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Throwback to when Zappos let me sell on their website. But equally as exciting when I realized what opportunities come forth when I tell my story. So this is me continuing the circle and telling you the story of how I learned to tell my story. Weird, huh?

I had met with a mentor before this prospect was even a glimmer in anyone’s eye. We were talking about life and how I got started creating with recycled leather and his most memorable piece of advice was to TELL MY STORY. Mind you this was well into the age of social media, but far before everyone was jumping on the “authenticity” bandwagon.

So I went home and drafted something up. It was probably terrible, but it was a start. Every week or so & with each new contest or venture I’d tweak the wording just a bit, adding more humor, adding more of my voice and developing my writing style.

A few months later my BFF emailed me about this “Emerging Designers” gig with and I jumped on it. I drafted my story one last time, answered all of their other questions with tact & a splash of wit + created a dreaded submission video and sent it all away.

I remember it so clearly- the day I got the response. I was all alone & couldn’t contain my excitement {think Jessie Spano minus the scared part}. This was my first legit opportunity as a designer and I learned a ton. But more than anything it gave me the validation to keep going, that this idea wasn’t completely crazy, & that my style was evolving into something that not only I was enamored by.

There were probably hundreds of people who applied, plenty more talented than me with designs more refined & all of them far more prepared from a production standpoint. But my guess is that they didn’t communicate their passion on paper.

This has happened a handful of other times, though not on quite as grand of a scale, where opening up about my journey has resulted in some cool stuff. Sometimes it doesn’t come easy, and there are some personal parts left out, but it’s also the only thing that really sets us apart from the next guy making the same dang thing & selling it for less.

{Here lies the dreaded submission video... prepare for absurd amounts of awkwardness}

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