I started 2016 off with a big change. I permanently closed Words to Sweat by after six years of being in business.
It was quite anticlimactic.
I thought closing the business would elicit more emotion from me. All I did before ringing in the New Year, however, was double check all of my final orders were ready to send and verify the proper paperwork was on file with the State of California and the Federal government.
Shouldn’t it have been an occasion?
After all, I spent six years building the Words to Sweat by brand. Six years designing, producing, and marketing a whole host of motivational mantra fitness accessories. Six years of watching the fitness industry shift shape as often as hungry consumers would allow.
With each new fitness trend or accessory, I watched the industry fragment in a way that directly impacted Words to Sweat by’s marketability. People no longer dabbled and enjoyed a lot of different things in an effort to move more as part of their health goals. They were, instead, declaring commitment to their fitness passions. Running, Crossfit, weightlifting competitions, and yoga were the forerunners in this race to one’s fantastic fitness.
Since Words to Sweat by’s brand didn’t proclaim an affinity for one activity over another how would it find the same footing as the emerging brands that declared their undying love for a single activity in this new consumer landscape? Even more difficult was determining how Words to Sweat by would stay visible when already established brands jumped on the mantra bandwagon with budgets for targeted social media campaigns?
Are You My Fitness Trend?
In an attempt to stay relevant, I let people tell me what Words to Sweat by was (or wasn’t) and by extension, who I was (or wasn’t).
And it worked for a while. I continued to make sales and receive accolades from the press. By most people’s standards paying customers + good press = success.
But I am not most people. I began to feel like a handmade manufacturer, not a designer. I also wanted a more visceral feeling of accomplishment outside of receipts and editorials, yet the feeling didn’t come.
Attitude of Gratitude
That empty feeling lead me to think about closing Words to Sweat by. Part of my process included a mental “to do” list, but tasks that should have been cut and dry were translated in my head into statements of gratitude; a thank you note for all that I wouldn’t lose if I just walked away.
Here is just a snapshot of some of my tasks and their ‘translations’:
-“Close bank and wholesale accounts” became “I am grateful I am not being forced to close due to financial hardship.” I knew that my basic needs would be met regardless of the business closing.
-“Sell remaining inventory” became “I am grateful I established meaningful relationships with leaders in the industry who will help me if I ask.” I knew that an email to these leaders asking to promote Words to Sweat by’s closing would lead to product sales.
– “Inventory and catalog unsold items” became “I am grateful I can contribute whatever I want to a worthy charity.” There are plenty of organizations that would give my products to volunteers as a thank you or auction them off during fundraising events. In a matter of days, I found charities that were excited to receive whatever I could send.
A Fond Farewell
My task list with a twist convinced me that closing was the right thing to do. And as I think about it now, what I originally labeled as anticlimactic was really just the appropriate end to a deliberate process that left me with peace of mind.
So to Words to Sweat by I say thank you and send it off with a fond farewell.
Sound off: What would your “task list with a twist” look like if you were to close an established business?