Ten years ago, Marissa McTasney sold her first pair of pink work boots – the trademark product of her company Moxie Trades Ltd. – to a U.S. customer through her online store.
But she waited another five years to fully launch into the U.S. market to make sure she had the knowledge base, market strategy and inventory in place to tackle this new and potentially lucrative market.
Since then Ms. McTasney’s U.S. base has grown to 30 per cent of her $2-million-a-year sales, including a recent partnership with industrial safety product supplier Illinois-based W.W. Grainger Inc.
But with U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist “America first” talk, which includes discussions of increased domestic manufacturing and heavy taxes on competing imports, Canadian business owners such as Ms. McTasney are feeling concerned about what lies ahead.
Many, however, have no option but to look at the much bigger market south of us.
“For me, it’s quite significant and I’ve been looking to grow the U.S. business so that I’m not so vulnerable here in Canada,” she says. “There are not a lot of large retailers in Canada, so I wanted to diversify.”
Literally, I have this beautiful painting of an elephant. As many events in my life the day this elephant came into my life was significant.
One of the groups I have connected with is Ladies Who Lunch Ottawa (LWL.) It’s for super-connectors, philanthropists and women in business. One of the posts that flew through by LWL newsfeed one day was about Bob Parsons; CEO, Founder of GoDaddy. He went on a $50,000 expedition to Africa. The report highlighted how he helped a community by murdering an elephant who was visiting nightly with his family and eating the crops. Hero Bob thought his good deed would include night vision goggles, guns and a plan of attack. Hero Bob killed the elephant and a community of people became savages and ripped the dead carcass apart. Continue reading →
Yep… that’s the advice I’m given all the time.
You are busy – so what!
You have a family – so what!
You are running a company – so what!
You have bills to pay – so what!
All of these comments end with an exclamation mark, not a question. But it’s the question mark that really matters.
I have found that over the years, there have been many sleepless nights, 4am wake-ups with a pounding heart and a stomach that aches with anxiety. I’m a hustler. I love working. I love being an entrepreneur. I will always be busy and productive. However the price for my Type A personality is that it can be overwhelming at times. That alone has been my biggest challenge and struggle as a lone entrepreneur. Continue reading →
This blog is part three of my inner tutu wholehearted living story…. In retrospect, the boycott has become an honour. It has sparked a fire in me that has reminded me of who I am and that I will fight for that right to live wholeheartedly for all the things I stand for. More importantly for all the lessons I want to teach my children.
As Robin Sharma has shared in his teachings.. “critics don’t come out to play when you are doing average work, they come out when you are approaching mastery and doing great work”
So I know the older I get, the bolder I get, the louder I get, the more criticism I will face – but then that’s how I’ll know I’m achieving something magnificent.
Recently I watched this Brene Brown video on “Why the critics aren’t the ones who count” – Watch this!
The boycott started about questions about photo of women in construction. The conversation very quickly became about pink and some ridiculous woman who wears a tutu in pink work boots. It included women questioning this chick’s skill in the trades. It included women attacking a successful woman – a construction worker from Saskatchewan. Criticism on steroids.
My main concern became, wow with all the good that I aim for and the intent in my daily actions, isn’t there a better cause to fight? And if you read some of the emails, I’m blessed to receive, you might feel like a putz.
The truth is I wanted work boots that fit and were pink. Plain and simple. I thought that if I looked like myself, we could all get over the fact that I was a woman in the room with hammer, then we could get to work. And yes, I can build shit, did receive a scholarship from my women in skilled trades program but more importantly I built a magical Harry Potter dressing room for my daughter, a train table for my son and a family room in my basement that my best friends and family enjoy till 4:30am on party nights.
