When I was in college, I had more jobs than Phaedra Parks (Department Receptionist, Research Assistant, Resident Advisor, Shopgirl at a boutique) but my favorite of them all was working as a seamstress in the Costume Shop at Brown. Regardless of who your social circle was on campus, what your major was, or whatever, everyone of the Costume Shop girls got along because we were all united in one love that was greater than all: a love of fashion. I still keep tabs on many of my costumes shop friends, and so was delighted when I ran into Thea Grant in my neighborhood, who I hadn’t seen in years and years. Thea was always so stylish and bold about it, so it shocked me not at all that, along with her husband she had started her own eponymous jewelry line. It’s fantastic, and my first thought of course, turned to how fab these could be as statement bridal jewelry for the fashion forward bride.
A couple of Thea’s necklaces.. perfect for that romantic, Downton Abbey, estate jewel look.
Of course, not everyone is a NECKLACE person, so I love this elegant, yet totally bad ass bracelet! (of course, it must be worn on your right wrist to not detract from your newbie ring!)
Of course, while diamonds are a girls best friend, it doesn’t mean a guy couldn’t enjoy a little bling too- how about instead of a Boutonniere, he rocks a fabulous lapel pin??
All of it can be found at Thea Grant! Happy Weekend!
I read Cathryn Horn’s moving tribute to her dear friend L’Wren Scott who committed suicide earlier this week and I literally found myself sobbing at my desk. It wasn’t so much because it was so well written (it was) or that L’Wren seemed truly likeable (she did) but it was that the feelings that she was grappling with- as a creative business owner AND as a WOMAN creative business owner- felt so terribly familiar that I felt as though I knew her. Or I felt as though at times I could have been her.
“And in those days, her business really ran on a shoestring, with L’Wren and maybe two other women doing all the work. She had an incredible work ethic; if there was one thing that bound all her friends, wherever they were born, it was that. And there was no job she wasn’t willing to do herself, which became a problem as her company got bigger.”
L’Wren was set to announce that she was going to close her business today, but on Monday (after a night with friends on Sunday) she instead took her life. Mayra’s husband said to her the other day “I don’t see how some money problems could push things that far.”, and of course, there is always more to the story than simply money.. but Mayra and I actually felt opposite. I think anyone who has ever been there- as a business owner who is passionate about creating for a living and had cash flow problems or tax problems or any other kind of business problem has felt that crushing sense of the world closing in on you. You can feel it all to be a trap, and it’s easy to get to a place where no option seems like a good way out. It can be shockingly hard to keep perspective.
Six or so years ago, when we had a floral business too and fuel charges skyrocketed and then the recession hit and all our clients lost their jobs when all the Investment Banks closed, we literally were in such a panicked state. We estimated jobs at one price, only for the cost of goods to have gone up unexpectedly, and there was NEVER enough cash. Simply never. We hadn’t learned a lot of the mistakes made of how to price things and how to sell ourselves properly and we were just in a cycle of constant treading. I was in the midst of getting my divorce and then got hit with a tax bill that was so high, it was a thing of nightmares. I did NOT know really what to do… We didn’t know what to do.
This was coupled by our desperate desire to make this work and see this through. First, because we loved being creative for a living. We love designing events and loved the spirit of creativity at our company. We especially loved that our clients were so drawn to that. AaB is was our baby and we had worked so hard to grow it… the solution could not possibly be to walk away. And then the answer was- and walk away to do what exactly? We felt we could simultaneously do everything and yet qualified to do nothing. What job would we want? What job would we be good for? Were we even employable?
I found it funny how Cathryn Horn, who had been a salaried employee with a steady check from the Times for ages and ages, warned L’Wren to not take it too seriously and to “give it a time table for succeeding” and how L’Wren bristled at the suggestion. If I had a dollar for every time someone in either of our families or friend circles said something similar… without possibly understanding the joy/agony of nurturing and growing a business where you do what you love and make beautiful, beautiful things that mean something to other people. It’s impossible to imagine, if you’ve never done it, what it would feel like to know that business simply wasn’t working or needed to close.
So, I’m sure there was more to the story than JUST business, but I see so clearly how that could make the world feel so much darker.
The moral of my post here, if there is one, is that the lesson from L’Wren is that none of us is the first to experience this for the first time. Suffering in silence is a surefire way to suffer longer and shame over ups and downs in business is like feeling some shame for running into a pothole on the BQE- it happens to everyone from time to time. It can always turn around. There is always a new way to look at things, do things and reinvent yourself.
Our friend Danielle Colding, winner of HGTV Design Star had her apartment featured on Apartment Therapy over the weekend. It’s stunning and it also made me realize that Danielle has NEVER invited us over… thanks Danielle?? Anyway, it’s amazing and fabulous to see how a decorator chooses to decorate their own place. Take a look at some of the images here and see more over on Apartment Therapy!
Since I’m never afraid to fly my weird flag out there for everyone, I will share with you all that I went to see a medium recently. She was the real deal and I can’t recommend her enough if you are interested/open to that kind of thing. More relevant to our forum here though is one particular thing that she said about getting better at saying No to people. This was relevant to me, but I suspect could be valuable to a lot of you out there as well, so I will share.
In business, Mayra and I pride ourselves on never saying no to clients if we can at all help it. Making a YES happen might have an associated additional cost, but there is no such thing as no. With clients that is great, but in life, not so much. I have definitely had a long suffering relationship with the ability to say no and have often found myself saying yes to dinners I knew I was too tired to attend, or agreeing to speak at an event I wasn’t 100% sold on or even saying yes to attend a party or a whatever….
So Gemma says “When you say yes to things that you don’t feel good about doing, you are denying the person asking you the opportunity to have a connection with someone more appropriate for them.”
WOWZA! Lightbulb! Put another way, in practical terms: when you get a prospective client and you get a bad feeling, but still say yes, you denied them the chance to work with someone who would be a better fit. Or, when you take a meeting with a vendor who you just don’t stylistically see as on the same page, you are taking up their time where they could be meeting with someone more synergistic with them as who they are. If you say yes to attend a dinner or an event and you were never that enthusiastic about attending, you are literally taking a place at the table from someone else who would have been a true value add. Basically, if your gut isn’t excited about an opportunity, it not only is not an opportunity for you, it’s denying someone for whom it would be that a chance.
Everyone has a different reason for why they are bad at saying No (for those of us afflicted with this). Some of us like to please others, some of us don’t want to disappoint the person asking, or seem mean, or some are afraid turning down an opportunity… but this way of seeing saying No kind of erases all of those reasons. In a weird way, thinking of it this way, there is NO no- just the chance for the asker to be guided to a better opportunity.
A last thought- I posted this to Instagram last week, but I thought I would share here…
We’ve been super blessed this year to have a lot of really interesting projects going on, which has been great for business and for my brain but really, really bad for my magazine reading. Typically, I like to get into bed with all my home decorating magazines and dog ear my brains out. Lately, I get into bed and wake up a few hours later with my face stuck to an Architectural Digest. Thankfully, Domino comes to my inbox, so I was particularly delighted when I saw Style Me Pretty founder Abby Larson’s pretty face and her even prettier home featured on Domino.com. Abby overcame her fear of color by inserting delightful sunny accents that cheer up her beautiful space and accent her really fabulous art collection. Here are a couple of my favorite images and the rest can be found here.