What is your story? What do you do and how did you get to where you are today in your career?
I was raised in a crafty family, so I'm not all that surprised that I ended up with a handmade business along side my "9-5". Growing up we repurposed things, hand sewed barbie clothes, painted by number, made doll furniture out of cereal boxes, hot glued all the things, learned to embroider, and crochet, so making has always been a HUGE part of my identity. Now I own + run West Coast Leslie Designs, a handmade knitwear accessory brand for modern women. After losing a day of dance teaching from my schedule I panicked and started my knitwear company - not realizing the trajectory it would have, I was just trying to make up that income I felt I was loosing. It was totally a fear based decision, but since then each year becomes less about fear and more about what I want from this biz. I've been crocheting since I was a teen, and I'd wanted to get back into it + make some things for myself, so I picked up my hook again. Unfortunately the resurgence of my crafting coincided with a serious family emergency but thankfully it gave me something to focus on during that difficult time. And it still does. Making is very therapeutic for me + I love being able to share my pieces with others. It's like a transferring of comfort; I am comforted by making and women get to feel comfortable in something soft + cozy! It's the perfect win win. 2019 is a big levelling up for my business. I feel like this is the year where I'm really taking some risks, and investments to make WCLD what I really want it to be. I've been working on a brand refresh which will be launching this fall and new website with e-commerce, as well as attending three major artisan holiday markets.
Give one valuable piece of advice you can give women on how to overcome challenges in the workplace.
I think the best insight I can offer women is that nobody cares as much as we do + we're not responsible for how someone feels about our ideas. Firstly, I imagine most women can relate to being over-thinkers. We analyze, we play out situations, we imagine what might happen because (I think) we like control and we like to be able to navigate things with grace. So when we run the scenario in our minds we are creating this false sense of control of the outcome ...LOL!!! Which we all know logically that we can't control the outcome...but we want to, try! I can guarantee you that the majority of dudes are not thinking twice about saying that (potentially) dumb idea in a meeting or to a client. So let's say "bye Felicia" to the fear of saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, worrying about what someone else will think. Let's grab a little bit of that blind male confidence and say what we mean, because no one is analyzing it to death the way we are.