Entrepreneur - Small Business
[Five years later. Interior. Night.]
Paris Milan couldn't remember the last time she ate lunch with a knife and fork, or even chopsticks, for that matter. Lunch these days was yogurt from a tube, an energy drink, a snack pack of crackers and cheese, and handful of blueberries (her friend Oprah swore by them). That was, if she stopped for lunch. At least she had a hot dinner. It started out as frozen, but she loved Amy's Organic Vegetarian Burritos.
As she zoned out, watching the microwave spin, she wondered if she'd made a mistake turning down Percy Penguin’s request for a date. She briefly considered Skyping a BFF for an FTF, but remembered all her BFFs were M-O-Ms and none of them had the time for talking all night about guys.
She recalled the first time she saw Percy at that company retreat—was it Scottsdale? He was oblivious to her at the time. Back at work, she spent many of her federally mandated 10-minute breaks—and sometimes her entire 30-minute lunches—daydreaming about Percy and his...perks.
BEEP – BEEP – BEEP
She'd seen Percy on her way to meeting a client in SoMa. She was early for the appointment, as usual. She was carrying her laptop, a projector and some mockups, so her own Flatforms® were set on "walking flat." He came around a corner and she nearly planted her face into his torso. She quickly reached for the remote in her purse and inched her heels up a half-inch.
They chatted briefly. Percy was surprisingly forthcoming. "I'd hoped I'd be married by now, but I haven't found the right one. You know," said Percy, "You've always been the kind of woman I've dreamed of marrying. I have two tickets for the opera this weekend and it would be lovely to have a chance to hear all about you."
She found herself staring up into his impossibly blue eyes and said...the exact opposite of what any rational woman would say: "I would love to Percy, but I don't have an opening for at least six months. I have to finish a business plan by Monday morning, fly to Shanghai Tuesday afternoon, then a red eye to London for a meeting with my art director about the story boards for our Australian infomercial."
While she was talking, she gingerly nudged the "up" button on the Flatforms® remote in her purse. She raised herself just an inch or two, giving her a more imposing stature. Nevertheless, she knew she and Percy wouldn't be seeing eye to eye for a long time. He was looking for a woman to settle down with, and she was definitely aiming for the sky.
She saw him again in traffic across the Bay Bridge. She waved, but cranked the volume on her stereo and belted out with Emily Shackelton to Dream Big:
When I was a little girl
I swore that I would change the world
When I grew up, nothin' else would be enough
Back then it all seemed black and white
She knew she'd be spending her birthday next Tuesday at the VIP Lounge at the airport, but deep down, she didn't really mind.
As she drove off, Percy smiled to himself and admired the license plate on her Porsche: GOING UP.
The next morning, she checked her voicemail. A message from her accountant—delete. Another from her tailor, her stylist, her travel agent, all of them with questions. She spent 60 seconds on text replies.
"2:00 the 24th."
…and one more, from Dan.
Her inbox, as usual, was filled. She chose the "accounts payable" messages and noticed that seven buyers were one day overdue. She sent a pre-written reminder to each and copied her accountant.
Her morning inventory report showed that the patent leather yellow model was low on inventory. She decided not to reorder. Yellow was definitely a trend that wouldn't last into the next season. It was all turquoise for the next two seasons, at least. She signed on to her local sample sale site and turned on the "one day special" option. She logged into Facebook to confirm that the store's page had a new status update and fired up Hootsuite to schedule another 20 versions to broadcast throughout the morning.
Reports. She scanned her web marketing report: traffic up, ROI on new keywords was improving, and conversions higher than ever. She noted that the transition to a more robust server was on schedule and that all the ShopNBC feeds were live.
Her year-end P&L report showed that she'd finally paid off her business loan, received payment for the 5,000 pairs of Flatforms® about to ship to the Midwest distribution center for TJ Maxx and was operating in the black. The product placement on Desperate Housewives was a little disappointing, but the producer from The View seemed intrigued by the Flatform® story. Who could have predicted that poor little Paris Milan, who grew up wearing only one pair of hand-me-down shoes (which wouldn't have been so bad except she didn't have any older sisters), would make her first million from the shoe that could replace an entire closet of footwear—the Flatform®, "Rise to Any Occasion Without Missing a Step"?
A chat window popped up on her desktop. It was her virtual assistant. "Hey, Glenda Gottrocks wants to reschedule."
Not again. These billionaires. How can they be too busy? Did Glenda get tired after a morning of picking new pillow cases?
"Would you call her and say that I just don't have any openings right now?"
She picked up the phone and returned another call. "Hello, Ms. Big? I think I'm ready to hear your offer. I'm sending over a pair of next year's Flatforms® model. Let's walk and talk."