2016: the good, the bad, and the realizations

2016 was big. 

It was the best, and the worst, and I can't believe it's over. (Thank God it's finally over). As wonderfully, overwhelming, draining, and rewarding as it was - I'm happy to have a "blank slate" ahead. A fresh start, if you will. 

And while I'm not someone who necessary believes that January 1st calls for change, it's kind of nice to have an excuse to put the bad behind you, and set goals for what's ahead. 

But, there was a lot of good moments from the past year, that I am so thankful for. 


The month of Bell Let's Talk! A few 5am mornings, lots of interviews, and features in FASHION Magazine, CTV, and eTalk (with my girl Sarah Fisher). #kindafeltlikeaceleb


I got a semicolon tattoo! I also wrote my most popular (and controversial) blog post of the year. 


Speaking at We Day with some of the coolest people... celebrating International Women's Day with RBC, and, this moment where Keisha Chanté acknowledged my existence (yes, worth including). 


HEDLEY!!! From shooting a collab video, to backstage passes... this was one of my favourite weekends all year. Hedley was one of the first bands I saw in concert (back in grade 7, when they were opening for Simple Plan!) so meeting and working with Jacob was pretty surreal. Shout out to RBC for hooking us up. 


This was by far the busiest month of the year: Mental Health Awareness Month. From Fredericton to Vancouver, we partnered with Joe Fresh for a nation-wide collab, and donated $25,000 to Jack.org. I also finally got to meet one of my Role Models and close friends, Val. She had e-mailed me in May 2015 after reading about Wear Your Label in the press, and we'd been talking (and scheming) ever since. May marked the beginning of our *official* collab with Depressed Cake Shop and our first LA pop-up shop. 


FInally, a bit of down time. Peter and I started a little road trip through my favourite cities in Canada: Québec and Montreal. 


I turned 23!!! My birthday month started with some of my favourite people getting married, a little trip to Denver, an unexpected adventure at the Hollywood Bowl, and then a family trip to Montana. Wear Your Label was also named one of the first 7 StigmaFree companies in North America (alongside philosophy and Kenneth Cole, whaaaat?!)


Wear Your Label turned 2! We renovated and moved into a larger office downtown. 


What goes up, must come down... Even though things for the company were going great, we had been facing internal challenges for a while. Anyone who runs a startup knows that it's no walk in the park - whether it's financial issues, clashing founder visions, production roadbumps... Unfortunately, very few people talk about it. My co-founder decided to step down to focus on his mental health, and really practice what we preach at Wear Your Label. Every "business break-up" sucks - it's more or less like a divorce. But, it was definitely the best decision for the company, and everyone involved. At the end of the day, if you're not happy and healthy, what's the point?


California! I had the chance to speak at a fundraising event for the Jed Foundation, and explore a bit of San Francisco. 


Another trip with the Jed family, storytelling in New York City! I wrote about it here


Wear Your Label launched a Holiday partnership with PayPal, and I decided to end the year with ~ 2 weeks of self-care ~ in my home province of Alberta. Much needed after a long year to unwind and reflect! 

So here we are... 

With lots of thoughts, reflections, and realizations. Primarily, I'm grateful for everyone who's been a part of this year. Specifically, my core team - Adam, Addie, and Kelsey - for making the #wylfam what it is. My publicist, and friend, Tiffany, for absolutely keeping me sane throughout this wild ride. My boyfriend, Peter, for being the most supportive and understanding in the world. And so so many more people and organizations, who have invested in this journey, come along for the ride, and inspired me along the way.

I've learned a lot this year. I've learned that things aren't always what they seem; that the startup scene over-glorifies successes, that social media only shows the highlight reel, and that most of us tell people what they want to hear, without being honest to what we truly mean or want. 

I've learned that life is what you make it. Whether you're on cloud nine, or going through a rough patch, only you can choose your reaction to the situation. 

I've learned that at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is being happy and healthy. It's so basic, but an underrated purpose. So what I do in 2017 will revolve around those two things: the happiness and health of myself, my team, and the people I care about. All the rest tends to fall into place once those bases are covered.

Here's to new adventures, lots of self-care, and being happy. 


Kayley Reed1 Comment