I often think back to those early days, as I questioned my abilities, my ideas, my strength. Now, three years later, I now know I am tough as nails, and some ideas are good, others could be better. I've learned that I am not perfect, but I have a big heart and can do more than I ever imagined possible. I've learned that I have failed many times in this process and am sure to do it again and again, but I will get back up and still move forward with every bit the determination, morals and optimism. I often try not to get jaded by the industry. This truly is not saying anything negative about the children's apparel industry, as I often felt the same way about real estate. Once you are in a certain industry for a while, it's becomes easy to stay in the box, to watch what others are doing. In the beginning, I was so naive, I didn't have a clue what others were doing. I didn't know about trends, or trade shows, or safe designs. I just made what I liked, at a quality level I was proud of, and sold to anyone who appreciated my creations. I try to keep that mindset, to do things differently, to keep the fundamentals important...our team, our ethics, our big dreams, and the box with no walls.
If you are in the beginning stages of anything, or even 3 years on your own journey, don't forget that you are not alone. We all faces times of challenge, of feeling totally in over our heads. Don't get stuck looking at everyone else.
It has been recently that we have had numerous companies copy our designs. And when I say copy our designs, I don't mean similar colors, or similar bloomers, I mean literally copying the designs. At first, I had my panties in wad, less about them copying, but more about taking with no regard, what I have devoted endless hours to creating. It was then I realized that these companies are truly at a loss. If they are spending their time watching what we are doing, they will never be ahead, always tailing behind. This is big picture here, I'm not just talking about in designs, I mean in life. If you are comparing your mothering abilities to your neighbor, your style to your best friend, your financials to your sister-in-law...you will never be good enough, for yourself. If you copying other companies instead of following your own dream, you will never truly succeed, and you certainly can't ever be proud. I, as well as most in the industry, take inspiration from many places, some being other designs that we've seen along the way, but that is a whole different story. Regardless, I received a piece of advise from a pilot recently that is quite applicable...he told me that all good pilots focus on the end of the runway. They can't be bothered by any distractions along the way or it could cause them to make major mistakes.
So, where ever you are along your journey, heed his advice...focus in the distance, on your destination and you will stay on track. Don't let yourself feel smaller than others, as I guarantee they were at this point at one time as well. Always hold yourself (and your business if you are an entrepreneur) to high standards and don't waiver on the things that are truly important, no matter what the cost. We have a quote on the wall of our office here at RuffleButts:
"Thing BIG, be honorable, and always give more than expected"