GETTING BACK TO MY ROOTS
I've always been into fashion in one way or another. Some of my fondest memories growing up involved playing with fashion plates (can you say 80's?) & making Barbie clothes alongside my grandmother while she sewed. I loved all things creative and fashion. I studied art, fashion, hair, makeup, photography. You name it and I probably took a class or own a book.
Growing up I considered myself a highly creative individual. I aspired to be an artist or a fashion designer. Like many, I moved away to the big city in the hopes of pursuing my dreams. I got accepted and went to fashion school where I completed my Bachelor of Design. I was now all setup to lead the life of a fashion designer like I had always dreamed of. Well, that's not exactly how things turned out, not until now anyways...
Rather than pursuing design and all things creative I opted to put my efforts into learning the business side of fashion. I decided to add to my skillet roster. I was already good at the creative side of things but I always had an aversion for numbers. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I got into merchandising and the business side of fashion & retail. I had no choice, I had to learn the business side of things since now my job and livelihood depended on it! The funny thing is, after all these years of joking about how bad I was at math and all things quantitative, it turned out that I was pretty good at the business side of things, too. I really enjoyed the business side of things. I dove right into my new career track and continued down a new path. I even went as far as getting my CPA, and an MBA to help me continue to advance my career. You read right - fashion designer, accountant & business mogul! I intentionally benched my creative side to pursue my career. I enjoyed it and I set myself on a course aspiring to get to the C suite of a large company.
Maybe I was afraid of making a mistake, maybe I was afraid that no one would like my designs, maybe I didn't want to be wrong and have someone say "I told you so.", maybe it was that fear of rejection that spun me in a different direction than my younger self envisioned. Having worked for some pretty big brands I saw first hand how tough design could be. Everyone had an opinion about design and in the end the numbers were all that seemed to matter. I found comfort and safety burying myself in the numbers, the indisputable truth. As long as I had a fact and figure to back things up I was golden.
I loved my career and I was moving up. A 60+ hour work week wasn't an issue because I was engaged. I enjoyed the challenge. I got to travel and see the world while working with some amazing colleagues for some pretty cool brands. I was cruising in the direction I wanted to and things were great.
When my husband and I decided to start our family I knew that things would change when we had our baby but I wasn't expecting the degree of change that followed. For the first time in over two decades I was without a formal job, and its deliverables. Having a baby is no vacation but there weren't any e-mails for me to urgently reply to, I didn't have any presentations to prepare for, and no more budgets to justify. It was just me and my little bundle and lots of quiet time with myself. Somehow between all the feedings and caring for my son I found myself thinking about my younger self and all the things that I loved to do back then and how I hadn't done anything creative for years. I was inspired to get back behind my sewing machine after years of it sitting in the closet collecting dust It felt good. It was like seeing a best friend that you hadn't seen for many years yet once there it was as though no time had past. It worked like a dream and I was hooked, just like I was when I first started design school. Before I knew it I was going through my son's closet, analyzing all his clothes, sketching my own designs, drafting my own patterns and sewing them up. It's funny how it took me to go twenty years down a very different path and having a baby to turn me around and bring me back to my roots. That said, I have absolutely no regrets. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for my past experiences. I am thankful for everything that I have experienced and learned on my journey and all of the wonderful people I've met along the way. I look forward to all the adventures the future has in store.
I started Jude & Laurel to serve as a creative outlet for myself and to continue my journey as an entrepreneur. Over the years it has evolved. What started off as an idea for a small clothing and accessories line inspired by my son has evolved. I saw an opportunity to use my industry experience to create a different type of shopping and education experience for those who love to sew or would like to learn. What started out as a ready to wear children's line is now a place where you can find beautiful fabrics, many of which are sustainable and organic, as well as inspiration for your projects, patterns, notions, with helpful resources and education materials to allow you to achieve that perfect sew. I try all of the fabrics we sell personally and test every thread, tool and notion. I give lots of tips and tricks along the way that I use in my studio. And finally, if sewing isn't your jam, I have a retail line that you can browse as well.
Do what you love, love what you do, and don't ever feel like you have to compromise your dreams and choose. Everything you've done has brought you to this point and is part of your unique story. Don't compare yourself to others, be true to yourself and do everything you choose to do on your terms.