This month has been an AMAZING opportunity to not only participate in events with my favorite organization, but also to plan and rollout my own events to further promote the causes I support and spread the word about the Girls Chronically Rock clothing line takeover!
One of those events was the Girls Night Fundraiser I put on in partnership with Jaclyn Zuke of Next on Scene. The event was held at our local fave, Papa Gayo restaurant and served as the first of many Girls Chronically Rock (GCR) pop-up shops I am planning for this summer. At the event, I was able to connect with new faces, share more about my story and the inspiration behind GCR clothing line. It was an opportunity for me to try something new and partner with another Bostonite and womanprenuer to see our dreams come to fruition, and in one night almost everyone walked away with a GCR purchase. This event was a both a success and learning experience for me and I want to share a few nuggets of wisdom for my fellow womanpreneur-in-the-making GCR sisters.
I knew I wanted to fundraise and bring awareness to GCR so I kept my eyes peeled for possible connections. It was through the Boston Business Women Facebook Group that I met and connected with Jaclyn which later grew into our partnership for the event. I formed a relationship with Jaclyn after emailing her and later being featured on her podcast. After completing the show (January), we remained connected to eventually partner together. Our relationship wasn’t just business, we both genuinely cared about each other’s goals and dreams wanted to do everything would could to help one another succeed. She encouraged me to develop my brand by starting a podcast and since working together on the Girls Night Out Event, we continue to reach out and invite each other to events that can create opportunities for our businesses and network. I challenge you to do something for your business/brand today. Find a facebook group and be committed to showing up. Look for a local meetup or event where you can network and spread the word about your brand. Get started today!
Big Lessons Learned:
Of course, every new endeavor we take on will have a learning curve. Doing my own event taught me the importance of advertising, advertising and more advertising. Possible customers only know about what they know about. Making more of an intentional and widespread effort is key to making sure your event is getting in front of new eyes. Continue to dig into your resources and exhaust all of the free options like social media, email and word-of-mouth before moving to paid options. I had the benefit of having a lot of family and friends involved, but there were still more people in my circle/community who I could have contacted and asked to help me out in my efforts to spread the word. Don’t be afraid to tell the people around you about what you’re doing. Let them know that they too can be a part of the movement you’re creating and get involved.
The exciting thing about my event was that almost everyone bought some GCR gear. The lesson I learned was that I could be more efficient in getting my customers the information they needed by having a pricing sheet on every display to help customers decide what they want to purchase. Give your customer all the information they will need to make a purchase decision. Another piece of advice is to pay attention to what products/items really sell. Whether it was my GCR hats or the tote that I’m working on, knowing what customers like is crucial to creating more products that my community loves. Having a team of creative and innovative volunteers and paid service providers can sometimes be the difference between a seamless experience and the cloud of stress that can come with doing everything yourself. A huge part of my event success was based on the fact that Jaclyn handled everything event coordination and PR related which freed me up to focus on my products and connecting with my attendees. As I think about how to level up from here, I have my sights set on doing more GCR pop-ups (in a city near you), sharing my story with more people through speaking engagements and partnering with some of my favorite organizations to help spread awareness about chronic illnesses like MD and to further promote and build the GCR community of strong, empowered and purpose filled women.
Working on your goals and dreams:
When it comes to pursuing your goals and dreams, just go for it! My journey is still new and I have a lot to learn, but I’ve already tackled the biggest obstacle of starting. If you have a goal or ambition you want to focus on, get started today.
We may not have the time, money, or energy but with the help of our families, friends and local (and virtual) community, you will find yourself living out your dream one milestone at a time.
Let people know the gist (not everything) about your idea and see what people say.
Before you know it, you’ll have your business. Keep you eyes open. Expand your network. Go for it.
What’s the last step you made towards your goal?
Comment in the section below.
Published by girlschronicallyrock
I was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My personality is friendly, strong work ethic, and great professional skills that makes her the hustler she is today. I graduated from Framingham State University with Bachelor’s in Fashion Design and Merchandising, a year after I graduated from Cambridge College with a Master’s degree in Business Management. While earning my degree I gained invaluable experience in the business/financial and Fashion Industry with working at different departments at Cambridge Savings Bank and many merchandising companies such as Motherhood Maternity, Tommy John, Spanx, Echo Design and Fossil Group.
While in Framingham State University, I was in the Fashion Club and Black Student Union Club where I was able to meet new people and gain and learn a new experience in both groups with a different diverse of people. I knew I always had a passion for fashion from in middle school and new I wanted to be a Fashion Designer. I looked up to Fashion Designers like Kimora Lee Simmons and Betsey Johnson. I love their unique different styles and just two successful entrepreneurs who are making it in the fashion world and continuing to grow. My dream is to possibly meet both of them one day, even maybe do some business together.
At the present time, I am working as a Merchandise Coordinator for Tommy John inside of Macy’s and Nordstrom within the Boston Area. I also owned my own t-shirt line business called Girls Chronically Rock which was inspired by myself because I was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy back in graduate school so I wanted to make something inspirational, motivating for people who may have a chronic illness like myself or may be battling anything in their life, to let them know that they rock no matter what. With the wonderful work experiences over the years, I am really just an easy-going person where sometimes I love to be at home watching lifetime movies or many of my tv shows that I love to watch on a daily basis. I like spending time with family and friends whether its traveling, going out to eat and going to special events.
Through my education and work experience, I have gained the knowledge and skills necessary to excel as a Fashion Designer and Visual Merchandiser. I am both qualified and eager to strive at my business Girls Chronically Rock and continue with dedication, and I know my hard work will pay off and I will reach my goals. I will soon hope to have my t-shirt line sold in department stores such as: local boutique stores, Macy’s, Karmaloop Foot Locker and many more.
Here is a little more in depth detail about how I was diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy:
I have Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (MD); I was diagnosed at the age 24. I was born and raised in Cambridge, MA and went to high school in Cambridge. I received my bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising and then furthered my education in getting my Master’s degree in Business. When I first discovered my symptoms of my MD, it was crazy to me because I started to get symptoms around 2009. While in graduate school I began to repeatedly fall, and my leg would just give out on me without notice. I would fall to the ground and not be able to pick myself back up, I would need assistance from someone to lift me up with all their might, because it was something I just wasn’t capable of doing on my own. I also began notice when I tried to reach for certain things in the kitchen cabinets or try to exercise I was unable to lift my right arm up all the way. I kind of just thought to myself maybe I need to go on a diet and lose weight, but in the back of my mind I knew it something more.
So I went to see an orthopedic, but I was told that this was more of a neuro-muscular issue, so I then went to see a Neurologist. Once I saw the Neurologist, she then tested me and gave me muscle biopsy, MRI, an EMG and every other test you can think of. So after multiple tests, I was finally diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. Limb-Girdle is a form of MD that affects the limb of the shoulders all the way down to the legs, which progressively over time eventually gets worse.
The first thing I thought was how long am I going to live will I be in a wheelchair soon, and what is my life going to be like from now on. I knew I had to be strong and continue to do what I have to do so I started doing some research on it and read what eating healthy and exercising would help. I joined weight watchers with my cousin and I lost over 36 pounds and I felt great. I’ve able to keep half the weight still off, and I am still determined to lose more.
They have multiple types of Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, and 5 years later my doctor’s are still trying to figure which type I have exactly. The only thing they know at this point is from the types I may have can affect my heart which is why I often have to go get a echo-cardiogram test that tests my heart to make sure everything is ok.
Living with Limb-Girdle Muscular dystrophy is still new to me every day. I wake up every day not knowing how my legs are going to feel or what pain I may have when leaving my house. I try to be very careful when walking because I don’t want to fall, because I won’t be able to pick myself back up. Although I am on my feet a lot for work, after a certain amount of hours, my legs start to weaken. I am currently a visual merchandiser at different locations a very popular clothing store. I enjoy my job because it keeps me and my legs active and I enjoy traveling to the different store locations and doing what I love and my part in the fashion industry.
I have the wonderful support from my family and friends but at the ending of the day, they have NO IDEA what I go through on daily basis or what I’m feeling. I try to explain to them how my legs feel, but it’s just so hard to explain. I still go out and enjoy my life as normal, but sometimes I always have certain things in the back of my mind.
When going out I find myself researching about where I am going first, like does this place have stairs?, does it have an elevator?, do they accommodate handicap people? So all of these things I worry about when I go out and my friends and family have no idea. Living with MD has made me realize how strong I am and knowing I have no choice but to deal with this. I sometimes get stares because people wonder what a young girl like me is doing either walking with a limp, with a cane, or parking in a handicap parking spot. But I don’t mind because they just don’t know me or know what I have. Although my MD has progressed over the years and getting worse, I have learned to except it and make certain changes in to my life such as now walking with a cane in order to keep my balance and helping me not to fall. At this point I am just taking everything day by day and staying strong. But there is one thing I want people to know by reading this quote.
"There’s no “cure” or a pill will “fix it”, but at one point I thought it may help. And I thought the same with therapy and food. But it’s my endless support from family and friend that helps. It is hardest thing that I have ever done, and I found myself much stronger for doing it. Never, ever underestimate the power of your desire. If you want to live badly enough, you can live. The greater question, at least for me was: How do I decide I want to live? That is the question I’m still working on?"
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