Throughout my life I have recognized the importance of priorities. My family always came first, my career second, and my social life and hobbies third. As the mother of three girls, each only a few years apart, there was never a question in my mind as to what took precedence.
I gave all of myself to my children and husband, passionately. But, as busy as I was as a wife & mother, I never let go of my dreams and inspirations. They grew and evolved within me, waiting for their moment in the spotlight. All the while, I never let society tell me what I could or could not do. I didn’t let it define me. I was the creator of my own destiny and was intent on making it exactly what I wanted.
As my career designing for men began in 1995, my daughters were 2, 5 and 7 years old. Establishing my family early on in life gave me the foundation and support I needed to do what I do now. I can explore and expand my entrepreneurial passion because of the choices I made years ago. My career is strengthened and clarified by having other parts of my life already in place.
I used my design vision in the way I raised my children, the way i cooked, the way I dressed myself and my children when they were young, the way I decorated my home. Being creative doesn’t apply just to one aspect of your life. It means that you can be an imaginative cook, decorator, style maven. Recognize your own talent and apply it to every aspect of your life. My jewelry came at a point in life where my husband said, Catherine, you are so expressive in all that you do, why don’t you channel it into designing your own jewelry?
I believe my talent is being able to see what others do not see when it comes to design, and putting things together in unconventional ways. Several years ago I was working on new designs, and found myself in a bit of a rut. Nonchalantly I suggested to my daughter, Chloe, that we sketch out a few designs together, just for fun. Little did she know that her simple doodle, somewhat reminiscent of a stirrup, would be the genesis of my ambiguously equestrian pieces. She was a catalyst. I saw something extraordinary in the simple drawing she did, and it grew into the cornerstone of my jewelry design.
I was always able to adjust my entrepreneurial vision in response to the hand I was dealt. I took circumstances as they were, made the best of them, and adjusted course. I firmly believed that when one door closed, another door would open. I had the ability to see opportunity in the darkest hours. I tried my best to be nimble and adapt under pressure.
Twenty years ago, when I tried to convince a particular buyer that my cuff links were meant to be worn with jeans, he truly didn’t understand. The same buyer came back to me ten years later, embracing my designs and saying “Catherine, you were truly ahead of your time.” With these people who misunderstand my vision: I pause. I internalize. I carry on.
I always knew there would be risks in pursuing my dream. Taking an idea, nourishing it with passion, and bringing it to fruition is no certain task. I was starting as a small fish in a big pond. I was prepared for people to question my work. But I didn’t see failure as an option. I refused to sacrifice parts of myself to pursue my dream.
I cannot say I did this all on my own. The growth of a brand takes a village. I owe my husband, David, for staying by my side during this journey, through thick and thin. I give thanks to my friends who have stayed with me, who I consider part of a truly intimate circle who understand, accept and support me. I also owe “lady luck,” because she has been with me for years, even in stressful times when I thought she had abandoned me forever.
To my fellow female entrepreneurs: know that if you believe in your vision wholeheartedly, you have the strength to bring it to life. Recognize that you can pick and choose what adventures, personal and professional, you embark upon. Work hard. Be badass with sass. Ignore the haters. Ignore the noise.
I believe there is magic within each woman to make her dreams come alive. I have journeyed down the entrepreneurial path and can say that for me, every second was worth it. I pursued my dreams with passion, because the alternative was never an option.