Who is she?

That’s me.

10 years ago.

In Times Square. In NYC.

But really, who is she?

A 21 year old who thought she knew what she wanted in life. That’s who.

I had finished college in Apparel Design & Technology, and I thought I’d become a fashion designer, “one day”. But that one day never came because, well, I wasn’t that passionate about designing clothes, making them, and pattern drafting was not my fav!!

I thought I was passionate about it for the longest time, and I made myself believe I was. Everyone would ask me “how’s the sewing going” and as time went on, there was no more sewing. There were no more questions. I was growing up, finding new hobbies and passions, with no time for sewing.

Don’t get me wrong though, I absolutely love sewing. But, I wasn’t passionate enough about it to make it my lifelong career. I knew, after working in bridal for a short stint, that being a seamstress wouldn’t make me very much money. And I was okay with that.

So what does this even mean? Why should you care…

As I reflect on the last 10 years, I can’t believe how far I’ve come, and who I am today. Also how was 2012 ten years ago already?!

I look back at my 21 year old self and think, “girl, you WON’T believe what you’re doing NOW!!!!

Seriously. She wouldn’t. She’d be laughing at how unbelievable it is.

But before I get to that, a little backstory.

BACKSTORY

I was never a high achiever in school growing up. I did the bare minimum to pass every class. High school was one giant party for me. I probably had more spares than all of my peers because all I needed were the basic requirements to get my High School Diploma. And I got it. 💅🏼

I never saw myself as one to go to University. Like, ever.

All I wanted was a career that was easy and a husband that made good money.

I knew I always loved sewing and creating with my hands, so I decided why not go to College to learn more about it. And even there I treated it as a cake walk. I am embarrassed to even show people my “creations” that I thought were amazing. I was obsessed with Lady Gaga at the time because she was huge, and therefore I took a lot of inspo from her outfits and incorporated them into my designs. And boy were they awful. I feel bad for the profs that had to grade that shit. Side note: I actually just finished throwing out some of my college notes last year because I can’t bear to look at them, even if and when I grow old.

I finished college and went on to find full-time work, utilizing the skills I learned in a bridal shop. It didn’t work out for me. I got laid off for the first time. I ruined some wedding dress trains by using less than sharp needles that caused some parts of the fabric to run, and overall I just wasn’t great at sewing or selling wedding dresses. All in all, it became a learning lesson that maybe I’m just not cut out to be a full-time seamstress and decided to go work in retail because that’s what I thought I was good at.

While working in retail full-time, my dad suggested to me that I should look into going back to school. Like, University.

I knew if I kept working at Winners I would at most get promoted to manager and get paid $40K/year at best and I had already given up on my dreams of becoming a fashion designer.

So, I took the leap and enroled in the Bachelor of Commerce program studying Management. But before I got in, I had to take a 2 classes in open studies to make up for my lack of science 30 from high school, lol.

University is really what changed me. My mind. How I look at the world. How I write. How I communicate with others. What things mean. It opened up a world I didn’t know existed, to be quite frank. Prior to this experience, I lived in a bubble with limited knowledge I had about almost everything. And looking back, I find it crazy how much I’ve changed mentally.

WHAT THIS POST IS REALLY ABOUT

We all reflect now and again, about the last 2, 5, or 10 years. But for me, it’s more than just reflecting.

That girl? Yes, the one above. She had no idea that in 10 years she’d lose another full-time job, but this time, taking her business (yes you heard that correctly) full-time and working solely for herself.

10 years ago I may have dreamed about being a fashion designer, but I never actually imagined having my own business. My dad had his own businesses, hardships and all. I saw him win and lose. I always looked up to him for his extraordinary devotion to being his own boss whether it was for computers or Geothermal.

But I never thought I’d be him.

I thought that was just a him thing. Like me, he basically started out as a “freelancer” doing computer programming in the 80s and 90s, and later Geothermal. And come think of it. He was always running a business ever since I was a baby.

I’ve taken after him, entrepreneurial spirit and all. The sad thing is that he’s no longer with us today. He passed away nearly 2 years ago this month. I wish he was still with us so I could tell him everything I’ve achieved in the last 3 months after taking my business full-time! Because it has been a RIDE! Side note: I’ve had my company incorporated since 2019 so he always knew I wanted to take it full-time.

I’m crying, you’re crying, we’re all crying. It’s okay. The photo above serves as a moment of pause as we compose ourselves to read the remainder of this reflection.

Running a business is hella scary. When I incorporated a couple years ago I was like, “shit, this is real now”. And it was, and still is.

I’m my own boss. My own employee. My own bookkeeper. My own saleswoman. I wear so many different hats and I never thought I’d be where I am. That girl 10 years ago didn’t even understand the marketing and advertising space, let alone as a career. That girl binge watched Mad Men and thought Peggy Olson was the bravest woman working with all those nicely dressed men.

Can confirm, a lot of agencies are still owned by men! Not me! 👩🏼‍🦱

If it wasn’t for my dad suggesting that I go back to University, I don’t know if I would have pursued further education. I would have been happy with the status quo, because I never thought I was capable of much more. I always thought I was dumb because my grades were never great. My young, naïve self always thought the smart kids were the ones who went to University or succeeded in life.

But I’ve learned that success is subjective. Finally, after 5 to 10 years, I feel confident in myself, my skills, and my passions.

I am capable of achieving success that isn’t denoted by solving arduous linear algebra problems, being famous, or having amassed a great deal of wealth.

To me, success means achieving something you never thought was possible by doing something you love. And it feels great.

I cannot wait to see where I am in 10 years from now.

– Steph xo

PS my business website is here.

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