Where's Collin Vest Been?

          Don't get me wrong. Starting my own company and taking it full time has always been my dream. But since November of last year I decided that I would be taking a hiatus from Collin Vest Ltd. while I pursued a new job and took some time to think about where I would be taking this company in the future. Ever since I was fourteen years old starting my original shoe customization hustle I had known that I wanted to design for a living one day. The moments of doubt, the endless to do list, and the uncertainty of trying to start a brand was all worth it as long as I got to make clothes for others to love. At some point in 2021 I had a moment of realization. I didn't want to go to college, I was making around 300 dollars a week, and I was struggling to scale my business. At this point I realized I needed to make a change and for me that was getting a job as a professional in the fashion industry. 

          I decided to make a deal with myself. By November 9th I needed to land a job in the industry or fold my cards and start college full time. I asked around to different people I knew trying to find something that can teach me better skills to run my business. To no avail, I began looking into different schools and figuring out what major I would pursue. It wasn't until October 18th, 2021 that I had finally gotten a conversation with someone in the world I was trying to be a part of and I was adamant making the most out of this. After a couple weeks of talking to Graham Nystrom, the Head of Design at Market, I made my way up to Eagle Rock and visited their headquarters. I brought my best pieces I had made and spent the entire drive up from Temecula going over technical terms, references, and general fashion knowledge in my head. As we talked, I felt consumed by the atmosphere in that building. I remember Mike Cherman coming up and throwing out an idea to Graham for a T-shirt and me smiling like a little kid in a candy shop. This is the life I wanted. The fast paced creative energy was something I had always longed for while sitting in my garage on my home sewing machine. As we continued talking we got into why I was coming up in the first place. Market was starting an atelier for prototypes and concept designs and they needed people with wide skillsets and an eye for design. They were starting it in the beginning of 2022 so I would need to be ready by then. That day was November 2nd, a week before I was going to sign up for school. Great, no more college, no more being worried about if I was going to be able to pay my phone bill that month, no more feeling like I didn't have a place in the world. Now I just needed to move out to LA.

          Once I found a place, I picked up a U-haul and moved everything out the day before I started. I made the decision that in order for me to do well there it would be wise to close my company for a period of time while I adjusted to this big change and could focus all my attention towards my new job. This wasn't easy because as much as I was learning there, the more I wanted to channel it into my own company. By the hour I felt like I was becoming a better designer and immersed myself into the world I have always felt like was so out of reach. I stayed after and asked questions trying to get the most out of this experience. All that mattered to me at this job was to learn as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. This attitude changed however, as I read through my journal I realized that after a few months I faced a new problem. I now have my job as a prototype designer, but how do I start my company back up? Everything I had done prior to starting seemed so amateur. Was I better as an employee? Do I know what I want when it comes to my own clothes? Am I as skilled as I think I am? I encountered these negative thoughts often, at times really considering if the route I took was the right move. I had multiple collections readily available to start the sampling process and an immeasurable amount of new skills I could apply to this revamped Collin Vest Ltd. So why on Earth was I so scared? After lots of time thinking and reflecting, I came to the conclusion that no matter what I do I will feel like it isn't my best work. I knew that in a couple of months I will look back at anything I had been currently working on and call it amateur like I was already doing. When this light switch flipped I gained a new perspective. Stop looking at your past as something negative and see the full picture. Where you are now is a direct outcome of your past so take pride in it.

          Fast forward to this month, I was sitting outside of my grandmother's house with my girlfriend Izzy talking about where my mind was at as I prepare to press play on Collin Vest Ltd. I express to her that I am worried about the future and that I'm feeling uncertain about getting back on the grind of running this thing. She says to me, "think about how far you've come since last year" and immediately I was brought back to the joy I had sitting in my beat up Mercedes 300D in the hundred degree heat with no AC outside of Market's Office knowing that my hard work had finally paid off and I was moving forward in my career. I am not on this mission for Collin the prototype designer, I am doing this for Collin the shoe customizer who's dream it was to one day have a successful clothing company.