As most of you lobstah lovers already know, I took a leap of faith and accepted a yachting job working in Chicago. Although I am over the moon with excitement about starting a new chapter in my life, it was equally hard to close my last one.
Two years ago, I traveled to the big apple ( NYC for those who don’t know the lingo) for a three day sourcing and apparel convention. It was an eye opening experience for me to learn the in’s and out’s of the apparel industry. There was so much that I didn’t even realize I was missing out on when it comes to samples, fabrics, accessories and more. My biggest takeaway however didn’t even come from the showroom floor, but rather from a small conference room filled to the brim with budding designers and entrepreneurs like myself. Mercedes Gonzalez, author of Chronicles of a Fashion Buyers, and CEO of Global Purchasing Companies was there to speak about “making it in the industry”. Her charisma filled the room the entire time as she gave us boat loads of tips and tricks to use while starting our brands. Near the end, she said something that I will never forget,
“Don’t quit your day job when you start your brand”
Why, you might ask? Simply put, you won’t work as hard or have the capital to grow if you stop everything else cold turkey.
With that advice, I decided if I can’t quit my day job, I might as well get a day job that I love. Insert...yachting. Since I was young, I've been around boats and sailing, so boating was an obvious and attainable choice. I was lucky enough to meet a great family who took a chance on little ole green horn me to be the First Mate aboard their 70 foot schooner in Boothbay harbor, and thus the start of my professional career. Fast forward almost two years, and I am driving to Ft. Myers, Florida to become the first mate on board a 105 foot long Broward Motor Yacht.
I moved to Ft. Myers in March, just as Spring Break was starting to kick into high gear. I like to think that was a perfect time to arrive, as there were so many people at the beaches, downtown and at all the public events. Dropping the tender into the water, loading up with snacks, drinks and good company to head down to the beach on Saturdays is what I lived for! Beach volleyball turned out to be just the outlet I needed for my mediocre athletic skill, and a great watering hole when it came to meeting new friends.
Over the course of 6 months, those new friendships turned into my best friends, inseparable for more than 12 hours. So many good memories, it would take a book to type out all the adventures. Throughout this entire time, I never lost sight of my purpose in moving to Ft. Myers in the first place ...Paul Landry Co! I was able to source a printer and seamstress for our summer tee’s and get them to market in time as well. Furthermore, I was finally able to start scheduling myself better so I could spend more of my ‘lazy time’ designing new products, and creating the foundations for new products.
The one thing I was never able to achieve will in Ft. Myers was a connectivity for Paul Landry. Ft. Myers, with its palm tree lined streets and plethora of shops initially seemed like the perfect place for the company to grow, but I soon learned the main population was more interested in food & entertainment with the occasional bathing suit purchase. I know in the future, this will be the perfect spot for a pop-up when we have a more developed line of products, but presently, it was too laid back for what Paul Landry needed. With a decision to find a new stomping grounds, I set about finding a yachting job to supplement the move. It was three weeks into the hunt when a friend of a friend reached out. He was taking a job out west, and was looking for someone to fill in his Captains position in Chicago. He knew my experience and passed on my resume with his stamp of approval on over to the owner. After a phone call later that week, I had the job and had to get everything packed up and ready to move across the country!
Fast forward two weeks, and I am sitting comfortably in my lakeside apartment in Chicago, sipping hot french press coffee and enjoying my amazing view. As I progress in my very own American dream, I cannot express enough how much each and every order you place means to me. It’s that little boost of confidence to let me know that all I am doing is worth it!
One step closer.