Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't question it. Just say Thank You


I've been debating writing this post, but at this point in my new life, I have nothing left to lose and everything to gain. At this point, Many can testify and there's no one I need approval from.
I probably won't even promote this post. This blog is 90% for me and not a service or my expert opinions.

I touched on the serendipitous meeting between Tito and I 8 years ago, but I need to break it down here. Believe it or not, this is how it happened.
You'll read in an earlier post that I was working that music director gig for Jim Beam 10 years ago watching the suits eff up their marketing with big budgets and no real relatable message that quantified into Beam drinkers. Regardless, I LOVED that job, and I loved my bands (and band boyfriends).
Thank goodness I experienced it all in my 20's. I'd never survive that life now.
Overall I had a great ride with that company and I loved my life on the road.

3 months before I found out Futurebrands were cutting music marketing for bull riding sponsorships, I woke up in the night after seeing Tito on the news talking about on his handmade vodka being distilled in a shed in the outskirts of Austin. 30 seconds or so after sitting up in the middle of the night the absolute truth about his brand and more importantly, who he was, and what needed to be done to make it all happen came straight to me. I knew he was special, his vodka was great and he could turn the industry on it's ear achieving the impossible in a business of corporate owned spirit monopolies. I still had a job at Jim beam but I KNEW what he needed to do and I wanted to help him. I had never even met the guy in person.
I also felt some strange connection to my dead father thru him, being that he was a scientist and a tenacious dreamer, even though I dated older men than him, (enter daddy complex) Tito was about 40. I was almost 30 then.
The very next day, after being awakened with the ideas for him, I went to a tequila tasting at Miguel's La Bodega in Austin and in he walks with his gorgeous pregnant wife. A friend nudges me and dares me to go introduce myself. My knees start knocking together, but I manage to walk up to him, tell him the message I have for him and make a complete ass of myself. He says he has no money and no employees and can't start paying one now. I say, don't worry...that I had a job. I just needed to tell him what I knew about what his next steps were. (3 years later, he admitted to me, he also knew who I was-someone had recommended me to him-but he still let me make an ass of myself. That's Tito)
Back to the story.
He saves my email addess. Since he, to this day, has no computer on his desk, he eventually emails me from somewhere 3 months later that he would like to meet. By this time, I was out of that Jim Beam job, gathering unemployment and soaking up my more stable Texas life. I go see Tito, out at that shed in far south east Austin. I tell him what I think and he tells me again that he has nothing to offer me, but sure does appreciate my opinions on his business. Then, I just blurted out without thinking- “I'll help you anyway and to survive, I'll pick up some freelance jobs on the side. If you like what I do, and bring you in some cash, you can pay me someday” 9 months after taking his vodka from event to event, and telling his story, It was getting it placed into bars and in the VIP at Austin City Limits.
That November, My roommate had been gone for months working on a little movie called Sideways, so I took a break, and went to go hang on the set with her in Santa Barbra with some frequent flyer miles. That's when Tito called me back with a little offer of paid employment with Tito's Handmade Vodka. That was a year after our first meeting.

They all say it, and I believe it. (Do what you love for the love of it, even without pay....and you'll probably end up paid)

After 8 years building his company with him and the eventual other employees that joined us, I decided I missed helping at the beginnings of companies and ideas. SInce he's doing great, he's let me work on some other projects now at my little consulting biz called bellanti Branding. I have my own office, and a few clients at a time. I discovered that my visions for Tito and all of our marketing and web presence started to come for other people I talk to, and work with. Whole visions of websites, directions, messages, plans...they come to me without even thinking.
They come fast and furious and absolute. They MOSTLY come in the middle of the night, or in the moment of meeting with someone if there intentions have legs....
Or they don't come at all and I back out of the gig or excuse myself. Or change the subject.
Maybe this is just the gift of creativity. But I must admit, I wake up in the night with the songs of Robyn Ludwick already playing in my head. Last week I was awakened with the full branding, mission, logo and message for my new pro-mutt rescue-news site. I was tired but I knew I had to just say thank you and drag myself out of bed to write and draw it out.
My acceptance of this gift is making the gift more intense and I can barely keep up now with the information. I'm wondering if there is a way now to tap more into this and do less of the day to day and just help people with answers and direction...or let them know where the pitfalls are.
It's evolving daily. That's my secret. Although I'm guessing, it's a common thing about the human condition, to be spiritually charged like this. Songwriters talk about this kind of thing a lot.


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