It's difficult to do what's best for ourselves. I think we all struggle with that. We want to do what's expected, what's safe, or what would make our families proud. How often do we just think about what's best for us? It's difficult to sit down, stop doing what we do every day, and decide that it's not making us happy anymore. Taking that leap is difficult, and sometimes impossible (life ain’t cheap).
Most of you know what I would do full time if I could- Studdly. If I didn’t have rent, college loans, and life to pay for, I would spend my days making jewelry and finding the next coolest show to bring it to. Until I can reach that point of stability, my time is spent making ends meet. In this past year (or so) since graduating college, I’ve spent the traditional work week with ’47 Brand as a production designer. It was a great place to be for an entry level job, but sports and lifestyle apparel is simply not the industry where my passions lie. So, the rest of my existing life was dedicated to Studdly. My determination started paying off, and my business made major strides this past year. Studdly became not only a source of income, but a creative outlet for my brain that was being kept (mostly) in a cage for 45+ hours a week.
Small business owners understand the frustration that comes with maintaining a business and a full time job. The cozy spot on the couch becomes your enemy, and working until 11pm is the norm. On Fridays, you stay in to work, and get up early to have a full Saturday to DO MORE WORK. In a perfect world, you could make ends meet in a place that offers the opportunity to learn while still leaving some bit energy for your business. Instead, we often work ourselves into the ground in a lackluster corporate environment. I have discovered that the latter is far less enjoyable. Finding that perfect workplace is a near impossible feat, and yet I somehow find myself coming into this exact position.
A couple weeks ago, I stumbled across and incredible opportunity, and with some bold moves and a couple meetings, was offered a new job. Laura Preshong, a fine jeweler in Boston’s South End, was looking to expand her team by hiring someone who could “do it all.” The small business owner has a DIY mindset (just like me!) but has grown to the point where she simply can’t do everything herself anymore. She wants to see growth on her social channels, more PR outreach, well-designed lookbooks and web graphics. By taking this job, I can learn about all those aspects of running a business that I would love to explore full time. It also doesn’t hurt that my jewelry experience would come in handy if things get busy, meaning (eek!) I could get my hands back in the art of jewelry behind the bench.
I MEAN, IT’S TOO DAMN PERFECT, RIGHT?! Shockingly enough, I had to really think about this decision. Not because the job isn’t amazing for me, but because the security of a steady weekly paycheck and the cushion of benefits are hard to let go of. After some discussions with my parents and re-working of my budgets, I was really able to see it coming together. In the end, it wasn’t until I considered the risks taken by my bestie/ girl boss/big sister, Louise, that I really pulled the trigger. After reflecting upon the leaps she’s taken in her recent life to find bliss, I knew taking this job and leaving a secure environment could be monumentally rewarding.
And I figured, while I’m at it with this whole LEAPING thing, why not book a flight to Vietnam? (Check out Lulakilla and you’ll understand). Those big risks Louise has taken include getting on a flight to Bali, quitting her job, joining the circus, backpacking around SEA, securing a Visa in Vietnam and making a living as a Digital Marketing Nomad. So, I figured it was only fitting that I go bold in the leap department. Next week, I’ll be on my way to visit my inspiring best friend in her new habitat. Keep up with our daily adventures via @maggieantalek, @studdly_designs, or @lulakilla on Instagram.
There have been nerves, oh yes. And tears. And panic. But finally, before my second last day at ’47, I was at the gym and Confessions Part II by Usher came on shuffle. I had the urge to dance around, my mood was lifted, energy was bursting, and I really hoped no one saw me going ham on the treadmill. This song has nothing to do with anything, but I think this moment of elation was a game-changer. My heart was telling me that I did the right thing. Not that I won't miss seeing all my goofball coworkers every day (see below) but good things are soon to come.