The story continues....
My client fired the agency I was working at, so the agency finally let me go, which I'd been managing to dodge for years. But I wasn't too bothered. Maybe a little. But I had gotten to the point where I was so frustrated, that I couldn't stop thinking about how much I hated my job...which wasn't healthy or productive. That ended up leading me to reading Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. Which was not only awesome but life changing. I settled down enough to decide I was moving to California to pursue my clothing line dream.
My California Adventure
Four months later I was in Hollywood, California. I managed to support myself for awhile with savings. And even though I had some successes, I started my journey there from an upside down place. Remember how I mentioned I was throwing money at the business pre-California? Charging up a storm trying to make things happen faster than they were? But I was there and pushing forward.
I managed to find amazing resources in L.A. to produce my clothing. The best fabric sources, great sewers, cutters, markers and graders. I really learned a lot about producing clothing! Maybe because I was stepping over homeless people in Skid Row, wheeling and dealing and basically making shit happen out of nothing did I think I was just going to triumph like some underdog in a great movie. NOT. And even though I continued to push forward, I was really just going deeper and deeper into debt.
But I still had some pretty big wins while I was on the clothing line journey. I sold the line to spas and boutiques. And made it into some pretty big resorts and hotels.
My clothing line was sold in a couple of Las Vegas resorts including the Wynn and the Aria.
Vanessa Williams styled in my clothing on Desperate Housewives
From the outside looking in, it appeared as if I was winning. But I was still struggling. Like super, duper struggling. Trying to make something happen that wasn't happening fast enough or big enough to save me from my financial foolishness. And I was getting to the point where I finally starting to admit to myself how much I disliked being in this business.
Then, in 2011 I was forced to stop. I was maxed out on all of my credit cards, I had to let my little condo back in Dallas go bye bye to the bank, and I was forced to file bankruptcy. It was seriously my very, very bottom.
I always think about how my father told me in 2004, "There must be something you can do with that internet." And even though I didn't listen I knew that would have been the right move for me.
I figured out too late in the game that I had made a huge mistake by not trusting my gut and investing enough into my website. Why? A couple of reasons.
1. I was afraid of it. I didn't know how to do the internet thing?
2. I was too busy trying to create a clothing line that mimicked everyone else's instead of going with what felt right for me.
When I first started my line in Dallas, I felt that focusing on my internet business was a learning curve that would take too much time. Time I didn't think I had. After all, I was trying to escape my horrible job, fast. Plus, it never even dawned on me that the website was something I could work on, myself. At that point in my life, I always put faith into others to do the hard things. Not into myself.
I had run-in after run-in with shady web developers. I would get recommendations on who to use, but it rarely turned out well. It just seemed like I kept getting played time and time again. But back to my Hollywood story...
At this point, the clothing line was pretty much done. My former go to, The Bank of Dad, had run out. My janky website was still up, but I didn't know how to truly manage it or fix the problems it had. And I couldn't afford help. With no clothing line and website, I had no current way to make money. I had stayed in that game too long and it ruined me. Or did it?
I spent a little over a year clueless and broke. Not knowing WTF I was going to do.
Then one night I had a dream about a website I wanted to build. Remembering the dream when I woke up the next day, I immediately got to work.
Hear how this story ends (and continues) on my next post. But first let me share the lessons I learned.
- 1I'm better at figuring shit out than I thought. I was able to accomplish some really cool things with my self-educated mind. Clothing manufacturing/production broke me down, but I didn't let it break me.
- 2Trying to force things instead of just doing me was my downfall. I had an opportunity to pivot when I realized my missteps, but I didn't. I just kept trying to force things. Trying to make my business look like the other successful brands I knew. This caused me to do desperate things and make foolish decisions. When you're doing you, all of that can be avoided.