I went stomping down the stairs at my parent’s house with my huge duffle bag stuffed so tightly with my clean clothes that I was pretty sure I'd broken the zipper. My Ugg boots were a hand me down from a friend who'd cast those off for newer, taller, prettier ones, but I didn't mind the worn in look and decided to pair my new-to-me boots with a pair of cut off jean shorts, which I just so happened to cut myself, that hit right about the knee area. Well, one leg did. The other leg was just slightly above the knee but you couldn't tell unless I was standing still. Already this outfit was the cat’s pajamas but let me tell you about my top. It was this lovely coral pink embroidered dress that Kait and I found at a local Good Will store that we couldn't live without, but it was devastatingly a size 14, and we were easily size 4s. Hey, it's not a problem when you have a thick, hot pink, woven belt to hold it on your little frame. It only draped a little bit. Also, the white and neon green stripe t-shirt was a must due to said draping and gaping but it paired nicely with my beaded pipe cleaner bracelet and necklace set that Kait made me. I slammed my bag down by the back door and walked to the kitchen to tell my dad goodbye before I drove back to my dorm. "See ya dad! I'll be back in a few days." One glance was all it took for him to physically walk over to the light switch and flip all 7 lights on, like he had hoped the added wattage would magically transform what he had seen but was dumbfounded when it confirmed his suspicion. "What in heavens name are you wearing? Are you going to a Halloween party as a bag lady?" He was actually waiting for me to answer, curious as to what party I was going to because no daughter of his would willingly walk out of the door looking this crazy (awesome) for no reason. "No, this is just my outfit." A little hurt and a little annoyed, you could easily queue the teenage eye roll right here. I had never seen a more put together outfit in my life. It was creative and resourceful in every way possible since each piece had a former life but was repurposed to perfection. Each article that I had chosen to put together and display on my body was done so with care and with a lot of thought on how the colors and textures complemented each other. For me, it was really easy, and natural to exercise such creativity. Honestly, I was a walking art installation. A masterpiece. I had such confidence in this outfit that I deemed my father unfit to judge because he just didn't have the vision.
You're probably expecting me to circle back around and explain how this was the start to my interest in fashion and eventually what caused us to open our own apparel company, but you, my friend, are mistaken! I actually didn't have too much interest in fashion, unless you consider rifling through Kait's closet and stealing things to wear an interest in fashion. Instead, all I knew was that I was good at painting, drawing, or really, anything creative, and so that's what I pursued. I didn't have the slightest idea what I was going to do with a painting degree but I had the confidence that God gave me this gift and something would eventually work out. However, I needed a driving force and maybe a little help in the fashion arena as well. But nevertheless, I had confidence in God's vision. Now just knowing what God's vision was for my artistic capability was the hard part.
I had to go through 10 years of corporate jobs and experiences not related to anything in the realm of creativity, and at times I'd look at God, much like my father looked at my outfit, not understanding what was going on and trying to make sense of it all. I didn't have self-confidence, but I did know without a doubt that I had a dormant God given talent that wasn't being utilized. Now don't get me wrong, I knew that there was a method behind the madness (much like my outfit), experiences that had to be lived out and refining period that brought me to my knees more than a few times (and I'm sure there are many more to come) but I knew God's plan for my life would look like a masterpiece in the end. So I decided to try to make the best out of the waiting and follow his prompting (which is always easier said than done, am I right?).
My sister Tara seemed to have it figured out though, or so I thought. She's the first born and a natural born leader who has been independently foraging her own way since she was 3 years old. Nothing was ever "too much" for her. As she grew up, she had planned to pursue a degree in law (how much more girl boss can you get?), but decided later that she'd rather go for a business administration degree. Her corporate jobs put that to good use helping the company grow, as well as managing several teams at a time. I always looked at her and thought, "I don't understand why she thinks that's fun." Haha! She was great at it though. The best there is.
Kait, our little sister, the life of the party, has never met a stranger, and is so social that I, Miss Introvert, get tired just thinking about it. She loves people and loves them well. She also loves fashion. She went to school for fashion merchandising, ended up getting an internship and sales job with Nordstrom. She hit the ground running, and quickly started to climb the corporate ladder because she'd always surpass her sales goals (by a lot). Our family was a little concerned for her because we weren't sure how she was going to be able to use that degree outside of a retail store and long retail hours. But I'm sure they felt the same way about me with a painting degree.
Separately, our personalities and interests are SO different from one another. We were all a little lost in our own right, (or maybe it was just me. Yep, just me). But together, an unstoppable trifecta, if you will, Royal + Reese was born. We just naturally assumed our positions like it had been planned all along. The boss, the designer, and the salesman. Each personality bringing great perspective to the table and I can confidently say we are perfectly balanced and would be lost without any one person out of the three. They are my driving force and my fashion sense.
Sometimes God's prompting feels like a big upside-down whirlwind that forces you to act. Sometimes it's a whim. But either way it calls us to act because your comfort zone is being shaken. Royal + Reese was started because a little bit of both whim and whirlwind and a whole lotta God. The whim part of Royal + Reese started from an offhanded remark Tara made about making leggings for our own kids and then thinking it would be fun to sell them. The whirlwind that caused us to act was that our corporate jobs were becoming increasingly unstable due to acquisitions. From the outside looking in, we probably looked like a hot mess of an outfit, mismatched and a bunch of gaping holes here and there because we had no idea what we were doing. But when we stopped to take a closer look we realized how miraculous it all was. The intricate detail work in our story was being masterfully, God-fully planned since our infancy. The areas of business were covered because we each brought that knowledge to the table, and enough risk that we are on our knees asking for God’s provisions daily. The vision God had for our future fit together like a puzzle. A whim and a whirlwind... but rather a masterpiece