FROM THE GUT

I’ve spent the past several weeks working on writing and editing a script for our upcoming Kickstarter. I’ve never written a script before, but knew what I wanted to say. So piece of cake, right? Wrong. I’ve spent the past 3 weeks trying to cram 800 words into the space of 200; trying to be inspiring, but also get all of the facts in; confused by too many messages; lost; found; lost. And then, Shannon Whitehead clarified everything instantly for me by advising me to just to speak to my ideal customer.

And just like that, all of the striving for the right words dissipated. I sat down this morning and wrote freely and with ease. I wrote what will be our script. No second draft necessary.

I’ve begun to notice that almost every decision I’ve made in the past year has been instantaneous and from the gut (or heart or soul). And there have been many decisions. They all felt right and not because I had rationally analyzed them. And they’ve all worked out. The things that I’ve struggled withlike this scriptare the things that I fought for against my gut. I felt like I had to fit in all the right info, say things in the right tone and in the right order. All of those things are important. But when you allow yourself to free fall and it feels right, then, it is right. The right people will feel that energy in what you’ve created and that’s all that matters. Others won’t connect and that’s ok. They’re not who you’re reaching out to anyways.

Another big gut decision I made in the last year was to apply for Factory45. I had heard about the program while in the midst of feeling a little lost and trying to decide if I should dedicate the energy to Eenvoud that it deserved or to walk away. I remember the moment that my gut jerked me awake so clearly. I was on a train home from a weekend trip and whipped out my computer. It happened to be the last day of submissions. I wrote my application on that ride, submitted it and that quick decision changed the course of my life. Turns out that I didn’t walk away, but instead have dedicated myself to that thing that I couldn’t stop thinking about for so long. And now it’s real. And our script is written. And we’re launching in less than a month.

Applications to round 2 of Factory45 opened this week. If you feel a pull, go with it.

To learn more about Factory45 and to apply, click here.

HOWARD ROARK

If you’ve read The Fountainhead, then you know Howard. If you haven’t, you’ve yet to fall in love with a man named Howard Roark; an idealistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. I read The Fountainhead for the first time in 2011, in the midst of my first semester at Parsons. While I was already a budding minimalist at the time, Howard Roark’s character was a major source of inspiration for me and helped me to better understand simplicity and my craving for it. I even created a collection called Roark Aesthetic.

Ayn Rand gets a lot of flack for her political views, but there is no denying the beauty of a person who believes in what they’re building so much that they’re willing to stand alone in order to create it.

Here are a few excerpts as inspiration:

“But you see, I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.”

“Now, talk. Talk about the things you really want said. Don’t tell me about your family, your childhood, your friends or your feelings. Tell me about the things you think.”

Mallory looked at him incredulously and whispered: “How did you know that?”

Roark smiled and said nothing.

“How did you know what’s been killing me? Slowly, for years, driving me to hate people when I don’t want to hate… Have you felt it, too? Have you seen how your best friends love everything about youexcept the things that count? And your most important is nothing to them, nothing, not even a sound they can recognize. You mean, you want to hear? You want to know what I do and why I do it, you want to know what I think? It’s not boring to you? It’s important?”

“Go ahead,” said Roark.

Then he sat for hours, listening, while Mallory spoke of his work, of the thoughts behind his work, of the thoughts that shaped his life, spoke gluttonously, like a drowning man flung out to shore, getting drunk on huge, clean snatches of air.

“It’s said that the worst thing one can do to a man is to kill his self-respect. But that’s not true. Self-respect is something that can’t be killed. The worst thing is to kill a man’s pretense at it.”

“To get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences. The work, not the people. Your own action, not any possible object of your charity.”

“The only thing that matters, my goal, my reward, my beginning, my end is the work itself. My work done my way.”

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The first airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.”

“What you think you’ve lost can neither be lost nor found. Don’t let it go.”

2014

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” -Steve Jobs

2014 was quite a year for us. Our foundation is poured and we’re gearing up for our official launch this March via Kickstarter. We’re so thankful for the dots that were connected this past year and since looking backwards is just as inspiring as looking forward, here are the dots that made our 2014.

  • We were accepted as 1 of 10 design companies in the inaugural class of Factory45, an accelerator program for made in the USA designers. I could write multiple blog post about this, so I’ll leave it at we would be NOWHERE close to where we are right now without Shannon Whitehead and all of our amazing classmates that we now call confidants and lifetime friends.
  • We launched a brand new website with the help of the amazing Austin-based Emily Belyea Creative. If you’re an entrepreneur needing a minimalistic and functional website, Emily is your girl.
  • We met our fiery patternmaker, Iris. She greats us most days with “top of the morning!”, trains at a UFC gym and tries on all of our samples in her Jimmy Choos. We couldn’t be more thankful for being connected to her. I’m looking at you Tara St James.
  • Pratt’s new design accelerator space, the BF+DA, opened it’s doors in our very own South Williamsburg. Iris is now working there and we’re hoping to produce our first collection within it’s walls.
  • I signed with a new fit modeling agency this year, MSA Model Management. Their management allows me the freedom and space to be able to work on EENVOUD and for that I am so grateful.
  • Black Brick Coffee became our unofficial office. The baristas ask us everyday how business is going, with genuine interest. Not to mention… their peanut butter cookies.
  • We took a deep breath most weekends on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. Compared to many of the other New England islands, Block Island has remained relatively untainted by the ebb and flow of tourism thanks to the Block Island Conservancy. More than 44% (and growing) of the the island is preserved land in perpetuity.
  • Lastly, we met so many kindred spirits carving their own paths in the fashion industry – Shannon, Angela, Emily, Heidi, Mikaela, Jenn, Lara, Sharon, Tina, Alexander & Jonathan, Jill, Kristin, Kestrel, Alden, and last, but definitely not least, Jed.

If 2014 was the year of building EENVOUD, 2015 is the year of being it. We can’t wait.

SIMPLICITY

Simplicity means something different to everyone. Some people shun the concept. Others cultivate it into a lifestyle. For us, simplicity is a way of living — a choice in everything you do driven by slowing down and being present. Simplicity breeds a sense of ease and joy in the small moments and the little things. There are many ways of living simply, but for us, it looks something like this — the life of our muse:

She lives in Brooklyn, but spends a lot of her time outside of the city in nature. She’s confident in herself and comfortable in her own skin. She honors herself by eating healthy, enjoying every moment of life and staying active. She’s creative, in her job and outside of it. She’s the creative director of her own design company. She’s not married, but she’s in a serious relationship. She’s learned that simplicity and balance are the keys to happiness and her life reflects this in all facets, from the amount of things that she owns, the way that she structures her day and her few very close friends. Any excess is just noise that gets cut away. She believes that the little things in life are what really matter in the end. She’s frugal, but invests in well-made things that will stay with her for a long time. She will splurge on an adventure to a far away land. That adventure won’t involve a beach resort. She can be introverted, but has a few very close friends that she can rely on even if they go several weeks without speaking. She likes to photograph, cook simple, healthy and delicious meals, take hour long lunch breaks with a book, catch the sunset as often as possible. She feels at home on the ocean and gets to it as much as possible. She’s close with her family. She’s in love with life despite the hardships that she’s made it through. She is self-actualized and expanding every day. One day she will become an old woman with a gleam in her eye that makes you wonder what she did with her life.

As we move into the holidays and then onwards into 2015, remember — it’s the simple things in life that really matter in the end.