Surround Yourself with the Right People, You’ll be Alright

Last week was a whirlwind.

Monday – the start of the Summer Institute, a program that, two years ago, we went through as participants. It’s basically the reason Wear Your Label exists today. And now we’re back as mentors.

Tuesday – a strategic planning session with our mentors and advisors, and the launch of our collaboration with Joe Fresh: Fresh Perspective. An exclusive WYL design with purchase, and 50% of event sales donated to our partner charity,

Wednesday – speaking at A Day in Her Shoes, an annual event in support of women’s mental health hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association. And the launch of the new DEFINE project: a mental health documentary & conceptual photo series.

Thursday – flying to New York, visiting the Buzzfeed office (almost exactly 1 year after being featured!). And then speaking at the Spence School in support of the JED Foundation’s mental health programming.

Friday – flying to LA to meet up with the rest of the WYL team, and attending another collab launch event with Depressed Cake Shop. Profits from the event were in support of St. Joseph’s Hospital & $5,000 was raised over the weekend (plus a generous matching donation of $5,000)! We were also honoured to speak at their annual fundraiser gala.

So basically, what is my life right now?

It’s something I never could have envisioned. But a theme has been recurring this week, and I needed to write about it. People.

People matter.

On the outside looking in, things are exciting, successful, “happening”. The reality is that, I’m in over my head. Everyday something goes wrong; a production run is delayed, I lock myself out of the office, I get sick and miss meetings…

There’s one thing that keeps me going: people. The Wear Your Label team has become more than just a handful of people who work together. We’re a family. Customers are not just sales, they’re friends. Everybody is emotionally invested, because it matters to them. 

And there is so much virtue in that. Because starting a business has been both the best and worst thing for my mental health. Building a start-up is damn hard. No one talks about the grit. You don’t see the failures. We only show the world what we want them to see (usually, all the good stuff.) But it’s so important to be real, and stay grounded as to why we’re able to do what we do and how the hell we got here.

There was a moment during our strategic planning session when I sat back and realized, we are the luckiest two kids to have these people around us. Some of the most brilliant, talented, committed, and caring people I’ve ever met – academics, business people, designers, who are incredible at what they do – and for some reason, believe in us enough to sit through 4 hour meetings, and not even be exhausted but exhilarated about what’s to come.

If I’ve learned anything the past week, it’s that if you surround yourself with the right people, you’ll be alright.

And if tomorrow, everything crumbled, I’d still be alright. Because we’ve done what we set out to do. But now more than ever, I’m confident that this is just the beginning.


Kayley ReedComment