Happy New Year

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

Grand Rapids Lifestyle Blogger

From everyone at Jessica Swagman, we wish you a wonderful year and may 2015 be the year of your dreams.

Jessica DRESS: Forever 21 (similar here) | CARDIGAN: Target (similar here) | HEELS: Valentino (similar here) | BELT: Forever 21 (similar here) | WATCH: Michael Kors | SCARF: Vintage Chanel | EARRINGS: Kohls (similar here)

Surekha BLAZER: Forever 21 (similar here) | BLOUSE: Forever 21 (similar here) | SHIRT: Kohls (similar here) | SKIRT: Banana Republic (similar here) | TIGHTS: Target | SHOES: Charlotte Russe (similar here) | SCARF: Vintage (similar here) | BELT: Uniqlo | Headband: Forever 21 (similar here)

Nicholas SWEATER: Old Navy | SHIRT: Banana Republic | JEANS: Levis | SHOES: Payless

 

Reflections: Looking Back

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.” T.S. Eliot

I can’t believe the year is coming to a close. Believe me, I don’t say that every year. But, this year, these past 12 months, have been a whirlwind. If you are on social media in any form, you’ll know that in November, people were partaking in the November gratefulness challenge. My mom and I were talking about this over tea one November afternoon. We, being fairly private women, who keep most of our personal life personal, liked the idea (in theory), but thought we would probably choose not to share online. Although, perhaps it is a more accountable way to do it and also a way to encourage others.

That being said, there is so much to be thankful and grateful for. This past year has been a year of growth, change, and challenge.

I have had to blindly make my way through the world of owning your own fashion company. There are moments where I get frustrated or discouraged, and have very few people I can turn to for advice, because, lets face it, I personally know zero other people who are doing this (if you have Michael Kors’ phone number, I could use a mentor). There are days when I feel like what I am doing is frivolous and silly and utterly pointless in the grand scheme of life. But, then I get a quick text message of assurance from an old friend or an email from a stranger who just wanted to say that she loved my work, and it’s enough to keep going. To keep pushing through without a clear path.

Grand Rapids Fashion Designer

I am so thankful for my team (you’ll get to meet them on my website soon, I promise). They work tirelessly to support my dream without a lot of public recognition. They are the ones constantly encouraging me when I get discouraged and frustrated and they keep me grounded when my head starts to spin up in the clouds. They graciously put up with my perfectionistic ways, which can be trying at best. They have volunteered their time and talents in order for me to have any chance at succeeding. I will never be able to thank them enough.

A quick note, my family is wonderful. They have had to deal with all of my photo shoots and interviews, with numerous people trampling through the house, fabric draped over every surface imaginable, listening to my worries and concerns, and hearing my sewing machine whiz away at horrid hours (because 3 am is a totally reasonable time to sew and make loud noises). They are my biggest fans and are endlessly shouting (over the hum of all the machinery) words of reassurance to me.

Grand Rapids Fashion Designer

 

This April I launched my first collection. It seems like just last week I was organizing the first photo shoot, running around lining up vendors and sponsors, and dying fabric. With two collections under my belt, and a lot of wisdom gained from them, I am working on my third collection. I am making tweaks and adjustments to things that didn’t go perfect the first time and learning what to keep the same. I am learning that “No” is just a word; a word that I need to get used to hearing. Finding boutiques to sell my garments has been, by far, the biggest challenge; but I knew this from the start. I have learned to keep reaching out, to keep asking, and to keep being positive, even when it seems impossible.

Grand Rapids Fashion Designer

Having said that, Grand Rapids is an amazing city full of kind people who want to see me succeed and have volunteered to help me. My dear friend Katie of Kate Morrow Photography, has been such a gem, taking hundreds of pictures of my garments. The businesses who had faith in my little company and who helped throw my launch party (Bennett, Lucid Group, Holland Litho, Hunt & Gather, Fancy Fray, Leelanau Cellars, etc) and the friends who came out, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To the many other people who have helped me in countless ways, written articles, modeled my clothes, and always found time to encourage me (Leslie!), thank you.

Grand Rapids Fashion Designer

With this coming year, there will be more lessons learned, more mistakes made, but ultimately, more growth. I’ll be turning the big 20-10, releasing two more collections, and learning to juggle two companies. I have some big plans ahead (no, I can’t tell you yet) and a lot of ground to cover, but I’m excited. I am eager to see where this journey takes me, the people I will meet, and the many things I hope to accomplish along the way.

Thank you to each and every one of you. I could not have done it without you.

Here’s to 2015.

Cheers.