Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 6 months ago

WB_S2E9 Pillow Talk with Craig Conover

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

WRITERS'S BLOCK Kristy Woodson Harvey and Ron Block are joined by Southern Charm star Craig Conover about his forthcoming book, Pillow Talk: What's Wrong With My Sewing?

This show is brought to you by our presenting sponsor, Charleston Coffee Roasters. Charleston coffee roasters painstakingly searches the world over for the highest quality coffee beans. They bring them home to Charleston, South Carolina, where slow roasting coaxes out their unique flavor. Along with their promise of great coffee, Charleston Coffee Roasters also pledges to help our planet and local communities. Globally, they support sustainable farming practices. Locally, they partner with the South Carolina seed Turtle Rescue Program Visit Their website, Charleston Coffee Roasterscom, and use the code coffee with friends, all lowercase, all one word, to get twenty percent off on all bagged coffees. When the project was brought to me, I thought it was kind of absurd. You know, I had always thought about doing a cookbook, but I had no just just I had didn't think I was even near the realm of doing a memoir and I was like I just haven't lived enough life to write this book yet. And they're like cracking. Just talk to you know, this writer and see and as I started like talk, even for an hour or two, they were like, you have a lot of stories and you're kind of an open book, and so started to build my confidence and I would just ride around in my I had an incredible writer that worked with me, Blake's WHARA can. My process was I would get in my car and my I would sink my phone with my car and I would just drive for an hour around Charleston and talk. Welcome to the friends and fiction writers block podcast. For New York Times Best Selling Authors, one rock star Librarian and endless stories, join Mary K Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Christy woods and Harvey and Patty Callahan Henry, along with Ron Block. As novelists. We are for longtime friends with seventy books between us, and I am Ron Block. Please join us for fascinating author interviews at Insider Talk About Publishing and writing. If you love books and are curious about the writing world, you are in the right place. Welcome to the friends and fiction writers block podcast. This episode is going to be a little bit high opening as we expend our look at storytelling from a unique angle. Today we're so excited to welcome Craig Conover to the PODCAST. Craig is the author of the memoir, Pillow Talk. What's wrong with my sewing out on three twenty nine. I am Ron Block and I'm Christy Woods and Harvey. Craig conover is one of the stars of Bravos Southern Charm and the CO founder and CMO of sewing down south. He is a graduate of the College of Charleston and the Charleston School of law and he currently resides in Charleston. We also have something in common because my new book, the wedding bail, also releases on marge twenty nine. Pretty Great, and I just realized that you both have the same publisher. That's right, you'lly. That's right. Yeah, that was actually in my email. Well, Hey, I just want to thank you, Ron and Christine and the podcast for having me on. I think this is actually the first podcast I'm doing for the release, so this is inaugural conversation about the book. Nice. We're so a lot of the curve. Yeah, I'm bumped you guys. Until this point I really haven't spoken publicly about it, so this is breaking the ice and really excited to chat with you guys all things books, life, pillow talk, whatever. It made me right on. Oh, we're here for every part of it, don't worry, but we're thrilled to heavy with us. So again, congratulations on the book and, like you have eight thousand other projects going. You are kind of...

