Once I met this rep I’ve been talking about, we’ll call her “Mary”, things go on warp speed or at least they seemed to for me. After our first meeting she sent me a contract to look over and everything seemed fairly standard with a few red flags. Pretty much a standard consultant agreement however there was some language in it that sort of gave me pause. I can’t remember specifically but, it made me feel like it was a lawyers contract ie. if you went 17 minutes then your fee would be bumped up to a half an hour. I had spent over two years in a toxic mold lawsuit and was quite leery of lawyers contracts. I was well aware that if I talked to my lawyer for 16 minutes I would get a bill for 30 minutes. There was also language in it that made me want to limit the hours she worked for me. Again I don’t remember specifics but I had the feeling that she would be doing things that could add hours without my knowledge and that didn’t sit well with me. We redrew the agreement so it stated that she would consult with me for at least 5 hours a month and I could ask for more hours if needed and she would let me know where we were on a weekly basis. I also stated that I would pre-pay, at the time this made sense to me but in hindsight not so much.
At our first meeting she had prepared a list of questions for me to think about and gave me an arm load of homework. I still have all of my notes and looking at it she had asked me to start defining Ventrano. What does Ventrano stand for? This list is straight out of my notebook; passion, intelligent, sexy, witty, charming, seductive, powerful, beautiful, giving, caring, thoughtful, graceful, confident, vitality, energetic, ambitious, sassy, provocative and bold. I would have to say I still agree with this list today. She encouraged me to sign up with the Chamber of Commerce, to begin researching business plans, to start looking for factories in America, to go meet with a local high-end boutiques to gain retail knowledge and to look for assistant shoe designer jobs or assistant buyer positions. She also explained keystone markup to me and how one breaks down cost and overhead. I would share that part but I am not so certain that she was correct on some of her calculations and I don’t want to share anything that I don’t think will be helpful. Her last assignment of our first meeting was to start defining my demographics.
With homework in hand I set out to work and I did everything on this list with the exception of becoming a design assistant or an assistant buyer. I did have a full-time job and I am married with a son, so time is not exactly something that is abundant. I have said it a million times, had someone given me the entire list of what was to come I might have been afraid, the list too daunting. I think it’s probably better that we don’t always know what lies ahead, we might not ever try.