"I don't want to grow up but I do and then again, I don't." Staying still is comfortable, predictable and it all feels damn good especially in a world where so much is out of control. This week, after waiting months to get an e-commerce site from the ABA, I decided to suspend the our website supported Wix Store and move online sales to Bookshop. Hence, my "I don't want to grow up but I do and then again, I don't" internal dialogue.
Cafe con Libros has teamed up with Bookshop to offer a more seamless book shopping experience. Through Bookshop, you can browse any book, process the payment and secure shipping all in one sitting. Cafe con Libros will no longer be involved in the processing of book orders. Whoop-whoop (I want to grow up!)!!! Who is Bookshop?
Bookshop is the alternative to Amazon.
Bookshop is a relatively new non-profit, online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. Through their affiliate program (Cafe con Libros is an affiliate), Bookshop pays 10% of commission on every sale + gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores. Of course, their commitment to indie bookstores made the transition easy. However, more than that, what this partnership represents to the life and sustainability of Cafe con Libros is what really pushed me to make the grown up decision to let go.
I haven't shared much about what it has meant to me and my mental health to transition the bookstore and coffee shop online. I want to share and intend to. I strongly believe it is a story deserving of it's own space and process and this isn't the time nor space. However, suffice it to say, it with an arduous task - one that I intentionally re-framed every single day as my moment for growth and preparation for something much larger.
This unspoken reality is at the heart of my decision to transition. If I want to grow, I have to let go. This means, allowing a more suitable platform with an established infrastructure to handle our orders. While Bookshop is a temporary move as I build out the new e-commerce site, its presence is already making a difference. Letting go of managing my own online store will allow me to work on other creative projects - projects that live in my head and hasn't gone much further because I literally do not have the capacity to do it all.
So yes, I'm looking forward to seeing an empty Wix Store folder. I'm looking forward to not personally processing another order through Ingram (I also found a new distributor!!! Smaller yet way more about the community). And, I'm looking forward to taking more risk. However, I'm also mourning.
And that's the thing with growth, as exhilarating as it is, steps forward almost always means you're leaving something behind. For two days, I stared at the Wix Store with an almost inexplicable sense of sadness. Of course, by now you know it's deeper than me leaving Wix. Isn't it always.? Isn't it always about something else like the slow death of the cactus from lack of water that your partner bought? You didn't care enough to water it consistently; you thought it could nurture itself. The end of baby plant and relationship.
Really, ending Wix is sad by itself sans meta messages about life. It marked a larger narrative of what it means to let go of something that I love yet no longer serve me nor the needs of the business in the present moment. I know this sounds intense for an online store; I'm an intense person. I'm also a person who really loves being a bookstore owner. I take my role and my platform seriously; I believe in the part that I play in shaping and shifting dialogue, representation and politics. With the brick and mortar store being closed, the online store allowed me to tell my story - to share my values - to speak to a vision of intersectional liberation. It allowed me to resist. To affirm. To present a counter-narrative. And, to invite folx in. It spoke for me and added depth to our website. Does this make sense?
It also allowed me to connect with folx in non traditional ways. I learned so much about people and the books they liked. I saw their thoughtful gifts and smiled. I LOVED giving book suggestions. I'm going to miss that. I'm going to miss learning more about the community by the books that they buy. I'm going to miss talking to them as they pick-up (Bookshop doesn't have a pick-up option). I'm going to miss being in community - virtual or otherwise - among like minded humans. I'm going to miss feeling less alone.
Giving up the Wix store also means releasing part of the business - letting go of control. For about 2.5 years, I've managed just about every aspect of Cafe con Libros. My Co-Ruler, Cenita Williamson, had to beat me over the head during our almost weekly conversations about getting help. My resistance: not being in total control. Admitting that I can't do it all. Letting folx in on the other side of things. Exposing myself. Insecurity. However, Shawnee Benton-Gibson told me a long time ago: when you expose, you expand. Yes, and when I let go, I grow.
Growth is inevitable. And despite how much I resist by repeating limiting thoughts of failure, deficit or otherwise, life will make me so uncomfortable that the only solution is to change. If I am to be the best version of myself and take Cafe con Libros where she deserves to be, if I am going to make good on all the sacrifices and investment of my community, I have to be brave and let go. I see our potential more clearly - after almost 2.5 year of going it alone on the admin side of things, I'm very confident in what we can accomplish. We as in Team Cafe con Libros...I hired my first assistant in April, Desiree. Then, Jaycel, Sandy and Rhea. Des and Jaycel are still with us. I haven't regretted it for one single moment. I survived letting go then and will survive it now.
All that to say...
Took a whole lotta tryin' Just to get up that hill. Now we're up in the big leagues Gettin' our turn at bat. As long as we live, it's you and me baby There ain't nothin wrong with that.
Well we're movin on up, To the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky. Movin on up To the east side. We finally got a piece of the pie.
Shop with us via Bookshop until our new, highly functional and siddity e-commerce site is up! Grow with us and by doing so, facilitate our future growth. All this grow, growing, growth language...no more resisting; it's time.