Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild Podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life, in-the-wild stories about business and marketing. 

Julia: Everybody, as part of our summer series, we’ve been interviewing women who are running businesses, and I am ready to introduce you to a new friend, Maggie. Maggie, tell us about yourself, where you’re located and your business.

Maggie: I am located in Elgin, Illinois, which is just outside of the city, and my business is Bodega. We do produce delivery, it’s as locally sourced as possible, and it’s brand new. I just started in November of 2022. I started with four little subscribers, and we’re up to 22 now. So it’s growing.

Julia: That’s awesome! 

Maggie: I love it! 

Julia: First of all, I know Spanish. So Bodega is a word in Spanish. So tell us where that comes from and how you got to this idea.

Maggie: Well clearly for you, but maybe not for everybody. I am white, and I lived in Columbia for two years, and it was the best time of my life. I learned Spanish, and really just loved the community. One of the things that I loved most, a small thing, obviously I loved the people and just my time there, but one of the things that I really loved was the access to fresh produce all the time. In Colombia, they don’t actually call them bodegas, they’re called a tienda. But I really loved the Latin culture, and their words and their language, just the way they do things, and everything is roped into community somehow. 

I was thinking about what I would call it, I wanted it to be really, really simple, and Bodega just made sense to me. I was like, this is a culture that I love, so I’m going to incorporate it into doing this other thing that will maybe turn into something. Originally, the idea for Bodega was for it to actually be a little Bodega in the downtown of Elgin. And that’s just not where I’m at right now, and I can’t pull that together. So I had a couple friends be like, “Well, you should start with a subscription service and build your clientele.” And so that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s so fun just to see that word stamped on something and know that it means something so much to me, my whole entire heart, and to have it on a bag and drop it off at people’s doors, it’s crazy! 

Julia: That’s awesome! I grew up in Peru. My parents worked there for 15 years. And so in Peru, we do call them bodegas. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with them, they’re little, almost corner stores. Not all of them are on a corner, but just that idea where – at least in Peru, I don’t know how it is in Columbia – where it’s often like people have converted the bottom level of a house into the store or a garage. And at least in our neighborhood, we also had a bodega that was a panaderia, which is a bread store. And those were my favorite personally because literally guys, you could walk three houses down and get fresh bread every morning. And that is what I miss. I also miss a lot of things, but one of the things that I miss the most is that fresh bread. And then you could also get produce and stuff like that too.

So that’s awesome! So tell me more about how your subscription service works. I feel like a lot of people are like, oh, maybe a subscription service would work for me. How did you land on that? 

Maggie: It’s what made sense for running things, because I can’t afford to have a building right now, to rent one or to have one, and it fit into what I wanted to do. I wanted to get fresh food into people’s homes and on their counters, just to encourage healthy eating and whole eating. Like people always talk about eating their rainbow. So eating all of the things and also kind of pushing people outside of their comfort zones, trying different foods, because there’s so much produce that a lot of people just pass in the grocery store. Because they’re like, I don’t know what to do with this. So it’s a three-tier membership. There’s a regular bag, a large bag, and a double bag. Full disclosure, I have nobody subscribing to the double bag.

Julia: But it exists as an option.

Maggie: It exists as an option. Yes. So the regular bag is the most popular, followed by the large bag. And so the regular bag is kind of curated to one person, one to two people who are eating. I have a family who uses it kind of like an Ipsy bag. They’re like, oh, we have this week, and they put it that way, and that’s really fun! Each bag is full of different types of green. Usually, there’s two types. So I’ll do kale and romaine lettuce, or butter lettuce and collard greens, which is what we did this week. So something green that you could do a salad with, you could roast, cook up. Then you’ve got a bunch of veggies, zucchinis, peppers. I try to do more of what’s in season, and I try to do it as locally as possible, which was really fun about starting in November, because then I kind of figured out, how you’re gonna handle the winter, and here’s some fruit 

When I go to the store, I really like buying flowers. And for a really long time, I was like, that’s such a luxury to buy flowers. It just feels so much extra. And sometimes they’re really expensive and sometimes they’re not. But I was like, I wanna make sure that people always have fresh flowers in their house so that everyone comes with a mini bouquet. And then I do have fresh bread in the panadenia, and so it’s like a different one from downtown, Elgin. We have an insane croissant place, and so last week, I did croissants. 

