*this actually started as an instagram post, but it was rather lengthy, so I decided to make it into a blog.
Hi everyone, this is Seychelle. I am the owner of Silviyana, and I have a story that I would like to share. At church today, our priest made a joke at the end of mass. The story was about a priest and a businessman. The businessman went to the priest and said, “Father, I am troubled, my business is not doing very well”. The priest saw that the businessman looked rather frazzled and he advised, “Son, do not fear, open up the Bible and point your finger to a text, and use this to guide you.”
The next time the businessman and the priest had an encounter, the priest approached the businessman, and he noted that the businessman seemed more happy and was rather well-dressed. The businessman replied “Father, thank you for your advice, I did as you told, and I opened up the Bible and then pointed to a text, and followed it. Now, I am happy.” The priest asked “That is wonderful, son, what did the text say?”. The businessmen responded, “Chapter 11”. Our church roared in laughter.
Actually, I did not hear this story first-hand. I was outside with my 19 month old daughter as she had enough of church, so we were walking around in the sun, admiring the beautiful weather and flower outside the church. My husband shared the story with me after church, and to be honest, this shocked me. Why did it shock me? It shocked me that it was a joke that made everyone laugh. Having a business is no joke. It is a real responsibility and declaring Chapter 11 should not be a solution to one’s problems. *come on Seychelle, lighten up*
Okay, but allow me to explain a larger problem here. Let me share my own story about Silviyana. 1040 Park Avenue, San Jose, was the birthplace of Silviyana. We had many brides come and many brides go. Brides enjoyed our company, our dresses and our treats. It was a real experience. But here is the problem, most brides come and use our space as a way to have the bridal experience. You know what that means… the champagne, the treats and that ‘yes to the dress’ moment. I truly believe that every bride deserves a chance to enjoy this moment of their lives. (Side note: my dress shopping experience was a nightmare, but that is a story for another day). This is the main reason why I started Silviyana, to provide brides with a more intimate and transparent experience.
We were getting brides, but a lot decided to move on to other bridal stores. How could this be? Because I believed that a bride should feel good about their decision, and I even advice them to go look around, and come back if they truly felt that it was right. *this is a BIG NO NO in the industry, other bridal consultants would think me crazy for advising such a thing* Consultants are fierce, and I truly say this with my own personal experience as a bride and as a store owner, their mandate is to not let you out the store without buying a dress.
What did this mean for my business? It meant that I had brides that really trusted Silviyana. They see Silviyana as a friend. An ally to help in any aspect of their wedding, and not just with gowns. I later decided that the model of having a physical space was just too much for my business. It was a choice between this 1. switching over to a more ‘pushy’ sales process or 2. moving online and focusing on brides that share our vision, and willing to invest in what Silviyana does – handcrafting eco-friendly and ethically made wedding attire (while valuing transparency and caring for our brides above anything else). We obviously chose the latter.
The point of this rant is this: there will always be businesses that will fall and that will rise. Sometimes it could be the fault of the owner, but it could also be the fault of circumstances. But let us not use Chapter 11 as a way to wipe our plates clean and start fresh again.
And as a consumer, we should not accept Chapter 11 as a way for businesses to avoid the responsibility of a failed business. Support the businesses that are hustling and that still exist despite the multitude of troubles. Have faith that there are businesses out there that still do good and ultimately exist because they believe that they have a product or service that truly believe could make a positive impact to your life and the broader world.
If you are unsure how to evaluate whether the product or the service in question is worth it, ask yourself the following questions:
- How does this product or service make me feel?
- Do I envision myself happy when I picture myself with this product or using this service?
- Did the consultant seem sincere? Did they answer all my questions to the best of their ability and felt authentic?
If you are still feeling unsure, flip it around, ask the sales consultant or service provider the question:
- Why is your product or service priced the way it is?
- Do you enjoy your job and why or why not?
- What is your company’s take on (highlight your values here: ethical manufacturing, slow fashion, vegan lifestyle etc.)?
These questions will give you more understanding about the product, service and the company.
Your buying power is your *ultimate weapon* to support the world you would like to live in. Please use this wisely.