This past week Canvas turned 3! These past few years have flown by and we are both really proud of the company that we have built. Our process has evolved in how we empower people to feel their best at all stages of life. However, at the end of the day it has always been about people first, fashion second.
As we sat back and reminisced about the past 3 years, we couldn't help but think about some of the biggest lessons that we've learned as boss women and female business owners. We've learned a lot about ourselves and who we want to be and can't wait to see what the future holds.
Megan: I remember when we were still in the planning stages of Canvas, I don't even think we had a name yet, and I kept thinking how exciting it would be to say that I started a company. What I didn't realize was how much I would actually learn about myself along the way. It was hard to narrow it down to three key lessons, so I decided to list the biggest lesson I learned each year.
1. Don't compare your success to the success of others - When you are first starting out it is so hard to not look at other people in your industry and compare yourself to them. Especially with social media. I would literally wake up in the middle of the night to look at Instagram. But doing that will just make you crazy! What's most important is to stay true to who you are and trust your gut with each step. Instead of comparing myself to other people, I try to learn from them and see how I can grow not only as a stylist, but as a person.
2. Don't forget to have fun along the way - This was a big learning from last year. Kimberly and I both can put a lot of pressure on ourselves and trying to do everything. There was a small period at the end of last year where we became so focused on accomplishing certain things that we somehow forget to have fun. So, we both sat down and talked about it and agreed to only do things that made us happy. Since that moment, everything has just seemed to fall into place. Now, I always make sure to remind myself that it's not just about the end point, it's about enjoying the journey along the way.
3. Always check your motives - I learned this lesson last week when I got a call that my Aunt had passed away. The first person I called was Kimberly. I had a client that morning and Kimberly told me to call and reschedule, but not wanting to let anyone down I insisted on taking the appointment anyway. When I hung up, I paused to think about why I wanted to take the appointment. Was it what was best for my client or was it for me? I ended up realizing that I wanted to shop to take my own mind off of what had happened, but in that situation I wouldn't be able to be fully present for my client. While sometimes we think our motives are from a good place, they aren't always what's best for everyone involved.
What I learned from Kimberly: Kimberly's taught me a lot over the past three years (like to always carry a snack for long days and the joy of an excel spreadsheet), but the most important lesson I've learned from her is that it's ok to take a breath and ask for help. When you start a business you always want to feel like you are doing enough and contributing enough. That can carry over into a partnership too. It's important to feel that you are showing up to your partner everyday and contributing equally. But sometimes you need to tap out and ask for help. Kimberly has helped me learn that it's ok to rely on someone and knowing when to rely on someone else is a strength instead of a weakness. She's helped me to slow down and see the overall larger pictures, instead of just bouncing from task to task.
Kimberly: The start of Canvas was not as straight forward as other entrepreneurs, but an opportunity that landed in our laps. I'm thankful we were brave and bold enough to take it. Megan and I had only known each other for about 6 months when we were seated at a negotiation table determining if we wanted to go into business together. It was a very stressful time, but we banded together and realized our strengths really worked well together.
1.) Ask for What Scares You - Great businesses are not run by people who have all the answers, but by those willing to ask the tough questions and explore the answers. Megan and I both have sent emails and had tough conversations where we step back after and think, "Wow, who was THAT?!" It's important to push yourself and each other to ask boldly and not assume you know the answer. This mindset has really kept our business evolving and carried Megan and I through some challenging seasons of roadblocks and fear.
2.) Know Your Worth - Starting up a small business it is easy to second guess yourself or give away too much. At the beginning you will need to extra scrappy, but hold firm to what your core brand is all about and your value. It is easy to backslide when your numbers are down a month or a blog doesn't get as much traction. Having a teammate and a network of supporters to remind you of value, your own limitations, and the strength of a partnership will keep you going in the long run.
3.) Partnership Is Everything - Canvas would not be what it is today without our dynamic duo. We joke about being the ying and yang of style, but it takes work to keep in balance. We were lucky enough to have a few rockstar mentors who coached us in what a healthy partnership looked like. When we started, one of our first meetings was with a life coach. In the last three years, we have found the health of our partnership is linked to the health of our business. When we both feel like we are both contributing to the vision of Canvas, we are happier and business thrives. No one can do it all, and I am so thankful I have a partner who meets me in that space. It's been a learning in humility and in the freedom of letting go.
What I learned from Megan: As our business has grown and we have spent more time in the trenches, we've come to realize how similar we really are. Megan has a big heart that shows up in generosity, but she balances it well with boundaries. She often reminds me to enjoy the moment and inspires me to have more fun with my own style. Her drive and ability to blaze forward, jump on an opportunity, and keep asking for what you want have taught me that often you just have to go for it even if you make a few mistakes along the way. Our greatest learnings have also been our greatest oversights. Other times there will be no clear path forward. We have found that is when you just have to try something to see if it works, you might find an answer you never could have predicted otherwise.