We're getting close to the opening of Fade Market's first brick and mortar location and I'm sitting back thinking about how I've gotten to this point. It's been a little journey to get here and hard to believe I'm finally opening a store outside my home.
I've always had a love for design and a love for fashion since I can remember. In elementary school, I started off running crayon across my Barbie Fashion Plates as I created new outfits for Barbie and pretended I was a fashion designer. Then I spent my middle school years trying to recreate the character Claudia's looks I read about in The Babysitters Club series. I would attempt the DIY fashion looks in Teen Vogue and Seventeen magazines as I cut, tie dyed and sequined anything I could get my hands on. In high school I spent every second I could in the art room sketching and painting fashion models. My high school art teacher saw my desire for fashion and I was able to take a one on one art class completely focused on fashion design my senior year which really played a part in deciding on my college major.
I then went on to college to study Fashion Merchandising even though I wasn't sure exactly where I would go with a Fashion Degree. I didn't feel like I got a lot of support from friends and family on this decision, but I knew it was what I wanted. I received a lot of comments about how it would be a better idea to study Nursing or Education and I wasn't going to make any money playing with clothes all day. But I went for it anyway and I thought maybe I would become a buyer or a visual merchandiser. I wasn't sure where I was going with this degree, but I knew I didn't want to be going to college to study the same thing as everyone else and I wanted to be in fashion.
Then one of my fashion professors gave us a final project where we had to create a fully detailed business plan for opening a boutique. I had no idea how or when it would happen, but as soon as I started working on this project I knew what I was going to do someday. I was going to open my own boutique. I'm not one to hold on to things or get too attached to sentimental items, but I still have that binder full of all my boutique sketches, ideas and floor plans.
After graduating college, I went straight into an assistant manager position at a local junior clothing store. Within a year, I worked my way up to store manager. I spent 5 years at this store before moving onto a faster paced store with hopes of becoming a buyer at the nearby corporate office. I put everything I had into this management position trying to move up in this company. I would drop whatever I was doing anytime they needed me. I said yes to everything to show how committed I was and how bad I wanted to go to corporate. I was working too many hours, putting work before everything else and not taking care of myself. I went nonstop for 3 years before I realized I couldn't keep this pace up forever.
I was burnt out and knew it was time to step away from this job. I started to question my goals and where I wanted to go in my career. This type of retail didn't feel right to me anymore. I didn't want to be selling cheaply made fast fashion and pressuring people into buying more and more stuff. It was always just about the sales goal and how much can I get these customers to add on to their order. It never felt right to me, but I didn't know there was any other type of retail. I still remember having a conversation with a co-worker where I said I wanted to be making a difference. I didn't want to just sell clothes. I wanted there to more of a purpose to what I was doing. She laughed at me like I had said the most ridiculous thing ever and told me that was not going to happen and I'd never leave retail. I figured she was right and pushed the idea to the back of my mind. I ended up leaving this company not long after that conversation and tried working for another retail store.
I spent barely 2 years at the next store as a store manager before the store was closed and I lost my job. I no longer had a career goal and opening my own boutique just seemed like a dream that was never happening. I took losing my job as a sign that maybe retail just wasn't for me anymore and I should just find a "normal" non-retail 9-5 job. So I took a job as a bank teller and absolutely hated it. I then studied and got my license to become an insurance agent. I quickly realized I hated that also.
By the summer of 2016, I was going into my 30s feeling frustrated. I felt like I had wasted my 20's working towards a career goal that I would never reach. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do anymore. I started a small event design business and I even tried a few direct sales businesses. I started job hopping and wasted so much time on jobs I hated that were never going to get me anywhere. I eventually made my way back to retail and ended up taking a sales associate job. I was back at the bottom of the retail ladder as a sales associate, cleaning out fitting rooms just like I did in college. I felt like such a failure.
Then a year later, my daughter Waverly was born. I had no career goals anymore and thought I might as well "just be a stay at home mom". I spend a few months doing this before I knew this wasn't for me. Something had to change. There's nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom, but it was not for me. I needed to do more and I knew it was time to bring back the idea of owning my own boutique.
I needed to start somewhere so I signed up to become a brand representative for a women's clothing company. I created an in-home boutique called Style Loft and sold their clothing online, at vendor events and at in- home parties while representing their brand. This went well, but I still felt like something was missing. My mind kept going back to that conversation I had with a co-worker a few years ago where I had told her I wanted to do something with a purpose. I started to think about how I could do that while running a boutique and I just wasn't sure how that was going to happen. I was really starting to lose my motivation and my drive that I had always had in the past.
Then in 2018 I discovered something called minimalism and everything changed. I became all about simplifying my home, my life and my mind. I saw a drastic change in my mood as I began self care and created daily routines and rhythms in my home. I rediscovered my love for reading and found a new love for podcasts and journaling. Everything just started falling into place from there and this eventually led to me learning about fair trade, ethical fashion and slow fashion. As soon as I learned that such a thing existed I knew I found the purpose for my boutique. I knew this was what I was supposed to be doing. I pulled out my journal and started the brainstorming. I started taking small business courses and slowly began to transition my boutique from the fast fashion brand I was representing to more ethical fashion. So in April 2019 I launched Fade Market online and I haven't looked back as I continue to move this boutique forward.
Nothing fancy about the name. The word "Fade" made me think of slow and that's the type of fashion I wanted in the store. It's also the first 2 letters and last 2 letters of "Fair Trade". I added "Market" to it because the boutique is a collection of products from artisans around the world gathered in one place. So that's where the name "Fade Market" came from.
Fade Market is an ethical fashion boutique that supports and empowers women around the world. I believe when a woman is economically empowered, her children and her community will thrive, making her crucial to ending global poverty, hunger, human trafficking and child labor.
I don't want to just sell clothes to you that you may wear once or twice then toss in the back of your closet. I want you to find quality pieces that you love that will become part of your wardrobe.