I Must Start

Posted by Joanna Van Vleck on

Starting a company is something akin the moment Shaun White describes at the starting gate of a snowboarding moment. “That moment right there, I committed”. That is the same as the start here, with Organic Erotic. There isn’t a lot of fan fair. There is no big moment. I simply quietly said, I will do it. 

This go round, I had a little more internal kicking and screaming. I danced around the idea for about eight months, not wanting to really give myself over. In the Eros Sutras it says, our aim, our hope, is to be taken by something, something so big that it has you. I had a couple false starts with Organic Erotic, not quite ready to put myself back in the ring of retail. I deemed it below me. I wanted to be the “spiritual” one. The material world filled products and gimmicks no longer had the luster it once did to me and I had been hoping to avoid this part of my karma. 

On a hot July day, I found myself sobbing on my white linen couch. I could hear the call of Organic Erotic yet I had every logical, politically correct excuse as to why I couldn’t give myself over. There was no way around this one. Every direction I mapped out in my mind led me back to….I must start. The tears kept coming, no one seemed to be coming in to distract me onto the next, immediate task that had to be handled as yet another distraction. The room became still. So still I could feel the air itself, like the air on a hot day that sticks to you. Ok, I said to myself and the force I was so angry at, only on my terms. Her voice came back with an almost flirty…ok, what are your terms? 

Just as water begins naturally flowing out of a spout opened, the words started coming. I want each customer to feel their space. I want them to be surrounded by what is real. I began to do the math as I always do. In order to feel, each customer would first have to empty. What I’ve learned over the last 13 years on the Path of Eros, since my last retail venture, is that you cannot feel from an overstuffed self. You can’t add new on top of that which has no space. A distinct calmness came over me. I was listening. I kept going. Each customer would need to empty and then circulate those items to those who could actually use them. Ok then, we’d need to start a partnership with Free Food, a non profit doing a farm to table meal every week and we’d have a pop up shop there weekly. Then, someone would be ready to buy from Organic Erotic. 

I sat there. Inside the space between knowing what feels right and knowing how the world will hear it. People will think I’m crazy my mind said. How will I tell people this? They must first empty and circulate before they purchase? No retail company would ever have people go through steps like that. How could I be so bold? Just let people purchase, Joanna. Only I couldn’t. 

I’ve always been one to push the limits. Whether it be the part of me that never wanted to brush her hair in a Texas family that wanted to look church ready at all times, to the woman who always wanted it just a little different than others, to the person who at 23 started a retail company buying wholesale one customer at a time. I never seemed to be able to follow the paved path. Instead, I wanted to go where there was no road and make one. 

With my head still rested on the cushion of my white linen couch, I could breathe. I can commit if it aligns with what I know to be true, even if retail felt scary and like this lowly, pitiful world amidst the riches I have known all these years. I will do it I said aloud to no one else but me. 

Fast forward to December 2022. At the end of a challenging day in Los Angeles, I could feel the road was narrowing. There was nothing to do but start.  I did what I always do, I made a website, talked to my friends and began to create. 

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