Outliers.........by Malcolm Gladwell...oh, I can't stop thinking.
You know it's a good book when a week after you put the thing down, you are still learning and growing from it. As in the case of this gem of a book, Outliers. Each one of us is shaped by experiences and people that we encounter on our life's journey. I have always appreciated my parents because they gave me the very best gift that one could ever receive, life. BUT, looking beyond that I have been given so much more. I could go on about both my mom and my dad. But, today it's about you, Dad.
My father went to school at Cal Poly, majored in architecture. He is a funny man, loving father, kind and smart. But, what has always impressed me the very most about him is his ability to see "windows" when others see just "walls". Some of my earliest memories are of sounds of hammers and drills and saws which I awoke to from time to time. I would restlessly get out of bed and find my dad kneeling next to a wall. "What are you doing Dad?" I would ask, curiosity would eventually overpower my frustration because of the noise. "Well, I think this wall should be a window." he would say, almost too enthusiastically given how early it was in the morning. "It's a wall", I would say. "Well, I see a window." I can picture the look on his face now. I equate it to a painter with a fresh clean canvas. And there began another transformed piece of the house. At the time we sold that home that I grew up in, he had made so many transformations to the house, it was barely recognizable on the inside. My dad sees the potential of what something could be, and not necessarily what it is.
I have always prided myself in my ability to see the world the same way as my dad. Looking for what wasn't on the shelf at the store instead of what already was. But, I hadn't made the correlation between my way of thinking and who my father is until I read this book.
Fast forward.........A few years back, I owned a small activewear company with my sister. I would constantly wrack my brain trying to think about items that were not already in the marketplace. Or, twists on them to make something unique. In the day in age of Lululemon, etc. that seemed like an impossible task. BUT, one fateful day I was in my office trying to come up with something for my line and my dad says, "why don't you make bands of fabric for the waist and matching visors." I thought about it for a minute, who would buy a band of fabric? But, I began to realize, that thought had some merit. As fate would have it, one of my dearest friends was heading over to go on a walk with me. I headed into my room to change in to my workout gear, which by the way had no pockets, and grabbed my keys and phone. Where was I going to put all my stuff? A-ha!!!!! Thunderstuck!!!! "What if, what if Dad I put pockets in a band of fabric....now it has a function, now it has a purpose. THIS IS IT!". My friend rings the doorbell, I head out the door and began designing the hipS-sister then and there on that walk. I will never forget how many ideas I had during those 3 miles. A good friend will let you ramble :). I couldn't wait to get home to see if I could find anything already in the marketplace that already existed as I had it now planned out in my mind. And, just as I suspected there was nothing that I could find. I cut off the top of my yoga pants and made my very first sample....and the rest is history.
I owe a lot to my father. From the time I was a small child he helped me see the world in his way. What was possible, not necessarily what was there already. And, in a very real way I owe him dearly for inspiring me to create this band of fabric with pockets that now exists today in so many skus, styles, colors and growing. I often think, had he not been there, would the idea have sparked in me? Maybe yes, maybe no. But, that day played out beautifully looking back.
And, we all know an idea is an idea, it takes a lot more to build a brand, to create a business. The idea is only the beginning of the journey, the hard work, dedication and discipline is what lies ahead to make it a reality.
But what I can say with certainty, for my entire life, my father has taught me to see "windows" where there are only "walls"....and for that gift, I thank you Dad.