Be Present for Your Network
Networks are not to be underestimated.
Case in point. Over the weekend I was invited to participate as one of 12 women shaping the Seattle fashion industry. Conducted by wildlife researcher and runway producer, Ava J. Holmes, this interview series is one of the most thorough examinations of Seattle's fashion industry through the lens of 100 well respected local leaders in the Pacific Northwest.
I am a social entrepreneur and textile expert and the women on this panel were accomplished fashion executives, designers, writers and educators. What everyone had in common however was the ability to inspire. As brunch was served to about 100 people, the panel was presented with questions that the audience posed in advance to explore each panelist's stance on fashion and its extended definition of "lifestyle" including business, personal life, public relations, and finances.
The 12 emerging Seattle fashion shapers then showed a video illustrating how they were collaborating to build a strong community of fashion focused entrepreneurs. It was a stunning display of potential and I think everyone left the venue realizing they are truly not alone and that there are very cool, interesting and creative people that can help shape the future not just in fashion but the very culture of Seattle just by working together.
This past week I went back to work in my Seattle studio after a personal holiday retreat to clear my head and get ready for the amazing year ahead. In the studio I noticed how much stress triggers a feeling to either fight or to run from whatever situation gets me riled up. Let’s face it, it’s fear in its truest form; an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is a threat. It’s this unpleasantness I’ve been sitting with, not running and not fighting (well, maybe a little) and just observing how I am responding to fear as it moves in thought and how I act in response. Last year I let stress, anxiety and ultimately fear get the better of me and this year I am committed to understanding how I allowed this to happen. I am looking forward to see if there are strategies I can use to alter my reaction until I find a more permanent solution. The only way to get through challenges is to put one foot in front of the other. I'm walking slow.
It’s the real work right? The work any brand must do to get to the next level with the fight and passion for what they love to do almost glowing within them.
To create more balance I’m expanding my networks and actively participate in Paladin Partners, a women’s emerging CEO group. We had our monthly meeting on Friday and I am so grateful for this group of wise women not only for their sage advice but also for the way the group expresses their care and concern for one another.
Networks are not to be underestimated; it takes time to show up and to be present. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that what we put into our relationships yields far greater results than what we could have accomplished on our own. My advice? Make the call, get your community together and get to the next level together.
We’ll be hosting an event in Seattle at our studio also featuring Seattle based natural dyer (and colleague) Botanical Colors on January 21st in collaboration with the Network for Business Innovation & Sustainability (NBIS).
I do hope to see some old friends and new ones at this event. It’s an exciting time for sustainability in fashion and no time seems better than now to say hello.