On Aug 13, 2015, I wrote in my blog and posted on Facebook that I officially “Threw in the Towel”. After 6 years of running my towel business and not being able to take it where I wanted it to go, I decided to close that chapter in my life. Owning and creating ShowNo was a blessing, but at times it felt like a curse. I saw some tremendous accomplishments, for which I was very proud, but I also experienced some failures that crushed me. After 6 years of being on a roller coaster with no predictable course, I decided it was best to get off. That moment in time, for me, was met with relief but I also felt a lot of sorrow. A business, to someone who has loved it, nurtured it and built it from the ground up, almost feels like a child. When it ends, as much as it’s necessary, there is still a loss and still a sense of… “Did I do everything I could? People wrote to me and said, “Shelly, why are you quitting?” “Don’t quit” and that was hard for me because I’m someone who doesn’t believe in quitting. I didn’t see it as quitting, rather, closing one chapter to begin another. I felt strongly that I had given it all I had and that perhaps this business didn’t come to make me rich, but maybe it came to teach me and point me in another direction. At the time, my logical thinking brain told me that I had turned over every stone I could, and it just wasn’t meant to be. It was time to move on.
My heart sent a different message. It reminded me that there was indeed one more stone to overturn and that I KNEW exactly what it was. It told me that it was time to close the business and heal, but it also told me that one day there may come a time to get back to work and turn over that final stone.
On March 20, 2018, I did just that when I announced that I was making towels again. I spent the previous three years healing and sorting things out. It was an important time for me because it’s when I began to see that a “failure” isn’t necessarily bad or something to be ashamed of. Our “failures” teach us great lessons. Perhaps even more than our wins…?? The suffering we experience because of a “failure” breaks us open to new possibilities and new insight. When you realize that a “failure” can teach you some of life’s most important lessons, then it becomes an asset, as opposed to a liability.
The final stone I hadn’t turned was making the purpose of my towel to assist individuals, kids and adults, with disabilities. The need hadn’t originally occurred to me because I didn’t have anyone with special needs in my family but when my Shark Tank episode aired, I heard from many people who told me that this towel would be perfect for their son or daughter in a wheelchair. I heard from a mom who asked me if I could make a big one for her 23 year old son with cerebral palsy. She told that it took 3 towels to cover and dry him properly (lining his wheelchair) and that the process was humiliating for him as well. I didn’t make big towels at the time, but I went and bought a big towel, made it for her special, and sent it off. I had a preschool teacher reach out to ask if I would donate a few to her special needs classroom. I asked her how many children she had and she replied 15. I told her that I would gladly send one to every child in her class and all that I would like in return is a picture.
My heart filled with this new purpose! Maybe this is what my towel was really for?? I remember being excited to share this new revelation with my “Shark partner” Lori Greiner. She told me that it wasn’t a big enough market. It would be a waste of time and not an avenue that she would want to purse. At the time, I hung on her every word. I was afraid to “do anything wrong” or against her wishes so I walked away from the idea without pursuing.
When I quit my job in Sept 2017 and needed to bring in some additional income, the thought to reignite ShowNo began to brew. I was reminded about not following my heart in regards to the special needs towel. I did some research and found out that there is definitely still a need and so I have re-launched my business with the purpose and intention to provide a useful product to aid the disabled and the elderly. I have no idea how to really market to this demographic (and am open to any suggestions ;)) but that’s my focus. This time around, I am only listening to my heart. I don’t care that there might not be a lot of money to be made in this space. I don’t care that it might not be a HUGE market. What I care about is having a product that is helpful to those who struggle. What I care about is filling a need for these individuals that does not exist. To bring them a product to make their lives just a little bit easier. To bring dignity to people who have to be bathed by others so they don’t have to be exposed while they are being dried. My intention is to be of service and that’s it. If I’m able to fulfill that purpose … only time will tell. The best that I can do, is follow my heart in faith.