Tag Archives: Design

CTA IS OFFICIAL!!

CTA IS OFFICIAL!!

From years of dreaming and that single college-rule spiral bound notebook to this moment; I can’t begin to describe what I’m feeling, but one immense emotion I have at the moment is just pure gratitude to EVERY SINGLE ONE of my team members, mentors, customers, fans, supporters, and CTA cheerleaders that never allowed me, for a moment, to think that giving up was ever an option. After 2+ years of holding on to the dream, CTA officially becomes a reality. Let’s get to work!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

First chance I got….I ran away!

I graduated high school in May 2003. Accomplishing what some said I never would, and I had never been happier to prove them wrong, and most importantly, I had survived high school. Kind of weird to say and a bit dramatic, but it’s true, especially considering that some kids (even today) …..never do.

I felt like I was released from a prison in a way. The day after graduation…. the sun was brighter, the air was lighter, and for the first time in almost 10 years….I felt relief! HALF of my nightmare was finally over. I felt empowered; feeling that whatever life was going to throw at me, it couldn’t possibly be much worse than what I had already been through. I felt I had nothing more to lose and everything to gain…..including a new future.

My mom had hoped that I would go to a local college, but honestly, hell would freeze over first before I’d agree to stay local. I wanted to be in a place where I knew no one and no one knew me. I needed to start over and college was the only solution of making that possible. I began to research colleges that were over 200 miles away…I thought it would be a good distance to start with. This ambition is what lead me to Chicago, but there was a small problem with my decision….. I didn’t know a damn thing about Chicago….NADA! I barely knew where it was in the state of Illinois, let alone, how big of a culture-clash it would be. I had no idea how big it was, how busy it was, the diversity, how to utilize public transportation (most people drive everywhere in St. Louis) or how dangerous the city could be to a 19-year-old social butterfly like myself with limited street smarts. This in turn made my family insanely nervous for my safety, but bless them, they didn’t stand in my way of wanting to go.

NEXT STEP: Get accepted into a college! Easier said than done!

Due to my horrendous transcripts from high school, I had to “wow” the admissions department to get accepted. Initially, I was technically rejected, but I was not about to take “no” for an answer. Therefore, I had submitted an admissions essay on why I wanted to attend ILIA, and needless to say…..they were very “wowed” with my letter; stating it was “incredibly passionate”, and the initial rejection was reversed, and I was officially accepted into the Illinois Institute of Art as a fashion design major. Even though I couldn’t really draw or sew worth a damn….still….I had never been so happy before in my life.

I moved into my new place the night before my first day of classes. It was a large studio on the 17th floor that overlooked parts of downtown and the Sears Tower. That first night was an awkward one. I didn’t sleep…I was excited, but scared knowing that for the first time in my life…… I was completely on my own. After I managed to freak myself out enough, I ended up taking a walk outside to the front entrance of the apartments (in my PJ’s and slippers), and met my first college buddy, Brendan*; a tall, lanky, curly-haired street artist from Madison, WI. He was very laid back and had a open personality that made it easy to start up a conversation with him. We sat and talked on the bench for about an hour or so, going back and forth about where we were from, and how nervous I was about going to my first class considering that I didn’t have a clue on how to get to the campus (2003…no smartphones or GPS apps). So Brendan politely offered to walk with me since we had the same Design 101 class together, and through him, I met a group of friends that were my backbone while I was there. It was amazing! I literally woke up every morning, looked out the window, and said to myself, “OMG, I made it, I’m here”, and I just remember the incredible feeling of happiness, hope, gratitude….emotions I wasn’t used to experiencing on an everyday basis. As time progressed, everything was going so well, classes were solid, friends were awesome, times were good, and of course, reality was about to hit me like a ton of bricks.

……I had ran out of money. I could no longer afford my monthly housing costs, and with no money for school, there was definitely no money anything else, and I began to fall apart rapidly knowing that I was on my way back to the town that I hated beyond recognition, and that I had worked so hard to get away from. It was the first time I ever really felt as though I had failed. Feeling that I missed my one shot to become someone and to do something extraordinary was absolutely devastating to me. A few weeks after finding out of my financial situation, I ended up returning back to my small town, back in with my mom and right back to square one. I was down, but wasn’t giving up yet. I had another plan!

*Dedicating this post to the memory of Brendan Scanlon aka “SOLVE”

Brendan was murdered in Chicago, June 14, 2008. He was 24 years old.

— Thanks for looking out for me and creating the best prank on my mom ever!

