Tag Archives: fashion

The Downfall…….

I almost don’t know where to begin.  Everything with CTA’s developement and progress was going better than I could imagine, and then a bombshell hit me, impacting every single aspect of my life; most prolifically, Cargo Train head-on!

December was a great month for the company.  I was planning a half a dozen new projects and excited to bring in the new year living a dream that I had spent my life daydreaming about, and in January of this year, that dream came to an absolute stand-still.  It’s the first time ever did a personal situation ever effect my work.  Most specifically, my marriage.

When I began building this company, doing all of the research, logo designing, networking, etc…my husband would tell me that he was so excited for me, and that he would be disappointed if I ever stopped fighting for my dream with launching Cargo Train, and I foolishly believed his words, until I slowly began to see that the further I took Cargo Train, the more friction began to build up between he and I.  I was totally perplexed.  He was telling me this, but his actions were showing me something completely different.

I knew things were getting bad when my family members started reaching out to me, and telling me that my husband was “overbearing” and “controlling” me.  Having what I thought was a solid marriage and family life, I didn’t want to believe what they were trying to tell me.  From that night, I began watching him closer than I ever have….looking for clues and signs that would somehow validate what my family was trying to tell me.  So I said, “fuck it”, let’s find out, and I simply went out with my friends one night to a cafe that I had been going to since I was 14 years old.  Something I haven’t done since getting married, being a new mom and starting CTA (common sacrifice when youre a self-funded solopreneur…the social life is always the first to go), my daughter stayed with my mother that night, and the night was going smoothly…..that was until I came back home around 1:30am.

With my daughter sleeping in my arms.  I opened the door and walked into the living room; I was completely devastated with what I saw.  My house was a disaster!  I kept my cool, and calmly put my daughter into her bed, and then went from room to room, guaging and “taking in” what he had done just because I went out against his wishes.  I walked from the kitchen to the dining room table to find one of my boxes with a knife sticking out of it, and that honestly scared me.  I took it as an immediate threat for my safety, even thought he had never been physical with me before, I knew better than to underestimate someone’s ability to do anything.  My stomach plummeted, and instantly thought of my office on the 2nd floor where I ran all of Cargo Train’s admin and shipping.  Inventory was kept in a room down the hall from my office which doubled as my make shift photography studio……everything had been destroyed!  My equipment, my files, the items I had been prepping for sale that week, my props, supplies…..he destroyed everything out of a senseless act of pure jealousy.

I almost didn’t know how to react.  So many emotions were hitting me at once.  All I could think of was the magnitude of the sacrifices I had made in order to live my dream:  time away from our daughter, saving money for more inventory or supplies instead of buying things for myself.  The hundreds of hours I had dedicated to the progress of Cargo Train.  Severals days every week only sleeping maybe 2-3 hours before going into my dispatching job (midnights), then coming home and taking care of our daughter while he worked 12+ hours, all the while, playing “perfect wife” cooking the meals, cleaning the house….I was cinderella without the fancy dress and my prince charming being my worst nightmare —I was just…..devastated.

He killed my dream.  He took the one thing I loved as much as being a mother……my ability to adequetly operate my company.

To me, CTA was just like having a 2nd child.  I created it, nurtured it, supported it, sacrificed for it, dreamt about it my whole life….I saw CTA no different than my own daughter, of course the only difference being that I would never sacrifice my daughter’s well-being for Cargo Train, she always came first…regarless of the dreams I had.  So mentally, he took one of my children from me.  I swallowed hard, and walked into the guest bedroom, where he was passed out on the bed, and I calmly informed him that he had 48 hours to remove himself from the house, or I was going to do it for him.  The hardest part was the confirmation of all the “feelings” and “signs” I had been noticing for awhile, but refused to acknowledge. What “good wife” would? I was in denial because I loved him as much as I did.

This was my husband, the man who made an oath to love me and be there  for me until the end of time. Never expecting ever that he would be the one that was sabatoging my every effort, every step of the way!  Placing roadblocks in front of me, and getting more and more constricting when I was overcoming, not only, being the underdog entrepreneur of St. Louis, but all the extras he was throwing at me as well.  I kept reaching goals, and his resentment towards my ambitions kept growing!

I am still coping with the aftermath and the separation to this day now nearly 10 months later, and the struggle didn’t end in back in January…..little did I know, they were only the beginning!  The worst was still to come.  It probably took me about 2 weeks before I had the strength to walk back into my office and begin salvaging what I could. Being a self-funded startup, I knew I had no extra finances to replace what was destroyed.  I cried….a lot, the pain from the betrayal was bad enough, but battling both the loss of my company and the loss of the “ideal” family life was overwhelming. Faking smiles for my daughter so that she didn’t have to see how sad mommy was all the time, and that daddy was to blame.  I didn’t want to push my feelings and thoughts of my ex-husband out on her, she still very much adored her father, and coming from someone who never had that privilege, I wasn’t about to take that from her…..so I would lie day after day and say mommy got mascara or my infamous liquid liner in my eye…it made for a perfect excuse for the tears.

