07
Jan

Growing Pains

As we kick off another year allow me to briefly recap (in more ways than one) what I have learned over the years. Not only as a designer, not only as a realtor, but as a true business owner.

Marshalls In Tustin, CA

Throughout my career, which started at the tender age of 16 while working for Marshalls (yeah, that’s right) selling designer goods for a fraction of the price I always wanted to be the best. Maybe it was the competitive athlete in me. Even if it was merely a minimum wage job, selling frivolous items, and sending shoppers off on their merry way. I wanted to be the best! I wanted them to have a phenomenal experience and allow them a second to breathe while distracting them from their already hectic day (I’m a parent now so I know this feeling all too well). I wanted to make them laugh for twelve seconds, smile for ten, and walk away a little bit better than before meeting me. That was my passion! That’s what I loved and strived for every, single day I would be in that store. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but customer service was my passion! Who says that, right? But its true! I know you’re thinking how the heck does this tie into my opening line, or make any sort of relevance what so ever but just go with me here…

FIDM – Los Angeles campus

After my experience out in the real world and landing my first “j-o-b” I knew deep down I was destined for something bigger than even I knew. I ended up going into the mortgage industry at 18 years old right at the peak of the real estate market back in 2003. Over the course of those 4 years I learned tremendously from all my peers in that company, yet I was not passionate about my job. At the time, I had decided to give college a shot and got accepted into The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. I had moved on from the mortgage industry and landed in fashion working for Kenneth Cole and Saks Fifth Avenue because the fashion industry was where I wanted to be. When all that didn’t work out (because minimum wage sucks), and after having my son Nicholas back in 2008 I landed back in real estate in 2010. At this point I was really asking myself what was wrong with me. I felt like I just couldn’t find my place in any industry and had no direction. All I knew was I was going to make it at something, yet what that something was I had zero clue. This is where my logic really starts to kick in, and optimism takes a back seat to doubt.

Fabric from Calico Corners

After graduating from FIDM in 2012 (yes, it took me 4 years to get an AA) with a Merchandise Marketing degree I felt like FINALLY I had accomplished something in my life. I had made up my mind about going to college, I started my journey, I got a bit side tracked (maybe more than most), but still I finished. I finished what I had set out to do with still no direction in sight, awesome! Around 2013, a buddy of mine had reached out about the company he was working for at the time. They were a textile showroom full of luscious fabrics I could just rub all over my face they were just so gorgeous (but I didn’t) and were in need of a designer. With absolutely NO interior design experience I showed up with a resume in hand ready to take on the world. Somehow, by the grace of God, they hired me on as their part-time designer. Finally my future 30+ year career was well under way. Um, well not so much….

Morelia Cathedral in Michoacan, Mexico

They painted this picture that wasn’t so much reality, but more like a dream. Sound familiar? To make a LONG story short I came to a huge crossroad in my life. I pulled my father aside at the time crying my eyes out asking him why. Why couldn’t I figure all this crap out? Why couldn’t I find my true passion? Why wasn’t I successful yet? And then, this lightbulb went off in my head. The answer was so simple because I was staring at my role model who was sitting right under my nose for the past 28 years of my life. See, I always admired my father because of his strength and determination to do something for his family. My father being an immigrant from another country and speaking another language knew without a doubt he would become successful. He never once used his “circumstances” as a reason to quit. On the contrary, it was his “circumstances” that allowed him to thrive and become the success he is today. And, that is when I knew.

Failure quote by Winston Churchill

About 5 years ago, I decided to take the biggest leap of faith and make the ultimate decision. And, almost 5 years later after all the ups and downs that came with starting a small business out of the garage of my parents home (thank you Steve Jobs) I can truly say I don’t regret not one part my journey. Even when I maxed out my credit cards and sent my credit down the toilet, even when I didn’t know how I was going to put gas in my car to get from one appointment to the next, and even when I didn’t know how I was going to put food on the table for my son I didn’t lose faith. I believed it would all work out because for some crazy reason it always did. My journey has taught me patience, it has shown me discipline, it has given me that tough skin everyone talks about, but most of all it has brought me real joy and happiness. So, to all of you out there reading this my piece of advice to you is make a decision and don’t ever give up. No matter how hard it gets, no matter how many sleepless nights you may have, no matter how many people tell you ‘no’, ‘you’re crazy’ or ‘that will never work’. And if you fail so what! Find your passion and see it all the way through. Failure or success. You owe it to yourself. So, just do it and be the best at it!

Let’s make 2019 the BEST YEAR EVER.

Cheers!

-Denny