...busy. But let's start this discussion with the book. Can you just kind of give us a quick overview of the book? Sure, and I've kind of been working on this, so this would be, you know, good kind of you know, shaping my how I describe it, because when I when the project was brought to me, I thought it was kind of absurd. You know, I had always thought about doing a cookbook, but I had no just I had didn't think I was even near the realm of doing a memoir and I was like, I just haven't lived enough life to write this book yet. And they're like, Craig, just talk to you know, this writer and see and as I started like talk, even for an hour or two, they were like you have a lot of stories and you're kind of an open book. And so started to build my confidence and I would just ride around in my I had an incredible writer that worked with me, blaked Varak, and my process was I would get in my car and my my I would sink my phone with my car and I would just drive for an hour around Charleston and talk and through that we kind of well. I think we were able to tell this incredible story of, you know, my upbringing, which I was bullied a ton, which kind of led me to want to leave Delaware and take control of my future and Charleston and through college and Law School then ending up on southern charm I had a varying, unique paths and throughout the whole time I was doing things that people told me not to do and it just wasn't a textbook pathway into your career. And so we hit on a lot of topics. Some of my favorite topics and stories we tell are I was very fortunate to have, you know, a nice household growing up, as in, you know, I had two parents come home to, we had dinner every night together, but I still found myself and a lot of a lot of bottoms, a lot of like bottom of like you know, just I I put myself in a lot of situations. I was stupid and there was no way to blame it on my upbringing or not having enough growing up or enough chances. You know, I was a good student, good athlete and I put myself. So basically, these mess ups, I should call them. I think the reader, and I hope the reader, will be able to connect with me on that level. You know, I tell a story about waking up next to a dumpster only a couple years ago after it looked like I was on the right track again, and so it's never too late to fight your way to overcome those demons. So always be there. But you're not. You're not the only one with them. You know, you're not the only one that's messed up. You're not the only one that has taken a little longer than you wanted to do what you wanted in life, and so not. I really hope that after reading the book, people don't feel guilty if they are now to work on their side hustle. You know, they will kind of mute out all the haters around them because, look, it's a lot of people's natural instinct to hold people back, you know, if they start to see people doing well or doing something that they've always dreamed of for themselves. It's kind of just like in high school when you're about to go off to college. There's a lot of kids that want to hold you there and make fun of you for going to college and it's like look, you can come with me if you'd like, but I can't stay back, you know, with you anymore. So again, it's not that articulate of a response, I understand, but you kidding? It's just it hits on a lot of look, there's a lot of hidden behind it. Not a lot, but there are some behind the scenes of from the show. It's the network wasn't too thrilled about. Obviously they're like, what are you doing, Craig? But it's eye opening and it's definitely not to correct any record. It's just to give more information out there because we can only cover so much with the show. So and then it takes you through all of that, through the point of sewing down South and it's birth and how I finally started to figure things out, and it's all about just keeping just keep moving. You know a lot of...

...times that movement will be backwards, but eventually you'll do enough things right that that ball starts moving forward and it's just a really great feeling when it does. And I was hoping to share that story with everyone. Yeah, and and that you did. That you did, but I just want to say to. That was so great that you mentioned that you had a really good upbringing with your parents in the background, because even with all the trials and tribulations of growing up, having had that foundation is really kind of what helps keep you going. Oh yeah, I mean that. And and you don't realize it until you get a little older. And for me, I mentioned in the book, it wasn't until I went to college that I realized, well, maybe high school that I realized people didn't have dinner with their families every night, that I was actually like, I was truly very fortunate to have, you know, both parents at a dinner table and an open discussion, and then I still had this place called home that if I ever got in trouble, I knew I could run to. So I think it's a very self selfaware book and I do kind of pride myself on being selfaware. It's kind of a funny thing that my girlfriend page is like you need a whole team at therapist to figure out what's going on in your life. I'm like, I can already self diagnose myself, like I can tell you, you know, I can profile myself very well. And now I'm going to take you through the journey of trying to figure out how to push through all that stuff. So it's a feel good reader at the end of the day and hopefully people don't feel so alone after reading it because honestly, what I heard something in my late S, which was tomorrow's the next day of the rest of your life, and I truly attribute hearing that finally to where I am today, because a lot of times it's easy to get get down on yourself and be like man, I should be doing more at this point, but well, it is. You know, we've touched on this, but it is a really honest book and I was kind of surprised because I feel like sometimes been more as like these are like, let me tell you how great I am and three hundred and seventy two pages or less. But it really wasn't like that. I mean you really, you really like went there with a lot of things, and I especially, you know, by myself reading the parts about your adder all addiction and thinking about how many people that's going to help, because I would imagine that many people you know might have a problem with prescriptions and they don't even actually know it or real eyes it or they don't want to face it. No, I feel the same way and I've had some incredible feedback at just from when I finally admitted it on a reunion a couple years ago so, and just even after that I had some people, like a few high like I figured, what's the word? I'm thinking about, just people that are like kind of famous and some athletes that there's just been a couple people that have reached out to me and been like Hey, I've never told anyone this, but like atter all is a problem in my life. It's affecting my relationship with my children, my relationship with my spouse, and I don't want to look in the mirror because that's what gets me going every day because it is kind of a happy it becomes a happy bill, but it is you know, if you're using look sheep always said to me he was like Chep on something charm. He was like, Craig, if you don't have a test to study for, you shouldn't be taking it anymore. And for me that was the truth. And I remember getting to a point where I was like how did something that was so good for me for so long become the worst thing in my life? And there's not a doctor that's going to tell you that there's no one in the front and they're just tree, that's going to tell you that. And a lot of people think, you know, if a doctor told me to take it, that it can't be bad for me. So it is one that's takes a lot of self reflection and I had never experienced a diction before.

