Breathe Life

Here we are in Baltimore, Maryland in my hometown. On a chat with a friend in London, I had voiced my concerns about selling a false dream.  Move to paradise and all your dreams with come true! For me Bali, was not just paradise. It was a place where I was free to explore my ideas, live my imagination to test out my business ideas and grow my person. In time that childlike play faded and I allowed the fear to cave in and I stopped dreaming.

When I returned to Baltimore, new dreams formed but I kept looking back. Kept looking back to London, kept looking back to Bali, to other places where the dream belonged. Then I would see my sisters, my mom, dad and family here and realized I had to stop looking to other shores. Why can your dream not be here? Can your moment of carving out new realities be not on the mountain you are standing on? 

We know the things that are good for us. The actions we can take towards making our hearts and lives better, yet we choose running away. Whether that is digitally or emotionally. In those moments of isolation, we are forced to face ourselves. Our dreams, the loss, the worry, whatever we shine the light on is where the mind will grow.I am glad that my emotional letdown happened just slightly before the world shutdown.

Losing my job in such a hurtful way, felt like a divorce. Being severed from something that you had committed yourself to and wanting to grow. I had always worried that something could happen to the owner and the factory could close, all those garment workers would scatter and the industry would die.

What seems like an end can be a new beginning. I was so stuck in trying to make the garment factory better, for the workers, for the city, and for the future. But what I was missing is that I am the future. That I can create something new, I can do it in my own heartfelt business way. I had been working in factories in Bali for over 3-years and in the USA for 3-years. I just did not think I was strong enough to build it.

The anger at my reality, gave me fuel. It did start as a form of wanting revenge. My concept of revenge has never been to directly hurt or embarrass another person. It has been to drive myself to grow and to flourish in my own sense of self.This of course is not an easy task. Once I pulled myself out of a brief moment of inner disappointment. I had to see my opportunities.

Emotionally I was punching away the obstacles, I had to retrain my brain to see that here is my chance.Time to make a change. I could hear family saying, make an appeal, report his actions. I did some of those things, but I knew the thing that would serve me best was to choose to reframe the reality.

As we live this alternative, the world is new and everything is possible, but you are going to have to do the work. I can remember first arriving to the island and only having a general idea of my plans.Being in seclusion as we are now, reminds me of how much more we must manage the mind. I can remember thinking that I was not equipped for this next step and that I could not on my own build a new life in such foreign spaces.

I had to let go the person I was before arriving to the island and become the person my heart longed to be.Then I started with little steps. They did not have to be the right steps, just a move towards learning. Many people speak of many ideas over and over again, but that is the easy part talking about what you love. Few are willing to follow through. Take the chance to get it wrong. For sure you will get it wrong at the start. 

I did not even know how to get from my hotel to the beach. This was a time before I had regular Wi-Fi and had to write down directions and walk the path from the hotel to make it to the place where I would practice yoga. The same is not far off with these small steps. Continue taking the small steps towards the things that will make you better. I did not start my time on the island and changing my life with a mad dash towards success. 

I went inward, I made time to expand that sense of accepting what I was to feel and where I was meant to go next. I became curious.At the time when I started I had two missions: (1) To build my own fashion company (2) To become a sourcing agent to help other companies develop their products on the island. In both missions, they supported the other. By developing my own line, I learned about the manufacturing side and by working to help others I gained distance to think more strategically about my own work.

From that space of grounding, which is key I began to ask questions and become the detective of my life.I was searching everywhere, at the time there was less information, as the Instagram culture was just taking off. I was afraid, what if I fail? What if I run out of money? What if I do not succeed at what I want to be good at? I pushed out the doubts, which I must say is not an easy task.

I pushed out the doubts by finding a space of joy, even the smallest things I had to emotionally obsess over so that I would not fall apart. When you boldly step out and choose yourself and start shifting into this unknown, the fear is always on your shoulder tempting you to turn back.Telling you that you are not good enough and that you do not stand a chance.

This fear is ever present regardless of how many degrees or achievements you have mastered. That is a good thing, it is the fear that keeps you hungry. That pushes your limits, that also reminds you that you are vulnerable and that you must surrender to your own possibilities.

Once you have identified your next steps. You have to follow through with them and continue to revisit.On my hotel room wall in front of my bed I would have encouraging quotes that filled my soul with feelings that reminded me to keep the spirit up. Yet I had arrived on the island with just two suitcases and knew I had to get to work.

Here we are in the USA, where I am building my own factory and reshoring my Elsa Fitzgerald fashion collection.

Tip Recap: 

  • I pinned up all the images on my three cork boards that I look at in the morning and at night – they remind me of all the love I have for my work (dream). 
  • I decided what is it that I am going to create, not in too much detail: (1) Grow the Elsa Fitzgerald fashion house in the USA (2) Grow our fashion school (3) Start my own garment factory 
  • I wrote on a piece of paper 4 lines: (1) Fashion Factoryland (2) Fashion Film (media) (3) Old World Needle trade (4) Inspirational Educational Entertainment – these are sign posts for me to focus my steps on, so they remain aligned with what I care about and wish to grow.

Next Steps:

  • (WELLNESS) 
    • I spent a few early hours on inner self wellness – listening to audiobooks to lift my spirits – exercise in nature – ate a nice meal – meditated
  • (FOUNDATION) 
    • Set the building blocks for the new business – opened the new business account – did my SBA homework – renewing business tradename – changing factory address to the LLC. 
  • (BRAINSTORMING) 
    • Set virtual meetings – created agendas for (1) Fashion label (2) Fashion School (3) Fashion Factory
  • (REVIEW & FINISH) 
    • In the evening we edited the Fashion Film for Elsa Fitzgerald to launch April 4th.

Note:Bali is beautiful and I encourage you to visit if your like, but most importantly I wish that you can build your dreams anywhere in the world. Why not start with embracing home? My work and travels will take me back to London and Bali, but I want this life challenge to love where I stand. I will continue to take you along with me on a more step-by-step process. I hope that it helps you see pathways you can try to recreate or appreciate the life you love.

 

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When I returned to Balitimore, I fell in love with stories of this city’s history. The garment district and all the amazing people that made beautiful clothes here. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Calvin a Master Tailor who has been training me. I was nervous at first and thought that I was in his way, but in time I realized that sewing takes time. That he was eager to find a young person who cared to to keep what he loves alive.

 

 

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I was not sure how to profess my love for this great city that I had not known. I was off living other adventures. So I decided to write a love letter asking for the city of Baltimore to forgive me and to love me back. I wish to be home and in his arms. The Elsa Fitzgerald films are a great pleasure. They make me nervous the entire time. Until it is complete and I see that all the nerves were worth sharing words.

 

 

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I finally got around to pulling out lace swatches, reviewing and then filing them away in my sourcing library for when I am designing.

 

 

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Behind the scenes photo wearing an Elsa Fitzgerald gown and Opera shawl during the filming at Madison House. The gloves are currently in New York on hold for samples to be made at the last glove maker in the garment district.

 

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