Breaking Through Fear to Find YOUR Thing!, with Britton Murdock Nunn

25 Dec Breaking Through Fear to Find YOUR Thing!, with Britton Murdock Nunn

My guest today is Britton Murdock Nunn, and she is the entrepreneur behind The Biggest Little Fashion Truck in Reno, Nevada. My team and I got to meet Britton recently when we hosted a Big Dream Gathering at the University of Nevada.

I will let her tell her story, but the very short version is she was on a career track that wasn’t a good fit. But she decided to make some changes, and that led her to launch an innovative, crazy-cool business involving fashion, fun and a big pink truck!

Listen To The Podcast:

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INTERVIEW:

Britton, welcome to DREAM THINK DO.

Oh, my gosh. Thank you for having me.

This is just fun. We’re just gonna get to continue a conversation we started in Reno.

I’m so in. I’m so excited.

I love it. Okay, so DREAM THINK DO-ers, just know this. We’re going to talk about this Biggest Little Fashion Truck, and you guys are gonna love it. If you want to see footage of this, just go to mitchmatthews.com/208, and we’ll include the video where we got to spend the day with Britton. So you’ll actually get to see it, and I do want you to see it, because it’s so, so cool. Britton, when you describe The Biggest Little Fashion Truck to someone, how do you describe what it is that you do?

First, I always start with just a fashion truck in general, and what it is. A fashion truck operates and looks similar to a food truck, so we do popups around town, in front of local businesses or inside local businesses. You might find us in or near wine bars, lash extension studios, doctors’ offices. You name it, we’ve probably done it. And then we set up festivals downtown, so we pop up on the street and you can shop inside the truck. And then we do just a lot of home parties, so we go to people’s homes and we set up inside for a little private shopping event for your friends, or birthday parties, or whatever it may be. So, it looks and operates very similarly to a food truck, except we sell women’s clothing.

It doesn’t smell the same as a food truck. But it looks awesome, right? And, guys, you’ve gotta know this is a big, pink, four-wheel-drive, dreamy vehicle that is not necessarily easy to drive. It certainly doesn’t look easy to drive. But it is awesome when it comes pulling up to a location, which is just so much fun.

It really is.

I gotta say, when our researcher brought up your story and said, “She’s got a fashion truck.” I’m like, “Cool. What is a fashion truck?” Is this a common thing? Are fashion trucks happening all over the place? I mean, you are literally the first time I’ve ever heard of it.

Well, I think that they’re getting big in bigger cities, which I think everything kind of starts in New York, LA. So there are fashion trucks, and there’s a lot of fashion trailers where people pull a retro-cool Airstream behind them, and then you can shop inside it or something like that. I have seen a few that look similar to mine, as far as truck model. But I’m the first and only one in Reno, so I’m pretty new in this area.

Yeah. So, you’re kinda teaching people what it is as you’re doing it.

Yes. It’s definitely a new idea, a new concept, especially for the businesses that I work with. I mean, there’s no one that’s out there doing this, so I’m kind of having to initiate the negotiations with other businesses.

Yeah, absolutely. You make it a win-win. For some businesses, they’re doing it for their employees. For some businesses, they’re doing it for their clients. Or some people are just having parties as you said, and you’re showing up and doing it at their houses.

Yeah. I think a lot of businesses who want to get more foot traffic on, let’s say like one of their dead nights, maybe like a Wednesday or Thursday. I’ll pop in, and then people come to their business, so it drives foot traffic for them. And then also, if it’s like a wine bar or something, then it drives drink sales.

Hello, drinking and shopping? Come on.

It goes hand-in-hand.

And I would imagine people are just a lot more open to fashion when they’ve had a couple of nice glasses of wine. It’s awesome.

Now I want to talk about where you’re at, and how this all blossomed. But, I have to say. We’ve gotten the chance to interview a lot of different people walking out their dreams, but you probably were one of the happiest people. I mean, and legitimately; authentically. Not faking it. We saw you do what you do, and it was so cool. You were just beaming because you were having so much fun. What would you say are some of your favorite elements? DREAM THINK DO-ers know dreams take hard work, so we know that it’s not just easy. But what would you say are some of your favorite aspects about what you get to do?

Yeah, that’s a good question. Well, first of all, thanks for saying that I seem happy. I feel happy.

It’s true.

So just digging back into my story and why I started doing it, I realized that I like to make people feel good. And not artificially; I truly like to see people feel good about themselves. So I would help my teammates find clothes that they felt good in. The overwhelming relief that they would see when they looked in the mirror and the confidence that came over them when they had something that they felt good in, and I could help with that by just recommending a piece of clothing. I felt like I was onto something here. Like, “I can help people feel good through clothing.” It’s just one of the ways that you can feel confident about yourself.

Yeah, it’s so true. I want to clarify – you said you helped your teammates. You grew up an athlete.

Yes.

You grew up with your fellow athletes, which, of course, everybody’s in shape. But that means a lot of different things, especially for women. That’s going to be different-shaped bodies, all that stuff. And I know that you talked with us about it while we were with you; that you loved being able to take your friends, who maybe couldn’t find clothes in the typical stores that made them feel good, and you loved taking them and helping them find that stuff that really did make them feel good.

Exactly. Yeah, I played softball, so just like in any sport, or any walk of life really, everybody’s body is different. So finding your shape and what looks good on your shape is super important. If I can help someone do that, then they can take that information and go find clothes on their own. But initially, me helping them and recommending a piece and just seeing them feel good … that’s what I’m addicted to, that’s what I love to do. When customers come in and I’m like, “Well, what about this?” Or maybe they find it, and they’re like, “I love this piece.” That is why I do what I do. I love to help people feel good and confident.

I know. It was awesome. We got to see you work with some people, but one of the people you got to work with was Lindsay, one of our team members for the Big Dream Gathering, and you were so great. I mean, you just talked with her about what she liked, but then took her through and just had her try stuff on. You were encouraging her. It was so fun to see. She just lit up. Now, of course, when we’re on Big Dream Gatherings we’re wearing black T-shirts, which are probably not what you would recommend for everybody. Some people might think it’s superficial to think that clothes matter, but they do matter, right? It has an impact on how confident you feel.

Right, exactly. Lindsay was awesome, by the way.

She’s awesome.

I think that there’s a way to go about it. I definitely don’t think that you pressure someone, like, “Here, try this.” You have to be calm because they’re vulnerable. When you’re trying on clothes, it’s a vulnerable state for anyone. We all have our insecurities. You think that something’s going to be too big, too small, definitely not going to look good on you. I always recommend trying it on, but just having that calm and confidence from me, like, “Here, you should try that on. That looks great on you. Do you see where it cuts you on your arms or your waist?” just something like that. Then they look in the mirror, and you can literally see it in their face, like, “Wow. This actually does look good on me,” and you can see the confidence. Then soon they’re twirling around the fashion truck!

Exactly. You literally had Lindsay spinning around. That was fun to see. I love that point that you make, that you have to be confident, kind of at peace. While we were there, I also saw you say, “You know what? I wouldn’t recommend that,” which I think gave you more credibility when you shot straight on some of the things. “No, no. I wouldn’t do that. But this, this looks great on you.” I think that helps to build the trust.

I definitely agree. I think that people start to trust. They will trust you more if you’re honest with them. I don’t want to make a sale to someone and then have them not look good, or feel good in the piece. That does no good.

Yeah. I love it. Here’s the thing, DREAM THINK DO-ers always bring excellence to whatever they do. They’re fully engaged, they’re all in. But some, as they listen, they know they’re just not in that right fit job yet. They haven’t found it yet, and it’s not because they’re not successful. It’s just they haven’t found it yet, or maybe giving themselves permission to explore some different things. So let’s talk a little bit about where you were at a few years ago, or before the Fashion Truck hit. So tell us a little bit about where you were at before all this got started.

Yeah, definitely. Okay, so I was an athlete like I said. So I went to the University of Nevada and I played softball, and truly that was my identity. When that ended, I was really upset. I think a lot of athletes can relate to that. It’s your full-time job, it’s how you identify. I knew that I needed to-

Well, it’s your whole world, right? Everybody that you know is in that. It’s what you’ve done to achieve success in so many different areas, so I think there’s a lot of people that can relate to that. Absolutely.

