For the past three years, I’ve called my parents’ (and childhood!) home my home base. The universe has an interesting way of forcing you on the right path— a few years ago I was forced to leave my Brooklyn apartment (my only time living alone in NYC!) due to a crazy turn of events. I packed up quickly and moved to my parents’ house expecting to stay a few weeks or a couple months until I found a new place (and recovered from the mess of it all).
At that time I was ready for a new challenge in my career, and once I moved home, I realized that no longer having a lease allowed me to pursue my calling of becoming a full-time entrepreneur. Within four months I left my job, and I dived head first into building IMBY, my ethical fashion company.
Commuting into the city was exhausting and expensive, so I stayed at friends’ places when they were out of town, I cat sat (and you may know that I reeeeally dislike cats…) so I would have somewhere to crash in the city. Over the course of the three years, I held more keys than I could count thanks to my wonderful, giving friends. I was so grateful for the opportunity to have a rent-free situation, despite the fact that sometimes it felt awkward or even shameful to tell people I was living with my parents in my late 20s (I bet you guys didn’t know that either, did you?).
I built IMBY while completely bootstrapping– I never took a penny out of the business for myself. Paying myself was not an option due to the tight margins of retail and the small scale I was operating on– every single penny I made in sales would go back into buying more inventory. I was working full time on my business (with a couple side gigs here and there) so paying rent was out of the question.
Yet living in the ‘burbs (and with my parents!) started taking a toll on me, my creativity, my independence, and most definitely my social life. After I decided to shut down retail operations of IMBY, I started making moves towards pursuing more paid work and opportunities. I moved into my new place, with my boyfriend Ian, just this weekend.
Here’s the interesting thing– despite living all over and with my parents for three years, it’s amazing to see the progress I have made as an individual. Unpacking my boxes revealed so much about how far I’ve come since I packed up my apartment in a hurry three years ago— my focus on quality over quantity, my dedication to living more intentionally and simply, and of course, sustainably. I found plastic spoons and paper plates, and other items that no longer reflect what choices I would make today. I was certainly conscious back then– I never used the paper plates at home, for example, but I realized how much I have focused my life on really curating the things that bring meaning for me, and paring down the rest.
It’s been a crazy few years, and years that I often felt unsettled. But it was so worth it to be able to build my business, despite the outcome, and grow as a person. And I want to put this out there because often on social media things are glamorized, and people don’t talk about what it is really like to start a business or the sacrifices you make (though living in a gorgeous house with an insane kitchen is hardly a sacrifice!). It’s important, to me, that not everything you see or read is sugar-coated, that being a freelancer or entrepreneur means shifting your priorities. Some people have financial cushions– parents, spouses, a nicely padded savings account from a previous career. Others (like myself) dive into a cause that they deeply believe in, and realize that to do so things might need to shift for a bit.
I am so excited to see this next leg of my journey unfold. While we are only in this apartment for the next four months (once again, baby steps!), I feel like it’s the starting line of something new and energetic. And I am so excited to share it all with you as it unfolds.