Potential: Making my "Plan B" my "Plan A"
A few years ago, a girlfriend of mine kamikazed head first off of the secure and mundane into two plus years of unemployment while she battled with what she wanted to do with her life. As I admired her, I also had waves of judgment spoiled by overwhelming jealousy. She and I decided to create a book club of two and read this book called “The Artisan Soul” by Erwin McManus. It’s about discovering that you were created to create and a ton of really amazing other insights that I’d highly recommend.
Over the following months I watched her stumble upon a craft assembling flowers and a company called Floral Crush. I was skeptical but converted when I began to follow her stunning Instagram feed and see not only the remarkable work she does, but the unmask-able joy in her life as she pursued this newfound passion with relentless perseverance. Even though it wasn’t all roses starting something from scratch, she’s gained some serious momentum doing colossal events like Grammy & Oscar parties. A few years later and a few miles down the road she’s literally crushing it.
My husband and I have had this fight over the past 10 years of very long and brutal break ups and make ups before getting married over the fact that he’s truly an artist. Not at heart, but truly an artist. He sings the swan song of most creatives where he’s a brilliant creator, but has lacked the ability to turn it into a sustainable lifestyle. I on the other hand am a creative at heart. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been writing, painting, drawing, sewing, building & making since I was a child and I’ve never stopped. But life happens...and a girl’s gotta eat. I’ve also been challenged with that survivalist mentality that has made me a fiercely dedicated climber of the corporate ladder and of course it's golden handcuffs.
Like most people, I fell into my career. I got a good job at twenty-one that moved me to LA and paid me a lot of money to sell their products. A few firings and hiccups later I decided to master the art of kicking butt and a decade and a half later we’re still taking names. I’ve directly contributed to some pretty huge names in the wine & spirits industry as I moved into the competitive and risky business of focusing on start-ups. There’s always a lot of blood in the start-up game floor because it’s just tough creating, financing and building a brand from nothing while everyone else is doing the exact same thing hoping for a hole in one. While those who have done it well, are so far ahead, they’re mopping up the floor with little companies like you. And since I became neither starving artist nor professional athlete, this is an arena I tend to excel in. It’s all about finding ways to get a lot done with very little and it’s highly risky and fiercely competitive which I find rather intoxicating.
Over the past several years we’ve [and by “we” I mean: my husband James Geordan] has renovated a few houses and businesses and is extremely skilled at marrying super masculine and feminine details to develop these sleep textures and living spaces. Along side of him I assist in calculating and concluding the final vision for the overall aesthetic.
We’ve always had modest resources doing these projects for friends, family and those you don't’ gouge so we’ve fine-tuned the talent of balling on a budget. While I was holding up our home tee pee with all ten toes and all ten fingers, I’d moonlight helping him shop, pick out fabrics, textiles and design elements. I have this idea that the perfect space is this European fantasy style in that every home should look like it’s owner’s are fabulously savvy, well travelled, have great taste, are well read and appear to be educated artists. It’s really just my private mind’s version of Cribs meets Pinterest and has become my ultimate spirit animal. Over the past handful of projects, I’ve developed the diversity and use of some signature pieces that I’ve ended up calling my “fingerprints”. Kind of like my dining room below reminds me of a French flat I once stayed in years ago.
Pieces that people always love, I'm always giving away, finding for people or using on projects: Moroccan pillows, ethnic textiles, frame clusters, these Italian leather chairs I believe belong everywhere, regency and mid-century brass, hopelessly elegant animal artifacts, books, vintage cigar boxes, , etc. that I sneak into every space we work on leaving smudges of myself on everything I touch.
We recently ended up designing the office space for the author of the Artisan Soul where I filled it with all of my usual suspects #irony. It was another super budget exercise so I did what I always do, dig through my house and see what I could donate to make the space look and feel the way it should, fully emoting the personality of our fantasy husband/wife creative team. Don’t get me wrong: my husband is doing it. He’s building his portfolio and it’s in the glorious purgatory of building momentum.
I’ve earned the nick name “Stimulus Package” from my travelling companions because I shamelessly show up with an empty suitcase with my real suitcase stuffed inside of it and an empty duffel bag folded at the bottom just in case. I love to support artists in other countries who make a living creating beautiful things and finding unique items. In my mind they will all be gifts for family/friends that will bring us all closer to my ideal Eurohome image. It's pretty ideal to travel just to shop for a living, right?
It wasn’t until I got stuck in the start up conundrum once again where my company hit a major ice patch and we all went sliding towards uncertainty stuck in a tough financial spot [because, well…it’s a start up and it’s just the way it goes] sometimes that I decided to focus on the things I knew I could do inspire of any circumstance: create. The good paycheck should always cover those days when there is no paycheck. I’m generally pretty good with money. However, after loosing our home in a 2.5 year legal battle during the last market crash let’s just say we’re still working on recovering a few years into our recovery. So when things hit the skids and I found myself with $12.46 in my bank account I did what any survival junkie does: I emptied my over-stuffed closets and I took to long date nights with bottles of vino and preying on the whims of late night shopaholics on Ebay.
My sister and I had seeded this side project called the Hunted Fox as I’m always about a back-up plan and burning the midnight oil is no stranger to me. We had set up all of the necessary elements but never did anything with it. With no start up capitol to dream of and an ironic inventory of goods from my recent travels to Morocco and Mexico, we set out to make something of the little brand that’s been quietly waiting with her logo, web addresses and social media all dressed up and nowhere to go. We decided to seize the moment and breathe a little life into this HF idea and see what happens.
This morning it was with nagging words [from another book the same author of The Artisan Soul wrote] that I concluded with undeniable certainty he’s right: “You’re not supposed to die with potential. A life well lived squeezes all the potential placed within and does something with it. When potential is harnessed it becomes potent. Potential when it becomes potent always produces results. We are born with potential, but we are called to live productive lives. The fool squanders his potential.”
I think I’ve lived most of my life creating but never truly relying on it to sustain me. I’ve used my potential in my career, but nowhere near what I am capable of and for the most part because I’ve never figured out how to monetize my creative skillset- the very thing I’ve brutishly criticized my husband over… But today I saw my home as if for the first time ever as I was snapping photos for my Instagram feed, blistering with pride. I know it sounds ridiculous, but you know what it’s like when it’s something your life and you are wholly aware of it’s shortcomings. However, it occurred to me for the first time that the space I’ve created an incredibly beautiful environment. And it was like a voice just spoke out loud to me and said: “Perhaps, it is not who you dream of having the courage to become but who you have always been that has been waiting patiently for you to notice she has been with you the entire time.” It felt like a small blessing. And when you’re not exactly balling, and you’re wishing you could even be on a budget you have to take any little blessing and make it bigger than the struggle.
So while I remain focused on my current commitment, it is my deepest desire that our “Plan B” this little Hunted Fox side project of love-one day ends up becoming the real “Plan A”.
And now I tip my hat to you you, dear reader: go find something in our shop that you cannot live without and make a girl's dream come true (shameless plug).