A little over two years ago, I embraced the beautiful city of Paris, making it our home for a year while using co-working and daily-rate office spaces around the city several times each week. While initially this was more of a functional choice, it became a way of life, a source of inspiration and – believe it or not – where I learned an invaluable life lesson.
Take time in life to wonder and wander: you never know what’s just around the corner.
Often on deadline or distracted with thoughts about the project I was working on, I would make a beeline for the nearest work-space. When I paused to check my iPhone or map while searching for the location, I discovered some of the most breath-taking nooks and crannies Paris has to offer.
My wandering around Place Vendome is the perfect example. A Parisian square I didn’t normally frequent; Place Vendome is a premium location for various photo shoots at all hours because it has that special Parisian glow (yes, it’s a thing!). With the Ritz hotel in one corner, perfect palace storefronts and grand flair in the others, and – well – to be fair, there’s no trash or dog-poop in sight, unlike other frequented Parisian areas…it’s a stunning place to pause and appreciate where you are.
Inside this particular office building, there is a quaint courtyard bordered with tangles of flowers, and an ornate staircase leading up to the office lobby that could inspire even the laziest among us to circle the levels repeatedly just to be a part of it. And indeed I would. I have to admit, finding the co-work space was almost more pleasurable than immersing myself in the creative community I found inside. My wanderings led me into picture perfect side streets, doorways full of character, courtyards that invited me to stop and take a moment to enjoy life. Searching for office space in a still-unfamiliar city quickly became an important part of my creative thinking and evaluative decision-making process -– and a new way of life.
More recently, in January 2016, I set out to create a versatile clothing brand for tweens with no prior fashion industry experience or contacts. My aim was to create a quality, responsibly made product that would give tweens the opportunity to do more with less, and express themselves through appropriate, versatile fashion. Designing also became a creative outlet for me to celebrate my love for the world, and the experiences travel has given me.
Wandering has now taken on a different meaning, as I’ve moved on from Place Vendome and the other gorgeous little streets Paris has to offer. Lately, I allow myself time to wander online, spending occasional late nights researching ideas, concepts, innovations, vendors, terms and textiles. I’m still broadening my horizons, and being led from one place to another, always remembering to stop, pause and take it all in. I often find myself far from the topic I originally set out to research, but always appreciate I am learning something new.
While I could look at these wanderings as leading me further ‘off track’ and stumbling around in the dark, what I found was that those wanderings often led to the greatest breakthroughs, moments of clarity, essential discoveries, and expanded possibilities.
These wanderings took me beyond what I could have known, thought, or considered otherwise. I’ve wandered into online discussions and articles on what makes a fiber truly sustainable, ethical, or Made-in-America, I’m now well-versed in ethical African fabric sources, and I’ve been captured by stories of Aborigine women creating designs… As a result, I’ve developed a wealth of knowledge, and am inspired by what I’ve learned. Currently, one of those Aborigine designs is included in our collection.
I have many other stories similar to this resulting in an overall better product, more defined and meaningful mission, and clarity about where and what I want my brand and business to be – all simply discovered by allowing room to wander. While the golden rule of entrepreneurship is being focused and productive, there’s no doubt about the benefit of wondering…wandering…and sometimes getting a little lost. You’ll come back to where you started more inspired, more motivated and more driven than before.