· By Tarleton Walmsley
I've been wracking my brain for weeks now trying to write a blog post about Garden Party and its birthday coming up on the 30th. The honest truth is that it's been hard to find the right words, because most days I'm in awe that we've even made it this far. Riding the whole global pandemic wave to find ourselves immersed in another recession isn't exactly what we'd been prepared for when we decided to open this shop four years ago. In fact, we assumed cannabis/THC would be legal federally by now, that Garden Party would be a licensed dispensary, and we'd have one zillion locations worldwide. Like Target but for weed. Just kidding;). Needless to say, our business plan didn't include the events that have happened during our tenure.
This is the part of business ownership that I've yet to get used to and fully master. There are many ups and downs, lefts and rights, twists and turns. There are big things outside of ourselves that we can't control, but that still end up impacting our business. Each day is unpredictable in what it will bring and you've got to be at least somewhat capable of flexibility as you navigate decisions that can either help or harm the health of your business. Nevermind all the exhaustion and burnout that often occurs in tandem, right when your business needs you operating at 100% the most.
You might be thinking: "So why start a business? Why not drop what you're doing and get a job at Target!?" I'll tell you. Despite the whirlwind of instability that often happens, there's also been another new feeling vibrating quietly in the background of even our hardest days. That feeling, my friends, is gratitude. And I'm pleased to report that after 11 years of my therapist encouraging me to give it a try, I'm officially in a relationship with gratitude.
I'm not trying to Brene Brown my way through this blog post, nor am I this magically healed person speaking from a place in which I handle myself with perfection and grace at all times. But what I am here to say is that gratitude is where it's at and I'm experiencing instances of it in my life more often than I ever have before. Plus tapping into gratitude is helping me handle the plot twists of owning this business in a way that feels way more manageable than my previous coping skills: freaking the f out, panic attacks, bouts of extreme self doubt and fear that this whole boutique headshop idea of mine was too risky of an endeavor.
For example, when our bank account feels like it's sprung a leak and money is flowing out rapidly, or when there's a slow day with no customers and I start to think the worst, instead of letting my anxiety run wild, more often I'm starting to realize the gratitude hidden within the challenge. I get to walk into the shop I own with my partner everyday and take in the beautiful, physical space we've created together. I get to make important decisions that will impact the growth of our business, hopefully so that it will blossom into the full Garden Party experience we envision (side note: Any Stoner Donors out there let's talk!). Dealing with the hard stuff now is literally preparing me for a better version of myself and my business, and for that I'm immensely grateful.
The other cool part about all of this: YOU, our community of Garden Partiers. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I carry immense gratitude in my heart for all of the people that have supported us the last four years. Whether monetarily, through following us on socials, leaving a review, or simply being curious enough to stick around when you find out we're not a plant shop, I am grateful. The fact that so many of you are down to explore your relationship with cannabis is so cool, and the fact that you choose Garden Party for that exploration is even cooler.
Quite frankly, there are days when I'm in disbelief that we get to share space with people willing to talk openly with us about their lives in such a vulnerable and intimate way. We talk about the things you're struggling with, we share our mental health struggles, some of you even talk about the bunions on your toe (lol) that have healed with the help of the products we carry. We talk about the anxiety we feel living under circumstances outside of our control but that impact our daily lives. There's also lots of laughter, as you find your way to the vibrators or find the golden chicken pipe. Smiles when you discover something on our shelves that delights you. And every now and then, if we're lucky, there's dancing.
This is the other thing we couldn't have predicted four years ago when we wrote our business plan--the community we're building together. The interactions and conversations we are having are impactful to the point that the gratitude I used to feel merely as background noise is actually a resounding vibration, growing louder each year of business. When we say we're here for you, it's because you've been here for us. It makes all the hard stuff SUPER worthwhile. So even though I'm a little late to the party, and it really did take over a decade of therapy to convince myself to give it a try, I am radiating a ton of deep, deep gratitude today, on the eve of Garden Party's fourth birthday. Thank you so much.💚
Dear Garden Party, Happy Birthday. I love you. In the immortal words of Camille Yarbrough, "We've come a long, long way together. Through the hard times and the good. I have to celebrate you, baby. I have to praise you like I should."