That night in January changed me completely…..inside and out!  I turned to fitness as an outlet for the pain and increidble anger I was stuck with and as a way of preparing me to become a single mom, and all that was to follow after the separation.  Even though, CTA was growing up beautifully, my ex-husband was still the bread winner after my “night job” closed for business; so I relied solely on Cargo Train to fill in the financial gap.  The next several months after we separated, I lost everything one by one….the car (repo’d), the house (expired lease), sold many of my possessions just to make ends meet for me and my daughter, and accepting that I was about to become homeless for the first time in my life.  I had to send my daughter to stay with my mother while I began this very…….long……road….back to where it was before everything came tumbling down.  I am still working on that as I write this.  I am still homeless, but looking forward to a new apartment within the next month, and when that happens, you bet your ass, Cargo Train will be coming with me.  I will pick up the pieces, and this time around, it will be on my own terms, not under the dictation of another!  Some dreams come and go, but real dreams never die! Not a day passed that I didn’t think of my dream that was taken from me.  Real dreams stick with you when there seems to be “no hope”, always know……THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE!

Today, I am working hard and looking forward at relaunching Cargo Train Apparel (hopefully) by January 2015. Until then, I am focusing on the crucial steps I need to take in order to reach this massive goal; only this time around, it will be on my own terms, and not under the the controlling dictation of someone else.  ():-)

–After some time had passed, I later asked my ex-husband (after we regained our civility for the sake of our young daughter) why he did what he did, and his response….”I couldn’t accept having a wife more successful than me”  –My lips pressed together, I simply just nodded, and responded, “Ok”

Ridiculous!

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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!

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Rant and a Rave

…:::RANT:::…

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

I feel like I am losing my mind!  I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing only to be pushed back.  A lot has been going on lately: losing my job, an upcoming marriage separation, giving up my “dream” house….it’s all starting to take a toll on me.  I feel trapped.  I try to bury myself in my work with progressing CTA, but can’t keep the distractions out long enough to make some serious traction.  Beyond frustrating!

But Nothing hurts more than some who will CONTINUOUSLY tell me “oh, if you need anything, just let me know…im here for you” then when I go to them for help, I get a cold shoulder.  I am not one that enjoys the lip service.  I am a do’er, not a talker.  I am beginning to see that those who should be behind me the most are never there, and that is what hurts the most.

Fair warning to those people………

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A lot like screaming in the middle of a crowded room, and no one even gives you a side-ways glance.  Makes you feel empty…..truly.

 

…:::RAVE:::….

The website is up, and growing everyday!

Mobile site up, it’s a work in progress

On my way of signing the lease agreement for the store (nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time)

Progress is slow but sure!  

All in all, it’s a never-ending battle that I just refuse to give up.  I just can’t; I’m already in it to win it.

The possibility of homelessness doesn’t even scare me, I will sleep in my car if that’s what it will take for my company to make it. So be it!

 

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WCE VS CTA

Like I’ve said before, the buzz is flying all over the St. Louis area about a women’s only resale shop in south county getting a reality TV deal with the Style Network…. I have personally never shopped at this particular store before, in fact, I had only heard of this store a handful of times before hearing about the TV deal.

So naturally, I began to look into it. From a glance it looks to be an amazing opportunity for this store, as well as, an opportunity to bring St. Louis resale into the national spotlight. Of course this is excellent (general) news for the St. Louis resale community (myself included), but looking into the company’s reviews from it’s customers, my impressions are beginning to shift from optimistic to more concerned.

Here are a few that I found within just a few minutes on google.

I found this a decent place to shop for designer clothing items, however unless they are on sale, the pricing is not much better than retail. Most disappointing was their attitude about consignment, I’ll go elsewhere in the future for that. One day I brought in about 40 items, most of them were formal gowns and cocktail dresses bought in the last year or so and worn once. A few had matching shoes and purses. I was shocked that they turned down ALL of them! 40 really nice items and they could not accept even ONE??? Unbelievable! No explanation nor reason was given. Shocked! Maybe they were over-stocked or something, but if so it would be nice to be told that before I hauled it all inside. If you’d like to consign designer clothing, it may not be worth the time and trouble to bother bringing it to Women’s Closet Exchange. Many of the exact same items were accepted at other ‘upscale resale’ shops. – A WCE customer review – 3 weeks ago.

