the fill: the art of the unreasonable request
in an earlier edition of the fill, we wrote about how “one on one whisper networks” have been transformative for blankbox, inspired by Aliza Licht’s article in the New York Post. The whole concept starts with an ASK. Which brings me to the next thing that’s stuck with us since reading about it: the art of the Unreasonable Request.
Stephanie Burns, who is an entrepreneur and founder, writer, mom, + most importantly, HILARIOUS [we’ve never met, but she’s been hit up with an Unreasonable Request for coffee], lives by this idea. She says “Unreasonable Requests is about stretching yourself to finally ask for what you want, make a bigger impact in your business, and add more spice and excitement to your life.” In other words, asking for what you want [in a smart way]. In other words, my favorite life motto [sorry in advance to the people I’ve said this to on repeat that want to punch me in the face]: “you don’t get what you don’t ask for”. That’s true in all aspects of life, but never truer than with a new startup like blankbox.
Want to be in Forbes? ASK. Want to be on the today show? ASK. Want a cooler-than-you’ll-ever-be influencer to feature your products for immediate ROI and sales? ASK. All #humblebrags but also all things we got by just…asking. It’s not “entitled” or “egotistical” or “overstepping” or any of the things we’ve been conditioned to worry about when asking for what we want. But there is an art to it: you have to think about how you can provide value back to that person. WHY does that person care to do what you’re asking them to do? Answer that question in your ask.
I’m a big fan of saying [jokingly, but also not jokingly at all] that if you have a pulse and an Instagram, I’ve probably DMed you to introduce blankbox and myself, grab coffee, ask for something, offer something that I think may be of value, etc. I used to think about making an Unreasonable Request and talk myself out of it for a number of reasons until one day….I realized: WHO CARES! You’ve gotta be a little shameless with self-promotion to grow your own business! And a big part of that is asking for what you want. As incredibly supportive and helpful as people can be, nobody is sitting around wondering how they can help us or blankbox today [contrary to my founder fantasyland ideas in the beginning, which is a post for another day].
We’ve gotten very comfortable with making Unreasonable Requests and even more comfortable with the “worst case” scenario: they don’t care, say no, or *gasp* leave you on read [or don’t respond to your email, twist the knife in why don’t ya!] PSA: it doesn’t matter. As our #girlboss inspo Rebecca Minkoff likes to say “no is just the beginning of yes” in business. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go be a friendly neighborhood stalker to Stephanie Burns. BRB.
Have an Unreasonable Request for us? Email us firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to hear from you!
with love, gabi + catherine, blankbox cofounders