First I’ll apologize for not posting a blog in March or April. You can blame The Apron.
It’s a gift from my husband and on the front is a famous dog doodle by William Wegman ~ a hero of mine. He was the first artist I ever knew to combine his love of dogs and photography. And I remember thinking to myself the first time I saw his work, and became aware of his story, that I wanted the same thing: to someday combine my love of dogs with my passion for creating. It’s been a long and winding road, but I’m finally here.
I used to think that success meant pencil skirts, blazers and heels in a boardroom. Because, in my mind back then, successful women spent their days in an office, at a desk, creating ideas, crunching numbers, presenting to clients,talking with customers. They lunched over salads while discussing strategy. They enjoyed client dinners in faraway cities and countries. Their purse and briefcase carried iPhones, laptops, and folders with important information that would no doubt help them to the next level on the corporate ladder.
I believed that partly because I was that woman. And that life had its moments of glory – usually after a big presentation when the client hung on your every word and bought what you sold. And it also came with heartaches/headaches – usually after a big presentation when the client hung on your every word. And disagreed. But at least I was wearing an awesome pencil skirt with the right heels.
Actually, I don’t remember what I wore, really. It doesn’t matter. Sure, I do miss that wardrobe at times when the catalogs pour into my mailbox from JCrew, Ann Taylor, Nordstroms. But then I remember with those cute “career clothes” also came long commutes, spilled coffee on my pencil skirt and bosses I’d rather I never met.
Yes. The Apron. My new uniform. I didn’t choose it. It chose me. I tried to pour candles in regular clothes, but found wax does not come out easily. So, came The Apron. First an old ugly Apron – probably a gift at a bridal shower 20+ years ago. Then I decided I couldn’t “create” in an ugly Apron (it was too distracting). So then came the black Apron from Target. But black is so, well, black. So, then came The Apron from my husband. The one that represents the creative hero of my youth that inspired my vision to one day work with dogs and art.
So here I am. And as I work everyday in The Apron I feel proud. Prouder than all the years I hoofed it around town, around the country and around the world in my pencil skirts and heels. I may have looked impressive, but I didn’t feel it. I felt unconfident, clumsy…like a fraud. Wondering what and where was I REALLY supposed to be? But now, in my Apron, I feel impressive. Exhausted. And at home.
I’m enjoying the hardwork, the long nights, the challenge of marketing my own brand. I no longer represent some other product I have no emotional connection to. I’m representing myself, my story. I’m representing Maggie and Nelli and what we meant to each other. I’m representing the relationship between us and our pets – what our relationships are really about during the journey and at the end of it all. I can think of no better brand or product to represent.
And my “office life” couldn’t be better, too. My commute is now two floors down to a studio office. My lunch date eats canned “organic stew” and licks the remaining yogurt out of my Chobani cup for dessert. Our lunchtime conversations revolve mostly around why she insists on pulling the heads off every single animal toy she owns. My coffee breaks are now walks around the nature preserve with my business partner and brief stops to talk with Rex, Stanley and Tucker. My travel schedule now consists of drop-offs at Fed Ex and local deliveries – with my business partner in tow, of course. But best of all, I’m never in a pencil skirt. And my co-workers consists of a community of entrepreneurs all working their hearts out in their Aprons.
The bakers who find bliss with kneading dough between their fingers.
The metal-smiths who toil away on intricate designs in hard metals at their benches.
The painters who sweep their brushes through colorful mixes of fuchsia, violet, chartreuse and bring incredible studies of our environment to life.
The seamstress whose needles sing through delicate threads and fabrics to create the most elegant fashions.
They are creators of their own destiny. And I’m proud to be among this Apron Community.
Its hard work. I’ve worked harder in the last 6-years than the previous twenty combined, and couldn’t be happier. I love the feel of the wax, the smell of the oils. I love taking each candle order from empty glass to a candle for someone who will find comfort in the small gesture of lighting it in memory of a loved pet. There is no fulfillment greater than the emotional connection I have to each order that goes out the door. I know exactly how the owners of these pets feel. I know that Scooby, Nemo, Divot, Hank, Juno…they are were loved with full hearts and lived the happiest of dog’s lives. And I know how missed they are now. The thought that the simple act of receiving a candle to light in their memory brings me more joy and fulfillment than I ever imagined.
This is a shared feeling among my Apron Community; this sense of incredible fulfillment from our visions coming to life.
Our biggest hurdle, it seems, is reigning in our many visions and staying focused. So, this year, I’ve kept a sharp focus on a vision I’ve had for years now. I’ve been fortunate to find the right mix of partners with the right expertise. All of us working hard together. In our Aprons. And we look forward to sharing this shared vision with you later this year.