Definitely. And then one day, your senior day or whatever, your last game, it just all ends. And then you wake up the next day and you don’t have to go to practice, which you’ve done every single day for your entire life. It’s a really hard thing to overcome. I was kind of struggling with that, and I knew I needed to buy myself some time because honestly, I hadn’t really thought about what I wanted to do. I majored in psychology; I thought that I might want to be a psychologist, but I didn’t have any plans for after my undergrad, and to be a psychologist you have to go on to school. I just didn’t know if that’s what I wanted to do.

So, now I have this degree in something that I don’t even know what to do with. It was so confusing, and there were so many things going on at that time. But I knew I just needed to keep going in some direction, in a good direction. I didn’t want to just stop bettering myself or evolving. So I ended up talking to the athletic department, and I became a graduate assistant working in athletics. I went to school in that department. I knew I wanted to be around athletics because I wasn’t ready to let it go. So that was kind of like the, I don’t know, bridge into my career.

So I started to go to school to get my master’s for higher education administration, on an athletic administration track. I wanted to be an athletic director and to just work in athletics and be around that culture. So I started working in the athletic department, going to school, and I realized really fast that sitting behind a desk does not transfer onto the field, at all. It didn’t add up, and it was a lot of fundraising, which I didn’t really see myself in. I finished my Master’s degree just kind of to cross it off the list.

Congrats. Yup, get it done.

Did that, and I worked for one year after that, and during that year I did a ton of soul-searching and really thought about where I want my life to go.

I looked back at what I was good at. I literally wrote down a list; “Okay, things you’re good at.” And then, I did write out on a list things I’m not good at. Math, I’m not good at math. I don’t need to be doing math, right?

That’s right. “I’m gonna hire somebody to do math.” Yes.

Yeah. It’s awesome. But I didn’t even know until I wrote it down that I was good at some things. And then I saw, “Okay, I love fashion.” And then there’s a whole part about my grandparents … my grandparents owned a clothing store, so I had that history and I had that in my blood. And I just started to research, “How do I own a clothing store?” Literally Google, “How do you start a new clothing store?” Researched the market in Reno; realized that a brick-and-mortar store was not going to be my type of clothing store. And just a side note: I was trying to open a clothing store in the worst retail climate in our country’s history. People are buying retail online. I mean, Macy’s is having a problem. It’s crazy right now. Well, I’m good at retail, I think, so this sucks. But I’m going to figure it out.

What I love about that, though, is you gave yourself that permission to stay with it even though you started to bump up against that, right?

Yeah.

So let’s backtrack, because there’s a lot of wisdom you just dropped. One of the things was, you knew you were on a track that didn’t quite feel like the right thing. But I love how you stayed with it from the standpoint that you didn’t just quit overnight. There are some people who say, “I don’t think I like this anymore,” and so they just quit. Whether it’s their degree, or an advanced degree, or their job. DREAM THINK DO-ers know I’m not a huge fan of just blind leaps of faith, or just quitting out of the blue. I do think quitters win all the time. But it’s about quitting intentionally and doing it on your own terms, right? And what I love is that you gave yourself permission to dream while you were still on that track, and you looked for clues.

So I love that you’re writing down, “What am I good at?” And being real enough with yourself to say, “What am I bad at,” right? Because some people don’t want to look at that.

I know we kind of breezed over that, but your grandparents owned a very well-known department store … actually, like three of them in the Reno area, right? And so you got to see that; that was a part of your history. But you also knew that your family – your parents, siblings – didn’t necessarily want to go down that path. So it’s like that was a clue from your history. But to know, “Okay, that’s in my blood,” right?

Right, yeah.

It takes guts to look for those clues. And you bumped up against some of the harsh reality of, “Retail? Are you nuts? What?” It is an evolving thing. I remember us talking and you said, “Okay, I had this passion for it. But I knew if I was gonna do it I had to do it differently.”

Exactly.

That’s a really big deal as well because a lot of times we start to look. We start to do that research and we bump up against maybe some harsh truths. It’s easy to bail at that point too.

