When I kicked off Smith+Parka, I knew I had to get out there, make some waves, and put both myself and the brand on the map. It was time to shine a spotlight on the Solo Sling and get people talking about it. Given my love for supporting local artisans and small ventures, diving into pop-up markets seemed like the natural choice.


But let me be real with you – stepping into the role of a "salesperson" made me cringe at first. I mean, as a designer, I was used to hiding behind my computer screen, letting my work speak for itself. The idea of pitching my designs face-to-face to strangers? Cue the anxiety.


Yet, I knew that breaking out of my comfort zone was crucial to kickstarting this journey. So, despite the nerves, I dove headfirst into the world of pop-ups. And let me tell you, it wasn't a walk in the parkBut it was the right move to forge connections and lay down the groundwork for the start my business.


Now, I won't sugarcoat it – overcoming my fear of being the face of the brand wasn't a cakewalk. I'm actually a bit on the shy side, believe it or not. That's where an unexpected suggestion came in... micro-dosing shroomsYeah, I was skeptical at first, but after a few gentle nudges from friends and a timely gift of mushrooms (from another friend), I decided to give it a shot.


And you know what? It helped. Not in some mind-bending, psychedelic way, but in a subtle, mindset-shifting manner. Armed with a newfound sense of ease and confidence, I stepped into my first pop-up like a boss. And guess what? It workedPeople connected with me, and before I knew it, they were turning into customers.


From there, it was a whirlwind of pop-up markets across the city, each with its own vibe and energy. I thrived. There was a time I sold over 65 Solos in a single day at the Renegade craft fair – talk about a rush!


But let me tell you, the pop-up hustle isn't for the faint of heart. It's a grind, plain and simple. It takes guts, perseverance, and a whole lot of grit. But it's also incredibly rewardingI've forged lifelong friendships, built a loyal customer base, and fostered a vibrant community through these events.


Sure, there were basement setups, sweltering summer days, and pandemic-induced challenges along the way. But through it all, I've learned the true meaning of resilience and determination.


So, the next time you stroll past a small business at a pop-up, take a moment to appreciate the hustle. It's not just about selling products – it's about chasing dreams and refusing to back down. And trust me, that's something worth celebrating.