Julia: That’s awesome! 

Maggie: It’s just really fun, because it gets to incorporate other small businesses and share with them and also expose them. The croissants shop is newer and people don’t know it exists. And so then they’ll message me and be like, “Oh my gosh, where are these from?” And I get to be like, “Oh my gosh, you should go buy more things from them.”

Julia: That’s awesome! It had to be a lot of work to figure out these partners and where to source things from.

Maggie: Yes. Our farmer’s market was still happening. The idea of Bodega kind of happened early September. I was cooking for a friend, and I really wanted kale, and I was like, “Ugh, I have to get in a car and drive to the grocery store and get kale.” And that’s so frustrating! And it shouldn’t be. It’s not sustainable in our culture – in the suburban culture anyways, to not go grocery shop once during the week, because then you have to get, like if you were like, “I’m gonna grocery shop every single night for what I’m getting.” You’re like, I have to go up and down the stairs, and in the car, and back and forth, and that’s just not functional. So I was just so frustrated, and I was like, “I just miss Columbia where I could just walk downstairs, go into the tienda, grab what I need, and go home. And it was less food waste, we weren’t throwing things out because nothing was going bad, because we were cooking with it.” 

So I decided in September that that’s what I wanted to pursue. September to October, it was like, we’re just gonna do it as a subscription. And so I would walk down the farmer’s market and just be like, “Oh, I like that farm. They have really good produce.” And so there was a farmer at the time, because I started with four subscribers, so there was a farmer that I was like, “Hey, could I just buy bulk produce from you? It won’t be bulk right now because I only have four people, but I’ll buy it from you every single week, pack it up in bags, and I’ll tell everybody that it’s from your farm. I’m not gonna be weird.” 

I feel like Bodega is, right now, as a subscription service is like CSA, but on steroids. People don’t know what they’re getting. I send recipes and like, this is what I’m making in my kitchen and these are the things that you could make. And on social media week, it’s different recipes of what they could do. It’s not getting to pick. So people really have to trust me, which is a lot of fun. We ended up deciding that the subscription was gonna work, found the people. Originally, I was just grabbing bread from wherever was easy, and then I was like, wait, this isn’t what I want. I wanna be supporting small businesses. So there’s four places in Elgin that I kind of have on a rotation right now, when and what.

Julia: That’s awesome! I’m even just thinking like, you’re saying like, oh yeah, I started with four people. If you’re up to 22, that means you are packing 22 bags for households, you are delivering them also, that’s a lot of work.

Maggie: It’s wild! It’s crazy! I ended up quitting my full-time job. I was working in the restaurant industry, and so I was doing both at the same time for a little bit, and that was exhausting. And also the rest of the industry, it’s a beast! It’s a money-making beast, but it’s a beast, and it’s just hard to engage in and not be super drained. And I have imposter syndrome all the time. I haven’t taken no classes, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not actually a farmer, I just really enjoy fresh produce and encourage people to eat differently and better. And so it’s just fun to be able to  sit in a space where all of the energy that I put into something comes directly back to me. There’s not like some big head honk show at the top. So when people are like, “I’m deciding about subscribing to Bodega. Tell me more.” I’m like, “It’s me.” That’s all there is. And I promise you, every single week that I’m sourcing, I’m thinking about you eating this food. I’m not like some chef a million miles away.

Julia: Right. It’s not like one of those boxes that is delivered to your house that you might like or you might not like.

Maggie: I’ve had a couple people unsubscribe, which was a little bit of a hit at first. I was like, “They don’t love me.” And that was not fun. But also, it’s not like an attack against me, it just didn’t work for them. So I think just reframing it like that, like, this wasn’t functional for their lifestyle, and I don’t want them to be doing something that’s not functional.

Julia: So as somebody who is just a few years beyond you, it still stings even later. But you’re right, you just have to reframe it. We’ve had people who, especially with the economy, who are like, “Yeah, we can’t do this.” And I am like, “If I were in your shoes, I would make the same decision.” Like, does it suck for me as a business owner? Yeah. I’m sad because we love you, but in the end, if we can put ourselves in our customer’s shoes, I feel like it’s so much easier to be like, “Okay, yeah. It didn’t work.” Good on you for already practicing that.

