This article was originally published here April 30th, 2018
I was a textbook career woman. A senior executive with one of the largest retailers, my hours were long and the travel was constant. My job satisfaction was deteriorating and my personal life was taking a major hit. I was spending days upon days away from my family, my children were suffering, I had no balance in my life as I was spinning a narrative that I could have it all and do it all but it was a lie.
If those factors weren’t enough to make me slow down and reevaluate things, watching my younger sister battle breast cancer froze me square in my tracks. It was time for a complete overhaul. Life is short and it is our responsibility to create happiness and passion and enjoy all the moments. Seeing my sister face death and ultimately beat cancer was inspiring and also a wake-up call that I needed to create purpose in my life.
CREATE YOUR PURPOSE
Many people don’t realize that when it comes to cancer, the illness itself is only half the battle. The other half, as I came to understand, is the treatment and all the variable side-effects that go with it particularly night sweats. Debilitating, disruptive and relentless night sweats that made it impossible to get a decent night’s sleep.
I looked everywhere for a sleepwear brand to give my sister even an ounce of relief, and what I found were several moisture wicking brands which used a combination of polyester and chemicals in the finishing process. Women don’t want to be surrounded in polyester and chemicals if they crave comfort.
That was my version of a lightbulb moment. The understanding that life is like a Broadway show; there are missteps and dress rehearsals but ultimately, everything is setting up for showtime. This was my showtime.
I realized then that my entire career spent in the apparel industry, building brands that celebrated women and strived to make them feel good, would be the foundation of my passion project: to launch a sleepwear brand that offers rapid and effective relief from night sweats while making women feel desirable and cared for — even during the most challenging moments of their lives. Lusomé was born.
The early days of owning my own business were a rollercoaster. Our goal was to help women sleep better and give comfort to women in a beautiful way. The early days offered up so many challenges. There was such skepticism that there would be a market for what we were trying to do. Night sweats was an underground story, it isn’t a sexy topic and women were suffering in silence. We wanted to open up the conversation and create consumption. There was always more work in a day than there were hours. I had to take a long view and be patient which was a challenge. It can be easy to get dissuaded especially early on, but we were building something important that we knew would help women.
The rewarding moments far outweighed the setbacks though. Particularly, when cancer patients began testing our garments and spoke of their relief and renewed strength to battle the disease now that they had a good night’s sleep. Their feedback gave me fuel to power through all the skeptics and roadblocks along the away.
Now, more than five years after our launch, my best days are still the ones when we receive personal feedback from clients — whether they be cancer patients dealing with medical side-effects, or women who are pregnant, postpartum, menopausal or living with a chronic condition. Their embrace of our brand and the obvious comfort it provides them is the single best motivation for getting up and going to work each day.
Knowing what drives you is key. What will get you to jump out of bed excited and motivated to conquer the world? Think about the work you want to do, not what you want to be.
READ THE SIGNALS
Everyone has a different path that leads them to where they are, so my single best piece of advice to any aspiring entrepreneur would be: pay attention to the signs. They can hit you out of nowhere and in the most unlikely (in my case, terrifying) of circumstances.
I am so lucky to have discovered the professional silver lining amid very personal adversity. My sister’s brave and successful battle against breast cancer shone a bright light on my need to recalibrate and refocus on things that truly matter, like my family, my relationships, my personal well-being and a career that inspires me with joy and fulfillment every single day.