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Felt a bit sentimental over the weekend, triggered by the talent I’ve seen in some of my students at COCA. I had a very serendipitious moment on Friday, when a parent was blown away by her eleven year old daughter’s garment creation, that she began getting the typical proud parent tears (my Dad is very guilty of this). The mom explained to me that being a designer has been her daughter’s dream since she could remember and then asked me, “What’s next”? I told her that the talented kid needed to be building up her portfolio- constantly sketching, sewing, expanding her mind. The eleven year old has her heart set on going to SCAD and her mom asked me to help guide her in that direction. After I left school that day, I couldn’t help but get a little teary eyed. At eleven, I was drawing clothes for fun. Nowhere in my mind did I ever think that it could turn into something more. I always thought that being a fashion designer was something completely out of reach. I always thought to myself, “I could never do that”. Maybe it was because I was afraid. Or, more likely, I probably didn’t have a teacher in my life at that time to encourage me to follow that dream, stick to it, and to never give up.My talented student in my Going Ga Ga class. The design is all her. I just helped her with patternmaking and sewing. I kept pushing her to make it even more great.
In this day and age, there are seldom people that truly follow their passion. Money talks and being a starving artist/ designer/ writer/ musician doesn’t always put food on your table or gas in your tank. Overdrawing your bank account can become a bit of the norm, but somehow, you learn to adapt. Or, for many, you give up. For me, giving up has never been an option. Somehow, you have to be strong enough to dig through the disappointment, rejection, and struggle to turn it into something positive. I’ve always been one for showing the nay-sayers that I am more than capable. Some may call it, a Stick It To The M-A-N mentality. I feel very grateful and privileged to be amongst my entrepreneurial friends that are following their dreams and making their own rules.
Nearly a year ago (July 12th) to be exact, my life was flipped completely upside down as I had been laid off from my apparel manufacturing job and had no idea what the next chapter of my life would bring. Through many trials and tribulations (and leaving my Carrie Bradshaw apartment), it’s amazing to see what 365 days can do. A year ago, I never would have thought that VICTROLA would be in 6 stores and that I would have two great gigs that allow me to both follow my dreams and inspire others to do the same. I was a complete disaster, having no idea what my life would become. I’ve never been one to deal well with change. It’s a character flaw.
It sounds mega cliche, but it really does hold true that everything happens for a reason. I was in a job that I hated and never felt appreciated at. I could go on a rant about my former employer, but it’s not worth the time and energy. They did me the favor of giving the freedom I needed to be successful. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have been forced to dive in head first to really getting VICTROLA going. For that, I owe them a lot. Now, do I hope the place burns down? Ummmmmmm……….duh.
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