It all started when...
A few years ago, in typical Millennial fashion, I found myself quitting my job and moving back to my parents house. In spite of following all the rules, going to a good college, graduating with honors, etc., I still hadn’t found a career that made me happy and was really the right fit. To give you an idea of where things stood, here is a partial list of the positions I'd held throughout the last decade: pilates instructor, photographer, organic chef, green building project manager, environmental non-profit leader, etc.
And logically, these all sound like fine careers, right? But I started noticing a pattern. Whenever I made progress in one of them, I’d change my mind and jump out. I was craving passion and purpose I hadn't yet found.
Ignoring everyone else's incredibly successful and exciting lives as seen through Facebook, as my parents played scrabble on Friday nights in the living room, I started to homeschool myself through a self-imposed regimen of personal growth like it was my job. Through attending empowerment workshops and building relationships with mentors, and I identified and transformed belief systems that were holding me back.
And around this same time, I started wearing this hooded-scarf I had made out of some super soft and cozy beloved old sweaters. I had no agenda when I made this, except that I really wanted one for myself. And when I wore it out in the world, strangers started stopping me and saying, “what is that? I want one!”
I made a few more and let people try them on, and I started hearing the same thing over and over again: how it was so cozy and "feels like a hug.” They also noted how confident it made them feel, using words like “courageous” and “warrior.”
In time, I would discover that this hooded-scarf, was to become a self-portrait. In my molecules, I am something between a hug and a warrior. I am equal parts snuggler and #GIRLBOSS, homebody and world traveller.
Recognizing an opportunity, I decided to think of myself as an alchemist and entertain the idea that maybe I could create my own brand and company to represent all aspects of who I was, to fulfill the passion and purpose I craved in a career. Remembering the word from a childhood storybook, I came to affectionately call the hooded-scarf “the mantle.”
And this is what happened next: Through a successful Kickstarter campaign, I raised $39,827 to produce the first batch of mantles. In the process, the mantle made the cover of Philly Weekly, received press around the country and attracted a community of customers around the world.
This word “mantle” not only means a loose fitted hood or cloak, it also, more importantly, means one’s role or responsibility in the world. This isn’t just me creating Wild Mantle, this is me taking up my own mantles of sustainability and empowerment.
My design included yarn from a sustainable alpaca network in Peru, and I chose to have them made at an artisan knitting mill in Colorado called IceBox. I choose Icebox because they were a certified B Corporation, which means that they use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
So as you can see, the mantle, from how it is made -- with sustainability in mind -- to how it is received -- both empowering and comforting the wearer -- is a reflection change I want to create, the purpose I want to have.
In hindsight, what started as a play-pretend venture in my parents garage, soon unfolded into the purpose and business I was previously lacking. What I considered to be career hopping was actually a treasure hunt through which I blindly collected the skills and experiences that ended up making Wild Mantle possible.
By taking this time off, I reawakened my childhood dreamer in order to invent a life in line with my inner truths. And now in turn, Wild Mantle is helping me answer the deeper call of helping think about their own purpose.