Creating a business of my own has been a continuous evolution; from writing a blog during my travels to online sales of handcrafted products and art, to style and creative consulting and always back to writing again. I have spent almost five years trying to focus; seeking an elevator pitch, a coherent vision, a succinct branding statement.
The name, "Find Your Cool" was conceived on a rainy afternoon in the kitchen of my loft apartment while Todd and I batted ideas around, inspired by that quote from Joseph Campbell. It appealed to me because it was a personal declaration of what I was trying to do; find my cool. After all, if one is to "follow their bliss" they first need to know what it is.
In the beginning it seemed as if I was on a solo journey. It's a little crazy; a woman in her 50's who already had a successful career and raised a beautiful son deciding to leave everything I worked so hard to build and heading out to "find myself". How very 1970's...! And yet everywhere I have been and today everywhere I go, I meet another person who is asking the same questions; "Who am I? What is my life's purpose? What is the good life?", in short, "Where the hell is my bliss?".
One of my favorite literary moments is in Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, when an advanced future civilization builds a super-computer whose sole purpose is to answer the question, "What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?" After pondering for several millennia the computer announces it is ready to reveal the answer. Millions gather in expectant wonder. The computer's answer? "42." It's funny and also poignant in its gentle debunking of our need to answer questions that cannot be answered. It's just who we are. We still want to know "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin".
But although these questions may not be answered in succinct sentences, still I find that if I listen very carefully, I hear within myself a growing wordless awareness of who I really am and along with that a sense of my purpose begins to grow.
A couple of times a week I go to "journey dance" which I discovered while looking for places where I could indulge my love of dancing without needing to attend structured classes in ballet or modern dance. I thought of it as a place to move to music and have some fun exercise. I have also discovered that dancing in a beautiful, open space, being encouraged to explore the intersection of ideas, emotions and movement while surrounded by other dancers and a complete absence of judgement - even that time when I suddenly burst into tears I couldn't stop or explain - is a profoundly moving experience. This morning Elizabeth, our guide, invited us to say our names into the space while dancing. I moved and whispered "Collette, Collette, Collette...." and suddenly there it was; a moment of clarity and recognition. All of the things I love to do are my branding statement; they all express my purpose in the world.
My love of art and beauty, my sense of style and my love/hate relationship to writing may be an answer to someone; perhaps the things I discover and feel and write about will bring a moment of beauty or clarity into someone's life. My business and marketing experience might be the answer to an artist or designer's need to share their work. My stories from my personal journey might help someone to feel as if they are not completely alone.
I currently have clients for whom I perform a variety of creative consulting projects; style and image consulting, photographic and film styling, creative marketing services for artists, designers and a non-profit organization, and retail management consulting. In my spare time I am developing a blog and writing a book.
As I search for a succinct and focused way to describe what I do, I am reminded of this quote from Robert Heinlein's, Time Enough For Love:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
But I still think maybe I need an elevator pitch....
Collette is a traveler, writer, style and creative consultant. After twenty-five years in the designer fashion industry, working for Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, she took a sabbatical and wandered away into the wide world to find adventure, to explore, meditate and learn. For a year she traveled alone; a container ship ride across the Pacific Ocean to Taiwan, China and Hong Kong; ferries and trains, busses and planes across Southeast Asia and Australia; eight days sitting in silence at the feet of Mooji; advaita Vedantist spiritual teacher; living and traveling for two months in Spain while studying Spanish -- which she hopes someday to master.
Returning to the US, Collette settled in Providence where, attracted by the beauty of the city, the miles of Rhode Island coastline and the crazy art vibe, she hopes to contribute to what she believes is a developing urban renaissance. In addition to 'finding her cool', she is currently gathering new stories from life and the art around her and working on a full length book about her journey.