Earlier this year I realized it was time to start my own company. I had spent nearly three years turning around an international division of a company that had annual revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars. I was closing deals with superstar athletes and my business had returned to dominating the category we operated in. But I still needed to decide what I was going to do with my life.
In spite of my apparent success, I had to decide if I was going to be seduced by the individual luxuries that came with my job, or if I was going to remain true to my dream. The fact that you’re reading this on the 30FIRST website, it should be clear that I decided to pursue the latter. More specifically, I decided to help create equal access to joy by embodying the inclusive, abundant, and hopeful spirit of California to create beautiful clothes and experiences, while contributing 5% of sales to fight food insecurity for urban youth.
If you care to hear more about my journey, and how I got to this place, continue reading. Regardless, I’m honored you are here, and I hope you’ll join us in building something special.
I first started to question if the trappings of my job were making me complacent back in the Fall of 2019 while on a business trip. I was comfortably sunken into the leather seat on my company’s private jet with a glass of wine in my hand. We were flying over America’s heartland, en route back to Oakland, CA from Montreal, Quebec. I remember how exhausted I was, but I wasn’t so sleep deprived that I couldn’t appreciate my luxurious means of transportation. This wasn’t my first time on a big boy private jet, nor my last, but I couldn’t help but reflect on how far I had come in life.
For context, back in 2004, I had decided it was time to pivot out of my career in nonprofit and youth development work in order to get serious about my business career. I love helping others, but I realized that I could have a more substantial impact in addressing systemic inequality through business. I remember raising funds for my nonprofit organization and it hit me: I need to get to where I can start writing checks and stop asking for checks. So with no money in the bank, I envisioned an amazing and grand dream. To get started bringing my dream to reality, I planned to get a job in Marketing, finish my undergrad degree (I had dropped out of college to start my nonprofit), then get my MBA.
I went on to accomplish all of those things, and so much more. I’ve worked for several prestigious companies, with the types of roles, salaries, and perks that could have lured me into forgetting my dream. But I didn’t. So here I am today, alongside my team and hopefully you, bringing our dream of joy and inclusiveness to reality.