I start with the first step
Ah, the beginning is always exciting but with a lot of questions.
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?