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Women of the Wedding Industry Wednesday with One Oak Bride

Why are we so intimidated by successful women?​

Like, for real.

I can't be the only one who is guilty of this, and these emotions.

Like, why do we think it's craaaaazy when girls and women decide to quit their jobs and pursue something that pulls them towards it? Why do we harsh their mallow and tell them shitty statistics like "Well you know, 92% of startups fail in the first year. You know that right?" Or, "Well that'll change when you have kids", or "I bet your partner makes a lot of money" or "This will make a great hobby", or "Did you go to school for that?"

Why do we think if someone is doing really well for her age/status/looks/class/education we suddenly aren't doing so great?

Why do we think if someone has a different style, work space, family dynamic, financial situation, vacation time, geography, or social network than us, that their work success isn't somehow 'real'.

Why do we feel the need to nitpick eachothers lives sometimes, and feel like we're entitled to judge how women balance success with things like; relationships, family, money, giving, friendship, health, and all of the other things we are called to balance in our lives.

How come, when we're in a place of thinking like that, we don't just step back and say damn, I bet that woman works really hard. I bet she worked really hard to make the choices she made, that led her to owning a business, being an entrepreneur, living out a creative pursuit, or making a decent living. Why don't we give her the benefit of the doubt with thoughts like:

I bet she lost sleep.

I bet she lost some money.

I bet she lost some friends.

I bet her family gave her some shit.

I bet she struggles.

I bet she's lost some contracts.

I bet she's just trying to do something well, without messing up every other day.

I bet I could be her friend.

Or at the very least, I bet I could encourage her.

Or, I bet I don't know her as well as I think, but I bet she's pretty alright.

Or even, her business is not for me, but I bet someone out there is really digging her chili. And that's great.

For whatever reason, we have a hard time with successful women. And I can't be the only one that thinks that.

So hard a time that we have to write, publish, and read bestselling books where women justify their success to you. A stranger. We have to have podcasts on how to be comfortable with success, and we have to be surrounded by a bunch of weird polka dot kitsch with GIRLBOSS written on it in gold modern calligraphy to feel like we belong to some club we don't hold a card to.

We're intimidated by successful women. And I don't know why, when we hide behind cheerful girl power statements all day long. But it's harder, right, when you're confronted with living, breathing, successful women when they live right in your town?

I was intimidated by Annie and Renee.

They were two Traverse City girls that felt a little untouchable, and so damn successful. I knew nothing about them except that I loved their bridal shop, One Oak Bride, and their style, and I wanted to meet up with them but I was nervous.

I was hoping we could eventually collaborate on a creative editorial project, and I could feature one of their dresses in a shoot, but I was like, a ball of nerves when that day came and we met for happy hour.

These two girls. Would they think I was stupid? Would they hate what I do? Would they turn me down for a project together? Would they make me feel like I wasn't in the same exclusive world they seemed to dominate of indie, trendy, artsy bridal couture meant for a confident and discerning bride?

Annie and Renee are successful, by my measures at least.


Their branding is solid. They dress well, speak well, write well, and together, they make a really cohesive team. They are gorgeous and do yoga and seem urban AF in a small town. They represent pragmatism, and seem to be built for traditional business, and "fluffy business" just as well. They are concise, and confident. Again, what I think of people is always up for interpretation when they read this, but these things I felt super sure about.

So what happened when we met for drinks?

We ordered drinks.

We shot the shit. We talked business, and then life, and then where life overlaps business.

They told me about bookkeeping. We talked about our mutual ideas for creating a more curated wedding event experience for creative professionals and the couples who will actually hire them. We talked about our mutual idea for a bachelorette trip planning service that wasn't lame AF.

From there, we did a project together. We played kickball together during the summer. We emailed. Then texted. And as will happen sometimes in this industry, we went from acquaintances, to friends.

To think of them as intimidating now makes me smile. Because they are still doing their business with the same creative approach they always have been. And they are still concise in emails. They are still driven and evolving their shop. But they are human. Human girls who love to wear ponytails and chill at home. Girls who throw up middle fingers, and have insecurities, and bitch about work, and have other passions and hobbies outside of the wedding world. Girls who wear other hats and do other jobs, who also want to collaborate on projects, who also are multi-passionate. Girls who are sometimes insecure, and girls who are figuring it out one week at a time.

When I think about how female intimidation is different than traditional masculine intimidation, I realized, this isn't a power thing at all. Annie and Renee didn't intimidate me because they are big and strong with loud voices and violent natures.

They intimidated me because they had confidence. And I didn't. And having confidence I think, is what will get us to a point where we can appreciate successful women without depreciating our own sense of self worth.

Because people tell me I'm intimidating, all the damn time.

Even my mom told me that once and it made me cringe. She said I intimidate her because I go after what I want relentlessly. Ryan, my now husband told me that I intimidated him because I could get along with anyone, and that's why he never asked me on a date. An old friend told me I intimidated her because I was happy, and that's why she was a bitch to me sometimes (I love honest people). But I have a love hate relationship with my intimidation factor. I know I come with a sizable personality. I know I am fiercely attached to pursuing things I need to do. I know I'm extroverted and that I'm decent in most social settings. I know that I am confident in many things. And I know that can make people feel uncomfortable. And maybe even intimidated.

But guess what? I also sweat a lot. I don't own any adult clothes. I have flatulence. I fail at something every day. I wear glasses. Not like the cute hipster kind. I have hair on my knuckles. Reading is legit my only hobby. I didn't get asked to prom. I didn't make our varsity volleyball team. I don't own fancy things. I am often insecure. I have sharted, I think 3 times so far in my life.

And my business is going okay. Not the best, but better than I could have imagined last year when I started it. So I hold onto that and figure it out as I go.

I don't know how to make you not intimidated by successful women, because I don't know what your version of success is.

I don't know how to give you confidence, and I don't know how to help you start a business.

I don't have any advice on comparison and jealousy that comes from watching other people follow their dreams and try something and maybe excel at something except to say, if you see someone do something and it stirs an emotion in you (jealousy, comparison, envy) then maybe, just maybe you should start exploring what that might look like, retrofitted to your life.

But I can give you stories. Of women. Doing their thing in the wedding industry.

That's my little bowling lane right now and I'm committed to doing it e