I loved to drink, but I had never been hooked on it. I never craved alcohol but at all. I really did, and it's not until you really get out of that haze of addiction that you're like, Whoa I was. You know, this was really affecting me and a great part of the book is sure I got out of it when I was living in the Bahamas, but then when I moved home to Charleston the film again, all of those triggers presented themselves and I fell right back into that pattern. And so you know, there's it's not something that you're not a you know it's not easy. It's really hard and it's not easy for anyone. And so hopefully by me sharing that, you know, my story, it can help other people, because no one talks about at all and it it stinks because I really did love it. Well, I mean you still you know, yeah, I always love it. was that's a the point. But I'ven't touched in three years because I knew if I even took one, then you know, that's just you just can't. And so, you know, my dad stopped drinking when I was born and he always said like you're always an alcoholic, and I just never understood what that men, because I was like what are you talking about even drinking twenty years. But now I kind of understand it throughout all. And Yeah, you know, you'd be like, well, how can it be that bad? But for me it was a coping mechanism and it wasn't a healthy coping mechanism, but it was a cheap drug. You know, you take it and you instantly feel bad better. All of a sudden things feel easy. But it's really kind of causing the problems that you're fixing, and I hope, like it's not against adderall. is against my relationship, without at all sure, and I think that's I think those are the sneakiest things to try to fix in ourselves because like, technically you weren't really doing anything wrong. I'm not only that's when it's. Yeah, that's when it gets kind of hard to figure out, like okay, well, maybe this technically isn't wrong, but it's wrong for me at this way of this amount and all of that. So, yeah, we know what you're saying. That was wild. I was on the I forget what season it was, but the reunion, and Andy Comb is just asking me questions and I was like all of all of these. The answer to all of these questions in my head was at all. And I was like, look, being an open book is as treated. You know, some of the first few seasons I tried to control things, but once you get to the point where you're just yourself, things start to work out a lot more, and so I was just like look, it's that at all, and that kind of started. Everyone was like Oh, that makes a lot more sense, and yeah, it does, and I actually think that's going to be one of the things you're going to hear the most from your readers about because it's so relatable and everybody can usually mentioned. You've already heard from some people about it when you did it. But these readers are going to like go, that's me too, that's me too, and you're going to help influence a lot of people, so I appreciate your honesty in the book with that. Speaking of honesty, you've touched on this a little bit, but as I was reading the book, I kept think that the Craig that we were learning about in the book was quite different than the Craig we watch on television and I really appreciated how you added so much more information and backstory to that. Do you mind talking a little bit about why you decided to share it all? I mean, you talked about how honest you were, but some of the some of the differences. Why the differences? Well, what I started to figure out early on was, especially after the first season and second season, I longed and looked forward to meeting fans out in public. Are People that watch the show, because in a minute, in sixty seconds or even two minutes, people are like, Whoa, we like you way more in person than we do on the show, and that was fine with me. I was like, look, I'd rather be I'd rather be better in person than I am on the show, which you know, not everyone can say that. Sometimes it goes in the opposite direction on the other's and it's funny. So I've always longed to let people learn more about me...