I feel the same. I brought in formal wear several of which still had the tags on them, but I cannot wear them as I have lost a significant amount of weight. While I spent time shopping for an outfit for a wedding, they were supposed to be evaluating them. When I was finally called, the “Buyer” was so rude, telling me that these were not what they are looking for at this time and “take your items right out; unhuh huh right out,” repeating this several times across the store as I was carrying my dresses out. I was made to feel like I had brought in rags. This was my first time in this shop and my last. I understand each business has a right to say yes or no, but to be rude about it was unnecessary. Do yourself a favor, shop somewhere else. – A WCE customer review – About a year ago.

I’ve never felt so disrespected. I brought four bags of carefully folded clothes from high quality brands (Banana Republic, J. Crew, Ann Taylor) worth over $1000. I wanted to get an estimate of what the clothes would be worth were I to sell them to the store. They offered me $20. They put down many articles of my clothing as they were disrespectfully rummaging through my bags (commenting that many of them were too small for their shoppers – size M!) and then shoved the clothes back into the bags. I pointed out that my clothes had been folded when I went in and they had the nerve to sass me and tell me that they didn’t have time. Needless to say, I left with my clothes and intend to sell them for a fair market value on eBay. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS PLACE. The women working there should be ashamed of the scam that they are trying to pull. – A WCE customer review – About 2 years ago.

Now I know you can’t please everyone, but these are minor, and should not have made it all the way to a customer writing a poor review due to defective attitudes from the staff.

This honestly makes me want to throw my arms up in frustration!. Here, this company has the most incredible opportunity, that many of us could only dream about, and they are squandering its full potential. Their focused appears to have shifted from bettering the company and the community, to bettering only themselves. This truly is a shame, not only for this company, but for the rest of us that are trying to bring the resale industry up in St. Louis, and bad business just makes the rest of us work harder to make up for their downfalls. Bad reviews don’t hurt individual resale shops, per say, but they damage the overall industry. We want to grow the percentage of resale shoppers, and these reviews aren’t helping.

It truly is time for something better.

Time to step up our game, and hit this area with everything we’ve got.

WE WILL show the STL area what this industry is truly about.

This is why our company is hardcore about community improvement and involvement, we stay true to our roots!

STL = Show The Love

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DEAR ABERCROMBIE CEO, MICHAEL JEFFRIES!!!!

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YES….  I have HATED Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO Michael Jeffries’s for many years now, not only for his ideology on his target market;  the all american, good-looking kid, but his audacity to attempt to lead an entire company based on this.  Seriously?  I honestly don’t know how you, Mr. Jeffries, make money… oh wait….yes I do, allow me to lend my theory:

 You over inflate your position, placement and price points in the fashion world in order to compensate for your “uglier” inadequacies (you know what I mean).  You make money by ATTEMPTING to make others feel inferior to your greed-driven  and smug ways.  Well dear sir, you have met your match.  I am a commoner, but no ordinary commoner, and try to remember that you USED to be one too, no matter how long ago it was that you sold your soul and sanity to bad plastic surgery. 

We ALL have stories, we ALL have been through the hardships that life that has had no hesitation throwing at us. Where the fuck do you get off thinking that you are truly any different or better for that matter?  Your current position as CEO (for now…) is one that is built off of the same “bully” tactics that I endured for years, and that I witness others enduring everyday.  People like me don’t get sad and feel bad about the sadistic comments you make, oh no….we truly get pissed off to a degree to where you turn us into activist that will do everything in our power to knock you straight off your self-built tower of bullshit, and OUT of the lifestyle you have grown so very fond of (half-naked male models and private jets); all of which  you truly do not deserve the privilege of having…..EVER!

You know the saying “power in numbers”? Well,  I hope your microscopic target market can help save your job from what could be coming your way if you continue your self-destructive path as a fashion professional and lack of basic humanity towards others.  

Social media gives those you hate a voice, and some of those voices are MUCH LOUDER than yours.  So do not dare think you are the messiah of fashion and apparel, when you are simply just a self-glorified image whore that will be used for whatever it is you are worth, and once your “good-looking” society no longer finds YOU attractive, you will be on the bread line begging….broke and alone!  

So better jump-start your savings account now, because when I get done with you, you are definitely going to be needing all the fucking help you can get. YOU don’t get to decide who is hot and who is not.   That power will always belong to the  SAME people you hate.  REMEMBER THAT!

 

ALWAYS AND FOREVER!

M. Vargas –  Your worst nightmare.

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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!

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

……she fell for it.

Circa 2003

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