It is always difficult (and nuanced!) the day that something starts.
My earliest memory of the ah-ha moment was a day several years ago during Hurricane Sandy. We had fled the area to a hotel (a bunker really!) in New Haven, CT. We took the boys for a haircut. And, our youngest, who has a deep love of dogs (we didn’t have one), was mesmerized playing with the toy dog in the window. The part that was mesmerizing was the piece of @#$% near the dog (The Yale dog @#$%ed on the Harvard pendant). Boy the kids got a kick our of that. From that spawned the entire world of make believe around dogs. That was Fall 2012.
Notice the play of Harvard v. Yale here.
Nothing really happened to the idea at the time. Then, one year later, I was walking down the street and saw this dog wearing a sweater and my imagination was re-kindled.
Still nothing happened really. The entire concept was so intimidating. I would have so many moving parts! How could I possibly do it? I loved the idea of doing my next thing with something tangible. Something that could leverage my love of fabrics. My love for photography. For fashion. But, this was toys. And, clothes. And, toys would have to be made in China (or Indonesia). And, with four kids in elementary and middle school + husband + full-time job – how could I do China? I had absolutely no desire to get into a business that would require me to travel to China and have ongoing business relationships halfway across the world.
And, so I thought and thought about it. And, I kept asking myself, How could I do something in fashion, in fabrics, in aesthetics, that Would NOT require me to be in the Far East? So I started researching what is actually produced in the U.S. or Western Europe. Turns out things that things that don’t need human labour are still produced here (and in Western Europe). Like what? Socks. Hosiery. So, I thought I would start a fun hosiery brand. And, I began thinking. Building a Pinterest Hosiery board board of inspiration.
And, then I visited my first factory in the U.S. … In NYC boroughs … It was basically like my bedroom but with a lot more people sewing! When I got there, and I saw this door on the top floor of this decrepit building, I was like WTF is this …
But, after a few months of tinkering with idea, I dropped it. While I had a creative vision for how I wanted the brand to come to life, I had no idea how to actually design socks or hosiery. It is a knit. And, I don’t know how to work with knit. Other than to follow a pattern.
I know how to pick fabrics. Trimmings. Sew. Or sew through patchwork.
Then in November 2014, I started to think about what to give the kids for Christmas. I knew our littlest girl wanted nothing more than a dog. And, she had made a long list to Santa of things that she “needed”: a dog, a dog bone, a dog sweater, a dog bed …
Knowing we could not actually get a real dog, I resolved to make her dream come true as best I could through make-believe. So, I started to make things for her stuffed animal dogs. I asked someone on Etsy to retrofit her real dog sweater for a stuffed animal. I went shopping for fabrics to make pajamas with.
Anyways, to make a long story short, at some point in this creative endeavor … Sitting in my bedroom with multiple sewing machines, fabrics everywhere, and boxes of model dogs everywhere … I thought this is RIDICULOUS. I have been thinking about what business to start for a long time. (My dad has always told me it’s important – to have a business that can give me financial stability and family flexibility. He has always encouraged me to find this footing.) And, so I decided to just do THIS.
I guess at the end of the day it was really driven by something that I have a lot of inspiration and vision for. I decided to ignore the fact that it felt like an insurmountable project. And just do it anyways.
(Disclosure: For purposes of this blog, I am counting Day 1 as Jan 1 2015. But the day I really decided to just do this was mid November 2014.)