Maggie: I’ve had a lot of good people be like, “It’s not against you. They’re not attacking you.” 

Julia: For sure! I’m curious, and you don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to. What’s your goal? What do you want out of this?

Maggie: I have lots of goals. I actually had a meeting on Monday about a brick and mortar location. The Downtown Neighborhood Association reached out to me about a building that is being built, and that has this really massive space in it. And you’ll get this because of your bodegas, but they’re like, “It’s 4,000 square feet.” And I was like, “What you want is bigger.” I still have this really huge lofty dream, but that’s bigger than mine. And so this week, I’ve been reframing that because I was so excited. I was like, “Oh my gosh! The opportunity of a brick and mortar.” People want me in Elgin, and that’s so exciting, but their dream is a little outside of mine. But to my own point, I want a tiny little spot in Elgin, genuinely small, almost hole in the wall, but really, really beautiful. No shade to Whole Foods, but I love a good shopping experience, and that’s my guilty pleasure shopping. Like I’ll go buy a box of mango and pick up some good cheese and some good wine. And I love Whole Foods, but they’ve really curated their clientele to a very specific income, and it’s not a diverse population. 

And one of the strengths of Elgin is that it’s beautifully diverse. I really enjoy being a minority here, just because in the rest of the world, I’m not, and it’s a different space to engage in. But I really want a brick and mortar that’s tiny and can become a community space like cooking classes. The big Bodega dream was to be a space that’s inclusive of everybody. It’s beautiful, everybody can be there. So if you wanna come, you just have to be nice! Those are the requirements, and that’s it. I wanted to be WIC AND SNAP approved, women and children and subsidized, other words. It’s hard to do that as a subscription service. I’ve looked into it, but with that, you have to educate people on how to use food because it’s just really easy when you’re living off of food stamps to get the easy food and the food that fits your food stamps, because you know how to do it. 

Pizza pockets are great, but when you’re eating them all the time, they’re just not good for your body and they take a toll. And so if you teach people, like, these are the things that you could do with kale, and this is actually how far it could go. So they’re being accepting of that, and then also teaching people how to use it. So that’s the dream, just a beautiful space that’s for everybody.

Julia: I love it! And it’s almost like a community space in a way, around food. But this is, I guess, my dream for you. But even having people who are from different cultures coming in and teaching those classes, how cool to elevate some of those things too?

Maggie: It’s been really cool. Elgin has a really tight-knit and quirky, very fun artistry community. We have some really awesome stuff, but I’ve had people reach out to me and be like, “Hey, would you help us with snacks for our kids’ arts program during the summer?” And so I see that as like, “Yes, I’ll absolutely do that this summer. I’m so excited about that.” But maybe in a couple of years, they’re just walking the kids down the street to come to Bodega instead to learn and chop up. There’s like a Montessori aspect to it. It can be so cool and so fun. People don’t know how to cook plantains. And you teach them, and then they’re like, “I’ve been missing this my whole life!” Or people don’t know how to cook collard greens, they freak them out, and they’re really not that hard. They’re just like a lot of times. So it’s all of the aspects of pulling people together and just the power of diversity, and I want a space that can curate that and be like a little incubator for all of the beauty of that.

Julia: Well, and I love, even you mentioned earlier, the family, who gets their subscription and uses it as experiments each week. As I mentioned before, we have a one-year-old, and that’s something that we think about, is okay, how do we expand? I grew up as a very picky eater for a lot of different reasons. But as my palette has expanded, we’re like, okay, how do we make sure that continues so our kids’ palette is even better set up for success? And I think that’s where one of the experiments that while I was working on my pickiness – this is very vulnerable, very vulnerable. I was not expecting to share this. But while I was working on that, one of my friends encouraged me, like, “Go to the store, pick up a vegetable you’ve never seen before, and then Google how to cook it. And pick a five star recipe and just go for it.” Because they were like, “If other people like it cooked that way, you might too.” 

And so it was just a really cool experiment as somebody who needed to do that and exercise. But I love the idea of including kids on it too, of like, okay, go pick something out. And you’re delivering it to their door, how cool?

