The beginning of entrepreneurship is anything but glorious; people don’t typically talk about that. Dream chasing is often a lonely road, not because you don’t have people that support you, but because the primary investor of that dream is your own heart. And as the primary stake holder, that heart is the only one able to truly feel all of the ups and downs along the way. Brene Brown has urged us all to step into the arena (if you don’t know who she is, do yourself a favor and pull up one of her talks on Youtube, this one is called “Why Your Critics Aren’t the Ones Who Count”). She also recommended that we save a seating section for a support system. A front seat for that one person who will help you off the ground when you find yourself beaten down in the arena and will look you in the eye and say: “yes, that sucked, but you are brave so clean yourself up because you are going in again”. I’m lucky to have that person. I’m lucky to have multiple persons. But what I also have learned is
that YOU need to be your biggest cheerleader. Because when things get tough and you feel too beaten down to get up from that dark hole, and a hand reaches in to help pull you out, the only voice that will cut through all of the reasons for which you should stay down and make you reach out for that helping hand instead, is your own.
Moving to Italy has complicated my life in many ways. One of which is leaving behind all of the relationships and resources I worked so hard to stablish for my business; all of the seeds I planted that were finally starting to sprout. I arrived in Italy almost ready to launch a new collection which meant that pictures needed to be taken. With a very small budget to make that happen and no friendships or trades to call upon, I felt helpless. And if there is one feeling I struggle with, helplessness or depending on others for help, is it. When my initial attempts to reach out to people resulted in rejections, I was crushed. I felt defeated because I felt like I was starting from zero all over again. I was in a place where I knew no one and yet, depended on others to proceed. I kept asking myself: “Why am I doing this?” I was tired of fighting because at that moment it felt like all I was doing was that: fighting all-of-the-time. So, I soaked in that feeling for about a week. I was sad, then I was angry. I cried. I let myself feel defeated. I ate a lot and exercised little. I didn’t do one single work-related thing; I was in the dark hole. But then, one day I woke up and took ownership of my situation. I heard my own voice cheering me on (“go Diana, go”) and I reached up to grab the helping hand (thank goodness for helping hands). I made peace with the fact that things were now harder, and in turn, I decided I was going to work harder. I went back in the arena: I sent more emails and reached out to anyone and everyone that might be interested, this time telling my story in a more compelling way. I hustled.
Passing forward to the end result, the difficulties presented by my situation (knowing no one in a new place) meant I had to work harder. Working harder enabled me to pull off my biggest photoshoot to date, styling and directing 4 models, 8 different bags with 8 different outfits and combinations thereof, capturing the required bag/angle combination shots to populate a website and social media (the pictures you see from D. França today).
I would like to thank all of the people involved, the friends willing to advise on the direction I took, the models as well as the photographer, that in a sea full of “no” were kind enough to say “yes”. And to reflect on a day that ended with me feeling completely exhausted but on top of the world and to celebrate all of the gladiators out there brave enough to enter the arena, I leave you here with a short making-of video of the Mesoamerican Stripe Collection photoshoot.
Ps. The collection is out now!