In 2014, I founded My Social Canvas with the dream of helping the next generation of women and girls as they design a life and career they love. The heart and soul of my company and my reason for getting up each and every morning determined to build this company into so much more than a fashion brand is because the products we make tell a story. It's the stories of young women, their designs, and how their designs fund programs helping to educate girls like them.
My Social Canvas is now at a tipping point with many recent milestones but it hasn't always been easy. In fact, there have been times that my decision to keep going defied logic and common sense. Although it is widely known that the journey of entrepreneurship is challenging, it is hard to truly understand the ups and downs of building a company until you have done it yourself. There has been so many times I have almost given up, but then something incredible happens reminding me it couldn't possibly be time to quit. These reminders come in many forms, whether it be a chance encounter with a celebrity or influencer on a day when I can barely buy myself groceries, or a meeting with a major corporate brand that expresses interest in partnership, these milestones give you just enough hope telling you to keep working. For me, these milestones included a trip to the White House Summit for Women in 2016 where I had the honor of hearing from role models like Michelle Obama and Oprah, to projects that have had involvement from some truly inspiring and influential leaders in fashion, business, and television including Project Runway judge and designer Zac Posen, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, Verizon, Apple, and many others.
Although any entrepreneur can tell you that founding a business is not free of challenge, I believe that the ability to get back up when hard situations arise help us overcome issues that come our way! Back in 2015, one of our orders with a retailer was shipped to our warehouse with incorrect barcodes. We caught the issue and decided to pull together a team overnight to fix the issue. Our team was upbeat and positive during the process. As I sat on that warehouse floor and attached tags to 2,000 bags, I was reminded that fashion icon Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF) had been in my place before.
In DVF’s memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, she shares her story of dresses being shipped from Italy to NYC with the labels incorrectly written in Italian. While this probably discouraged her a bit at first, she didn’t let it get her down. Instead, she personally crossed out the prices on each tag and wrote the price in English. While tagging my products, DVF’s story kept me hopeful because I knew she had been in my shoes.
But perhaps the most discouraging challenge I once faced was a time that I had just $7 in the bank. That month, I was waiting on checks from clients to come in and although we had business opportunities and revenue was increasing, I lost my unlimited metrocard and went to buy myself another one, only to realize I didn't have the funds. While most New Yorkers were using the subway, or perhaps hopping in an Uber, I remember walking to many of meetings that week.
There's so much more to this story and I'll soon be sharing more of my journey. But for now, I'll leave you with this reminder. If you are passionate about something, and you are ready to work at it, it's really never time to quit.
Howard Shultz, the CEO of Starbucks once said, “When we love something, emotion often drives our actions. This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. They are our families. Our lives.” My Social Canvas is intensely personal to me. The journey has not always been easy, but it has always been worth it. For that reason, whether I have $7 in the bank, or $7 Million, i'm determined to keep building this company, and through it, I hope to inspire other women to design the life and career they love.