Despite the very few critics, there are way, way, WAY huge amounts of women and men who encourage me. Beyond my wildest dreams, women email me photos of themselves in our footwear, they tell me stories about how I gave them the courage to follow their dreams, whether it’s with a hammer, ipad or blender. This gift is invaluable and I’m full of gratitude that women have taken the time to share their stories with me. I am daily filled with tears of gratitude – quite honestly I wonder if I’ve already achieved the goals that are important and can’t imagine what else there is. (but then I find another dream and another idea)
I have re-mortgaged my home, sacrificed time away from my family, faced the dragons and lost my ego the day I put on that pink dress with pink work boots. Many women have worn their husbands work boots for an entire career. Women have told me what they need, want, love and hate. Isn’t that the wonderful thing about women, they are fearlessly opinionated and their desires are endless.
Thanks to Andrea Gordon from the Toronto Star for “getting it” and sharing it with the thousands of readers who frequent the business section. I’ve never been stronger in my mind, heart and soul since I owned my true wholehearted self. I am a woman, a wife, brilliant, strong and I can build S#!t! And for those that hate pink, I will share, I’m not a big fan of green – it’s really not in my colour wheel, I’m never green with envy and although it’s the colour of money – Canadian money comes in many colours so big freak’n deal – still not a fan of green.
One woman stated that she wears mens’ work boots to blend in. We’ve sold thousands of pink work boots, not one thousand or two thousand – we’re in the tens…. I was disheartened that the very women I’m working to keep safe and happy on the inside were criticizing me for doing so. I would never criticize how anyone earns a living. If “blending” in helps one cope – I support that too. It is tough out there and I don’t take it lightly but I also won’t whisper. I will scream, shout and kick in my pink work boots that I am here until you see me. And that is where the difference is made. Progress is not made with whispers, it is made with roars.
So I am honoured to have been boycotted for the colour pink, dancing in my tutu with my daughter and showing my children how to find their own moxie. Moxie is the ability to face fear with spirit and courage. Women are miraculous, I intend to celebrate it! We can make humans, swing a hammer, lead a team, run a board meeting or bake a cake. If you don’t think that’s something to celebrate, you are not living and you really need to find your own moxie… I dare you!
Part 2 Finding My Inner Tutu
Now you’ve heard about how the life of me dancing in a tutu and pink work boots came to life… Here’s part two – wearing it in public. As part of my community involvement, I made friends with two lovely ladies who had an idea to run an event for women – inspirational, educational and motivational – that was all I needed to hear – sign me up. On the day of our event, our MC called in sick and I was asked to step up to the challenge – I was as pumped as a kid in Disney. I asked one of my dear friends (I only have dear friends, if they aren’t dear, why have them?) and asked her to break into my house to get “the” dress. I worked the day, dancing, emceeing, talking about business. I felt peace, I felt confident and I felt so happy – yes, pink work boots and a tutu. My outside now matches my inside. I finally found who I am! 37 birth years in (25 heart years) – not bad! That day was the day that I owned my statement, my being and my essence. I am a Woman, I am a Wife, I am Brilliant, I am Strong and I can Build S#!t! (No, t-shirt is not available yet) I am living wholeheartedly and fiercely loyal to my wholehearted self. Women wanted to touch my dress, asked me how it felt wearing my dress and where did I buy it and am I happy? Most of the comments are really positive and I think there are a few more tutus in the closet. I’ve learned that if people’s egos didn’t get the best of them, they too would toss on a tutu. However, the odd critic feels I may not be taken seriously. Continue reading →
Part 1 Finding My Inner Tutu
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a shift. Deep thought and comments on the colour pink, whether or not I should wear a pink tutu on my profile page and even a pink work boot boycott.
The boycott has been lifted but I sure wish it wasn’t – I have a load of anti-boycott advertising ideas. I did defend myself obsessively.
I must admit; this is what I signed up for. I used to be scared. After my stint on Dragons’ Den (largest deal closed ever worldwide at the time) I used to run into my house, head down.
I wasn’t prepared for the comments, good or bad, I didn’t know how to respond or react.
I felt judged. I was judged.
That was pre-tutu. Continue reading →