Moving home from NYC was different for me. It wasn’t my original plan, and at this point in my life if you can’t already tell, I was a bit of a “planner.” I am also the person that goes with her gut instinct. Sometimes maybe more than I should but, lets just say at this point in my life my “gut” was telling me that Delaware was where I needed to be.
I loved being in NYC and I loved fashion and was so ready to start my business. I knew that I could bring fashion back to my small town, but in a big way. I also knew that NYC would still forever be a part of my life. It’s not far, and I still traveled up to the city to intern 2 days a week. And to this day, I still take day trips as often as I can.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, I had already started coming up with business ideas. I was working on my website, had launched my Nicole J Facebook page, and even planned my first photo shoot. I graduated from the Art Institute of NYC with my degree in Fashion Design in June 2010. And I started my business, Nicole J, the exact same month.
Just after graduation, I moved back to Delaware. I was happy to be back home, and I was really enjoying spending time with family and friends again. I spent a lot of time designing new dresses and trying to spread the word about my new business, via Facebook, and of course word of mouth.
Becoming a Mama
In January 2011, I found out I was pregnant with Ellie. At just 21 years old, as you can probably assume, this was a complete surprise. My first reaction was pure panic. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, and I always said I would be a young mom. But right now? Why now? I have worked so hard, I had a plan, I wasn’t ready. I knew my parents would be upset, I was upset with myself for letting this happen. The amount of mixed emotions that went through my body at this time was something I could never explain. I just cried, for what felt like days. I felt like I was a disappointment.
After the shock sunk in, the disappointment turned to excitement. But here I was again, the same feeling that I felt after not getting accepted into FIT, do I give up? I was asking myself what next? Is this when I give up my dream and get a “real job” to care for my daughter? Is this when I put all of my hard work and passion aside to be a mom? That thought quickly came and went. I KNEW I had to try. I always say, I could never look at my daughter and tell her to follow her dreams if I don’t first follow mine. It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was going to be worth it. If this was my new plan then so be it. I would make it work. We were going to do it together. As soon as Ellie was born, my motivation went from 100- 1,000,000.
On September 8th, 2011 Ellie Nicole was born. It was the best day of my life. As cliché as it sounds, it WAS the BEST day of my life. My water broke, I was in labor for a few hours, I pushed a few times, and she was here. She didn’t give me a hard time, she came into our lives calm and quick, very quick.
I will never forget holding her for the first time. I knew at that exact moment she was my purpose in life. I was so afraid, I had no idea what I was doing or how to be a mom. Would I be a good mom? I didn’t know, shoot I still don’t know. I did know that I would do whatever it took to make her happy, to make her proud, and to be the strongest person I could for her.
I lived with my parents for the first year of Ellie’s life. I honestly don’t know how I could have done it without them. They helped me raise her. They have always been there for us, and they are still there for us every single day. My parents let me set up a sewing room in their house. While pregnant with Ellie and for the first year of her life, I made prom dresses, homecoming dresses, bridesmaids dresses… I did whatever I could to meet new clients. Ellie was with me every single day. When I was sewing she was with me. When I had clients come over for fittings, she was with me.
After having Ellie, one of a kind dresses turned into one of a kind tutus and headbands. I was doing whatever I could to make money. It was hard, I knew I wanted to do more and that I needed to do more. I loved designing but I knew the price point was high and it was hard for people in this area to understand the amount of time and work I was putting into each one of a kind design. Around this time I had the idea of opening my own boutique. Trendy already made styles that I could handpick to sell at affordable prices. (This is where our Trendy & Affordable Fashion slogan came in.)
Just before Ellie’s birthday, I decided to go for it. Throughout my time in NYC and over the last 4-5 years I had learned so much and met so many people. I felt it was my time to try something different. On Ellie’s first Birthday, September 8th, 2012. I launched the website for Nicole J Boutique.
You are the reason I have been able to live out my dream, you are the reason I work hard every single day. You came into my life at the exact moment I needed you, without even knowing I needed you. There you were. The doctor placed you in my arms and I swear you looked right through my eyes and into my soul. I don’t know what I did to deserve you Ellie, but I am so thankful to be your mama.
We have been through so much together. Without even knowing it, you have been my strength. Through good times and bad times, you have always been there for me, more than you will ever realize. You are my very best friend.
My biggest fear in life is letting you down. I often watch you sleep and think about how lucky I am. I have found myself staring at you in awe, how can someone so small be so perfect? I find myself wondering if I have made the right decisions for you, and if I have been and will be a good role model for you.
You are so smart, so kind, and so beautiful, inside and out. You are THE best sister to Jace. One day he will look back at all we have been through together and he will tell you that you’ve been his strength, too.
As the wedding quickly approaches, I am so excited to finally become the family we have always deserved. I look forward to all of the new memories ahead, but I want you to know I will always cherish the memories of when it was just you and me. You have taught me so much, you have changed my life for the better.
I love you with all my heart,
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