Last week, 850 SERENFLIPITIES got packed up and made A-List gift ready.
It started with a fateful introduction to the owner of Giftbags by Rachael. As a result of meeting this awesome lady, SERENFLIPITY will be landing in the laps of gala-goers next week.
Being barely a year out of the gate, and bootstrapped on freelance funds to date, we had to make some big leaps to make this actually happen — including producing the decks for the bags.
Plus, we wanted to make this count, so we had to get creative about collateral. What if we could pique the interest of party goers before they even attended? What if we could make sure that they didn’t just flip past another fun product, but actually get inspired by it? And (#stretchgoal) what if we could move Beyonce to tweet it, or even get someone to ask Barack for a mantra?
A few challenges ensued, to say the least. Half the packages arrived ruined. I miscalculated exactly how long it would take to re-package the ruined decks, get them gala-ready and ship them out. My fingers were bleeding from packing the first 400. And then we ran out of supplies.
Here’s the thing that saved the day: letting complete strangers into my home.
My friends amaze me with their love and support, whether I bribe them with snacks or not. (Shout outs to Victoria, Nancy, Blair, Cathy, Sally, Anne and many others!) But a full day of re-packing hundreds of decks of cards and getting them gift-bag ready on a Wednesday seemed like a big ask.
I turned to Facebook. I’m a member of a few groups, including one called Inspired Women of LA with over 15,000 members. I put out the bat-call at 11 pm, and expected one or two responses by the time I woke up the next morning. Within 30 minutes, I had a bevvy of beauties ready to go, and by 1 pm the next day, four badass babes were sitting in the living room, scrutinizing scuffed SERENFLIPITIES.
Now, four strangers brought together could have been beyond awkward. But for some reason, we all connected — over personal fears and triumphs, heartbreaks and love stories, and the ups and downs of the road less corporate. We got deep fast, and we all had oddly similar experiences that each of us wanted to learn from.
“I have goosebumps just thinking about how amazing this day was with all of you inspiring beings,” one woman wrote afterwards. “Thanks for making my journey so wonderful. I am here for all of you if you need anything!”
“Thank you for your stories, beauty, laughter and presence,” another responded. “And thank you for bringing us together with your cards!”
If I ever needed a reminder of the power of serendipity and vulnerability, there it was.
So, we had the hands and heartfelt conversation, but lacked supplies. Which brings me to stranger #5. Staples was a dearth, but it turned out the wholesaler I had been speaking to last summer was about 90 minutes outside of LA. With a quick call, everything could be replenished, but a day too late unless we hauled it to the valley. This task was apparently not the most scrumptious of carrots for local TaskRabbits, and messengers wanted triple digit paydays for the run.
Should I drive three hours there and back? Should I get Ubered so that I could work on other pressing matters while in transit? Or… wait… should I just use Uber to do my task?
I booked an Uber out in Ontario, and with a quick call, David agreed to hop over to ULINE, pick up the cards and deliver them to my doorstep.
While David braved the 10, we got the decks ready for strangers #6 and #7 – Brian and Stephen from SHYP. They scooped up hundreds of parcels into big black bags, and hauled them off to get shipped and delivered in time for the ball. Hours at the post office (and likely injury) avoided, and tons of money saved, I was able to focus my energy where it needed to be.
“Thank you for making an entrepreneur’s dreams come true,” I half-joked to Stephen, as he packed up weeks of work.
“We love this stuff,” he responded, and shared his own entrepreneurial experience, having been one of the first hires for SHYP. “Can I share your picture and story with my boss?”
Getting 850 products re-made, packed and shipped within 48 hours would have been impossible a few years ago without a big budget and a production team. But with the help of strangers on platforms like Facebook, Uber and SHYP, it takes a little resilience, vulnerability and creativity to make almost anything happen. (And some good snacks!)
Asking for help can be hard, but I’m reminded that it brings us together and allows each of us to be of service and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, whether it’s connecting with another human or launching a start up. My most momentous moments have been the ones where I have gotten to help others, especially through my story and working through personal struggles.
Those moments of vulnerability have been where the unexpected connections are made, and where resources seem to appear seamlessly. There is power in saying “I don’t know” and “I need help,” but often we silently try to hack it on our own.
So if you're silently hacking it solo, ask someone for help — and feel free to reach out to me if I can be helpful in any way.
One of my favorite flips from my original sabbatical deck is “to make a stranger’s dreams come true.” So thank you, former strangers and now friends, for helping to make this stranger’s dream become reality, and I look forward to doing the same for all of you.