Yeah. I mean, it was discouraging, especially with no experience. But I definitely think writing it down and, like you always say, allowing yourself to dream. Allowing your mind to go there is important. It got me here, so-

It’s huge. Well, and also, one thing we didn’t get to talk about when we got to hang out. But have you ever heard of the thing … it’s a phenomenon called the sunk cost fallacy.

No.

Okay, sunk costs are basically an investment a business makes in something. So as an example, a sunk cost might be you invest thousands in a website, or you invest in products, or you invest in a person. But sunk cost fallacy is something that happens in all of us, where we tend to stay with something longer than we should because of what we’ve invested in it. So the sunk cost fallacy, in your case would have been to say, “I got my master’s in this, so by hell or high water I’m gonna get a career out of it because I’ve invested all this time and money.”

Sunk cost fallacy is that you stay with something longer than you should because of time or money invested, and it’s something that can cause us to do the dumbest things. There are a lot of people that spend decades in a career because of sunk cost fallacies, and you didn’t. Is there anything that you can think of that helped you with that?

I think there were two major things. One is I kind of started to look around at people that were older than me, and people that maybe were in athletics, but also in other careers. People that I looked up to, and people who were “successful”. And I was thinking, “Are they happy? What are they doing? They have all these things. Is this the track that they go on?” So I looked at the people in the athletics, and I looked at a ton of people around me – people that I looked up to – and I was like, “Well, that looks great, but that’s what you get?” It didn’t look bad, but why not try to do something that actually I truly love and feel good about?

So I think that was one of the things. And then the other thing that I was kind of feeding off of was, I love softball so many, and it gave me this passion and this fire. I practiced so much. I loved competing, and I just didn’t have that in that job, and so I was like, “I need to take on something that I’m going to love, that I can be competitive with, that I can win with.” And so, that’s when the Fashion Truck and all of that came together. I did a ton of soul searching. What would piece me, almost, back together after this one thing that was like my true love, which was softball? So, I think those two things. But I just looked around and knew the path I had been on was not for me.

Exactly. Well, and I also think you were looking out like 10 years, going, “Okay. If I stay in this … Am I gonna be happier, or a lot less happy if I stay on this?” And you also looked into others as well, and I know you did a lot of interviews and talking with people and coffees with people just exploring that, and I think that’s huge. You inventoried your strengths, and I think some people would do a surface level of that. Like, “Do I like people? Yeah, I like people. Am I creative? Yeah, I’m a creative person.” And that’s good, but that’s like first level.

Second and third level are those things that you’re talking about. To be able to say, “All right, I like softball, but I probably can’t play softball the rest of my life. But, what are some of outside things in softball that I really enjoyed?” Like, you knew you enjoyed actually working hard. You knew the competitive aspect, right? And you don’t equate those things necessarily, either, “Oh, fashion truck. It’s obvious, right?” But at the same time you were like, “All right, those are those deeper things.” And then as you started to look at other options and explore these things, you said … some people might be afraid of the competition when it comes to retail, and you’re like, “Bring it on!” And I think that’s a big, big deal, so I love it.

Now, I also think part of your story that DREAM THINK DO-ers absolutely need to hear is, here you are. You’ve got your master’s in sports administration, higher ed administration, all of that. You don’t have your master’s in fashion-truck-ocity, or whatever, right? I don’t even know what they’d call that degree, right? So you know you’ve got to learn, right? And we already talked about that one of the things you did was you went to Google. And I think that’s huge because so many people that I’ve talked with that have done extraordinary things started with a good, solid Google search, so it’s awesome. But you also had the guts to reach out to some people who were doing something similar. Tell us a little of that story, so DREAM THINK DO-ers can get a little understanding there.

Yeah, so it’s a major piece to how I got here. I started doing some market research around the Reno area, and I knew that I wanted to do a fashion truck at that point. I was like, “I’m gonna do the fashion truck. I have to buy a truck, and I have to refurbish it.” So I started doing some research, and I found a fashion truck in Reno called The Biggest Little Fashion Truck. And so from there, I started to just dig into who owns it, where is it? And started to use my connections, and I would ask people, “Do you know this person?” And it happened to be Hillary Schieve, who is now the Reno mayor, and she’s an awesome woman. But I had some connections that knew her, and I obtained her phone number like a lonesome stalker.

