For the first time in ten years I spent Thanksgiving with my family in Massachusetts. Though I'm incredibly grateful for the wonderful experiences of holidays with friends in California, there's something soothing about being in the warmth of my grandparent's home, the night before a holiday, cooking with my mother. On Thanksgiving Day, as I prepared to go to my brother's home, I used my grandmother's iron. She's recently been placed in a nursing home after a massive stroke and as I held the iron she used for over 50 years, I felt connected to her. Then I realized, I was using an iron that had lasted over 50 years and still worked - heck it worked better than any of the ten irons I've owned since living on my own. I swear those things never last.
It got me thinking about quality. When I first went into the bridal business we sold throwaway costume jewelry and inexpensive products that came in from China. Nothing about these items excited me so I began another line, Elegant Bridal Designs and created an online couture boutique. For two years I've searched the country for artisans and designers, people who made heirloom quality products that could be handed down from generation to generation. I'm still searching, but with every product I find, I also become connected to the story behind the artist.
D'Lola Bridal Gowns will be coming on board, and I've come to care for the couple who own the company as if they were family. Bri Seeley, a young, fiery designer determined to make her way in the fashion world creates stunning items, but she's also one of the most creative and fun people I've gotten to know. Katie Waltman has built her jewelry line by herself, handcrafting her items while marketing, photographing, and doing PR. Freya Rose from the U.K. has shoes you almost don't want to wear because they're works of art.
Dominie Luxury Handbags is the epitome of craft. When she decided to create a handbag and clutch line she didn't want to simply make something that people would use for a season then move on. Instead, she's created stunning bags that are pure art. Her high-end clutches are made with platinum, diamonds, and flawless rubies. She also makes bags for everyday use, but her pieces are reminiscent of what sits in Royal museums in London. I honestly believe one day her bags will be displayed throughout time.
So what does this have to do with dreams? These women, all of these artists, began their careers with a dream. They wanted to create something from within, from their hearts and their souls, and share them with the world. Do they need to be compensated for their work, absolutely, but they don't simply do it for the money, they do it for true satisfaction. They work harder than people who simply go to a job, they worry and stress, there isn't a corporation to back them, they are the sole vision, yet they pursue through the ups and downs, through sickness and fear, and they overcome obstacles that I don't have the right to share. Some come from backgrounds that would break the strongest spirit and instead they've thrived and given back to those in need.
Because these artists put their hearts and souls into what they create, those who buy the products receive incredible enjoyment from wearing their jewelry, dress, shoes, or carrying a clutch. They look at that piece and see the beauty, but I believe they also feel the artists pure joy in its creation.
We've become a throwaway society. We de-value artistry and go for the cheap, but over time how much have I spent on those irons that barely work and break, when my grandmother's held for 50 years and is better than anything I can buy.
Too many people treat their lives the same way. They take the easy, the path that has the least resistance or the quick escape in food, television, alcohol, or relationships that work for the moment. But if each person reached for the quality of their dreams - the long term path of their lives, well I believe it brings more joy to the world.