Maggie: It’s so fun! I love it! She’ll text me and be like, “This is what I made tonight.” And the kids are looking through the Bodega bag, it comes with a list of all the things that are in it. And so she’ll be like, “The kids look through it to try and figure out what’s in there that’s from this bag? Can I ask you a question? 

Julia: Go for it. 

Maggie: What’s a food that you tried that you were like, no, I’m never gonna eat this, that you ended up liking, if there were?

Julia: I have a vivid memory of when I was a kid, zucchini grossed me out so much. And it was because the way my mother prepared it – no shade on my mom – she just mixed it in with things. And it just would get really soggy and kind of nasty. I remember sitting at the table for three hours because my mom was like, “You cannot leave the table until you try one.” And that’s how stubborn I was and how appalled I was. I could not believe it. And so during college when I was working on this really hard, I started roasting them and grilling them with olive oil and salt and pepper, and now they’re one of my favorite veggies, where I just am obsessed with. One of our cousins has a kid who’s a really picky eater, and I’m like, “It’s not a forever thing. You just have to work on it, but you have to make it fun.”

Maggie: Yeah. It totally changes. My zucchini was salmon, and now it’s my favorite food, but I definitely sat at the table for three hours, and went, “You have to do it.” “No, thank you for helping.” And I was like, “I don’t want to.”

Julia: I know. Now that I have a kid, I like a lot more things than I used to, but every once in a while, there’s something that I’m like, “Not my favorite.” And now I have a kid, I have to pretend that I like it, and I’m like, so this is my new strategy. 

Maggie: You need to force yourself into liking food.

Julia: Yes! I’ve also been like, “How can I do exposure therapy?” Like, I have really worked on this, you guys. So if you ever need any advice helping a picky eater in your life, I’m your girl. 

Maggie: Impressive! 

Julia: Sidebar! So I’m curious, what are some of the things that you’ve been doing to help market your business? You have a baby business. It’s six months old. And so how have you marketed it? How have you gone from four to 22?

Maggie: A lot of word of mouth, a lot of social media, which I am not great at, but I have a lot of people in my corner. I have a beautiful website that I have nothing to do with except I made the mood board for it. And then I had some people pull it together for me, and it’s really stunning. So I get to share that. There’s a neighborhood in Elgin that’s like the boujee people of Elgin, and they’re pretty easy to market to. And so on Valentine’s Day, I had these really cool Bodega Valentine’s Day cards that were like, you deserve flowers every week. And I went and handed those out with tulips door-to-door, just like, “Hey, no strings attached. I just wanna let you know I’m a new small business in Elgin, and this is the service I provide.” So there’s been a lot of door-to-door, and I’ve had a lot of success with that.

Julia: Really? That’s awesome!

Maggie: Feels really weird. I feel like I’m evangelizing. And on every door, I’m like, I really don’t wanna do this. The rejection on that one was hard when people would just be like, “Thanks”, and then close the door, and you’re like, “I wasn’t!” But social media has probably been a really big one. I had notes on that, because sometimes, I don’t think of all the things that I actually do to make that happen. I have a family member who subscribes to Bodega but doesn’t actually live in Illinois. And so her subscription is like a giveaway bag to market. And so I’ve kind of found people who’ve been on the fringe, they interact with me on social media, but they’re not subscribers, and so usually, I’ll reach out to them and be like, “Hey, would you be interested in trying a bag?” It’s like, “Strings attached. I understand that it’s kind of weird to let somebody else pick out your food for the week and all of that, but just try it and let me know what you think.” So I’ve gotten really fun feedback on that, what people think about it. And occasional free trials for people, which is no risk for them, and right now it’s no risk for me because somebody else is covering the cost of it. 

And then also the way that Bodega is set up, people have the option to donate a bag if they’re out of town. They have the option to donate it, or I can refund them for parts of it depending on the time length and whatnot of their subscription. So that’s been really cool too, because I’ve been able to give to people who were like, “I can’t afford Bodega, but I really love it and wanna support you.” And that’s been fun, and I definitely use their Instagram post, because they’ll post about it usually. It’s a fun bag! I’m absolutely biased, but I’m like, “Those are the prettiest groceries you’re gonna get.” I go through all of them, I handpick them, I make the bouquets myself. It’s pretty, and it’s curated, and so it’s fun.

