. I strongly urge interested persons to contact me for further information about how I plan to make this company an innovative success.

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Protected: RETAIL vs RESALE: What’s the difference?

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FIGHT BACK!!!

Reading the news headlines this morning made my heart drop a little. Saddened that I had no problem posting more stories on more shooting deaths in St. Louis. Latest victim being a former St. Louis University student, Megan Boken, who was killed in an area that I have been hanging out in since I was 15.  It is by far, one of my favorite places in St. Louis, and unfortunately, another tragic mark for the city.

It breaks my heart to post these types of headlines, but I don’t post them to keep a continuous string of content present on my Twitter timeline in hopes of gaining followers; I post them because it feels that there is an underground war taking place on the streets, and the (real) good guys are severely outnumbered and/or under-powered, or even worse, those in power that lack the ability to care enough to really make a difference, lack of passion for what they do. This fact would have my father (former Sgt. police officer) spinning in his grave. He literally died for his job. I compare his well-known passion for law enforcement to current officers today and some just don’t even come close to that level of professional pride. This is where citizen/residents stop having faith in the local police. Not all officers are like this, but it is beginning to become a horrible trend.

This is a growing hot topic within the St. Louis area right now. For me and for obviously reasons (current profession & family background), this is a topic I feel very strongly towards, and have plenty of opinions about. Some agree with me, some don’t. Everyone is pointing fingers, looking for people to hold responsible (other than the actual offenders themselves), but few of those complaints are accompanied by any solutions that would help the problem, verses, just complaining about it.

My solutions will not make everything perfect, but they will help if people take note, and then take action. I place a heavy emphasis on this, simply because I do not want to see the city lost to the decay of St. Louis’s society. This is my hometown, this is where my roots are, so I have a tendency to be a bit protective.

St. Louis is making great efforts to bring up the city’s reputation with all of the new small business start-up opportunities, and established business moving their headquarters within the area. This is definitely a positive solution that helps, but there are other key factors that are still missing.

Small business owners and residents are the majority of those in ANY given neighborhood. There is a strong responsibility that lies with business owners and residents to help protect their areas. Making it known that violence and crime will not be tolerated, and that YOU WILL NOT BE MADE A VICTIM BY THESE ASSES! Most people are fearful to do this, therefore, they go about their day-to-day routine never taking into account what is going on around them. I see them pass me all the time, most walking with their heads down and tunnel vision on.

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. -ALBERT EINSTEIN

This needs to change. The police can not do it all, local politics can’t do it all, nor can residents do it all. IT HAS TO BE A COLLABORATION OF ALL 3 WORKING TOGETHER — If one piece is missing it makes it 10X harder to take back control of the city. Just the same as fighting bullies in high school.

Here is a little tip for RESIDENTS AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS  that can have a significant impact on safety, as well as, improve local businesses and the communities they are located in:

  • PAY ATTENTION! (Golden rule!) – to what is going on around you. Take the time to get to know your neighbors, customers, and the other locals that frequent your area. You will be SHOCKED at what people will be willing to tell you, if you just simply LISTEN and let them speak. Plus, this will kill any preexisting stereotypes some might have if they actually take time to get to know people.
  • ASK QUESTIONS! – Don’t be afraid to speak up about something that just doesn’t look right to you. Now I know a few people out there will deem EVERYTHING suspicious, and most don’t want to go running off calling 911 continuously; so this is what you can do legally, and anonymously that will help tremendously.
  1. Document the moment. Literally write it down or whip out your phones, tweet it, video record, or take a picture of what you witness. **THIS IS THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON YOU HAVE…YOUR CAMERA PHONE!** I have prevented a few incidents going from bad to worse because I held out my iphone as if I were video recording the incident. Amazingly, the person no longer wanted to cause a disturbance, and flipped out that I was “recording” him. SIMPLE! All in all, If it’s nothing, you’ll never need the note, but if it is something, it could help in solving cases. If you have to, you can give that information to the police….ANONYMOUSLY.

