As I sit here at my computer, before our very first Sales Conference begins, I can’t help but think this was all meant to be.
Think about it, how did this Midwestern gal find herself living in Texas, over a thousand miles from her childhood home? How did the founder of one of the first direct selling children’s companies ever, Kelly’s Kids, come to find me, and offer me the chance of a lifetime to create a new brand? Giving us the opportunity to make beautiful frocks AND give back to kids in need with our Seeds of Hope charity?
I don’t even how to begin, but I’m certainly going to try (hang with me, it’s a long story)…
First, let’s go back to winter of 2011. Denise, Matt Kelley (mentor, friend, hero), and I decided to start a clothing company, for the boys that lit fireworks in our souls. Long days, late nights, and hours and hours of brainstorming lead us to The Good Ones Clothing. TGO is one of the best chapters of my entire life. Once we had clothes we needed a photo shoot location that could do our designs justice. Matt suggested Austin, more specifically the best street in downtown Austin—South Congress (ALL the photos in this blog are from SoCo too!). He knew the city was alive, with an energy and soul most people search a lifetime for. That guy, he’s a key part in my story, in THIS story. Without this trip, without The Good Ones, I would have never had the chance to fall madly in love with this place. From the brightly colored murals splattered across town, to the taco smorgasbords around every corner, I felt so inspired and full (tacos, ahem). It was that moment I told Denise “I wouldn’t mind living here.” And she replied “maybe we can make that happen someday!”
A few years later in the end of 2015, Denise and I left our jobs to start something new. We spent every single day together from January to May. I remember in February I received the most random Facebook message ever… A recruiter for Kelly’s Kids and Eleanor Rose reached out to me to design for them. I was so flattered and honestly, so shocked! How in the world did this lady know who I was?! And why was she ‘searching’ for me?! I couldn’t believe it. But as flattered as I was, I wasn’t interested in leaving Denise and my world. And besides, I had to wait 2 years to design anyway!
Then in June 2015 the world stopped. Denise lost her battle with cancer and the world lost the most beautiful human. And I lost my partner…my best pal… I didn’t know what to do.
In July I tried to return to my old world, my old job. After several calls and messages, they said no. My whole world was upside down. All I wanted was to go back in time…back to the old days. I wanted so much to return to the world we created 9 years ago, but I couldn’t.
I quickly changed gears. To be honest, I hadn’t been on LinkedIn in months. I didn’t even really know how to use it, and my page (still) doesn’t have any descriptions or details on it. Ugh, who is going to hire this unprofessional mess of a human?! Then I stumbled upon my messages and saw that the recruiter from February! I immediately sent her a message and in less than 20 minutes I got a response! They were still looking for a designer, and they were still REALLY interested in hiring me! WHATTTT. I couldn’t believe it.
The next 2 weeks went by so fast. I had a phone interview with the recruiter and then I was flown to Austin, the place I had become so smitten with 5 years before. You know the funny part about their office being in Austin? They had just relocated their creative office here the year before! What are the odds that the city I loved so much, was the place they chose to put their roots?
I met the James family and instantly fell in love. They’re so down-to-earth, so friendly, and so darn funny, too! They got that front porch charm from the south! And they’ve got the best accents to match. The trip was quick, but eventful and in the end, I decided this was a place I NEEDED to be. This family and this company, was exactly WHO I needed. In January 2016, I moved to Austin and I felt like my life started again. They were so willing to adjust to get me here. Since I wasn’t allowed to design for 1 more year, I was hired to direct photo shoots and work on marketing with Caroline, the Creative Director.
At the end of 2016, the end of my first year at Kelly’s Kids, Lynn James walked into my office and said “why don’t we start a new company for you to design? That way you don’t have to design LIKE Eleanor Rose, you can design like Sam McDonald!” If you are trying to picture this right now, make sure to include my face covered in tears of shock and happiness. Again…WHATTT?!
And, literally, after that, every. single. thing. fell into place.
I reached out to Caitlin on Facebook (where would we be without FB?!) to see if she could come meet the team and ‘consult’ us on what we need to get this ball rolling. I hadn’t talked to her in almost 2 years, but I always thought of her so fondly and remembered what an outstanding Trunk Keeper she used to be. Once she got here and the team met her, it was obvious we didn’t need to hire a Sales Director, we needed to hire Caitlin.
After Caitlin, then came the name… Wildflowers. I sent Lynn a long, long email explaining why we should name the company Wildflowers. I told her how the quote “Do you suppose she’s a Wildflower?” hung in my old office for years. How I felt we were a team of Wildflowers, everything we do is so genuine and from our hearts, just so natural and organic.
…and there are so many other little serendipitous occurrences that have popped up along the way.
I guess Denise was right, I guess ‘we’ made it happen— me moving here, keeping Austin weird with my utter weirdness, starting a new girls clothing company… I love that it feels like she’s the spark to all of this.
So what do you call a collection that was always meant to be? One that is filled with magic, from the prints to the people, from beginning to end?
There you have it. This collection means more to us than you can possibly imagine and in 2 weeks the world gets to see what we’ve been working on! I can’t wait for you to touch the fabrics, see the rich colors, and learn more about our Seeds of Hope program (one of the BEST things about Wildflowers, if you ask me!).