I am Retired! From working that is…Design is my passion and I love it every day.

Keeping the dream Alive is toughest part of an entrepreneur’s life; in my case a designer’s own brand. This means that every day you have to DREAM. What the business books call following a vision by writing a business plan (the worst part of my career but the necessary part).

Most of the time following your passion means after you have earned a living, continued to work on current projects or taken care of family. I was fortunate to have the perfect time in my life where I had to leave my career to follow my husband’s career. This break of up to 2.5 years in another country while my husband was working there could have been a time to relax but I took it as my ultimate opportunity to change careers. When I hit the new ground of our new home half way around the world I was dying to learn something new to help pursue a career in fashion design or running a fashion house something I wanted to do since I was ten years old.

So here I was in Malaysia half way around the world from Florida where I left my home behind and all of my friends. The first classes I embraced where Malay and Mandarin. Then one night while hosting a group of women for business in Malaysia, the former President of the club told me about the local Fashion Design School and that I could attend. I started immediately. The fact that the classes where held in Mandarin didn’t stop me from learning and loving the field, in fact I LOVE the Malaysians and they were so patient and kind. I had a GREAT time and cherish my friendships from the classes as much as I do my American university, FAU friendships. It took me weeks to make one illustration and I thought this is going to be tough but I knew I wanted to be able to illustrate my ideas and the only pressure was my own because this was for FUN! because I am retired ;-) . Mental games you might call them but life is all about perception so I told every one and I still do “I am retired!”  What I mean is I’m retired from working a job that I don’t love doing. Perception is everything.

Success following your passion starts with believing in yourself 100%. You are at your best when you love what you do, you beam excitement and enthusiasm. I see this in others all of the time. They are working all day and then on weekends they follow their passions and that is what they talk about. Different is good too, that’s why there is no end to number of passion followers on earth. We naturally look for new and different. So tell yourself you’re retired and then follow your passion with a vengeance! Now go! Make me proud and make something new and different. Be inspired by others but don’t copy them. I would love for my designs to inspire you to make something great that’s all you and I will help you if you ask. Are you retired yet? I hope to see an invitation to your celebration for your new idea.

If you know me now and most of family would say, April works a lot! But to me  “I am retired!” Because I love every day even if it’s a nightmare of a day and believe me I have days where things fall through and I am tested to a breaking point but somehow I just manage to think positive and keep going because I believe in what I am doing and I’m passionate about my business. I have learned that the only difference between success and failure is perseverance. I have been told by some of my successful mentors to just take a walk when things seem like they are over whelming. Then come back and start again. A dear friend once said  “When you return from traveling or a trade show or finish a long project, you think you’re never going to catch up on the projects that you left for a week or up to 8 weeks. The trick is to just start working on your list and  “much faster than you think” you realize “hey, I’m almost caught up and I’ve almost finished all of my projects.” This is a great feeling.

Another Movie I recommend that really depicts what a passionate person does in his life if he knows no boundry between “work” and “play” is “Meet Joe Black”.  Play close  attention to       ‘s character. He never stops managing and growing his business from the moment he wakes to the moment he sleeps again. This is the life of a passionate business owner.

I am retried; I am a passionate business owner; I am a designer. I love what I do and wish this for you.

April :-)

Valentino: the last emperor

I admit it! I’ve watched the Devil Wears Prada 6 times.  I love the inspiring fashion ideas as much as the humor and fashion culture.  Watching fashion based movies is more than just entertaining, it’s inspiring because we get so many ideas of great looks of what to wear.  In fact, for Thanksgiving I wore a Devil Wears Prada look when I layered my White FOXERS western sheer with a 3/4 quarter sleeve black scoop neck sweater, a Nancy Parker necklace, long earrings, FOXERS black leggings and knee high Calvin Klein boots…oh and of course the News boy black hat. Thank you DWP stylist.

My new favorite movie (filled with great fashion for evening plus GREAT business lessons) is “Valentino!”  I watched it Monday and again Tuesday night!  If you know me, you know that I like to read biographies and business case studies like the great cases from my entrepreneur (I have spell check this word every time ;-) class books and from magazines like INC and Fortune.

What I learned and loved from Valentino the movie is the art of hand work on evening gowns is beautiful and it is possible to make a great garment completely without a machine; that a fashion show can be more elaborate than your basic white background and still look basic enough to showcase the designs; that every great design house has some key personnel including the designer/visionary, a talented seamstress/tailor, a business manager who manages the marketing and the financing arm. As for fashion to take home with me I loved Valentino’s rule about “No ankles” showing for an evening gown. Can I add that I only love long dresses and I even love a slight drag on the ground look for BRIDES Maids….come on Brides it’s the one time you can really be Haute Couture so take the opportunity and make your day as glamorous as possible, make it a Valentino wedding even if it’s on the beach. Fairy tales with princesses don’t have three quarter dresses.

Back to “Valentino”, the movie reveals that designers, when given the opportunity, continue to grow as they are developing a line and up to days before a show may develop the most outstanding piece for that show. I have heard this happens with many major designers. So business partners keep the business going and let the creative force run it’s limit because as the energy builds the creations continue to develop. Only exhaustion can stop the flow or when that one piece says “This is it!” to the designer. Giancarlo Giammetti, never stops Valentino when he’s on a roll and he seemed to admire that ah ha moment too. The same courtesy is given to Giancarlo from Valentino when he was building the stage and to our surprise the looks turn out amazingly fantastic every time now that’s a great fashion house recipe, Valentino and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti along with his very talented dress makers. Get the movie! If you’re in the apparel business in any way this movie is a must see. If you love beautiful clothing it’s a must see; and if you love to see passion at it’s best it’s a must see.

Until the next great read or view, I am only a post away. Live, Love, and Laugh, April

Click the link below to find out more about the movie from Amazon.com

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Let’s call them units

When we first started FOXERS, we met with a few guys from the local Small Business Administration (SBA) to have someone look over our plans.  We were walking through our business plan and showing them how our sales projections worked.  The entire model was based on how many panties we could sell.  Makes sense right?

Every time we said “panties”, the guys would squirm.  At some point one of them could not focus any more and blurted out a statement that we still laugh about to this day.  He said, “Lets call them units”.  We’ve been calling them units ever since.