Back in the beginning of June I got an email from Etsy asking me if I was interested in participating in their Holiday Press Preview Event where over 150 press would be invited for a curated sampling of what was on offer for 2015’s Holiday Season. My initial instinct was fear, followed swiftly by a gut reaction common to all things that induce fear: “No.”
When Eric came home from work that day I relayed the news to him, merely as an anecdote. I was stressed as it was and our schedule was bursting at the seams without making several anxiety ridden trips down to the city. But Eric begged me to reconsider and offered to find out more information.
What Eric discovered was that we would be one of only six shops represented personally at the event. It would be attended by over 150 lifestyle editors, bloggers and other influencers from places like Elle, Vogue, Allure, and Better Homes + Gardens. My anxiety level increased, but so did Eric’s support. We said yes. And really, how could you say no?
The event was held yesterday in Manhattan at the incredible Home Studios Inc. We left the house just after 8 am. It was only noon when we arrived but the studio was already bustling with Etsy staff, interns, and six shop owners, setting up displays, dessert hors d’oeuvres, and an open champagne bar preparing for the evening’s event.
The city was an oven and when we walked down the blocks to fill our meter we reminisced about Bangkok which consisted mostly of talking about the foods we were craving (in typical Thai fashion). It didn’t help that we were currently living off of peanut butter and jam sandwiches and bananas. If I were attacked by a tiger and eaten alive I would be filled with peanut butter and jam. There was a point in my life when I didn’t think I could ever grow tired of it. But I think that time came at 11 pm last night on the Thruway while I gagged my way through half a sandwich.
We had a few hours before the event, but it was too hot to walk around. I was trying my best not to be nervous. The fact that the other shop owners admitted their own nervousness to me helped ease the anxiety somewhat. Eric and I sat in a crowded Starbucks pampering ourselves in their air conditioning and drinking coffee until I was jittery, which took only a few sips. Eric quizzed and questioned and interviewed me and pretended he was from the New York Times. I felt drunk from the coffee and my head was hazy. I couldn’t find myself. I was out of my element. I was in the bustling city -5th Avenue and Broadway when I should have been harvesting onions. My eyes began to fill with tears. “Are you crying?” Eric asked me quietly. I nodded, but I didn’t hide my face. People must cry all the time in New York City. It was nothing to be ashamed of. There was nothing to hide. I was faceless in this sea of people.
Suddenly I realized: I did not matter (in the way that everyone who realizes self-love recognizes that they matter just as much as the next person, which is not at all, and also, absolutely). I was participating in one of ten thousand interesting events happening that day. No one cared about me and my unharvested onions, my peanut butter indigestion, my fear of Martha Stewart. I began to relax. The air conditioning dried my tears.
The evening was a blur of swirling faces. Mostly women, and mostly younger than me (which also helped me to relax). Some of them stopped to take pictures with their phones, others breezed by without even looking -as we were warned they might. Some chatted for ten minutes, interested in our story, the farmstead, our music, and how it all fits together. Eric told ghost stories to the women from Better Homes + Gardens. I had a conversation about under-appreciated herbal scents with a woman from Elle. There was a lot of soap sniffing. When things got quiet in between bursts (which never lasted long) we meandered to our neighbors tables, checking-in to see how each other were doing. We all agreed, it was not as scary as we’d thought it would be.
Is it ever?
At 8pm the last of the press finished their champagne and left. The doors were shut. There was clapping. Boxes were pulled from storage closets and we began the swift break-down.
All six shops congratulated one another. We exchanged business cards and hugs, and offered up couches and beds if they were ever needed in the future. Etsy admin were thanked and hugged while they thanked and hugged us back in the perfect symbiotic recognition that neither party could have done it without the other.
And then we drove home.