Julia: That’s awesome! I love the idea of donating it too, because that seems to be tied into your future mission too, with being WIC and SNAP certified. It seems like that’s a direction that you wanna head, and so how cool that people have that option?

Maggie: Yeah, it’s been super cool! Really fun! I also have a bunch of print stuff. So around Elgin, I have really cool posters. They all have trackable QR codes, so it’s cool to be able to see where people are coming from on my website. Even if they don’t subscribe, I can still see where they are.

Julia: Where the hotspot is. That’s awesome! You kind of already mentioned this a little bit, the rejection being a really hard part. What were some of the other things that have just been hard as you’ve grown your business?

Maggie: I started with four subscribers for a while, and that was hard. I did all of the math to figure out, when I launched, what do I need to be sustainable? And it was like, you need 15 subscribers to be able to keep running. I launched Bodega before I started running Bodega, like, now I’m accepting subscriptions, because I wanted to get as many as I could, and they were just not coming in. And I would check my email all the time, and just a little bit heartbroken, like, I poured all this energy really quickly into this thing. It started as a side hustle – I mean, it’s still technically a side hustle, but just putting all this energy into it and being like, nobody’s seeing the fruit of this. I even had friends who were like, “Oh, we’re not interested.” Which is, again, not a hit against me, but I was like, you know, those little things.

Julia: That’s hard. Yeah, it’s so hard.

Maggie: But I decided to run with it, talked to a couple people about it, and they were like, how about you just run it as a three-month trial. Even if you only have four people, it’s just four people every week, and that’s not a super long time. And so I ran it, and as I started running it, by the end of – I quit my job in December way prematurely, but I’m also in school, and it’s just kind of the life place that I’m in. So it made sense-ish for the time. So I quit my job in December and I was like, by the end of January, I need to have 15. And I finished January with 18 or 19.

Julia: Oh, good for you! That’s awesome!

Maggie: Yeah. January was an incredible month for Bodega. And they’ve all stuck on, so that’s the fun part. I’ve lost two from the beginning, and they were people that were just curious about it and not really in that age demographic that I assumed Bodega would catch the interest of. So it’s such a learning process, and it’s imposter syndrome. Like, I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s new. I know what I have to offer and I know who I am, and a lot of Bodega, it’s just me, and it’s me at your front door, and it’s me picking food for you, and there’s a flier every single week that comes with your bag, and all of my personality is in that. So sometimes it does feel a lot like rejection because so much of Bodega is just who I am. I want people to enjoy and enjoy the community that food is, and enjoy all the bits of that. So it does feel like rejection in that way when they leave, but it’s also like, onto the next, and that’s like a data point. Put that in your pocket and keep moving. 

These people aren’t actually super interested in Bodega, but these people are, and so keep going for that. And so I think it’s just hard to reframe in the moment. Like, there’s days where I’m just like, “This sucks.” Yesterday, I got a new subscriber, and I hadn’t had a new subscriber in like two weeks and I was like, “In January, I had 10. What happened?” And so just the ebb and flow of things and understanding that.

Julia: It’ll be really interesting when you get to the two year mark, because then you’ll probably see seasonality. I’m gonna call you in two years and ask you, what’s the seasonality of this? Because you did start in winter. And I used to live in Illinois, winter in Illinois is awful. So I’m sure that this was like a bright spot for people, but I feel like people start thinking about things like CSAs, things like that in spring and summer, and you are CSA-adjacent. And so I think that’ll be really interesting.

Maggie: I’m super excited for it. I’m very curious to see how it hits with other CSA boxes, farmers’ markets, because Bodega can be like an add-on to your kitchen, or it can be your whole kitchen. I know people who really just shopped for their regular bread, like their sandwich bread and meat, and then bodega is all of their produce for the week. And other people who grocery shop for regular stuff in Bodega, just like a fun addition. So just the ebb and flow of that, like if you start shopping at the farmer’s market, are you done with Bodega for the season? All of that. So I’m really curious to see how that works out. It’s all just an experiment.

Julia: Yeah. No kidding! Are you gonna do anything at the farmer’s market?

Maggie: I’m trying to. I am a service, and our farmer’s market currently doesn’t have service spaces, which is a little bit heartbreaking. But I do use a lot of the farmers to source, so I’m kind of curious to see if any of them would be like, also, you could get our produce weekly delivered to you by subscribing to Bodega, and some.

