“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself” ~ The Wizard of Oz.
You know that moment when you realise you have a nagging question in the back of your mind that you just can’t shake off? You ignore it but it just keeps at you day in and day out until you pay proper attention to it? Curiosity in me demanded that I take notice and answer it, this took me on the path of remembering why I started in the first place.
The truth is, in life and in business, many twists and turns happen along the way; some good and some not so good. If you are not paying attention the unexpected turns move you further away from what you know to be true about yourself and you can get lost in the chaos.
This is what happened to me about 3 years ago, after almost 7 years of our brand. We were being carried along with the wave of changes both within the industry and within my personal journey and we lost touch with who we were and why we started on our journey in the first place. I felt quite lost and found that if I was to continue with the business, I needed to reconnect with the roots and original motivations behind our brand.
Unlike other fashion brands, our brand was born from a very personal place and it’s something that still inspires and motivates me today. In order to remember it and hold onto it, I need to share it with you…
When I was 19 years old, I travelled to visit my native Vietnam with the expectation of a travelling adventure; but not knowing that what I would actually discover and experience would bring about so many changes and lead me to a bigger adventure that continued long after leaving Vietnam.
During the visit, I was so profoundly touched by Vietnam’s raw natural beauty but also by the basic living conditions that existed in developing countries like Vietnam, and the inequalities that went with them.
For the first time I met many of the women in my extended family and instantly connected with their free spirit, energy and resilience; in spite of their daily challenges. Like most women in the region they worked as seamstresses but opportunities were very limited for them due to lack of skills, education and access to markets.
I think the reason why meeting them affected me so much was that I felt it was like a “sliding doors” moment, that, had a few things been different, I could easily have been in their situation and they in mine. And felt compelled to do something to share with them the opportunities that I had been given.
After this experience, I had a dream that one day, I would be able to create a brand that would be able to bring opportunities and prosperity to women both within my extended family and their wider community. This dream was realised 10 years later in 2006, when we first established our brand.
From humble beginnings, our inexperienced team started re-making timeless vintage styles as a means of learning the art of creating beautiful designs. Whilst the learning curve was steep; initially barely able to produce T-shirts, these women are now skilled in producing designs with artisanal details and delicate hand touch elements.
Through the experience of building our business and our brand, I found that there is something very magical that happens when women are able to pursue their hopes and dreams. That, no matter what part of the world we come from, there is an innate spirit that is so determined and courageous within all of us.
This spirit is akin to the features of the “Wild Rose”, known to exist for millions of years. It can be found all over the world, growing freely in the harshest of conditions and the most unexpected places. It continues to thrive today as the modern rose. This strength, resilience and the spirit of the wild rose is the same we see in the women who inspire us; “All The Wild Roses”.
Our story started with a small idea, a small dream – now we continue to dream bigger and hope that along our journey we can connect with “All the Wild Roses” out there, to pursue their own dreams.
Thank you for sharing in our dream.
Lots of love and gratitude,
Trip to Vietnam, meeting women in my extended family (me in lower middle)
Mum at 20 years old (1967), my original “Wild Rose” inspiration – “You only live once, make it count” ~ Mum