...because I feel like my, you know, my image and their relationship with me only gets more positive than more they know about me. You know, I've always been told I have a lot of layers and it's just impossible to show, you know, in in us one season of a television show, and I used to be really bitter about that and angry, and you know my the people that run my production company can tell you that they've had angry rants from all of us and then you just, you know, learn that it's impossible. It's just part of the business this and so as the show goes on, you get to see more and more of that person and and that's what this book gave me an opportunity to do, was talk about things that were happening the other eight months of the year that we didn't get a chance to cover in four months. And so it's no one's fault, it's just there. You know, when that's how people are getting their information about you, is from the television program they you got to look for other outlets to share your life with them. So it was really fun to be able to share some of these stories and, honestly, as I was telling them and really, when I've read the book back a couple times, I'm like, man, there is a lot to share with people, and so I'm glad to hear that you guys enjoyed some of those anecdotes. It is especially for me it like it was. I think the show makes you think one thing, but then your book kind of all of your relationship with trying to finish law school and all of the hurdles that you had to go through. It's like, and I'll make sense, man, man, that that was one of the tougher ones where. So what what happened was when I submitted my incomplete bar application the one season because I was just scared. I didn't know what to do, and so I was like look, guys, I submitted my application, it is what it is. When that ended up not panting out, some people at the production company were just like, well, we're not going to cover this law story anymore because it's bullshit. And so I don't blame anyone for that because, you know, until I actually was able to accomplish what I said I was going to do and start walking fucking the walk, I mean I was a great talker and they were just like we're sick of this, and so I got that. But I was in a grade in New Orleans a couple years ago for St Patti's Day and you know, we're throwing everything out, like the stuffed animals and candy. I was vegetables, which is wild. We were throwing carrots and potatoes and stuff and was one of the more fun things I've done. But, you know, a lady on top of all the crowd noises like did you take the bar yet? And Oh my God, Oh my what? Yes, I did years ago, but now. So, yeah, there was a there's a few incomplete stories that I kind of finished, you know. Yeah, the rest of it, that's good, good. Well, I'm a big fan of southern charm and so I feel like having you here, I cannot not talk about you and Ami, because obviously that was a really big storyline for you and again, I was so shocked at how like super forthcoming you were about your relationship. And you know, people watching you fall in and out of love on TV in front of a camera, and I know that a lot of listeners will be really interested to hearing you talk about that a little more. You know, about how you felt like the cameras being in your relationship affected your relationship. Can you tell us a little about that? Yeah, I was really excited how we were able to tell the story in this book. I think it was it could not have been more appropriate on where we placed it. I just was really happy for it and we actually we interviewed Naomi a lot for it, because I did not feel comfortable telling our story without her permission. Basically, are, you know, her being a part of it and and so she was, you know, she was involved, which which is great, and so our story is very honest in the book. And Yeah, I mean it's really hard to survive a relationship on television. There's a lot of pressures that, you know, you just...

...would never imagine and when you're trying to especially if you're going basically those pressures of television are only going to, you know, amplify any problems that you have in the relationship and then, if you're trying to work on them while on camera, you're also making a show and it's hard to decipher and differentiate, you know, what is for TV and what is not. And for me I was, you know, our relationship above all, and so I wasn't able to to kind of stomach some of the stuff that Naomi was doing on camera, but in her world she was like, Craig, we're fine at home, like that's what you know it was. It was for entertainment purposes and no one was wrong in that. And Trust me, if I wasn't on so much at all, I probably would have had a lot more patience for the situation. and honestly, coming to that conclusion that my adderall really affected our relations and ship was almost harder. Where it was harder than actually admitting that TV affected us. And fortunately with the TV I believe it just amplified are, it accelerated our problem. So everything that we dealt with on the show we would have eventually dealt with which his years down the road. So that was fine and I can always justify that. But My adderall addiction was a huge I mean that would antagonist in our relationship. So that was tough. So I think I think I give it a fair look in the book. You know, it was both of our faults and at the end of the day it just didn't work. And hopefully for people that are going through it, because you know I've been speaking around the country recently and everyone goes through breakups and they are crippling a lot of times and no one really talks about I mean, people do talk about it, but there's a lot of people that deal with their breakups and internalize it and, like for me, I turned to adderall and I was depressed and I didn't even know it. They're people understand the pain that you're going through and how it really hurts. So I just I wanted to, you know, tell kind of the story so people don't feel alone. But also it's okay to love someone and realize that you're not it's not a healthy relationship to be together. So you can love your person, and that's something that really helped me. Even with a relationship after Naomi. was like, look, I love this person, but we are not good together and we're not supposed to be dating, and that doesn't mean you don't care for them and you can hope that they find happiness and all of that good stuff. And that was kind of the case. You know, we fell in love. It was my first love and you know, you your past at that time. Still have a lot of different courses they can take and right and that's what happened. That's such a good point that, because I do think you can love someone and that and that's not the person that you're supposed to spend your life with, and it is a hard realization and it's you know, and I think we sort of saw this on the show. He sort of talked about it in the book. I mean, I think it wasn't just finished between you and I think that's what happens a lot of the times when you know, it's hard to have that in point, when you know that you love someone but maybe they're not the person that you're supposed to spend your life with. Yeah, and you'll get to see some good follow up on it on this season of southern charm, which is cool. I'm sure I, like og viewers are going to love anywhere. Everyone's going to love it. You know, some of that stuff is addressed and, you know, to Nami's credit, you know, after her break up this summer, she did text me, you know, and said what a lot of people have always you know, wanted to know if she ever apologized or whatnot, and it wasn't that she needed to, but she said something really nice where I was like look, it's just like what I tell people that come in the store. You know, everything happens for a reason. Because of that break up and everything, I am where I am today. And she did actually say, Craig, you would have done this no matter what. You always believed in it. I just couldn't see it. So it was a really good full circle movement.