Julia: That would be cool. Even if you just have little pamphlets on those.

Maggie: I’m gonna look into those kind of partnerships. I could also do a sponsorship. It’s just really expensive to do it.

Julia: And it’s hard to know what you’ll get from the sponsorships.

Maggie: Yes. So I’ll probably do like, for our farmer’s market, you can sign up for the whole season or you can sign up for a couple specific dates. So I’ll probably try to sponsor one or two days of the season just to be like, “This is my face, and this is who I’m, and this is what we do.”

Julia: That’s awesome! That’s exciting. I just wanna say five years into it, I still feel like an imposter. I don’t mean to negate your feelings, but just am also like, you got this because nobody knows what they’re doing. Somebody had to do it at first. I didn’t go to school for marketing. I worked at a nonprofit before, and I have a very similar story where I was like, okay, you have three months to figure out if this works, and if it doesn’t, then you’ve gotta go back and find a new job. And it worked, but still, there are days where I’m like, I have no idea what I’m doing.

Maggie: No, that’s not negating your feelings at all. That’s very encouraging.

Julia: Like, you’ve just joined a club of a bunch of people who feel like imposters most of the time. So I’m curious, what are some of the best things that you’ve experienced with your business?

Maggie: So at the very beginning, the four subscribers were all people that I knew, which is great. I also talked about being like, oh, my friends don’t wanna support me. But also having a handful of friends that you’re like, oh, my friends are putting their money on my dream, was really, really cool and exciting, but there’s also the like, well, they’re only doing it because they love me, thing. And probably 70% of my subscribers now are strangers, except they’re not strangers anymore because I see them every week.

Julia: But at the beginning, they were.

Maggie: Yeah. So that’s been really cool. And just people that have no connection to me. They don’t know who Maggie is at all. They just saw this thing that I was doing, and they were like, “Yeah, that would benefit my life.” And so people believe in that without having a necessity connection to me. That was so exciting and mind blowing, every time I get a subscriber that I don’t know, I’m like, someone cares about what I’m doing. It does have an impact. It does do something and benefits people. So that has been really exciting. I’ve been able to push my own food boundaries in it, and when I’m sourcing. Sometimes I’ll be like, “I don’t know what to do with that, so I’m not gonna put it in a bag.” But then I’ll buy it that week and learn how to cook with it, and then I’ll do it the next week for Bodega. 

Julia: That’s awesome! 

Maggie: So I’ve been able to push my own boundaries. I had mentioned earlier, knowing that the energy that I put into something grows that something, and it’s not necessarily for me. I want Bodega to be something that impacts my community, and on the long span, I want people to be like, “Oh, Elgin’s cool, you should go to Bodega. Just experience what they’re doing there.” I want it to have a difference. And so knowing that everything that I put into it, like the awkward knocking on a door and being like, this is uncomfortable, that energy comes back to Bodega. And it comes back to this thing that I’m creating. Every single metaphorical brushstroke that I have is part of this big huge art piece that I’m doing, and sometimes I get to pull other people in on it. 

So I think that has been really just empowering. I’ve never imagined that I would work for myself ever, and so to work for yourself and be like on a lazy day when I’m like, “Ugh, I need to rest.” And rest is very important, but on a day that I don’t actually need to rest, and I’m like, I’m just gonna sit on the couch. There’s a mind spot that’s like, but you could be breathing life into Bodega, and I’m like, I should go do that.

Julia: Well, and what I love about what you’re doing is – you’ve mentioned your mission and vision, we haven’t talked about it formally. Whether or not you feel clear about the words, it is very apparent in your actions that you are clear on what you want. And maybe it’s not crystal clear, but I even think about going and taking flowers to people on Valentine’s Day, is also breathing life into people. Like where it’s like, “Hey, yes, I would love for you to be my customer. I’m not doing this just for fun.” But also, you’re giving them something like a token of appreciation that even if they don’t become a customer, you’re giving them this beautiful gift. And I feel like in everything that you’ve talked about, that’s what you really wanna do, is give this gift to Elgin, of fresh produce, of this community, and that’s what you’re offering. And so I love it. I will never move back to Illinois or the suburbs, but if I did, I would move to Elgin.

Maggie: Great! We would love to have you here!

