If I’m honest, my anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist politics have never quite sat right with the fact that, on the whole, I make a living by selling things. Yes they are planet friendly, socially responsible, good quality things but they are things all the same.
However, the things I sell are also things that immensely benefit my life. My kids benefit from having a good selection of books, toys, puzzles and games to play with. I love the fact that I have a massive basket of books, toys and CDs on the floor for my 3 year old and a shelf full of more mature titles for my eldest. It’s strewing at its finest yet all my business samples are easily accessible and (mostly) in one place, ready to be taken to an event at the drop of a hat.
As for the rather lovely collection of blue glass bottles that line my bathroom. Well, they not only support organic farming and are largely fair-trade but all the products and even the packaging is manufactured in a little eco-factory in the UK so have a very minimal carbon footprint. And I really do like having a nice moisturiser to use, especially as my acne prone, stress-susceptible, sensitive skin is looking a thousand times better now than it has ever done before.
At the end of the day I have always worked in sales – with the exception of working in catering for a brief period of time (the “spilling the last portion of trifle down a customer’s back” episode spelled the end of my Nigella aspirations). I’ve worked in dozens of shops, done more than my fair share of telesales jobs, sold advertising space for an international merchant banking magazine (yes, really) and even used to sell roses in pubs and night clubs when I was saving money to go to uni. Do you know what? I was good at it too.
Even though this particular flower girl had a shaved head, a face full of piercings and a pair of para-boots on her feet, she used to shift around £200 of roses in a night. How? To be honest I have absolutely no idea. It might just be because I love chatting to people and that at the time, selling roses was my only opportunity to get out for a night and go dancing. However I do remember one customer saying that the only reason he was buying a slightly manky rose from me was because I had “an honest face”.
Now I don’t really know what he meant by that, but I guess it might have been something to do with the fact that I really didn’t mind if someone bought my roses or not. I’ve never been a pushy sales person who’ll say anything at all as long as it closes the deal. If you don’t want what I’m offering, it’s fine with me. There’ll always be someone else who likes it, and as I now only offer products that are ethical and in tune with my ideology, I’m happier today than I ever was in any of my previous jobs.
Despite my politics, it seems that sales is my thing. It’s what I enjoy doing and for some unknown reason I seem to be good at it. However I’m really not one of those people who is motivated by making huge amounts of money. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to be better off financially than I am right now, but the thought of acquiring vast wealth really doesn’t float my boat.
Instead, selling things and running my own business allows me to earn a living while spending time with my kids and that is something far more precious than all the wealth in the world! The fact that I get to support fair-trade initiatives, promote children’s literacy and empower people to live healthier lives at the same time is a bonus, and one that helps me to see that what I do is about far more than just selling alone.
I love the term “Lifestyle Entrepreneur” and I’m glad I discovered it this week. It’s the perfect way to describe my aim of living a sustainable, happy, healthy life with my family while getting to enjoy some very nice things without it costing the earth.