This truly is simple to do, and will make you feel empowered verses a helpless bystander. It wont prevent things happening to you; we all know that life happens, but it will definitely make it a lot easier to catch the ones responsible when crimes DO happen.

():-)

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MICRO-GOAL REACHED!

BOUGHT MY WEBSITE DOMAIN!   Woo Hoo!  I can officially write that off of my GOALS list!  On my way… now on to the next goal…Launch CargoTrain.co  :::SO EXCITED!:::

():-)

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Insomnia – The Good Kind

I CAN’T SLEEP.  Most of the time I would be getting pissed right about now, complaining about a day that hasn’t happened yet, however, some of my insomnia nights are very beneficial to me.  I can’t sleep because I have millions of idea running through my head, and can’t seem to shut them off. So as I know one way to suppress them, is to write.

 

Now I understand why one of my lead  adviser told me to keep a pen and paper near by me at all times.  A Laptop will have to suffice.

ANYWAY….

I literally dream and visualize my entire company.  I see my company having multiple stores, and I know exactly how I would accomplish that. My strategies and how they would make me unique in the industry.  I can see the steps that I have to take to get exactly where I want my company to be. I know what I will have to sacrifice, but keeping myself focused on the ultimate goal doesn’t make them feel like sacrifices simply because; my company is worth it.  I honestly can’t visualize myself doing anything else for the next 20-35 years.  This is it.

If I can cross paths with a handful of other people that share my intensity for business and fashion.  This company would dominate the St.Louis-Midwest region.  Finding others like myself is proving to be a little more difficult than I imagined, but I know they are out there.  Just a matter of time.  So until then,  I will keep building what I can to get myself closer to where I want to be. 

Ultimate goal:  Be the leading branded chain-resale merchandise provider within a 50 mile radius of St. Louis.  (Give Plato’s Closet some healthy competition) 

 

 

BRING IT ON!

():-)

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My negative into a positive

I was talking to a friend of mine who happens to be a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) based out of Florida, and he had asked how my venture was going since the Arch Grant small biz competition back in March of this year. I was happy to tell him I was still fighting for it, and then told him the unfortunate news of another entrepreneur beating me to the open market in downtown. Our conversation followed:

Nick: Any luck on the storefront?

Me: Nothing secured yet [financial partner] but the interest is growing from social media

Nick: Very Good!

Me: But my time is running out, the launch in downtown showed me that A.) I have a solid concept and B.) people are starting to listening. I have one more effing GOLDEN location left. Wash Ave, was my second choice, not my primary

Me: I’m not stupid 😛

Nick: Good

Me: I need a financial partner. Someone who is as crazy and passionate as I am, which is pretty extreme. And I can’t find one….not one 😦

Nick: LOL it’s tough to find someone with money

Me: I have friends with money

Nick: Good

Me: They just don’t have my intensity for this business :-/

Nick: oh ok

Me: Motivating some people is like carrying a 400lbs woman….HARD!!! That’s why I am generating the public interest, show future partners the impact this place will have on STL

Me: Im stuck!

Nick: Yes 😦

Me: Help me get unstuck, find me a financial partner

Nick: How much do you need this partner to invest?

Me: $20K to launch, profits in as little as 6 months, 99% recession proof – when the economy sucks, my business booms 🙂

Nick: I’ll see what I can do.

Me: [trying to keep it cool, calm and collected] OK!!! 😀 THANK YOU!!!! [didnt work, I was beyond excited]

It’s nothing definite…..yet, but it’s a step closer than where I was before. Nick has connections that I don’t have. His background is solid and professional reputation is strong. It means the world to me that he would put his own reputation on the line for my business, huge compliment!

And Nick isn’t the only one actively searching for financial partners to work with me 😀 My army is growing….

I WILL LAUNCH THIS COMPANY!!!!

():-)

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