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Cindy Rangel

I start with the first step

Ah, the beginning is always exciting but with a lot of questions.

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But I begin with one step at a time.  Or they so they say that' s the best way to start something. Here I begin my journey as a sustainable fashion designer (once again) and it's very exciting to be in this position but not without rolling up my sleeves.  My first time starting a sustainable apparel began in the most unstable time in the American business landscape.  Yes, I was literally wrapping up my research for my sustainable company when the financial market began showing signs of crashing.  My first reaction was like should I even launch even after all that researching and production preparation and I consulted candidly with my co-founder and he was very matter of fact about it.  He said, "sure."  And that's was the beginning of the launch preparation.  I went about my merry way knowing what I was doing was not so common. 

So as I was literally watching people get laid off on t.v. and in Chicago and the market began to really crash as I began to think of of how this apparel line was going to pan out considering I had ZERO experience in business and apparel industry. Like ZERO experience.   I was fortunate enough to have someone approach me with this idea of starting a t-shirt line.  And to make things more interesting... I was the runner up co-founder, well, because the winner co-founder "declined".  So naturally, it was me.  I was totally sold under one condition: there had to be some kind of transparency across the board.  I had become a founder of this t-shirt line as long as it had traceability of some sort or had some kind of consideration who the person was making it. The last thing I wanted to be a part of is an apparel partnership that violated human rights. It would go against everything I stood for in life.  Plus, I considered myself an environmentalist at the time and knew that the impact of the apparel industry was notoriously silent but deadly in every sense of the expression.

Did I understand the depth and workload of this business endeavor. No. And I didn't care.  I was too hungry for experience in something that was calling my attention.  Call it, listening to your gut, call it destiny, but I was at a crossroads. I was working in a noble profession that would later pay for business costs and livelihood but I knew at the end of the day I had to do something else.  I knew I was made to create something incredible and lasting and this was my opportunity for some major experience in apparel and entrepreneurship.  Forget the timing. That was another story...

So I went for it.

We launched on Earth day in 2009. And I loved every moment.  Did I make mistakes? Yes, tons. People were literally losing their jobs and their 401Ks and here I was launching this sustainable t-shirt company.  Sometimes, the imposter syndrome would hit momentarily but then I was pretty good about shrugging it off.  Besides, I was really busy trying to stay afloat on this huge learning curve of entrepreneurship and apparel expert.  Who cared at that point? I was was trying to build a business for my own sanity and well because it spoke to me.   I cared and the apparel industry was so fascinating to me.  Not to mention the entrepreneur side of IT ALL.  I was so engrossed in all of it, I didn't really have tim to second guess and wonder....besides, I WAS also working full-time during all of it.  

I know, it's not the ideal situation but it's a real hustle or as they say, the hustle IS real.  I didn't care because I was doing SOMETHING different. I was pursing things that created a fire in my belly so to speak and there was a never-ending to that.  That's when I decided this was it.  FINALLY! In my early 30s I was like okay, I have finally figured out this is my passion this is what brings timelessness into my life, and work ceases to exist and all of that.  So I continued to work my endless hours and nights and I had the time and definitely had the eagerness.  I was SO HUNGRY for the experience so I went out there and created it myself and did not care what would happen in  6 hours or 72 hours.  It was a idea morphing into a business....or so I thought it would....little did I know.  

After all that was said and done, I made my mistakes and learned the market was not ready for a product like this and perhaps didn't really catch on for various reasons but I loved the process of building my company.  Was I sad that I had to close because profits were not there? Kind of but I was more taken back with the transition of it all.  Ah, the transition of closing a business.  

It's kind of funny.  Transitions.  I am the queen of transitions.  If you tell me there will be changes coming,  I am not one to shy away.  I actually LIKE change.  Yes, I do. It makes things interesting which explains why I like the apparel industry and entrepreneurship.  However, I was very confused as to what to do next after I deleted all my business accounts and I was so taken back, and I talked to myself aloud because I had no clue what to do.  I said, "Now what? What am I suppose to DO???"  I guess you can say that when you have something you know you are good at and you have to do something else.  However, I needed more revenue and I went about my merry way (again) with all this experience into another business. And lots of life in between....

Fast forward 4 years later, and I am here but on the west coast, but this time I am ready to leverage all of that experience and make something that will last.  That's the purpose. Quality craftsmanship for a quality life.  Life is too short to live it in any other way.  Besides, that's the only way I know how to live and building a community around it is how I am envisioning it.  

Won't you join me on this journey?