Last night I watched the new George Clooney movie “Up in the Air” with a couple of my girlfriends. After the show I sat in my car in the parking lot just thinking for a while. I forget to do that sometimes, just stop and think. This is definitely a great movie to get you contemplating and motivated; Perfect for going into the new year. It made me re-realize how short life is and how you only have one shot to make it count…
Just sitting there in the quite, no music, cell phone still turned off, my mind had a chance to drift back to how I got here: college at UCSB, my graduation, starting two companies (still struggling to make them profitable), traveling around Hawaii & sleeping in my surfboard bag on the beach, moving to Lake Tahoe just for the sole purpose of living in the snow and teaching snowboarding…. All of this I love, even the nights I couldn’t sleep, my mind racing through every idea of how I could somehow make everything I have dreamed of more then just a dream.
But as time goes on and you get older I think it just becomes easier to settle and give up on your dreams. I saw a quote yesterday that said something to the effect of “for the majority ‘impossible’ is a comforting excuse for inaction.” I worked for over two years and spent every penny I had to launch the my organic lingerie line, “Happy Endingz”. Afterwards I took off to Hawaii to celebrate my accomplishment only to realize that the real work had just begun.
Starting the company, I now understand, is actually the easy part. Keeping it going and making it profitable is the hard part. You have to love what you’re doing and be insanely passionate about it or it will never work. That is how I came to the conclusion that “Happy Endingz” should be an eco bikini line, not a lingerie line, because if you know me at all you probably know that most days I don’t even wear a bra or underwear but I do spend a lot of time in bikinis, teaching surfing.
Now I could just throw my hands up and give up saying I should have started a swimwear line in the first place, but as Eric Greenspan, the CEO of Make It Work once said to me, you need to change, adapt and grow to become and stay successful and that can apply to you personally or a business. And you have to be passionate and stay passionate, somehow. On my left wrist I have a tattoo that simply says “Believe.” I got it when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. You have to believe in yourself and your ability to make anything you want bad enough possible.
Now I know all of this might not be very compelling coming from a blond, 26-year-old surfer girl from Santa Barbara, but it is pretty compelling when you hear it from the man who first told it to me. His name is John Paul DeJoria and he has the best rags to riches tale of anyone I have ever known. John Paul is one of my dad’s best friends and is also the Founder of two companies you may have heard of, Paul Mitchell & Patron Tequila.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending JP’s Holiday party in Malibu. While I was there I overheard some guests talking about how lucky he is. (I have no idea how they could possibly be overwhelmed by an entire snow covered hill in Malibu, five bars, In N Out Trucks, real Reindeer, Natasha Bedingfield and Sean Penn). But what I would have told them, if I wasn’t on my third mango margarita & very busy taking pictures with Santa, was that luck had nothing to do with it.
John Paul was homeless, living in his car in east LA when he started Paul Mitchell. He was almost forty years old when he and his business partner put together the first $700 to get the company started. JP then went door to door selling Paul Mitchell shampoo & conditioner. The black and white labels, which are now considered classy & “sheek”, were first chosen because color bottles were too expensive. After making Paul Mitchell a success he went on to brand and grow Patron.
On a trip back from the New Orleans Jazz Festival a few years ago I had the pleasure of flying home with JP on his G4. This gave me some very rare one on one time with this amazing man. I took that opportunity to chat with him for a while about business and he told me that the best advice he could give me as an aspiring entrepreneur is to never give up, stay passionate and keep believing.
Last year my mom passed away from cancer. The one thing she left me with though, that I will always have, is a passion for life and all its possibilities… And of course our mutual dislike of wearing undergarments.