…or, the Magic Penny Effect.

withit conf imageIn August I attended the annual WITHIT  (Women in the Home Furnishing Industry Today) conference, which had as it’s theme “The Vision of the Modern Renaissance Woman.)  My 4th time. It is ALWAYS a great great conference and I ALWAYS come away from it fired up and warmed up by the bonding that occurs during the conference. But for the first time I determined that I was ready to step it up a notch….not quietly  be present, taking it all in, but to work a little harder at putting myself out there.  This meant sucking in a deep breath (on more than one occasion) and yes, ASKING. As a result…. I had a place to rest my head the night before conference, and further fostered a budding friendship,  I have a new accountability partner, all because of a decaf Starbucks encounter,  I have a great speaker lined up for Market, because I approached her after hearing at a round table we both attended that she was already lined up/wondered if she’d be interested in adding a new venue to her schedule….and she said YES,  I have some great ideas that need to implemented into my social media outreach, because I thanked someone for encouraging me along in my forays on social media way back in 2008,  and  I have benefitted by reaching out and calling on women that I’ve come to know and respect, for advice and counsel, as I determine the next right step to take to grow my business. You know who you are. 🙂

Sara King, principal at Optimum Insights, led one of the break out sessions at above mentioned conference, offered a new perspective on “asking” when she put out to the room full of women….”who here felt  good doing things for other people,” To this  the room immediately filled with raised hands. She further put out to us…”when we don’t ask we rob the giver the ability to give/feel good…like we feel when we give”. Hmmmm.

I don’t really believe in coincidences, but more in serendipity, and I think ASKING , either by you or by someone else, is what helps make such moments serendipitous and furthered to be times of connection. All this to say I guess my mind was open to this ASKING mentality when, shortly following the conference  I was ASKED for a unique request, which I responded to…well, read about it below…

Christian Cedras, the managing partner of the BHi Music Group,  is the epitome of being an  asking agent and he started a chain of asking that ended up in a photoshoot that I helped pull together….yes, by carrying on the ASKING.

ruth and jon and the jones

Jon and the Jones,  a newly formed NYC based band, which he represents, he felt NEEDED a traditional English chesterfield sofa as backdrop for the band’s marketing materials, as it spoke to their unique style.  So he went about the mission of securing a sofa for said shoot…unabashedly advising that he wanted to do this for as little cash outlay as possible.

Nuts and bolts he ends up calling me, for, as, in addition to having Antiques by Zaar,  I am the US Sales Rep for a company called Distinctive Chesterfields. He asked did we have a NY showroom. No.  We chatted for a bit as I tried to figure out how I could help him get what he needed. He then went on to ASK did I have a NY customer that might be ok to let the group use a sofa?  Brazen eh?  I delayed slightly and then said YES, and immediately thought of my customer  John Angier (also in the music business as an arranger) if he’d be up for this unusual request. He actually  was but there was a scheduling conflict and he couldn’t offer his sofa for a couple of weeks. Band was wanting to shoot the photos sooner rather than later. So, I ASKED yet another NY customer, Esther Budanitsky, a newly minted lawyer, that I thought just might be up for it. Go figure, admittedly an unusual request, but she thought it would be fun and so said YES.

End result. The band got the shots they needed, with the “perfect” backdrop….and within their budget.  Esther enjoyed opening up her home for this unique request and the lot of us all left the evening with a sense of kinship that was fostered in all the Giving that was Gifted in those ASKING moments.

jon and the jonesSide notes.  Christian and his fiance Krista and I share a connection to Haiti on many many levels…including fact that his aunt owned the house my parents rented and which has served as a guest house for missionaries for over 20 years.  In casual conversation found out that when Esther first moved to NYC she shared  an apartment, not only in the same building we currently have an apt, but on very same floor!

Esther and I grew our connection from customer -sales rep to new level of friendship and we both felt good about being part of this bands launching, taking a very keen interest in their path to success….and looking forward to hearing them in concert at B.B. King, headlining the Charity Concert for the 9/11 Memorial Foundation on September 17th.

Recalling this all simply gives me a warm fuzzy, and further makes me realize what my big takeaway was at the conference.

And so, I will continue to work on ASKING, and I will continue to see what opportunities come my way by saying yes to someone else ASKING. Nuts and bolts is, “it’s all good.”

Ruth

Advertisements