On July 16, 2009 I posted my first blog post on Dress Me Dearly. It was four sentences long. There was no photo. It was written rather poorly, completely off the cuff and was composed and published in the sum of two minutes. I was 23. In prep for this post, I just read it for the first time in five years and admittedly, it's made me rather emotional. I am shocked at how clear my intention was and how naive I was as to what I was setting in motion.
I clicked "publish" on that post and five years later I am my own boss with my hands in every aspect of Alberta's fashion industry. I have an amazing intern and an "office" in StartUp Edmonton where I click away on my MacBook Pro, coordinating projects with reputable brands and publishers the likes of FLARE Magazine, Simons, Gravity Pope and Dr. Martens. Even better, I work hand in hand (literally, sometimes actually hand-in-hand) with local brands and designers to help them tell the world about what they're making. Holy shit, I'm living my dream. Or in the words of Poppy Barley Co-Founder Justine Barber, "holy shit I'm riding a lion."
Dress Me Dearly's growth and success is largely thanks to the women who have supported me along the way: hundreds of women who attend my events and send encouraging thoughts and kinds words; my best friend Andrea who has patiently snapped zillions of photos of me for personal style posts; Zoe, a fellow stylist who shared all her knowledge and referred me for my first styling gig; Caroline, who talks me off the ledge every day; and Kendall Barber, Co-Founder of Poppy Barley, who at a fateful lunch gave me the courage to quit my full time job and pursue Dress Me Dearly full time.
These women and many more taught me the importance of supporting those in your community. I live this lesson daily and make it a priority to cheerlead fellow female entrepreneurs. I offer them words of encouragement. I attend their events. Sometimes I'm the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. I'll stay late and help them clean up. I retweet their tweets. I pass along their contact info for unique opportunities I know they'll rock. I volunteer for organizations led by women for women. I reach out to create sincere friendships with designers, boutique owners, stylists, writers, models, photographers, makeup artists and anyone I admire in the arts and fashion scene in Edmonton. In return, these smart, ambitious and brave women (and men) have supported me. It's funny how life always comes full circle.
On Saturday, October 4, Poppy Barley and the founders of Bloom present The Founders Assembly, a very special one-day workshop for Edmonton's female entrepreneurs. I am honoured to be a part of the event, side by side with 29 of the city's most inspiring women (some who have been substantially influential mentors to me) for a day of vision building, radical goal setting and yoga for a rare chance to meditate together and set intentions for our lives and businesses. This comes at a crucial time for me as I plan the next chapter of Dress Me Dearly. I would love it if you could join me.
The Founders Assembly workshop is an invite-only event, but Poppy Barley has reserved five spots for women who want to make a shift happen. If you're working on a project, have a big idea, or own a company, we want you to share in this experience and set your intentions into actions. Apply here to be part of this inspiring event>
And stay tuned to Poppy Barley over the coming weeks as they reveal the 30 women they invited to take part in this influential event.