December 28, 2017

 

Before I focus entirely on what 2018 will look like for Harly Jae, it felt suited to close the year with a recap of what has been a profoundly transformative trip around the sun for me this past year.

While June marked the official launch of the brand, January 2017 is when I started seriously working on bringing you the first HJ designs. Looking at the person, I currently am compared to who I was a year ago is plain, weird. It may be the combination of having to learn to roll with the punches, to trust my instincts and to grow on a spiritual level to survive in this entrepreneurial world that transformed me. Who knows. Whatever it is that brought me to where I am now, I am incredibly grateful.

 

The first seven months in business for Harly Jae were full of moments that made me want to pinch myself to make sure it was all real. From seeing some of my favorite bloggers sporting HJ in breathtaking shots like these ones taken a the Acropolis or those snapped in Mexico. To Montecristo Magazine contacting me hours after Harly Jae launched to include me in their “Vancouver Fashion Labels to Know” to making a print appearance in the Georgia Straight. To seeing my newborn brand hanging on the racks of my favorite Vancouver stores. To participating in my first market and getting to meet customers who told me why they love Harly Jae. It has been a whirlwind of emotions.


Bethany Menzel and Matilda Djerf in Harly Jae

I also quit my full-time job (yep, I am writing this post in the comfort of my PJs). I realized how supportive my partner in life is and how lucky I am to have him. And after years of feeling like “there must be more to life than this” I finally feel like I am living on purpose.

 

Don’t get me wrong though; this past year was not all unicorns and rainbows (although rainbows made a huge comeback this year, am I right?). I failed a lot too and learned from those mistakes.

 

I had to have tough conversations and made decisions I regretted so much they kept me up at night. I spent too much money on certain things and not enough on others. In the Fall, I had to rethink everything I had been doing until then. I took a big step back because I realized I was building a slow fashion brand in a rush and it made absolutely no sense. (If you were waiting for a Fall collection, that’s why it did not happen. I am sorry). But by taking my time and planning better, I was able to connect with the right people. People that believe in fair wages, garment quality, and good communication. People that have Harly Jae’s best interest at heart because they also desire a better fashion industry.

  

Lastly, I learned that, like anything in life, the success of Harly Jae, was only going to be equal to the amount of focus and efforts I am willing to put in.


Cheers to a fresh New Year!
Love, Laïla