The Curve Ball

Just when I thought I had everything figured out, life throws you a curve ball. As a former softball pitcher, I used to love the faces of the batter when I’d throw a curve ball (technically named a change-up). They would swing and sometimes the ball hadn’t even crossed the mound and they were left in a state of confusion and subtle embarrassment. Well, now I’m on the other side of what that feels like. A little stunned, but thankfully, I noticed the change-up and adjusted my stance.

Enough with the metaphor already!

All week I’ve been working on a business plan and financial projections for our new little business. In the UK, the government is sponsoring a tonne of start-up loans for those under the age of 30 (for which I just sneak in). They are low interest and you get a holiday for the first year, so you don’t have to start paying back the loan until year 2. I also met a woman at Google Campus, and we have been accountability buddies for getting stuff done. She’s French, so I’m not sure if accountability buddies has any meaning. I love knowing another driven woman who is in the technology sector. It was really what I’ve been missing in my time in London – someone I can relate to and meet up with on a regular basis to keep me from losing my mind. And other than the frat house foosball table, Google Campus is a great place to work from. And it’s free! I met the guy running PR for Google Campus and he interviewed me and got excited about what we were up to and the fact that I was a woman in tech. He’s putting together an event and inviting a tonne of press, so it would be great exposure for our fledgling start-up that just got legs last week. I’m still not quite ready to share the idea. I just want a little more time before I open it up for critique.

So that’s all great, right? Where’s the curve ball?

Then I went to an interview on Friday. Actually, I didn’t even want to go to the interview. This is interview #3 with the custom furniture company and quite honestly I didn’t get a great vibe from the numbers guy that interviewed me last time. Not that I didn’t do well – just that we didn’t click. I wanted to focus on our new business idea and thought it was a waste of time to go to an interview where I had basically made up my mind about them. And who does 3 interviews anyways? Thank god Phil convinced me to go! And that he told me to take my design portfolio! It was raining and I didn’t want to wreck it on this interview.

So hears where I eat my words. You would think I would have learned my lesson in that department already! I met the sole owner of the company. He is a truly inspirational and amazing person. Our meeting went on for almost 2 hours. Now, I don’t care what the position is, I just want to work for him and get his guidance. He really cares about developing people and mentoring them. He doesn’t work at all directly with the customers. He only works with his employees to make them great, so that the company can grow. If you remember from an earlier post, this is the guy who came from Afghanistan with nothing. And in 10 years has built up an amazing business with 100 employees. He pushes his people hard to succeed, but I could tell that he cares and wants them to experience that feeling of accomplishment that he did when he built his business. Me and him hit it off.

The best part (and this is where I really eat it) is I am being considered now for a new position that he’s creating, that I’m not sure he knew before we met that he was creating. He just purchased a new, 50,000 square foot warehouse across the street from their existing location in order to expand the business. He has huge plans for the business and they are definitely going to need more space to accomplish that. So the position would be a project manager who oversees the entire interior of the new warehouse. He doesn’t trust architecture firms and wants to do everything in house. To give you a sense of his level of trust with big, fancy companies – he still does all the website work for the company himself. One of the best parts of the job – I would be working directly under him, so I would get a tonne of mentorship. He said it would be like getting 5 MBA’s every year. And I am totally fine with that. I would get to design everything and pick all the materials. I would be doing the drawings and renderings. He wants the offices and showroom to be show-stoppingly beautiful – particularly, because they are outside of central London in more of an industrial neighbourhood in order to facilitate the making of the furniture. Yes – they make all the furniture right in London. I would also be working alongside the trades to make sure everything is getting done on time and dealing with issues that come up.

I am so excited. Of course, it would be a challenge, and he knows that. It scares the crap out of me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Now, the owner is thinking everything through to make sure he does his due diligence, so I wait to hear back. He said next week was packed, so most likely it will be the week after.

Wish me luck!

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6 thoughts on “The Curve Ball

  1. My favorite stories are about people who, whether they get exactly what they (think) they want or not, persist. You just have to stand up and root loudly for them. Cheer them on! They inspire you.

    They pivot and struggle and collaborate, and look at the problems and opportunities and possibilities and persist and keep moving one foot in front of the other.

    You can feel it that sometimes their feet move like they are made out of concrete and sometimes glide effortlessly.

    You can feel their pain and feel their pleasure and exhilaration. Kind of like watching Rocky Balboa!

    Tara and Phil you have shared your journey in London so transparently and that has been and continues to be a beautiful gift to all of us, and it is so incredibly inspiring! (Phil take note of the exclamation marks)

    You inspire me!

    Can’t hardly wait for the next chapter.

    Love,

    Dad

  2. Things seem to change for you Tara, on a daily basis. This sounds like a great opportunity. Sometimes we base everything on our thoughts, which can be so wrong. I’m glad you listened to Phil.

    Are you still going to carry on with your business idea as well? It sounds like you are going to be a busy girl. I bet you already have ideas about what the office spaces and showroom will look like. Is his style similar to yours? Your backgrounds are quite different so it would be interesting to see what an Afganistan business man/furniture maker, and a Canadian designer, both working out of London can create.

    Be sure to keep us all posted

  3. So so amazing and I’m so proud of you Tara!! I finally have some time to catch up on all your posts. What an amazing journey in London you’ve been having – really character building and such a unique experience. I’m living vicariously through you via the web, as I sit in front of my laptop knitting shorts for Grayson and drinking coffee (not that I’m complaining though!)

    Good luck with your endeavours .. now off to catch up on the remainder of your blog I’ve missed šŸ™‚
    xoxo
    Franny

    • Thanks Francine!! I never know who’s reading this blog, so it’s always great to get a comment! Especially one like yours! I’m not going to lie – it’s good for the ego!! Coming from the woman who must have super powers (you) – I will absolutely take it!! XO T

  4. finally back at home and post holidays and getting caught up on your AMAZING BLOG! Tara Bara my amazing and talented niece – love your blog, writings and that WE get to step with you through your London Journey . Love you to bits. Miss you so much. Squish Phil for me! Lotsa love, Auntie Jo xoxoxo

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