It All Starts Somewhere

It All Starts Somewhere

Posted by Carlee Benito on


Well, Hello April. In the world of fashion, the beginning of every year includes a rapid fire schedule of trade-shows. We start the first week of January in Long Beach, and with a few stops through an NYC blizzard, Paris, Berlin and Vegas, we end up back in LA in March. It’s busy, it’s hectic, it’s energizing.

We spend the months showing off our newest collections that we’ve painstakingly worked on during the preceding months. We meet with our buyers, catching up on the year that’s passed and planning our year ahead with them. And we spend time with our friends from other brands, new and old, becoming inspired by what they’ve created.

I do not take for granted how lucky I am to be surrounded by the visionaries and trailblazers that put all their hard work and passion into this industry and thoroughly love this time of year.

Now rewind to what feels like a lifetime ago. My very first job out of college was as an assistant (and even a sometimes receptionist) at Kate Spade in NYC. I was barely 21, fresh out of Arizona State (fork ‘em), and lucky enough to be there when the brand was just big enough, but not yet too big. Kate and Andy were still at the helm of the ship, and there were fewer than 100 of us there. I was at the brand barely a year, just long enough to know I wanted THAT someday, before even knowing what that exactly was.

I wasn’t alone.

During this tradeshow season nearly 10 years later, I ran into Chad Buri from my days with the Spades, now of Sleepy Jones fame. Chad has been working with the brilliance that is Andy Spade for years now, and while we chatted about our own lives, marriage, kids (he beat me, four to my one) that the last decade has brought, more impressive was all the ex-kate & jack spaders from my short stint there that have forged their own paths as well…

Whitney Pozgay & Zonda Sochrow – WHIT
Matt Singer – Matt Singer
Julia Leach – Chance & Co
Mordechai Rubenstein – Mister Mort
Gillian Schwartz – Schwartz & Sons
Cheree Berry – Cherry Berry Paper

Monkey see, monkey do. That simple? Absolutely not. At the time, I didn’t know up from down or what a real plan was, let alone mine. I had a seemingly small job at a cool brand, but unknowingly planted my seed for what would become my own company 10 years later.
I can’t speak for the others, but I would bet they all attribute their future successes on the building blocks of their careers spent at a quickly growing brand by getting their hands dirty, absorbing and learning all they could.

So while the path may seem murky at times, the past, present and future shape us and send us on our way. Be patient. Be inspired. Work hard.