Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Where's Wilbur?

Just the other day, I saw a post on my Facebook wall from my friend Jamie Rice. She asked me where I had been and informed me that she missed my blog entries. The truth is that I had been floating in the abyss of self-doubt and disappointment once again. I had tried so many times to write about my odyssey, but I was stuck and everything I wrote sounded as blue as I was feeling. I just didn't want to put that out there to whatever readers I may have left. And so I held my tongue.

Ashanti and I had run ourselves ragged trying to sell the Spring 2011 collection. Each evening after returning home from the plantation, we were feverishly making calls and sending emails to boutiques and specialty stores throughout the U.S. in our desperate attempt to get the line out to the public. Certainly these store owners would embrace us like the curvy women who had sent me countless messages asking how they might purchase a Wilbur design. Despite all the love we received from our potential customers and the clamor of interest we got from bloggers and fashion followers, all we got from retailers was loud silence. And then I began to worry about how I was going to put a collection together to show this March. Time was moving by. Quickly. We hadn't even begun work on the garments. I was and still am seriously in debt from our September debut and there was no money to beg, borrow, or steal. My mother could see the obvious anxiety in my actions and suggested I take a break. "What?! I can't take a break now. Everyone is expecting my follow-up collection." I tried to forge ahead. Then a business colleague, Brandon Atherley, who is a talented and respected celebrity fashion stylist, shared his thoughts. He advised, "Instead of trying to throw something together and it not being your best work, why don't you sit this season out?" When two or more people share similar recommendations, I really take notice because I believe that the universe is speaking to me through them. And so I decided that I would shelf plans to produce samples for a fall collection and press the refresh button on my soul. It was the best decision that I've made thus far this year. It has allowed me to re-evaluate some of the ways that I handle my business. I am still interested in attaining financial success, but I will not allow the possibility of making it rule me to the point of breaking my spirit. I am finally, after 13 years, beginning to understand that I have a gift and I am not going to let people in positions of power make me feel like my designs are less than awesome. I am going to treat myself with care and not let the validation of others define my self-worth. After all, I Am Fabulous. . . despite what you might think!

Peace & Fashion!