Firsts

Firsts, are always special. So this is the story of my first … business.

Her name was Starstruck.

I have always been fascinated by stars, and on a drive back from Banff (a fair many years ago) I was determined to come up with a business name. Suddenly the northern lights lit up the sky, and “Starstruck” was born.

I never expected it to be what it became.

At the time, I was a happy marketing executive and loving my job at Harvard Developments. Starstruck, was going to be what Pamela Slim likes to call my “side hustle” and a way to express my passion for design through greeting cards.

Well, as the story and the song often goes – one thing lead to another!

Soon those designs were being painted on t-shirts, then sweatshirts and then a whole line of women’s clothing. As is, what often happens with the sweetest stories of our lives; paths cross with those – whose paths you are meant to cross. I met Dianne Pockett, a graduate of the Sheridan College School of Fashion and Design. She made miracles happen! She could take sketches, ideas, swatches, words, and turn them into exactly what I could see in my minds eye: Wearable art.

The ‘side hustle’ became my main hustle. And what a grand adventure it was!

Eventually, Starstruck included a retail store and a complete wholesale women’s clothing line. The Starstruck label was proudly carried in 321 stores States side, and 120 in Canada. And yes, a lot happened between those 2 sentences (some of which will be the fodder for future blog posts). If you can imagine, this line was marketed successfully, without social media or even email! You actually had to show up – in person, product in hand – or in this case – product in painted suitcase. Seriously! Pitching my first U.S. major department store, had me on a plane to their head offices in Florida with all of my samples in painted, garage sale purchased, vintage suitcases! We were true to brand from the start and I came home with an order that left me both terrified and transformed. Dreaming big, did work!

In many ways, fashion is an unforgiving business. The industry proudly shred brands for breakfast, that can’t move at a lightening fast pace, with the right product, at the right price, and in the right colour. Turns out, our team, had a knack for doing just that, and I learned, that it takes stealth like accuracy, a healthy does of humour, and a whole lot of grit to be a brand builder.

This blog is a home for brand building stories. Here you can read about the thrills, chills, and spills that make a brand matter. Tales filled with love, passion, desire, side steps, and missteps. And they couldn’t be sweeter.

Have a first business story you would like to share? We would love to hear it!

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