Oh the part she said at the wedding that she could never be your biggest fan. That's right, hard out, I mean, but but that was a really honest thing to say, you know, I mean that was a really honest thing. Yeah, and this is my first time getting to talk to anyone that's read the book, so this is really neat. We're just getting started. In addition to Naomi that you of course, you talked about a lot of other people, a family, friends, cast mates and even the network. What's been their reaction to the idea, if they haven't read the book, of You doing all this? Honestly, not too many people were aware I was doing it. It was kind of a quiet project. The people, but pretty much everyone that I talked about in the book. We're really excited. You know, there was still very, very close parts of my life. I mean my team, a man and Jerry are involved in pretty much everything I do and I hayward works with me every day. Her and Graham that I lived in the Bahamas with. They actually live in my community in Charlestown and you know my I only had to change the name of one friend, which was funny, but other than that. Yeah, and who was that? No, I'm kidding. Maybe you'll it'll probably pop out, but it was. It was only in one part of it. But people are really excited and I think and I'm really excited for people to read it. We just got our first shipment here a couple days ago and I'm going to take a couple on hand them out to my friends and we'll see. You know, I because I'm not nervous because it's so honest. I'm not nervous of people being like this is bullcrap, you know, and that's I'm happy about that because my final read I was like, did I forget to like edit anything, or did I mess it up? And and I'm very comfortable with how it came out. You know, it's just it's a truthful synopsis of my life. Right. That's really great. The friends and fiction writers block podcast is brought to you by our presenting sponsor, page one books. The page one book subscription provides the personal touch of an Indie bookstore with the delight and surprise of an online subscription service curated chest for you. The literary match makers at page one books hand select books just for you based on your preferences and their knowledge. At page one books, you are more than algorithm. Shop now at page one BOOKSCOM. That's page the number one bookscom choose their three, six or twelve month subscription plan. The gift of page one is always a custom fifth, and now you can it fifteen percent off all book subscriptions with the Code Friends Fifteen. Well, as I've mentioned, an avid fan of the show, I am a writer, you know. So I think your writer brain is always like where's this storyline going, which is funny because it's reality TV, so you don't really know where the storylines going. But I really thought, I was like, okay, you know, Chris gonna come a law y're he's going to wear the suit, he's going to be an office in Charleston downtown and like, you know, that's kind of how I thought the storyline was going to go. When it totally didn't and I love that you leaned into your creativity, into this passion that you found sort of unexpectedly, even though you know other people didn't necessarily believe in that idea for you. So can you just speak to that a little bit, about what it was like to have to you know, you had this kind of big goal and then you achieved it and then you...

