buckle-up friends this is going to be a long one…
there are many of you who may have noticed that i have been conspicuously absent as of late. i have all but abandoned this little piece of the internet that used to be so darn important to me. i post very little on social media and have done very little to build or maintain the “following” i once had. i would like to say that i have evaporated because i chose to take a conscious break, when in reality i have been stuck. selfishly, i am taking this opportunity to unstick myself…i need to share, i need to acknowledge and perhaps most of all i need to move on…
way, way back in the day i started bliss. we had just moved to portland from st. paul, i had the sweetest little boy and a lot of time on my hands while he napped. after suffering from a bout of postpartum depression, i found the thing that truly grabbed hold of my brain was all of the inspiration i found myself surrounded by in a city i never thought i would grow to love as much as i did. the landscape, the art, the music, the food…all of it. i started to peruse etsy and the internet and found design*sponge.
i was shocked to find a blog dedicated to all things creative and design oriented…i couldn’t get enough and i wanted a blog of my own. a blog where i could share all of pieces of the universe that made my heart beat fast…bliss. i am proud to say, i shined and it was effortless…
bliss took me to pinterest. actually the endlessly-talented victoria took me to pinterest. on top of blogging, i now had the most amazing virtual moodboard where i was able to collect art, fashion, home interiors…truly, anything that inspired me. then the best thing happened! pinterest liked me back! i became a pinterest influencer and my following exploded (because pinterest wanted it to).
i became “relevant” in a way that i had never dreamed of and, again, it was effortless.
i ended up on the most exciting rollercoaster. brands began to approach me…they wanted to pay me to promote things that i already loved or introduced me to beautiful, exciting things that i hadn’t yet heard of. i couldn’t keep up, the offers and money just kept coming my way. i was able to travel, go to fashion week, attend an event with kristin bell, i had furniture, clothing, art and all the rest showing up on my doorstep and before i knew it i was making well into 6 figures. a dream. really and truly.
due to this influence i had found, i began to believe that perhaps i needed to create something as well. my favorite person in the world, my sister, and my everything, my husband and a few friends decided to collaborate with our favorite creators to bring you mavenhaus collective.
do you remember? probably not. i have done my best to erase it from everything. there were so many beautiful moments…creating, discovering, photographing and sharing with anyone that we could get to listen. all of the photos here represent this period in my life. you would think that i would have been on top of the world.
i assure you, the very opposite was true. pretty much at the precise moment we launched, pinterest pulled the rug from under us. “pinterest influencer” began to mean less and less. we had put a ton of money into something that started dying from the day we started. i was sick. my relationships with my favorite people were being compromised and friendships were lost. mavenhaus was broken and so was i.
we decided to shut it all down. you wouldn’t have known, because i simply couldn’t bring myself to share this information with my audience. it was a slow, torturous process and i have never felt so lost. i took it all on myself, because after all i was the one that inspired this business, i was the one with the audience and influence and when that all went away i felt as if i let everyone down. in my heart and mind i was a failure and in a way, i kind of think of myself as one today…
after an unexpected coffee date yesterday, i had the realization that because mavenhaus collective disappeared without a trace, the fact that i truly don’t talk about it, and that i have wrapped it all up in a big old shame bow, has prevented me from grieving the loss and sure as heck prevented me from having a true i-am-proud-i-tried moment. how has this and how did this effect me?
as one would think, poorly. i tried to pretend like it had never happened and move on from there. what i began to realize was the fact that the whole ballgame had changed. the days of the “influencers” i had come to know had gone. influence was less about look at this beautiful thing i have found, and had become more of a look at my perfect life or i have found some beautiful things, but mostly my life is perfect. my life was anything but. the “relevance” i had thought i had built was gone and due to the fact i was broken, to me, this translated as “my followers don’t love me anymore.” and this is where i have been stuck for too long.
the last few years of my life have not been my favorite. i have tried to find what i wanted to do, knowing that creating in one way or another was still important to me, but my inspiration switch is broken. i have not treated myself kindly and have been forced to look into past life events that may also have caused this level of devastation and shame. it turns out the loss of my business was the straw that broke the camels’s back, but the real issues were so much deeper and darker (a crazy story all on its own). i also believe that it is now coincidence that the “me too” movement came into our lives around the same time and that it has affected me on such a huge level. friendships have been tricky…i have been pleasantly surprised by the strength of the relationship with my sister and we have healed and grown from the business that is no more. i have also realized some “friends” were not friends at all…in real life and in the world of imaginary friends, “followers” are not friends. nor did i have much to do with my audience in the first place; pinterest controlled it all. pinterest was the reason my numbers grew, fell and ultimately meant nothing.
where do i go from here? ultimately, this is the reason i am here today. i have done a ton of work. i have built stronger ties with my family and the friends i have now are the best i have ever had. i have stopped partying to cover the pain and i have risen above the shame. i, simply, do not have time for it. i would be lying if i said it didn’t pop up a bit now and then, but i do my best to squash it. business-wise i am still stumped. which is why i feel as if these words needed to happen. i am going to create something, just you wait and see! i am going to drop my failure mentality and try to turn it into a “whoa! what a thing we created” mentality!
xo mrs. french
p.s. like i said, i am not done creating and i am hoping to come back at you in the most beautiful way…when? soon.