Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Happy birthday! Happy anniversary! Happy whatever-it-is that you say when your business is another year older!

In January 2014, on my short fight from Salt Lake City back to San Diego, I came up with a vague shirt shop idea. I drew up some shirt ideas and I called it Brand By You. Why? Well that answer is two-fold.

At the time, I guess I was a little upset whenever I would shop - it seemed like I had to compromise on my tastes when it came to buying anything. "Oh my gosh, I love this design, but I hate the color it's on.." "Wow this color is perfect for my style, but the cut is extremely unflattering..". Time and again I found that my closet was filled with stuff I only half liked and it was getting tiresome. If I was going to make a shirt shop, then I was going to give people options. If blue doesn't fit their aesthetic, then they could get a different color. If they don't feel comfortable wearing tank tops, then they could get it on a crew neck or a sweatshirt or literally anything else. WHY NOT?! My only job would be printing, so why is it considered so much extra work if the person I am working with wants something that fits their style? Answer - it's not.

Not to mention I was also shopping with my mom a lot at Nordstrom and I found the designer collection names to be so ridiculous - Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael by Michael Kors. Really? You couldn't think of anything more original??

Thus blossomed Brand By You. An ode to the idea that this shop, this brand, was for the people who would be buying it. I wanted those people to be able to choose what they wanted so they never had to settle with their wardrobe. And secondly, the name is a playful hit at those designer labels. Because "Marc" might have been created by Marc Jacobs for people like Marc Jacobs - but this brand is by and for people like you.

So now here comes the cliche question that interviewers or first dates ask you: Where do you see yourself in five years?

A lot can change, right? Did I think this would be popular 5 years in - no, but I was hopeful. Did I think my brand's success would be subject to the countless social media algorithm changes that would actually cause a number of successful businesses to suffer or even go out of business - no, but I would always keep pushing. Or better yet - did I even think my dream would become a reality thanks to the people that I named the business after - HELL NO! Which is why even though these plans were created January 2014, Brand By You did not become Brand By You until August 22, 2014 {The same day I signed my paperwork to work at Gap, and a week before I started my junior year of college. Stress overload happened exactly a year later!}

Looking at 2019 as the fifth year of BBY, I have new hopes and new dreams. A lot has indeed changed since I first opened this business, and honestly that algorithm change has been relentless!! For me this year has been me finally getting on top of new designs and launching them in time for their corresponding movie releases. It has been collaborating more with the other small shops that I respect so much and were around to help me get my business off the ground. It has been experiencing more of what the Disney parks have to offer me and having all of you, my amazing followers, interact with me on those experiences. And most importantly, it's now actually been moving away from the business side.

"Wait what? Didn't you just say that you were staying on top of movie releases with new designs?"

Well... yes. But halfway through the year, I decided that for my own sanity that it was time to start doing what I wanted to do. And it was also time to stop letting this algorithm take the best parts of myself and making me feel like they were worth nothing. I moved away from the business side 1) because the algorithm was shoving me (and many other small shops I love!) out of their businesses, and 2) because I wanted to start having fun with my page again. I wanted to start posting Disney Style and Disney Bound pictures and writing blogs that will help and inspire people. I wanted to take back everything I felt like the algorithm was taking from me.

Overall, I just wanted to have fun again!

After five years, everyone keeps telling me it's a feat to have a business last that long despite all these changes. But after five years I never thought I would end up feeling like such a failure with that same business that brought me so much joy, life, and the sense that I had a CAREER. I never thought that after five years I would be back to having another job, living at my parents house to try my best to pay off all the debt that I accrued trying to "save" the business, and having this new direction with BBY that didn't focus on trying to make money.

And this isn't a pity party - I don't want people to feel bad for what's happened. It sucks, yea, but a lot of things that make us better in the end always start out as really sucky scenarios. I would like to believe that this is sort of my rebirth into something better. Because the truth is I love my new job and I love my new direction with BBY and I love not paying for rent so that I can focus on paying off debt and really get on track with my future.

It's been five years of fun, adventures, new, old, mistakes, successes, learning, re-learning, trying, failing, and pain. But I survived even though there were countless moments of self-doubt, stress, and crying on the bathroom floor about everything I felt I lost.

But look at what I have gained in the process?

Five years. A lot can change in that amount of time. So to answer the question for the next five years - I have no freaking idea where it will take me next.

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