Although it has only been a few years since turning 50 years old, it feels like ages ago. A year prior, my fears about aging shifted after a career change. My twenty year plus tech career was ending and a new career was emerging, the world of art. Two entirely different worlds. I never thought of myself as being a creative person. I can barely draw and continue working on creative writing skills.
To my surprise, creativity came much later in life and collaborated nicely with my independent work style. This major life shift gave me valuable insight about the world and myself. The self conscious things I use to worry about started to dissipate. I suppose I was coming to terms with the aging process and too exhausted to worry about things I can’t control. Not exactly. I finally found something to refocus my energy on, resulting in being much happier and energized. I entered the world of unlimited possibilities, creating with my hands.
The Design World
Designing was something I always wanted to do, but never thought I could. My appreciation for beautiful women’s accessories such as leather bags and fancy jewelry lead me to start studying product design and development. In my forties I started exploring patterns and working with metals. I dove into learning as much as I could – reading books, researching various patterns, sewing on industrial machines, watching production videos and kept creating with my hands. My first designs where hilarious, but I didn’t care. I was excited and tenacious. As the years passed, I continued my learning process and creative journey. Slowly, I started to see the little planted seeds I made each month growing. The video below shows some of the skills that go into making MONOLISA rings.
My First Collection
As a kid, academics were a real challenge for me and never came easy. I was familiar with failure and not afraid of it, which was an essential ingredient for taking the leap to start my own business. In 2017 my handmade creations turned into launching my first handbag and jewelry collection, MONOLISA – featuring one of a kind light-weight leather bags and sculpted jewelry. Starting a solo owned business has been an incredible journey. So many different experiences and emotions along the way. It has been hard, fun, humorous, unfamiliar, challenging and still is at times. Fear of failure continues to be part of the expedition, but I keep at it and say during the hard times – “Just keep trying, don’t give-up”. So, that is what I do… keep going.
Managing a business for me means wearing many hats, not being afraid of getting my hands dirty and embracing the ongoing learning. I juggle everything from sourcing materials, making the products, managing an e-commerce website, marketing, advertising and most importantly, sales. Let’s just say my hands get dirty all the time and I am still learning along the way. For instance, in 2019 I had to learn how to drive an industrial van without back windows – never thought I could drive a car without seeing who is behind me, but I do now. Being outside of my comfort zone and constantly challenged has been a huge part of my new career…which I love.
Before covid I was on the road nearly every weekend nine months out of the year. This picture below shows the less glamorous side to running and managing my business…the 6am long drives heading to a show in the rain, getting my hands dirty from drilling, creating patterns with no formal training and figuring out how to do new things.
My focus today is to continue creating beautifully handmade limited edition pieces that add a touch of elegance to any personal style. My artisan handmade bags and jewelry pieces are not mass produced or sold in retail stores. They are only available exclusively at this online store, by appointment or at a MONOLISA show. Each elegant piece in the collection is personally hand crafted by me.
My Blog Posts – I will be taking you through some parts of my business experiences and talk about fashion, hopefully with a bit of humor, interest, honesty, inspiration and to the point. Until next time…
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- Tags: Bay Area Made, handbag designer, Made In USA, starting a business, women entrepreneurs