Julia: Mainly because of the winter. I’m on a mission to get away from winter.

Maggie: I get that! It was like 60 degrees yesterday, and it’s snowing right now.

Julia: Yes, yes! So as somebody who’s at the beginning of their journey, we talk to people all along the spectrum, if you were looking back at yourself six months ago or somebody who was just getting started, what’s a piece of advice that you would give them?

Maggie: That’s a good one! I think with the imposter syndrome thing, I was just like, I don’t know what I’m doing, and I let that run a lot of it. And I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and so I think I should have sat in that mindset, like, this is the dream, and this is what I want, and this is why it’s good for people. Like you said, not everybody has to be my customer, and that’s not even necessarily what I’m pushing for, but just knowing that what I was doing added value to my community, and to the world, and even to myself. So just to know that, not to be like, well, if this fails, it failed, and that was all. But if it failed, I learned so much from it, and I learned that, you could actually do this thing.

You could have this really crazy dream and just go for it, and just see what happens. And there’s people who do that. Like, there’s people who start things every single day and half of them fail and half of them succeed. And I just think I didn’t grow up in a culture of, like in my own familial culture, of creating something, and so taking an idea and running with it and actually making it happen just to focus. Like you’re running with it. You don’t run a marathon without training for a marathon, and the training of it was just stretching my brain and being like, you’ve got this, you can do this.

Julia: I love that metaphor, and use it all the time! Building a business is like stretching and working a muscle. Even these things like talking about imposter syndrome, the more you talk yourself out of feeling like an imposter, the stronger that muscle becomes. Or even what you were saying, like people are starting and failing, and starting again, that becomes this muscle that they have worked on, to the point where they’re like, it doesn’t faze me as much as it used to. I think about that all the time. One, because I hate exercising. I have a treadmill back here that’s never used. It’s in my kids’ jungle gym now. But I think about that a lot even in entrepreneurship, because I think entrepreneurship is as much mental work as it is physical work, just on your own emotions and processing things. I’m sure you’re a stronger person than you were six months ago.

Maggie: And I feel so much more capable. Sometimes I have an idea and I’m like, we’ll put that on the bookshelf. Because I wanna put all my energy into Bodega, but I think before I would’ve just been like, oh, a dream, so cool, and let it go, and I don’t wanna do that. There’s some things that I’m like, “Yeah, that’s silly. That’s not actually functional.” But there’s other ideas that I have that I’m like, “That could actually happen.” And because I am running Bodega and playing with it now, and it is kind of just like a game of, see how things go and breathe into it and see what works and see what doesn’t work. 

My first week of deliveries, I was handwriting Bodega on bags. I got nice handwriting, but it didn’t look good, but everything wasn’t there yet. And sometimes you just have to go. My stamp literally came the next day, I was like, why? The next week, I had these really cool, beautiful bags to give. I’ll probably frame that bag, because I still have one of them, and that’s the first Bodega bag that ever happened.

Julia: I love it. And what a testament to a really cool dream!. That’s awesome! Maggie, I am really grateful for you taking the time to talk to us about what you’re doing. If anybody is in Elgin, if we have listeners in Elgin, I don’t know if we do, but you should find Maggie and subscribe. If you’re outside of Elgin, people could totally donate a bag if they wanted to. That’s an option too. If people wanna find you, how can they follow you or find you?

Maggie: The easiest way to find me is on my Instagram. It’s just @Elginbodega https://www.instagram.com/elginbodega/. And so that’s the easiest way, and all of our websites and stuff are there, but elginbodega.com (https://www.elginbodega.com/) too. And you should actually go look at it because it’s really pretty. You don’t have to subscribe, you don’t have to donate a bag, you should just go look at it. It’s a pretty website.

Julia: I love it! If you want something beautiful in your life, that’s what you need to do. Maggie, thank you so much! I really appreciate you and your time and what you’re doing for the community in Elgin.

Maggie: Thank you so much for having me. This has been so fun!

Friends, thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have. If you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe so you know each time we have a new episode coming out. If you loved our podcast and wanna give us a rating or a review, I promise, we will read each and every one of them. A special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast. We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us. 

Also, thanks to the Stratos team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys. 

Lastly, listener, we’ll be back next week, and I hope you will be too.