How can I measure progress?
Then and now: how green I am.
As a sustainable-modeled business, you know I value that which is green, in the eco-friendly sense, but that is not what I mean here. This is a major career change for me, coming from a background as a medical illustrator and moving into fashion. And I started out green, and I mean green behind the ears, not knowing what I was getting myself into kind of green!
Now, don’t get me wrong: there are some things I know that do apply: sewing and designing my own clothes for 20+ years, knowledge of human anatomy, experience in running a solo business and a passion for sustainability. But when it came to how to start manufacturing? Not a clue. I was starting from scratch.
I started researching and educating myself about this oh, at least three years ago, long before I actually took the leap. I was Once I was committed, registered my business and started telling people this is what I am going to do (while still freelancing as a medical illustrator), I decided to attend a sourcing trade show in NYC, called Texworld.
The business at that time was really just in the idea phase, and I was learning, but totally clueless. I went, full of passion, and full of questions, but also not even knowing what to ask. My saving grace was not caring if I looked like an idiot or an imposter. After all, who cares what other people think, right? When you spend enough of your career making a living as an artist, you come across buckets of nay-sayers, including the ones that you carry in your own head. I learned to ignore them, (at least most of the time) and just go on doing what people have countless times told me I can’t do. I made a living painting nearly every day in a culture that believes that only the rare individual can make a living as an artist.
But back to my story: I went, I learned a lot, I had fun, got inspired, explored the fashion district of NYC and left feeling like, I can do this.
Here I am now, two years later, going back to the same tradeshow, which is why I am reflecting back on that first experience two years ago. My business is still in its infancy, but the recollection is a reminder that I have in fact come a long way. Two years ago the business was a blastula. (OK, that’s my medical illustration influence talking there: a blastula is an embryo that still pretty much looks like a ball of cells.) Infancy is pretty far along in comparison to that stage! A lot of development has happened. The spine formed. The brain is there. It even has fingers. It is out in the world, beyond the womb, with eyes wide open.