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.

This was me in 2013, attending my first sourcing trade show.

This was me in 2013, attending my first sourcing trade show.

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 at Texworld in 2015.

Here I am at Texworld in 2015.

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.

Exploring the garment district in NYC.

Exploring the garment district in NYC.

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