Small Business Expo + Comfort Zones + Happy Surprises

Hi kawaii + creative family

Happy Thursday!

Yesterday was DC’s first Small Business Expo.

I went with no expectations and was greatly surprised at what I accomplished.

Since  I  broke out of my comfort zone, I wanted to stop by and share with you but first an apology ~

My blog has been dead for a good part of this month. For that, I apologize. But next week will be bananas!

Here’s what I’ve been up to ~

❣countdown to Japan!!!!

Leaving in a few days and have been swamped handling my deets ~

❣Gearing up for the second Ladies of Ink Summer Tour

Can’t wait to tattoo with these amazing women and introduce y’all to my tour mates ~

❣Launching Little INKPLAY Shop’s kawaii + creative workshops

Check out my growth updates and take the workshops survey ~

And now to the meat & potatoes …

🌸Small Business Expo Event Recap

This share isn’t photospam heavy.

I was out of my comfort zone and my personal challenge (to self) was simply to be present and engage.

my first business red carpet experience 😅

🎀Expo Review


❣Get Dotted

Getting dotted upon coming in was a brilliant icebreaker. I truly enjoyed connecting with people by color (no pun intended 😹)

❣”Selfie” Station

This was mislabeled. It was more like a person taking a picture of you with tour phone.

A few attendees and I laughed about that ~

But kudos for an interactive red carpet experience ^^

Before moving along though … here! Have a true selfie 🤗😁

❣Speed Networking

I’ve always wanted try speed dating. But this was even better! I also loved that it was offered through the day so you could speed network as long as you wanted 💗


Here’s what I didn’t care much for ~

❣Email Marketing Spam

I didn’t enjoy the amount email reminders and solicitation for showcasing at the expo. >.<

It just got annoying ~

❣Floor Layout

The floor layout was a bit confusing and hard to navigate, even for a small space.

Also, the business card bar would have been better as 3 small bars strategically placed for efficient networking.

❣Get Dotted Meetings (set-up)

Designated spaces were too open for such an intimate activity.

It also would have been a polished touch to have a note of why you’re here, what to expect, and how to sub-network within the respective get dotted meetings.

Tim’s always got my back 😸🤗

🌸 Out of My Comfort Zone + Engaging

Here’s 3 important lessons and highlights that I will hold near and dear as I grow ~

✨A Different Perspective on Networking

thank you for the hug! 💗💗💗

First thing on my schedule was speed networking. And I decided to sit where I didn’t have to move, to allow people to come to me.

※It’s something I do for live painting and other art related events when I’m a fish out of water. So I just readjusted that introvert engagement thingy I do to yesterday’s activities. (Annnddd … It worked 😉 )

EVERY conversation was a good one!

And the lesson learned from one of my fav convos was a different perspective on networking – we are all good at networking, we’re just good in our own ways.

*mind blown*

✨Honesty is the Best Policy

meet the homie support squad!

A gentleman and I didn’t start on the best foot while power networking.

When asked why I didn’t care for him, I shared honestly that he came of as a douche.

Without mincing words? I explained why.

In our later exchanges, he apologized and shared where his excitement came from.

It was an honest exchange that I find most people aren’t adult enough to have, especially in business.

I respect and salute him for that! ✨

We DID talk business … that I’m surprisingly looking forward to ~

Lesson – sometimes it’s necessary to be frank in order to break the 4th wall and get to something a bit more meaningful.

(If you’re reading this homie 👋🏾👋🏾👋🏾 and thanks for being you!)

✨Creative Energies are REAL!

thank you for a lovely train ride home

Ever wonder why you were meant to be in a particular place at a certain time?

Yeah, well I get that a lot in my life because of my empath nature. And yesterday was one of them.

My new homie, Felicia, and I decided to go to some of the mutual things on our schedules, together.


Felicia and I met during an entrepreneur start-up get dotted meeting. Somehow we enjoyed building with each other so much that we naturally latched on and became a team in navigating the expo and processing info based on where we are as a business (because there was lots!)

We also started brainstorming ways to help empower each other *swag*

We went to the Creatives get dotted meeting and a 30-minute session became a 3+ hour mastermind.

We didn’t know the importance, but I think we found our answer in the end ~

It was AMAZING and truly the highlight of my small business expo experience. And the best part is that everyone was melanated!

No crabs in a barrel over here baby! 🙌 INSPIRING!

Can’t wait until we all connect again (after Japan!!!) 😸

🌸Final Thoughts

I’m taking it back to Jerry Springer days with that heading 😹

If you’re a fellow entrepreneur (of any kind) and second guessing the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone …

Take it from me and DO IT!

You’ll probably surprise yourself. 😸

In the creatives meeting, Gabe asked “What do you need from us”
My answer ~

I need nothing. I am full and overflowing.

With no expectations, I definitely got more than what I came for.

For that, I am thankful.

Being in such a place, I can now ask …

What do you need from me ~

I know it’s a loaded question but feel free to share below ^.^

Gambare, minna
Imani (イマーニ)

Let’s keep in Touch!


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Small Business Expo + Comfort Zones + Happy Surprises was originally published on The Kawaii + Creative Corner

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