Tell us a little about yourself and the road that led you to starting your business. Where does your creative fire come from and how do you feed it? What led you to take the fear out design for people to live fearlessly? I love this! How do you encourage people to live fearlessly?
Hi friends! Lovely to be here! I started my design path as a colorist and textile designer with Nordstrom. I worked in kidswear and had a wonderful time seeing actual little people running around in clothing that I had a hand in designing. One day I figured I could probably make a go of this myself and have more flexibility in both my day to day life and location.
I think we all have creative fire. We are all here to create. We all create everyday. Perhaps some of us are just more in tuned with that natural creative energy. The fire does have to be nurtured. Pre-baby, I traveled often. Both the wonders of travel and just the physical movement of it are an endless source of inspiration for me. These days my travel schedule is far different so I am adapting with other ways to keep the creative fire burning. It has been an interesting journey. Because the reach of my external source of inspiration (travel) is not as readily accessible, I am learning to allowing the innate internal source of inspiration to mature.
So many approach so many aspects of life with fear. I used to be scared of everything! One day while we were still dating my husband said to me “What is there to be afraid of?”—that moment has stuck with me. Nothing! There is really nothing to be afraid of! Certainly NOT DESIGN! I encourage people to lead with open hearts and understand that design, like life, is meant to be full of play.
I love the mantras you list on your website (especially “we are confident, creative, charming, and maybe a bit of a ballbuster”). How have these mantras given you direction over the course of building and running your business?
I have never been shy about sharing my opinion. I have also never been shy about asking questions, asking for help, or revealing that I don’t know the answer. I believe this honesty has served me both professionally and privately.
What was the biggest obstacle to starting your business? What challenges have you faced and how did you conquer them?
Starting was the easy part! Keeping up with how rapidly I want to try new things has been the hard part! Honestly, Dory gave us all the answers when she said, “Just keep swimming.” That is what I do everyday. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
What have you loved most about this adventure in being an entrepreneur? What have you loved least (and despite the hard parts, how do you stay motivated? Or, on a difficult day, how do you push yourself to keep going?
I love having complete autonomy and independence. The fact that my time is my own is priceless. I look at the challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. There are times when I don’t feel very motivated—that’s human. I stay focused on the big vision of my life. I can see it so clearly. It makes my smile and excited to keep pushing.
What do you see in the future for your business, and how will you get there?
I see a diversified global brand that the woman described in my mantra and fully relate to and young girls aspire to become. I will get there just like I got here—by saying YES to opportunity that I am not ready for and then scrambling like hell to figure it out! 😉
What the best piece of advice for women who are interested in starting a business? What do you wish you had known when you started?
Have a plan and have a serious rainy day plan. I am very fortunate that things have steadily grown for my business. I started in 2008 (literally the worst year to quit a good corporate job, and the layoffs were coming) so it was a time when everyone had to be scrappy to make it work. Look for opportunities to create solutions the market is asking for or better yet does not know is needed.
Khristian Howell Vitals