SO – WHAT EXACTLY IS WESA?

This is a question I have received often since attending WESA (Western and English Sales Association) and the stock show in Denver a couple of weeks ago.  As the Salt Lick Sisters is still very young, it was a question I had before attending as well.  I looked it up, did minimal research, heard everyone talking about it, but didn’t actually know what it was about until I arrived.  All I knew was that I needed to be there.  Anyone that’s getting started in ANY business knows how important networking and putting a face to your product/service are.  I had been in contact with numerous boutiques, designers, and owners that I wanted to meet, and they were all going to be in one central location all at the same time!

On that cold Friday morning, in my excitement I dressed in one of my favorite outfits and grandfather’s old hat, and I made my way to WESA…with no real plan.  I saw other people walking into the building dressed to the nines and my stomach started to bubble at the thought of trying to conjure up enough courage to talk to some of these people I have looked up to for so long.  I reached the front doors, took a deep breath, and walked inside…then froze.  Everyone had badges.  There was paperwork piled up for people to fill out to get in.  There was a “buyers” line and a “sellers” line.  My happy ignorance was quickly enlightened at the fact that this was an exclusive merchandise and wholesale vendor market.  Big surprise – they wouldn’t let me in.  Because Salt Lick Sisters is a services business and not a product business, there was no way I was getting around their rules and regulations.

Tail tucked and head down, I quietly walked back out to my car.  As quickly as I could, I sent out apology messages to all the people I was in contact with about meeting.  Not only was I embarrassed at not knowing what WESA was, but I was humiliated at all the promises I wasn’t going to be able to keep.  Not more than an hour later, I received a wonderfully generous message that I would have a badge waiting for me at the front desk the following day.  I let out a little squeal of pure joy and my mood picked up quite a bit.  The rest of my day was then spent sending more messages telling everyone to ignore my original message!

Saturday was a whirlwind of meeting people I’ve been following for some time now, being introduced to new brands, and hearing a whole lot of “we should totally colab on something!” I forgot to eat.  I forgot a bunch of names (thank goodness for business cards).  I forgot my worries.  Attending market on Saturday and Sunday was not only incredible for the Salt Lick Sisters as a business, but also for all the brilliant minds I had the pleasure of encountering.  It was encouraging and inspiring to hear that what we are doing over here is working and recognized.  A potentially devastating weekend turned into one of the best times I have had.  WESA, my feet don’t thank you, but my heart does.