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What Failing at Whole Foods Felt Like


This post is completely in honor of the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse and the fact that I am a different person now, transformed by the fires of my experiences, really and truly dancing on the ashes. It may sound a bit poetic, but it is the absolute truth. 

I'm soaking in the effects of yet another major change and it prompted me to look back at other tower moments in my life. Failing at Whole Foods was one of them. The beauty of being transformed though is that I no longer have to carry shame about that story and I no longer have to identify with that story. I'll admit, that last part has been and still is a work in progress. But progressed it has - so much. 

So, in honor of being free of this story and able to release it to the world to help someone else, here is the post I wrote on my personal blog 2 years after Etniq Minerals was pulled from Whole Foods here in Little Rock. 

What Failing at Whole Foods Feels Like
Posted on April 6, 2015
This is something that I haven’t talked about really with anyone. I’ve just kind of swept it under the rug. I went on with a hopeful face and acted like everyone wanted me to act – still hopeful, still determined, still engaged, still resilient and full of belief in myself. You get knocked down you GET BACK UP. I acted like I got back up. And I sort of did.
I sort of dealt with it. I definitely felt like I gave the impression to everyone that I was understanding of the need for change. I gave the impression that I was willing to keep trying no matter what. I admitted that I did my best and I decided to keep it moving.
I was broken though. I don’t know if anyone cared that I was broken. Or maybe noone knew how to deal with the brokenness. All they could muster to say was, that’s ok leah, things happen for a reason..this is probably better anyway. You’ll turn things around. You’ll be able to get your sales up and get right back into Whole Foods.
Two years later, no not yet.
In truth, I tried not to tell anyone. I didn’t tell my family until they just finally kind of realized it. I didn’t tell my friends until they too just noticed that the products weren’t there anymore. I didn’t tell anyone really. I just felt like such a failure. Such such such a failure.
On top of my depression, on top of just the horridness of what it feels like to fail, this was a major major failure.
Whole Foods was my holy grail. I went to Whole Foods years and years and years before it was cool. I loved Whole Foods. Back home in Chicago, I was the weird girl in the early 2000s that only shopped at Whole Foods. The BROKE weird girl. *I* was the one that knew about organic food and holistic living and herbs and natural medicine. *I* was the one that loved everything Whole Foods stood for and tried to introduce my family and my friends to it. *I* was the one that figured out how to shop cheaply there with coupons and following the sales. *I* was the one that would get an Odwalla or Naked smoothie, a 365 milk chocolate bar with hazelnuts, and a slice of cornbread on period days. And pizza. *I* was the one that told Little Rockers what they were missing and came here and felt so sad that there was no Whole Foods (and then there was one and I felt Happy that at least there was one, even a small one, here).
I did workshops at the Whole Foods in Oaklawn back home as an esthetician about natural beauty. I would drive way out of my way to go to the Whole Foods in Durham. MY lotion was 365 brand and MY herbs came from the bulk bins. I, ME, I was the naturalista, the granola girl, the weird black girl that liked all this natural stuff.
So to FINALLY have products there OMG. Can you IMAGINE what a major boost to my fragile ego this was??? Can you IMAGINE??
People who knew nothing about Whole Foods were like oh hey there’s this natural store around here..some new kind of stuff..it might be cool to have your products there. The person who initially introduced me to the idea that my products could ever be there had no idea how big Whole Foods was. She had just casually emailed them about hers and got a response. WTH.
I would have NEVEr imagined that I could have been a vendor at Whole Foods. NEVER. and then BOOM it happened. ANd then BOOM I let it fail.
And now I know a little bit more keenly that a lot of the things I beat myself up for about with the Whole Foods venture (and with all my ventures) had to do with my depression. Depression is horrible. Depression made every single thing so hard. Depression and low self esteem made demoing horrid. Depression kept me from trying full out the new ideas I had for growth. Depression kept me from feeling good about what *was* happening. I fought the depression but the fight was so hard. So very hard.
So today was a bit of a triumph – actually setting foot in the same Whole Foods – seeing the old managers – having the awkward moments – feeling like shit. I haven’t been to that Whole Foods in the two and a half years since they dropped my products.
ok maybe once.
I had a good convo with my boyfriend today though and i think it’s a reasonable goal to want to get back in that Whole Foods. All they want to see is sales. That’s it. If I have considerable sales in the Little Rock area, they will be willing to take a chance on me again. This new whole foods is bigger. it’s attracting more people. It’s more possible now. people may be more into makeup now. I have better resources now. and a better support system.
I have to remember that what’s in my head is not always reality. this is another one of those – you can be defeated leah or you can be triumphant.
it’s hard choosing. I’m trying to choose though.
I kinda need some support with keeping my head up about this…I’m glad that I finally wrote it all out though :). I’m sure there are more feelings to digest but at least this is a start. Thanks so much for reading :).