...want a different direction anyway. So how did you sort of lean into what you wanted to do instead of responding to what everyone else thought you should do? It's a it's a great point and people really like hearing about, you know, especially the end of the story. Like, honestly, building the store was, you know, opening day was all the middle finger I needed to everyone, all the haters, and you know, people always want to hear you know how good it feels to rub it in everyone's face, and I was like, yeah, of course it does, but that can't be your motivation to do anything, you know, if you're doing it to prove someone wrong, that's it's not gonna work now, but it's is are good feeling at the end of yeah, I mean its agents life. Oh it's incredible. I mean I love chef to death, but he he's still had trouble stepping foot in the store. For the first few times Taylor makes them come in, but he's been incredibly supportive and Patricia came to the opening with her friends and you know, and and the rest of everyone's been super sportive. But you know, in the beginning it does take taking a chance and I was just speaking the other day to some MBA students in Lsu and I was like, look, I was fortunate to have a primary income that allowed me to have time to work on this side project and I know a lot of people don't have that. You know that asset, but that doesn't mean not to spend time on it when you get home from work or, especially now that you know this. The the quarantine period really helped open the doors for side hustles and at home businesses and you shouldn't feel guilty about spending time on that side Hustle. But I just knew so through my bully. It's funny because as bad as getting bullied sucked and God I can't imagine it these days with the Internet. It's set me up for reality TV because I'm there's nothing y'all can do that. I've been through you know. And and the point. Yeah, and so I had to self validate in high school, and what I mean by that is, again, it goes back to having a safe home to come home to at the end of the day. But my parents always made me feel that I was good enough and I was able to self fautate and be like look, I'm I'm okay, like I'm good enough, I'm cool, like there's there's no board of people in high school that decide who's cool and who's not. Like basically, you just carry yourself like that. You know, you you can make that decision, but I know it's not that easy. Hence why I moved to college. And then, from the first day I was like no, I'm I'm cool. And but that's self validation of being like I'm going to be okay, like, you know, in five years when I get out of high school, I'm going to be good enough. And I carried that with me. And so when, you know, the show started and I was having so much trouble graduating and then, you know, once I graduated, I took the bar and passed the first time. It was great. But, you know, being on reality TV wasn't conducive to being a full time lawyer at the time, and I also have always wanted to work for myself and being entrepreneur, which you read about with the golf balls in in the book, and it's and and so I there was no one in my life supportive of this project other than, again, my parents. They in an understand why I was doing it, but they're like, look, we don't know where you came from to begin with and we trust you. They were always just like finish what you started, though all they ever wanted me to do is finish, you know, graduate law school, and that was fair and it made sense. But with the pillows, I knew it. I knew after I showed those first three pillows and posting them on Instagram on that Sunday afternoon, I knew I had a hit and I knew it was just different enough to work. One thing that I never understood about my past relationship was I think that...

...doing things outside of societal norms is extremely attractive. I think that confidence to step out of what everyone else wants you to do and what you should do is an attractive trait. And so that first time when I had my sewing machine, I actually thought I was going to get an incredible kind of celebratory embrace from my girlfriend at the time. Instead, she was really embarrassed, and so that kind of woke me up to even people close to me in my life were scared to step out of those norms that people, you know, years and years and years ago established that we're what we're supposed to do. And so I kind of fought through all of that and it was just the confidence in myself to make it work. And I tell anyone that's listening, if you have a great idea, you're not going to have a bunch of people that are like, Oh my God, that's the next million dollar idea. If they were, they do it themselves. Yeah, there's good chance that if everyone hates your idea, it's actually not not a bad idea. And it's until you talk to people that are in business or reach out to us. Are you guys are like you know people that are are at the higher like, I don't want to say hot like. You have to talk to people who have made a small business successful or are confident in their own lives and they'll tell you the truth. But yeah, if you run into you know, there's a lot of haters out there, but that is what Miami had been super thrilled from the beginning, though, you wouldn't have had the line what's wrong with my sewing, which is like the best part. Yeah, it all turned out. I do struggle with answering the question. You know what, if you like, you were on reality TV, so you had a big platform. Why, you know, how do I do it without reality TV? And my answer is, you know, look, of course we it's a huge head start doing that, but it was still really difficult bringing a product market. I mean there's only a couple personalities, or Babbo personalities, that have successful companies through it. But yes, of course it's way easier to have that platform. What I do tell people is to get the attention of local media or logo press. Start doing things for charity, do something for the animal shelter, do something for the Children's Hospital, for cancer, something like that. That gives that local media a reason to talk to you and start to put you on that would be my best intro to social media, but I know you know that, but it's just kind of Noah's great at things and I actually met you super briefly at your I live in vote for North Carolina. I like to live right down the street from boo for Lynnen, so I met you really briefly at that party you have. We have like that picture with your book. We went brother but look at that. But I was just wondering if you think that going out and meeting your fans and real life like helped you start your company out on the right foot? I mean, because I thought that was really cool that you did that, because you easily you had a big enough platform that you could have set at home and taking pictures of yourself on instagram and put them on the show and not had to do all of that. Yeah, I don't understand why people don't do it more. And Actually Austin struggles with this because, like we're about to go on our podcast or like a live podcast or and he's like if this was a thing, why isn't everyone doing it? And I was like he just kind of have to be a pioneer and have the guts to go do it and and I understand where he's coming from, but they was the same reaction that my two partners, Jerry and Amanda, had when I said I wanted to go on tour like a do the pillow party tour and they're like that's just not what's basic business principles teach us to do. You know, that's not what they learned in Grad School, it's not what they learned in business school and that just wasn't wasn't the right answer, but I just knew after the first one I did. So my goal was to always have see my pillows sold in other people's stores, and so I helped someone launched their store by being there and the turnout was great. And then you have bravo cons and ounced and people are buying,...