Image

I sent my mom this picture, and told her this was a real “tattoo”

……she fell for it.

Circa 2003

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ready to Risk it All!

Sitting in my office, enjoying the few moments of down time from dispatching on the radio. I start scrolling through my Twitter time line and coming across another story of success for a new start-up company that has secured (what is to me) a massive amount of funding, $250,000 to be exact, and all I could think of was “OH MY GOODNESS! I ONLY NEED A FRACTION OF THAT AMOUNT TO LAUNCH MY FIRST LOCATION”. I felt jealous and motivated at the same time. It’s an awkward feeling, and it’s an experience I have had many times before since I start putting my ideas into motion. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I can see all of the vital pieces I need to reach my goal in opening the Cargo Train headquarters/home-store, and it gets tougher the more time passes by and you still haven’t found what you are looking for. This is one personality characteristic that I do have, which is a lack of patience, especially when I am trying to be the first store and company of its kind in an open market area. I want to take advantage of having some breathing room to establish my company and begin building its reputation and customer loyalty without the competition smothering me, or being branded as a ‘knock-off” or “copy cat”.

As of right now, the closest location of my main competitor is over 15 miles away from where I want to launch.

Feelings of despair trying to knock you off course and try to make you lose your focus, and all you have to keep yourself going is knowing what an amazing opportunity your company really is, and not just for me, but for my future partners, employees, customers, and for the community itself. The biggest challenge is getting the ones who have the ability to take your venture to the next level believe in your idea as strongly as you do. Strong enough to confidently partner up and bring all of the pieces together.

I know I will be an incredibly strong force to be reckoned with in this particular industry. My strategies and advantages give me leaps above my competitors, and I am keeping those strategies very safe and quiet until the time comes to utilize them. The connections and relationships I have been developing and growing over the past 10+ years, & everyone who is standing by waiting for me to inform them that we’ve secured a financial partner(s) and are finally ready to hit this industry with everything we’ve got, is the pivotal moment that I am waiting for.

I’m working for that opportunity to prove what I’ve been speaking out about for the past year, and to show what I am fully capable of doing. After all, I was born and raised in the “show me” state…ironically.

My husband and I are currently in talks of relocating our family from what was our dream house into a much smaller place, as well as, begin to sell off as many of our belongings as we can. All of the money saved and earned will be going into, what I am calling, the “CTA Dream Fund”. This will be the beginning of the financial foundation of my company. It breaks my heart to let everything we’ve worked so hard for go, but this company means much more to me than my possessions right now.

A big part of getting to where you want to be is having the strength to let go of what you have. – Me

We are currently searching for available places to call our new home.

():-)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Letter

Dear future me,

CONGRATULATIONS! On the launch of your life-long dream and without a doubt the biggest goal you have ever fought for. Your hard work is paying off, and you are now walking towards a brand new life without the abuse, and the physical pain you were so familiar with in the past. You are no longer that lost, beaten, and broken little girl that you used to be. That little girl has finally been laid to rest. Your life has taken such drastic turns that has lead you to this moment, and I am so proud that you NEVER GAVE UP!

You have encountered so many close-calls, and you survived. This should tell you every single day of your life that you will always overcome what hurts or scares you the most. You are stronger than what you were before, you are wiser, and now you have a solid path to follow that will make it easier to reach the future goals you have planned for yourself, your family, and those around you.

Due to the hard work and sacrifices to get where you are, Maddy will never know what it is like to go without food, shelter, and other basic necessities. She will never walk into a dark house from not having electricity, she will never have to risk her health simply because you can’t afford to take her to the doctor. She WILL have the opportunity to attend college without worry if she will be able to afford her tuition, and she WILL live the life that you always had planned for her, most importantly, she WILL have you to look up to for guidance when she begins to embark on her own journeys. Enjoy it, treasure it, be grateful for the opportunity, and always PAY IT FORWARD to others. Create opportunities for those who hold your passion and ambition; teaching them that the world is theirs for the taking, if you want it bad enough.

Remember that this is just the beginning of a new life. The life you would write out so vividly in your journals when you were at your darkest times, buy the fake palm trees you had always wanted since you were little, and share your experiences and trials with as many people that will listen.

Now go out, and do what you were placed on this earth to do: work hard for want you want, become a voice that inspires others to become great, be the example that you looked up too for so long, and never let your nay-sayers win….EVER!!!

I look forward to writing another future letter to you in July 2nd, 2018. Keep it up!

():-)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: