The vision was very clear: I would live in a teeny-tiny walk up apartment (even in my dreams, I’m a realist) in The Village and I would sell my Ritzky (a nod to the Polish Ritz) designs at funky little shops all over town. My name would eventually spread enough to be on the lips of important fashionistas and I’d move from funky boutiques to Bendel’s and Barneys. I’d style for Oscars and Emmys and of course, the Tony’s because above all else I would be a theater girl.
Eventually, I’d make buckets of money so I’d move into a bigger apartment but still “keep it real” in the Village. I’d eventually start writing for the fashion magazines that were interviewing me and I’d then be the eyes and voice of style-knocking out two of my passions (fashion and writing) all at once. When the buckets of money came, and I could stand alone, I’d finally meet a man and together we would teach our kids to give our buckets of money away-to women who wanted to start businesses of their own (check off passion number three).
That was the dream.
At 20 I moved out of B school (where I thought I’d get a marketing degree to get my foot in a fashion door) to teaching where I felt more comfortable. At 24 I was a dead broke working teacher who married a dead broke PR Hack. We spent the next few years having fun and moving farther and farther away from buckets of money. We donated what little could to charity and I volunteered my limited time-but there were no seeds being planted for women to better the world. We lived in the same town we grew up-having gotten as far north as Baltimore City-not New York.
We were happy though, so I talked myself into thinking that dreams can change and you can settle for something different and be just fine. When we moved to New Jersey and the PR Hack became a Vice President for a cutting edge firm smack in the middle of Money Town, NYC, I survived the unrest of him “getting” my dream and decided it was close enough. We were fine. I was happy. Dreams change.
Flash forward to a fine February Saturday when The Vice President and I are walking through the streets of the West Village. We are heading to a business appointment for me. I have cards in my pocket that have the title Stylist after my name. (Which, incidentally is Ritz King-not quite Ritzky but boy, oh boy.) We don’t live in the city, but I love where we do live and it took us so little time to get over the bridges and through the tunnels that we can do a city day as often as we’d like.
I am not selling my designs at small boutiques, but I am bringing incredibly hot pieces to people who have never heard of them before. I’m introducing fashion in fashion city. Me. The teacher from the suburbs is walking through the streets of the city of my dreams doing a job that makes me feel like I finally found my passion. Then I get to go home-with the man-and love on three of the greatest dreams ever. There are no buckets of money yet-but the potential is there. I start to think that maybe it wasn’t too late after all. I am in fashion. The designs I rep are in all the fashion magazines and on the red carpets. The company name is on the lips of important people on each coast. Our design house is in SoHo. Our founders have illustrious careers in both fashion and business. I am learning at their feet. I get to go into NYC as often as I want for work and training. As if this wasn’t enough, want to know the kicker? My company just announced that they will start a charitable foundation that will…you guessed it, give seed money to women all over the world who want to start their own businesses. I am part of the force that will make the money to be given away. My kids see it all.
Don’t look now, but just when you decide to settle for less, dreams may just come true.
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