The other day Jarmel and I were on a call, sharing our thoughts on the magazine. I think I was expressing my disappointment with some numbers and Jarmel says, “but that is one thing about us, if we say we are going to do something, we goin’ do it.” I smiled at that, but I immediately wondered why he would say that in the middle of the conversation. He explained that he had been thinking back over some events and that was something that stood out to him.
For a minute, I still did not get it myself, but then I began to recall the time that… and the other time that…, and then the other time…, and I was like ‘-wait he is on to something.’ While in those moments, I simply bust my ass to do whatever was right or deliver on whatever we said we would do, it did not occur to me that we were building integrity or a reputation there of.
What is integrity?
The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles
What is integrity in business?
The ability to act with honesty and be consistent in whatever it is you are doing based on the particular moral, value or belief compass you have
While I am often the one to notice how a brand’s actions don’t align with its mission statement, I did not realize I was subconsciously working to not do the same and be like them. I was just being the person I was raised to be, though often I feel like I am getting the short end of the stick, yet my soul would sit right.
Let me share a quick story, recently my daughter and I had a vendor table at an event. My daughter watches the table while I walk around to visit other vendors. On my way back to my table, I stopped and talked with some ladies close to us, and they were telling me about their business. Their marketing materials were nice and very customized to target their respective audience, so before picking anything up, first I asked to be sure they were really free. They told me yes, and asked a question or two about the magazine, and then I continued on to my table. After sitting there a minute, I noticed that one of the magazine issues was gone. The reason why I noticed is because these are special edition issues we have right now. They were more costly than our previous prints. I asked Dylan if she had sold one and she replied, “No, the ladies you were just talking to picked it up and walked off. I told them they were for sale, but she said they would be back.”
While at that last table, they mentioned nothing about having stopped at my table or having brought an issue back to sit and read while at their table. They seemed to have no knowledge of what it was. I saw no sign of the issue on the table, as most would leave it out to ensure they brought it back. Basically, they had manipulated Dylan, stole my issue, and then smiled in my face.
At first I was pissed. Then it occurred to me, that it really says a lot about a person that steals at vendor shows, because people really are placing their livelihoods out there for the world to see, while someone is pocketing them, and I meant them personally, not just their business, although that is probably crap too, because somewhere in the mix they are being just as dirty. However, I do believe in karma as well.
Integrity is not something all the business and brand coaches of today stress enough, if at all, but I personally think it is a key to longevity in business. The fact that Jarmel, our VP of Marketing, someone who works with me brought this attribute to my attention is one of my proudest feelings as a business owner, because plenty of people can speculate on you, but it is the people that work closest with you that know you. That’s how you know you are on the right track.
Photography by Rick Wells Photos.
Pantsuit from Koko Kouture