Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Baby Boy

Two years ago my little boy was born. There are a lot of things I'm excited to blog about. But, I really had to dedicate this one to him.
My sweet boy is a lover for sure. The teachers like to rotate "turns" to cuddle him. When I was pregnant, if I poked him, he'd poke back. If I woke up in the middle of the night, he'd wake up and kick around too. When he was a newborn, he was happiest the closest, most mashed up against me he could get. He's a connecting sort of guy. He can be bit shy, but only until he sorts out a person, place or thing. Then, he's a happy, talking little ham. He prefers cookies over any other treat. He's an adventurous eater, and will try almost anything by huge handfuls. He loves cars, trucks, balls and cuddles.

We're celebrating his birthday in Nantucket this year. It's our end of the summer, beach getaway. As I think about my boy, and we celebrate him, I decided to share some of the highlights of his birthday....

Jonah is still not sure what he thinks of water. The first day of our vacation, he pressed his cheek to mine and hung on tightly as we waded through the ocean. I closed my eyes, and loved feeling that sweet, plump, wet cheek. By our last day, today, he's gained his courage. All on his own! It didn't take me wading in with him, our encouragement, or our pointing out other people. He quietly made the decision, and went in. After, he looked proudly at me, "I did it!!" He ran up to me for a drive-by kiss, circled back around to the water, and went running in. At which point, he tripped and went face down into the ocean. To his credit, he didn't let it stop him...for long.

When I put him down for his nap and he told me, "mommy, I want cud-dole you." I leaned over, and snuzzled him. He snuzzled back, it was a nice quiet a moment....aaaaand then he made "fake" sleeping noises. "ggghhhhaaa-shoooooooo...."

He woke up sweaty and happy and we took all little shower to wash the beach off from the day before we went out to dinner. After he got naked he ran across the room, flashed his butt and taunted, "wook! I'm nah-kad!! Toot-shie!!" laughed, and ran away.

At dinner, he was mad bc he didn't want water (yeah, HELLO two years old), and tossed it across the table. Why do I love this? PS - I didn't love it so much in the moment. In the moment, I was wet and annoyed. When I thought back on it, I realized this is not a man afraid to speak his mind! He is fully aware his feelings count.

We had a chocolate ice cream treat after dinner. He ALWAYS asks me if I want a bite. Always. He soon tires of the middle man, chucks the spoon, and dips his face into the bowl. It's really seconds I've got to arm myself with napkins before little chocatoo fingers (as he calls chocolate) grab a hold of me. No, I didn't get them in time, as usual. Yes, I came home home from dinner with dinner all over me, my hair, in my purse...
At bedtime, he was really tired, he told me he wanted bed...that he wanted all his "cars bed too." So, we stacked them up in just the right arrangement. Then, he held them up one-by-one for me to kiss them. Then we snuzzled and he told me "mommy go sweepy." (That's his way of telling me he's ready for me to leave the room). Another kiss. Good night my sweet boy.

Two amazing years.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Stepping Back and Building Momentum

Where have I been?! everywhere, nowhere and back again :)
Since I last posted, it feels like so much has happened, and yet it also feels like so little has happened. I planned to be further along than I am, but sometimes, you have to go backwards to go forwards.

My friend Kim Salter, of Design Thoughts, has been an amazing cheerleader, how-to guru, aesthetic sounding board, and a well-spring of inspiration. In a mood, I was sharing that I didn't feel accomplished recently. You know how you can have only 4 things on your list, but when you get into it each one actually has 3 or 4 sub-steps? At the end of the week you've taken 15 steps, but you don't have gratifying "check-mark" to put next to it. How I love the check mark...sigh. So, ever wise, Kim shared this with me:

"my dad told me that any successful decision, business or personal, should be looked at like a huge would never try to jump across standing right at the edge...usually, you have to take 2 or 3 steps back first ;) it's what builds momentum (knowledge)."


Here's what I've been up to
the last few weeks while
stepping back and building momentum...

I've been consulting with an amazing creative designer and mentor, Kaia Canales, In true ask and you shall receive fashion, I thought to myself, I need to discuss my designs, plans, ideas, etc. with someone in the industry who is free to share information and isn't competition. Hello, Kaia! This is EXACTLY what she does, and loves to do. She helps start-ups with big ideas make their dreams come true. We've met a handful of times to discuss the line, where I am, and what I need. At our last meeting, she really challenged me to focus. Nothing like the mirror put up in front of your face. She, rightly, pointed out that I have a clear vision for the line but I have way too many ideas for how to execute it. I'm a designer. I love A LOT of things. We put together a list of emotional words that describe the line. All things should filter through these words: colors, prints, stripes, blogs, logo, garment details...everything. It's all a part of and goes back to The voice. The message. The story. The experience. 

Stepping, two three...Literally back to the mood board, baby! I'm (re)constructing my mood board with focus and intention. She (again) rightly pointed out that this first garment is only the beginning, true, but it also sets the tone and it needs to be the right tone. 

I'll be honest, I felt deflated at first.

I thought I'd be through the edits to the garment designs now, posting them on my blog and passing them back off to the factories. But, I thought about it again, and what this step-back turned momentum means for me. How awesome is it that the line will send a clear message to my customers right from the start?! Being a graphic designer in the industry, I'd have to say that is the #1 struggle I see at creative meetings. How great is it, that I can go into my new business with that confidence of clarity?? That is really, really, really good stuff. 

I attended the Playtime and ENK shows in NYC last weekend. Very inspirational, a bit overwhelming, and super glad I cleared out the weekend to go. I also found 2 direct competitors. Two years ago, when I dreamed this up, it totally didn't exist. NOBODY was doing it. I always thought I'd get knocked off. I didn't think someone would beat me to market

More Deflation...

But, but, but, wait a minute... I now have very clear real-time information on how the world is receiving this kind of concept, where it's selling, how it's selling, etc. Before it was me, my idea and I, alone, out on a limb taking a chance. Plus, how many white tees, jeans and black pants do you own? Right. There is plenty of room in the industry! My core values, focus, approach and aesthetic are also totally different from either competitor.

More than just the concept, my IDEA is still unique. 

We've been pricing factories...again. Logistics, spreadsheets and numbers, OH MY!! Pros and cons, cons and pros, numbers, numbers, more numbers. I have 3 options, which is amazing: NYC, domestic and overseas. I've spent more than a million hours plugging information in and running different scenarios. After we make these final garment changes, there will be more numbers to run too. I think I'm learning there will always be numbers to run. I had hoped that one would be the clear winner and we'd just do that. But, there are many ways to get from A to B. Momentumly-minded (yup, you heard it here first. I coined the phrase), all these bits, pieces and prices will be so helpful as I add more pieces to the line. Front loading all this knowledge is  a huge help as I grow.

So, here I am three steps back and, yes, the wheels are spinning, and YES! the momentum is building, the knowledge is growing, and the ideas are clarifying.