I first heard this poem read to me by my 7th grade Civics teacher as a student in middle school. Mr. Lewis was clear, eloquent and distinct as he recited “Don’t Quit” before my classmates and I. He enunciated and pronounced each word carefully as to engrave it in our budding minds. It was almost 25 years later that I can clearly remember hearing the words of that poem in my head as I wrestled with the turmoil of adulting, stress and ultimately what to do next.
Things in my corner of the world had been spiraling downwards since July 1 and even though my family and I had taken these last so-called lumps and bumps to the chin like a champ I was growing weary of how to fix certain situations and feeling down on my luck but still clinging to my faith. My stint as a delivery driver had come to an end rather abruptly, I did the best I could but the job was as emotionally demanding as it was physically. The long hours caused me grief because I was missing my family and feeling like a bystander in their lives instead of a Mom and Wife. Then there was the disorganization and mismanagement that was reminding me of the corporate environment that I had left many years ago. The worst part of it all, that this job had the nerve to have corporate level demands and below entry-level pay but the opportunity presented itself at a time when I needed it. So I am grateful to have had the experience but once again I was in a position of how I was going to make money in the meantime.
I began applying for so many positions, job and even gigs. I was determined to not let my circumstances get me down because God had never let me down before. All I had to do was keep trying and the right opportunity would find me, right? Call me crazy but I want to work for myself. I know I have what it takes to run a successful business and I don’t want to give up on that. Here’s a little background on my upbringing. I was raised in a two parent household with my mom and dad, where my mom worked part-time and later full-time when I was older. My dad was an entrepreneur who was the original “Jack of all Trades” to me. He did it all. There was nothing he couldn’t do and wouldn’t do to help the families that he worked for. He cleaned homes and businesses, landscaped and yard work, and banquet serving and bartending to name a few of the tasks I’ve seen him take on professionally. He was good at what he did, he had a great rapport with people and he thoroughly enjoyed what he did. The people he worked for became extended family to us. It also didn’t hurt that he made good money working for these families to the point where he could support our family alone on that income. For years I watched my father work harder than he had to. If only he had taken his business acumen a step further and set it up legally and professionally, he could have hired employees and long ago retired. Y’all don’t know how many times as a child I urged him to take the next step with his business. My pleas fell on deaf ears, my father being a Taurus was stubborn and intent on doing things his way. It also didn’t help that my father felt that he lacked the education and knowledge to cement his business having dropped out of school in 7th or 8th grade to work to help his family.
I grew up working as his helper a lot. It’s because of him that I’m self-sufficient and self-taught at many things. I can do everything he could and more. In addition to the skills and experiences I picked up working with him I was also a devout learner in school and out. I picked up on typing and administrative functions when my desire to write my own books grew as a little girl. The business bug had bitten me a long time ago. I babysat my relatives and neighbors. I used my allowance to buy candy in bulk from wholesale clubs that I sold at school in between classes during my middle school years. I can’t forget when I signed myself up to take the jewelry making class from the Beads and Things store on Broad Street. I might have been 14 at the time. I learned how to make hand crafted jewelry that was growing popular back then. There are so many memories I have of my attempts at as a young entrepreneur.
Yet I finished high school, and attended college off and on for a couple of years before eventually ending up in the “workforce”. That’s not a totally bad thing because I was blessed enough to find jobs that were good and I had the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business. When I was in high school I worked at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and local legend, Attorney Harrison Bruce Law Office. After that I worked for VCU in the Department of Gerontology where I was a salaried office specialist in my early 20’s. I’ve also worked for Department of Social Services and Department of Health Professions in really great departments that allowed me to serve the community. Eventually my path would lead me out of the government sector and put me square in the middle of Banking and Finance, working for the likes of Wells Fargo, SunTrust Mortgage and CCO Mortgage.
Still I left the corporate world about two years ago and I’ve been trying not to look back. Leaving corporate wasn’t something I wanted to do but more what I needed. I liked what I did. I made great money. I didn’t like the politics and the unprofessionalism that ran rampant in my organization. It left me feeling rejected, unhappy and insecure about my role within the company. I was working my butt off and seeing little for it. My promising career in mortgage was stalling. Not to mention there was a lot going on around me that involved management and coworkers that I had no idea about until many years after I had left. There were seedy and demoralizing things going on right under my nose. I wasn’t playing the corporate game their way.
