Finding a Passion to Create and Design for Women

Dress design from one of my first collections.

Dress design from one of my first collections.  Sculpted collar features hand sewn feathers.  Model: Paulina Kostorus

I’ve always dreamt of a career doing something that I love.  My family taught me to never settle and do something that I was passionate about.  So when the question comes up as to  “what do you do?” the answer isn’t always clear.  I write this blog for fun.  I run my own business, centered around a vintage shop called The Brass Giraffe and design clothing and accessories.  I wear all the hats when it comes to the business.  No, I’m not just talking about the pretty vintage ones.  I taught myself basic web design, I make the products, I develop my marketing – it’s a one woman show.  Previously, I’ve worked as a stylist, a buyer, and in a multitude of boutiques, but I’m starting to find I need to focus truly on one thing.  Today I want to talk about something important:  PASSION.

I’ve always wanted my own business; a successful business.  Both of my grandfathers started businesses from nothing.  My father followed in his father’s footsteps and continued to run their business based in the food industry.  The entrepreneur bug was implanted at an early age.  Even my Barbie dolls had their own boutiques.

When I was in college I had a passion and a drive like no other.  I was determined that I was going to launch a clothing line.  The plan was to get my foot in the door somewhere.  Work for another company, learning and absorbing the industry along the way.  Perhaps I would dabble on the side in design and then when I was truly ready I would launch a collection of my own.

After graduation, I moved to Charleston, SC and worked for a small boutique and design firm.  It was an amazing experience working with small business owners, as was life in Charleston.  The clothing people wore was exquisite.  There was a passion for supporting local businesses.  It was there that I started an accessory company, Gilly Lynn.  I dabbled in selling vintage and had my necklace designs carried in boutiques through the area.  Times were tough and I missed my family in Baltimore.  After 2 years, my fiancé and I made the decision to move to Baltimore and I got a job as a corporate menswear buyer.  It was a far cry from the beautiful ostrich feather skirts and magazine photo shoots that I worked on at my other job.  I was stuck in a cubicle contacting a slew of factories every day to make sure our shipments arrived.  Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot, but my job was cut short when an old back injury roared it’s ugly head.  I went on medical leave and attended physical therapy several times a week.  The pain was debilitating and eventually I discovered I was unable to return to my position.

It was then that I realized I may never be able to work for someone else.  I wasn’t reliable.  How could I do that to an employer?  It’s been 3 years since I was a buyer and I’m still struggling with numerous health problems.  Going to doctors, physical therapy appointments, and procedure after procedure has become my full-time job.  I delved back into running my own business, mainly selling vintage fashion.  It’s been slow, as I’m not as dedicated as I need to be.  On so many days, I find myself in pain and struggling to work.  I joke that I’d fire myself, but it’s not entirely a joke.  Some days I feel like my health (or lack there of) has sucked the passion right out of everything.  I need to find it again.

For the last few months, I’ve thought long and hard about where I want to go with my career.  I want my passion back!  I miss being excited over projects and designs that I’ve created.  I miss problem solving.  I’m tired of trying to solve my health problems.  I guess I should’ve been a doctor, so I could’ve figured this mess out and then gotten back to designing!  I want to build something — a brand for women.  I want to make things that instill confidence and beauty in my customers.  I’ve discovered that what I am really passionate about is design and helping people feel their best.  I love all aspects of creating.  I love fashion history, but I think it’s because you can’t design a modern piece without at least taking a look at the past.  I asked myself this, “in 10 years do I want to be the girl who cleans and photographs amazing vintage dresses or the girl who designs and creates beautiful dresses?”  I want the latter.

I’m now on a mission to create something for women.  My old brand and I have grown apart.  I’m launching something new and I will have a plan.  There will be a path to follow.  It will be flirty and fun.  There will be pieces for your daily life and pieces worn for very special occasions.  I won’t say much more, because I don’t want to spoil the fun.  I’ll be providing sneak peeks in some upcoming blog posts so be sure to stay tuned.  The passion is finally coming back!

This post was inspired by the Feel Good Blogging Challenge by Alex Beadon. I’ve decided to participate in order to spark my passion and be more motivated to blog, create, and be successful!  


The Brunette Behind the Blog

I think it’s important to remind ourselves every once in awhile who we are and why we are doing what we are doing.  It’s easy to get lost.  In case you’re new here, I’m Amanda, the brunette behind this little blog.  I’ve been experimenting with my blog for a few years.  There were ups and downs, a name change, and some lulls in the writing, but I’m trying to get settled back into a blogging pattern.  Why?  Well, I really enjoy writing.  Specifically my interests lie within fashion (current and historic), interior design, and small businesses.  I love styling and I enjoy helping real women feel empowered through clothing.  I like to offer beauty tips, bits of advice, trend reports, and a snapshot into what running your own business and being a designer looks like.  Right now, it looks like me writing this blog post on my couch with an ice pack on my back.  Not so glamorous, right?

If you like to be inspired by fashion (without a slew of outfit posts), home decor, and a real life take on the world, then perhaps you’ll enjoy my blog.  Occasionally I include a recipe, a craft, a motivational quote, and a spotlight on an independent artist or designer.  I also try to throw some humor in where I can.  What’s life without laughter?

I really want to start showing you a behind-the-scenes approach when it comes to my design work.  Over the Summer, I redesigned a wedding dress for a friend.  It was a vintage piece that needed extensive lace repair and updating for a modern look.  I spent over 100 hours puzzling together pieces of vintage lace to give her the look that she wanted for her big day.  Never in my life have I tackled a project so focused on delicate handwork.  I’m incredibly proud and she looked exquisite!  Expect a post with pictures sometime soon.  (We’re waiting for the images from her photographer.)  There is also something else in the works.  I’m building a collection, but that’s all I can say for now as I sort it out.

My blog is intended to inspire and empower.  I challenge you to envision a combination of health, beauty, and style that creates the ultimate form of confidence!  So if you take away only one thing from this blog post today, think about who you are, who you want to be, and where you want to go.  It’s ok if you can’t quite see the path, you’ll manage to get where you’re going!

As I get back to blogging, I’ve been inspired by both The DC Ladies and Alex Beadon

Vintage Inspiration: 1972 Halston Jersey Dress

The 1970s has been a current design inspiration for upcoming Spring 2015 season.  I know, I know.  It’s just starting to get cold and I’m talking about the Spring collections.  You will see the trend in Fall apparel as well.  The billowing nature of the 1970s gowns and sleek jersey knit materials will be used by a range of clothing companies.  Today’s vintage inspiration is a Halston silk, jersey knit dress with a plunging neckline.  This gown, circa 1972 is part of The FIT Museum’s collection.

Halston Dress circa 1972


I could just see Jennifer Lawrence’s character from American Hustle wearing this dress!

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