I said, “I need to talk to this woman. She has a fashion truck. She has what I want.” At that point, I was just like, “Where did you buy your truck, and how did you refurbish it? What did you do?” Because I had no idea about any of that, and that’s what I was gonna ask her. So I text her, and she texts me back. I hadn’t known this, but the fashion truck that she owned wasn’t in operation at the time because she was running to be the mayor. She didn’t have time to run the truck, so it was parked. And so when I met her for coffee we talked, and I didn’t know this, but by the end of our conversation, she offered to sell the truck to me.

Wow. Here she is in the midst of running for mayor, all of that, and she still takes time to meet with you.

Right.

Now, I also have to ask, though … I know a lot of people would hear that and go, “Okay, here you are researching something you want to do, and then you find someone that may, in fact, be a future competitor. I know a lot of people would bail at that point, right? They’d hit the bail button, like, “I’m not touching that person. I’m not gonna talk to that person, that’s a future competitor.” Whereas you decided to just reach out.

Yeah.

Did you have to push through fear on that, or was that inner competitor in you? Or, what was it that made you say, “I’m just going to reach out and ask for help?”

I was definitely scared, and I was totally thinking that. I wouldn’t help someone if I were in her position. That’s literally what I thought, and I was like, “I’m just gonna do it. What’s there to lose?”

Yeah. You’re not in any worse position, right?  I love that part of your story.

Yeah, so I just texted her. I mean, but I was nervous, I’m not gonna lie.

Yeah, absolutely. I love it. Well, and I also think it’s fantastic, a part of the story … one of the things we talk about with the Big Dream Gathering sometimes is, I think we’re prone to hide what we need, right? We want to hide that we need help on something, but oftentimes when we reach out and ask for help that actually opens up the opportunity for other people to walk out a dream, or to walk out something they enjoy doing. Or, in her case, she got to say, “Here. I’ve gotten it so far, but I can’t take it any further. Take it,” and she sold it to you.

Right. Yeah, exactly. She’s an awesome woman. Seriously, so amazing, and she helped me with the process so much. She took me on my first buying trip. But I think that she saw something in me; maybe it was passion, I don’t know. And so she was like, “I feel good about this.” She never really had the opportunity to see the truck through and actually, operate it, and so I think it was good for her. She had this truck on her hands; now she got to sell it, help me do it, and I got to take a whack at my dreams. But what is the coolest part of that whole story is, after she helped me figure out so many things, I asked her, “Is there anything I can give you in return? How can I say thank you to you for helping me launch my career?” And she said, “All I want you to do when you’re in a position to help someone, is to do that, to help them. Pass on what I did for you.” And I was like, “Oh my God, how cool is this?”

That’s awesome. That’s the way to live. That is great.

So I know that when we got to hang out with you, I think you had said you’d been up to 3:00 AM tagging stuff, and all that. I mean, the beauty and the majesty of entrepreneurship, right, in small businesses. You’re going after this dream, you’re making it happen, but it’s some hard work. How do you stay inspired? How do you stay motivated?

Oh, gosh. That’s a loaded question. It is, it’s so much work. And I think that when people ask how It’s going and I say, “It’s good,” they can see on my face that I’m purely drowning, or exhausted. There are so many times when my feet hurt so bad I feel like I can’t go on. But the passion, and the pride, and just the dream … honestly, the fire inside me keeps me going. But I did learn that you have to take breaks because you can’t burn yourself out. So now I force myself to take a day to just have some downtime every once in a while and to not look at my phone, not check my emails, and not look or think about the truck. Because you have to have that, and I didn’t know that at first. So, you can definitely get burnt out. But yeah, I guess just the motivation of growing, scaling. Every day’s a new day. It just keeps me going, for sure.

Yeah. That’s awesome. I love it. Well, and I think it’s true, it’s one of those … you look at the Ten Commandments, and one of them is to take a Sabbath, right?

