Yesterday I went to the public library in Princeton, West Virginia, and picked up the photo sample* pattern my collaborator at CART Inc., Heather Williams, had printed for me on the giant printer in Bluefield and left at the front desk. This may sound minor but it reminded me of how much support I have these days. It was also a personal victory: as of late I’ve found the courage to ask for help and accept it. I have been putting in absolute marathon days getting the photo sample ready, working through technology challenges, updating the pattern software nights and weekends outside of my full-time job.
But the intensity of the work is made better by how much help I have. From teachers and consultant with the PAD Systems software, to fellow local entrepreneurs keeping an eye out for me, or the local tailor, Lisa Lambert who works evenings with me to tweak the blouse pattern or work out our sewing steps, local organizations who step in and help where you need them, mentors, wise advisors and the list goes on. And all of the sudden I see it clearly – an entrepreneur brings the vision and creates an interaction point for talented people and supporters to create beautiful work.
Why couldn’t I see this until now? Part of the fight, the struggle with starting this wild and challenging apparel endeavor to create jobs and make custom fitting womenswear is fretting over the possibility of how I will possibility do it alone. Indeed, my default mindset seemed to be a belief that all of the work had to be done by me. There are good reasons to believe this – help often costs money (I am unfortunately not independently wealthy). Free help is sometimes not as dependable. But when the default is having to do everything alone it creates an impossible scenario that all of the hard tasks, ALL of them, have to be done by me. And at the root of this is what? It is not an easy thing to believe that your idea, your passion is deserving of the labor of dozens of talented people and is deserving of real, substantial financial support.
There are smaller business that operate well with one or two people. And then there is an idea like mine – a made to measure womenswear workshop in Princeton, WV. I need sewers, a large space, equipment, software, and so on and so forth. This takes a shift in the small, limiting mindset – moving from that mindset to an understanding that your big dream is buildable, worthy of building, not alone.
And perhaps there was something with so much isolation, having collaboration yanked away and held back for nearly a year – and now here these people are in front of me. And it suddenly becomes so obvious. I never could do it alone, but that was never the point. These past few weeks I’ve had some rough moments moving through obstacles, exhausted, but my mantra was to just keep showing up for the work. Kind of like Forest Gump on his run across the country – you just keep moving and little by little people join you. And then one day, you look around and you see you have all the support you could ever need.
I am cheering you on through your own dreams big and small. Thank you for your support for my dream.
Go, fight, win.