...you know, spending thousands of dollars on tickets to come see, you know, Bravo personalities, and I was like, I'm one of them, I can do this myself, and I just I had this feeling that if we did it, it would work and I could tell by my engagement when I was just out on the town that if we gave people a time and place to come to come hang out and socialize, that it would work. And it ended up being a monumental step in our growth. It really took our company to the next level. It's when our sales really started to turn into a real business. I was having a blast because that's what I live for. I've always my goal throughout life is always been to get to a point where, you know, I could I could put on basically, I could trade my smile for someone else or just just put a smile on my I always thought it was cool that people, celebrities, you know, quote unquote, I don't you know what I mean, that they can take a picture with someone and put a smile on someone's face and I was like, man, that is a cool asset for them to have, that they can just say hide to someone and make someone's Day. And so I was like, I've kind of gotten too a place where that works with a lot of people. So why not share that? And you know my other goal, you know, yeah, just basically share happiness with people. And I was making a ton of money doing it, and that's what I'm not, you know, afraid to say money drives me. I've always loved money, but that's because I have this deep philanthropic desire to give that money away and I feel, like a lot of people, you know, there are ways to help without money, but the money helps if you want to help at all. Yeah, so, you know, I was then getting to grow this business and meet people and it was just a snowball effect that it was my happy place, and so that's kind of what led into the store, was the success of those billow parties and you know, it just it. My partners were happy because the business was growing and I was happy because I was getting to meet so many people. Yeah, it's so cool because I'm in talking to you, I can feel what I was feeling when I was reading the book, and I know others were. Two is it as you were getting more and more success and figuring all this out. We're luck. I'll going do it, go and we were cheering when the store opened from reading it and it's like good for you. Could feel you have all the right elements into it, the right the right approach. It's awesome. But what we want to know is what is next for you? Another book, expanding, sewing down sell maybe a few tidbits from the upcoming season of southern charm? Yeah, of course. So I like to give my two partners a heart attack by saying, you know, I want to open a store and ash field or Dallas or plenty of other cities around the country. I think the next step for SCS would be. We've got an incredible team under US right now that works with us and giving them their own pop up for a month or two around the country. We could be neat, but right now we're going to stick to our flag, flagship location. The big steps that we're taking is every month we have a new product release. So whether it's a new pillow collection or a new like we're making basically outdoor their plates and cups and stuff for pool side dining called like mirror mine. I never say it right. My parent, my mom, gets mad at me every time. Then now let me now, I mean I say every time I do. Christie would know it as thank you. And my mom actually texting me the other day and she was like you need to learn to my parents were in Florida. Happen to be in Florida when I was speaking somewhere, and she's like you got to figure out this work. And it's I mean it doesn't come up a lot like and I designed like. I designed it all and anyway we have that. But then what I'm most excited about right now is we're getting into bedding and so in August we launch our bedding line and that will include sleeping pillows, sheets, comforters, all of that stuff, and that up an entire new world for us. So we've got you know,...

