If you followed me for the past year, then you may know that a lot has changed in my life during that time. If you are new to the D. França Designs family, welcome! I am beyond grateful that you have decided to take the time to learn a little more about this dream of mine. So, I would like to take the opportunity to share with you how the current, re-branded, reborn D. França Designs come to be. Let’s get personal.
Last year I got divorced and decided to move to Italy from Utah. At the age of 28, I found myself in a seemingly perfect marriage to a man that loved me, living in our dream-custom built home, with the financial security that most people can only dream of. Yet, I was unfulfilled in so many levels.
I didn’t share this experience with many people because what was happening inside of me was something hard to explain and even harder to materialize. I was already having a hard time accepting these feelings (how could I feel this way when I seemingly had everything) and after experiencing a lot of hurt caused by individuals too quick to judge, I decided that my business was just that, mine. Suffice it to say, I lost myself within my marriage and came to the realization that my future happiness did not lie in my current situation. I didn’t feel seen or understood, and now that I sit to write about it, I didn’t feel supported in the pursuit of my dreams. And there was no amount of money or material comfort that could have ever fill that void inside of me. So, I chose to leave because I chose me. That decision caused a lot of pain to several people, and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. But somewhere in between some of the hardest days of my life, I also had moments of unadulterated joy. And as I was deconstructing one world to build another, in between all the heartbreak and tears, I also managed to make a dream come true: take a trip to Italy to attend an intensive leather bag making course in the birthplace of it all, Florence. I had been preparing myself for this trip for over a year and despite all that was happening, I wasn’t about to lose yet another part of me by giving up on this trip. Indeed, it was a life changing experience.
After some soul searching (a process a lot easier said than done that involved multiple back and forth decisions and moments of utter certainty while others of utter panic), I made the second most difficult decision of my life leaving everything I knew and everyone I loved behind: I moved to Italy. I found myself in a completely new environment, both physical and emotional, without a steady bill-paying job or a home. I was at a cross-road where I could either find a steady paying job or fully invest myself into making my dream job the “right-now, bill paying, big girl with big entrepreneur dreams reality”. I was lucky enough to have the courage to choose the latter.
Going all in with D. França Designs meant doing business a little more seriously, with clearer goals and a defined message with a long-term plan. I knew I wanted to be successful but before I could work towards that success I had to first define it. Again, easier said than done. But my “aha” moment went something like this: I started my little business out of love for bag making and the joy and fulfillment it brought me on both a personal and professional level. Yes, making money is important and we all have bills to pay. But raking in on profit margins has never been my main priority, especially since it would probably mean the path of large-scale-low-cost-oversees-manufacturing, AKA, fast fashion. And that is not what I am about. I want to be part of something larger than myself; a contributing member of society. I want to use my success to empower others on their journey to economic independence.
So, I present to you the re-branding, D. França 2.0: an expansion of my micro operations into a small-scale operation, still handcrafted but expanding my production into local communities around the world that perhaps are missing the opportunity. This means that though my personal growth will skyrocket, my business growth will most likely be slow. It means my bags will have a higher price point but I can promise you, they will also be of high value. It means that with every purchase, you the customer, get to invest into something bigger than a material item. You get to support multiple dreams. You get to also give back. You get to invest on a long lasting, unique, handcrafted, consciously produced leather bag that will not only empower your own true-self-expression, but empower others to empower themselves.
So, with an exuberant amount of gratitude for your support of not only my journey but of those I hope to empower with this business, I want to leave you with one last thought:
Dream big and fight for those dreams when you have to. Follow them no matter how crazy or off your current path they may seem. This is your journey and if you are lucky enough to find something that brings you true fulfillment and joy, you owe it to yourself to try. Because if there is one thing I’ve learned from personal experience, those crazy dreams are achievable if only you fight for them.