“A well-defined personal brand allows you to:
- Identify how to showcase your best self.”
In 1990 I became a Shoebox to Showcase consultant. I taught people how to take their photographs that were often stuffed in shoeboxes and make showcase scrapbook albums that preserved their best picture memories in a responsible and engaging manner. Those moments captured in time were then enjoyed in books that were readily accessible. What was once hidden came alive in words and pictures, no longer shut away and out of sight but revealed in a new format.
As I read this title “Identify How to Showcase Your Best Self” I was thinking, what is it that is within me that I want to reveal to others in a genuine and memorable way? These are some of the traits I have identified in myself.
* Love of history. Living in a home that is 135 years old that envelops all that time and life events is very meaningful to me. I like being a caretaker of old things and relating them to the present in a way that shows their charm and lasting value. This leads to my brand slogan- Embracing the Past- Celebrating the Present
* Love of Music. According to my Mother’s story, I sang before I talked. The song she said I sang in my toddler years was from Sunday School- Hallelu, Hallelu. I grew up loving to sing at church and with my Dad. I learned to play the accordion. I was active in high school choirs and madrigal groups and was chosen to sing in a group called The Young Americans. I love America’s musical heritage and sharing songs in our Music Room/Parlor is an expression of how people entertained themselves when this house was young. Serenading couples in love with the most popular song of 1910, Let Me Call You Sweetheart while accompanied by our 1918 Fischer player piano has brought me great joy. I LOVE to sing in the house! With its high ceilings and hard reflective surfaces, the acoustics make your voice sound better than it is.
*Love of Liberty. I believe The United States of America is a country that allows the fullest expression of liberty in recorded history. Internal spiritual liberty based on biblical principles gave birth to a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights. It has taken years for that fullest expression of freedom to be revealed, but in my lifetime, as a woman, the choices that have been available to me are without comparison. I believe the internal is causative to the external. I want to share with others my love of this country, its principles of freedom and to honor those who protect our liberties with their lives.
*Love of Home and Family. One thing I love about this home is telling its history. A young girl, 16, falls in love with an older man, all of 23 years of age, an attorney, who is living at her parent’s boarding house. He proposes. She marries him on her 17th birthday. They have 11 children in their 22 years together before they are parted by his sudden death. She continues as a young widow, just 40 years old, to raise their 9 living children in this house and she cares for her aging Mother. She lives 46 more years without the presence of her husband in this home. For almost 70 years her life was lived in this place. Margaret’s life as a woman, wife, young mother, homemaker, widow, and daughter is exemplary and one that I like to honor. Although I have no family written record of her life what I can piece together from government, ancestry, military, and cemetery clues, weaves together a touching story.
*Never too old to dream. For 38 years my life consisted of home and family in California. After the death of my parents, the reaching of my children to adulthood, a recession that seemed like it would never end, the return of my toddler grandchildren and their parents to Columbus, Georgia from Germany with the United States Army, the moving of my son to Savannah, Georgia, and the opportunity to play house in a Vernacular Victorian home in the countryside while showcasing what I love best in life, is living a dream come true. It is my “Happily Ever After.”
*A Gift for Hospitality. Within me is a love of serving others in a playful, entertaining manner. I love to create themes in many outlets. Interior decoration is part of sharing shelter and my natural outlet is to create spaces and experiences that reflect different ways of viewing everyday life. Creating guest rooms that take on an atmosphere that reflect my different themes has been a rewarding and worthwhile individual expression of how I present my Bed and Breakfast to the world. It has given me an outlet to express my love of making a home. Cooking and providing food is also a part of hospitality. Creating tempting dishes and presenting them in a manner that is pleasing is a way of to present my love of cooking. Also, the hospitality industry requires one to put on their best self every day. There is no room for a grumpy, selfish hostess. This profession has taught me to look on the brighter side of life and to put away gloom and despair. This has been good for me because in my natural state I can be rather melancholy. Serving others is a definite way to showcase your best self.
*An opportunity to be true to yourself. I am at an age where I can dress as I please with a nod to eccentricity. If I want to dress up every day in a long dress, petticoat and pinafore with lace accents and vintage jewelry, I can! This is a direct correlation to what I loved in childhood and my teenage years. My Mother loved having a little girl to dress up, curl her hair, play house and provide a happy childhood. Coming of age in the hippie era with its throw back to Victorian fashion suited me very well. Jessica McClintock and Gunne Sax were my favorite designers. Even today, as I write, I am wearing a skirt fashioned from my dress from over 40 years ago! I love femininity and gingham, chintz, cotton, lace, ruffles, eyelet, rustle, details, and being able to wear those fashions in a house that once knew them in real time is a fantasy that I like to play every day! Sharing my reality of fashion is a way I express my unique sensibilities to my guests and another way I embrace the past as I celebrate the present. My guests get to play along with their hostess.
*An opportunity to share what has been given. I have lived a very blessed life. Parents who loved each other, a joyful childhood, a loving marriage, a faith that is real, the gift of children, no poverty, trials and burdens that added to character and did not create bitterness or defeat. My husband has given me the opportunity to live a life as as an individual woman and to use my talents and abilities in another realm outside of my home and family in California.
I have been granted the opportunity to showcase my best self as the innkeeper here at Holly House. These are some of the ways that I showcase these traits and create my own personal brand that reveals my individuality.