...we have talks with Dormafi to, which is a great, great and we just closed on our home goods deal, which is going to be a whole new ranch of our company. That's I didn't realize. I mean everyone, home goods is pretty much everyone's favorite store and it's it's in every city across the country. So something. Yeah, so that that's what's going on with sewing down south. With what was that? There was three. It was the show, the company, and what was the third one? The shows. Look, I will say, yeah, I know right, get to the juicy stuff. I am pumped about this season of southern charm. It's very old school to like taking it back to the first few seasons of our show. There's stuff that happens that even the best writer in the world just could never have imagined, which you guys will be able to appreciate. It's just you felt that way about the show. I'm like, it's a dad just happened. Is that real? Because you couldn't write that because people would be like that's not real. I mean there's stuff that happens where you're just like you'll fall out, you'll fall off your couch, and we know already watch party chap and I just you know, there were we yell a lot and look like lunatics at times, but the boys, the boys get along. There's a great you know, I'm sure the girls did too. I'm just, you know, I can't comment for them, but the boys really honed in on our friendship again, which was great. So we had a lot of fun. I think it's important to show some of that fun to you know, I mean the dramas. Obviously you know the bones of it, but it's okay to see US laugh and I'm fun every once in a while too. So right, it's absolutely wonderful. Absolutely this is stuff that I hope to odd dozen leak before the premiere because there's just it's going to be one of our better seasons, which is great, because we're, you know, past few seasons we're a little tough. I mean it was a weird, weird, you know, weird time and our world and this one is this one's why we have a little bigger cast this year. I think it's me a little bigger of US little longer of a season. So a lot to look forward to on that front. Well, I'm there for all of it. I know Christy is well, and and are you guys? What cities are you in? I'm in Cleveland, okay, but I'm a good friend in North Carolina. Okay, on is in New Mexico and Shawness. Yeah, UM, cool. Well, we're doing unfort well, we're doing this the podcast tour and we're not coming to those cities just yet. But you know, hopefully we'll get to see each other in person because during the podcast tour, also during the day we'll be doing a book tour. So I'll be doing a book tour at the same time as you, so we'll probably be in seven same city exactly. And know STASCY's book launches like two days before our. That's right. Yeah, so a lot to look forward to. Yep, absolutely. Well, Craig, thank you so much for joining us. It has been such a thrill to hear about your journey and we so appreciate your honesty and your willingness to tell your story. We know it's going to inspire and help so many others and we wonderful to share a pub day with you and readers. Go out then and pre order pillow talk from your favorite and within a bookstore or wherever books are sold. Absolutely, we actually have wet. I don't know when this podcast comes out, but this until March fifteen. There's a link on my instagram that, if you click on it, you can actually pre order he signed copy of the book also perfect. I was going to ask about that and we will air this like a week before that, so you'll get some last minute pre orders. So thank you all for joining us on the podcast today. You can go ahead and pre order both Craig and Christie's books on our friends and...

...fiction bookshop dotorg page or go to Craig's instagram page and click on the link to get assigned one. Or if you want to go to somewhere down south and buy some of those candles, like I did. I love them, so they I can, I can recommend them eye. On behalf of Christy, Mary, K Patti and Kristen. We appreciate you tuning in and hope you'll listen in next week. Be sure and tell a friend. Thank you to our presenting sponsors, Charleston Coffee Roasters and page one books for their generous support. Show our sponsors some love by following them on facebook and instagram and subscribing to their email newsletters. Remember use code coffee with friends for twenty percent off bagged coffees at Charleston Coffee Roasters, and code friends plural friends fifteen, for fifteen percent off book subscriptions at Page One. Thank you for tuning in to the friends and fiction writers block podcast. Please be sure to subscribe, rate and review on your favorite podcast platform. Tune in every Friday for another episode, and you can also join us every week on facebook or youtube, where our live friends and fiction show airs at seven P M Eastern Standard Time. We are so glad you're here.

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