But I mean, I gotta tell you, as an entrepreneur that was something I had to learn the hard way too. It’s great to take one day off and truly get away, shut down the email, get away from messages, all that stuff. It’s amazing to me, it’s almost like taking a three-day weekend if you truly give yourself that full day. So I love that you do that, and it does make a difference.

I know you are so driven, as well. You’ve been doing this for a few years now, you’re making it happen. I know it’s still a lot of work, but what’s one of the budding dreams for you? I know for some of our folks, sometimes they declare that next dream as well, and we’ve seen some neat things happen with that. So what would you love to see happen next for you?

Yeah, so this is a question that I’ve thought about for so long, because I’ve had the truck for a little over two years now, and I feel like with the truck I hit this hybrid of the market where I still can give this personal customer service versus online, but I’m also extremely convenient. So I’m trying to stay within that sweet spot, where I build loyal customers … which online stores don’t have. And I’ve tried a whole bunch of things. I’m constantly evolving. I look up to Jeff Bezos a ton because he says that every day is like day one, and they actually have an office called Day One, and to think like it’s your first day of business. And I truly try to think like that, so I offer same-day drop-offs. I’ll post something on Instagram and we’ll actually drop it off to your house. Amazon comes the next day, so we’re beating that.

Yeah. Right, exactly. And I’m with you; it’s that figuring out what your sweet spot is, and then figuring out how you can innovatively stay and grow in that, but not just go anywhere and everywhere. I love it. Besides your website, where can DREAM THINK DO-ers find you online?

Right. So, my Instagram is probably my best communication tool. If you follow me on Instagram it’s BLFTReno, for Biggest Little Fashion Truck Reno, and from there I’ll take you to my website, which has my story and also upcoming events, and your video that you so kindly produced.

Awesome. That’s great. Well, Britton, I’m so glad our paths crossed, but I know the whole team is as well. I think Lindsay walked out of there with, I don’t know how many sweaters, jackets, hats. Oh, my gosh. And my wife actually got a very, very cool jacket-ish thing.

Yeah, a faux fur jacket.

It’s wicked cool. So, yeah, she’s like, “We’re just gonna have to have multiple dates so that I can wear this now.” So, it’s awesome.

It’s hot, that’s for sure.

Exactly. Hello? So yeah, you’re helping relationships around the world as well, so I love it. I love it. So, guys, go check it out, biggestlittlefashiontruck.com. And stay tuned for all the other stuff, and be watching for a very, very cool fashion truck in your area, especially if you’re on the West Coast in the days to come as well. So thanks, Britton. We’ll look forward to having you back in the future as well.

Oh, gosh. Well, Mitch, I just wanna say thank you so much for having me. And thank you for encouraging me to tell my story, because honestly, before I talked to you I hadn’t even thought about where I started. You really made me dig deep into my story, and I really appreciate it. And you gave me a new wave of momentum, so I just appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Absolutely. Sheesh, making me feel good now. That’s awesome, I love it. You’re awesome. All right, well, tell your family hello. Thanks so much for spending the time, and we’ll look forward to staying in touch.

Sounds good, thank you.

All right, DREAM THINK DO-er… I hope you enjoyed that; I certainly did.

What stood out to you? I’d love to hear from you what stuck with you from what Britton was talking about. I love the fact that she really did give herself that permission to dig into her strengths and also maybe her weaknesses. To be able to give herself that permission to have the courage to say, “All right, I love these things; not so good at these things,” and say, “That’s okay.” I also love the fact that as she started to dig in and think maybe retail was gonna be part of her future. And then she bumped up almost immediately against the facts, that it’s a tough time in retail. So instead of just bailing, she knew for her she was gonna have to just do it differently, and I love that she stayed with it.

Maybe it’s time for you to break through that sunk cost fallacy that we talked about. Maybe it’s time for you to give yourself that permission to list out some things you’re good at, some things you’re not, and be okay with it, right? And to look for the clues from your history, and for those things that you’d love to have been a part of your future. I hope you give yourself some time to do that, especially over this next week as we’re getting ready for 2019.

Give yourself that same permission, and as you do, just see where it takes you.

And please keep me in the loop in the meantime.  Leave a comment and know I’m rooting for you!

 

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