So I’ve been mostly “gigging” the last few years while I’ve been at home with my family. My daughter started school last year leaving me with my oldest son whom we’re homeschooling, and he’s a rising freshman in high school. He’s ready to go back to school so that means I’ve got nothing but time and opportunity on my hands to do something more than I have been, not to mention I’ve needed to. That brings us to the present day where I was reminded of Mr. Lewis recital of “Don’t Quit” as I questioned what to do. I’ve been applying for all kinds of jobs and gigs. My persistence paid off when I received an email in response to a Sales Assistant position I had applied for via Craigslist. I was contacted by Nitra Singh, the lead designer and curator of Glitter Trunk. We communicated a couple of times over email before finally speaking over the phone. Nitra was looking for a Sales Assistant to help her as a Vendor at the Festival of India being held at the Richmond Convention Center over the weekend. She still had a couple of people to talk to but she assured me she would let me know her decision soon. I was so happy when she welcomed me to the team in text message. This was the opportunity that I was looking for. All along I’ve been wanting to help people with their homes or businesses and now I had my shot.
I was so excited and looking forward to the chance to do what I feel like God has been calling me to do. Saturday when I showed up to the convention center I was blown away by all of the vendors and their offerings but I was even more pleased when I found Nitra and her Glitter Trunk booth in the Exhibit Hall. There was a lot to be seen and savored but her jewelry was distinctively and strikingly unique. Each piece is truly a piece of art, unlike the other. This was high-end Fine Art Jewelry that wowed you. I was relieved that it was still classy and sophisticated.
I was greeted and welcomed by Nitra with warmness and comfort of a relative. Even though I was working, it didn’t feel like work at all. She went over what she needed me to do and where everything was and before we knew it traffic was picking up. I packaged the jewelry in beautiful boxes and organza bags as she sold it. I also helped women try on the jewelry and kept the displays and booth neat. Essentially I was just trying to be her right hand and make sure that she had the support she needed to focus on her customers. By day 2 of the convention we were in sync with one another and enjoying each other’s company. In the almost 20 hours that we were together over the weekend we talked, laughed and worked. I can’t forget to mention that I was wearing the jewelry too.
I fell in love with Glitter Trunk the minute I walked into the booth. It was like I had walked right into Fashion Jewelry heaven! I had the pleasure of wearing the popular Adjustable Cuff Earrings, that is a two-part earring of a stud and a studded cuff attachment, along with the beautiful choker and pendant. This jewelry is elegant and very fashionable. There were so many things that I wanted for my personal collection I had to remind myself that I was there on business and not shopping. I’m definitely a fan and customer for life because I will be wearing one of Nitra’s designs when my husband and I renew our vows in the near future. Every woman should have something beautiful from the Glitter Trunk collection no matter what their style or price point is. The quality of the stones, beading and the craftsmanship is one of a kind. There were many other jewelry vendors within the festival but Nitra’s designs stood out amongst them all and everyone knew it. Customers were at the booth for hours admiring and trying on different pieces.
It was such a great experience to assist her and be exposed to Indian culture. She shared traditional Samosa with me and it was absolutely delicious. To me it was a cross between what tasted like the contents of a Jamaican chicken patty inside a fried rangoon. I also began my love affair with Indian clothing. A kurta is next on my shopping list. They come in so many styles and colors, the flexibility to dress it up or down is stunning. I saw some very fancy and dressy ones, then I saw some that were more casual and made of a sportier material. The colors and designs were breathtaking. I’m so thankful and grateful for my time there because I learned so much and have been forever changed. Not to mention that I was able to connect with a successful business owner and provide the service that I’ve always sought out to do. Some of my favorite stars are already wearing Glitter Trunk like House of Payne star, China Ann McClain and Orange Is The New Black’s Alysia Reiner.
It was a great experience from start to finish and I am again blown away that I got the chance to do what I love and for such a great person and company. I’m glad I was reminded by that middle school poem recital when things felt like they weren’t going my way to stay on the course. I am hopeful that another opportunity will come that will allow me to help another business or family. In addition to the chance to earn money doing what I love, I have forged a valued friendship and relationship with Nitra and her company, Glitter Trunk that I hope will last for years to come.
I’m not quitting, and neither should you. No matter what you are going through, hang on, something good is right around the corner. Till then here’s the poem that clearly made its mark on my life.
When Things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and debts are high,
And you want to Smile but have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out,
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown,
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
What are you working towards or hoping for? No matter what it is, keep that dream close to your heart.
A sincere and grateful thanks is owed to the lovely Nitra Singh. Thank you for giving me the shot that I’ve been looking for. Your trust and belief in me, has given me more wind in my sails.
I encourage you all to visit GitterTrunk.com and buy something beautiful for yourself or someone you love.
I hope you all have enjoyed this post as I have enjoyed living it first, and then writing about it. Till next time, be blessed and be a blessing.
P.S. I’m thinking about preparing some traditional Indian cuisine in a future blog post. What do you think? Leave me a line in the comments.
A Very Pleasant Mom,