BY MARIA LORD
It is no secret that the average American is currently going through financial hardship. However, according to CNN Money ‘The ranks of the long-term unemployed are thinning…”
Nearly 4.4 million Americans were out of work for at least 27 weeks in April; according to Labor Department data released Friday. That’s a drop of 14 percent from last April, when the figure topped 5 million, and a far cry from April 2010, when a record 6.7 million people were unemployed for more than six months. What is hard to determine is if these people who were once unemployed found employment, gave up on the labor force or decided to venture on creative ways to earn a living, perhaps, going back to school or starting their own business.
Having my own business was a dream of mine since I was a young child. A few months after my birth, I left the USA to live with my maternal grandparents in Peru, where I spent most of my childhood. My grandfather owned a national chain of bookstores; he was the first importer and distributor of print publications in the port of Callao.
My grandfather established great business relationships with many publishers in many Latin American countries and Europe. My uncle went to study biology in Spain, where he stayed with one of the publishers. My grandfather had connections.
Perhaps what is shocking and most inspirational is that my grandfather was an orphan child who grew up in a third world country and dropped out of elementary school to sell newspapers in order to support himself and his siblings. The kid who sold newspapers in the street became an influential businessman and his story taught me at a young age that with hard work and dedication, visions become reality.
At age 12 I moved to Rockland County, NY, a place I consider home. As a child, during my teens and into adulthood I drew, I created patterns and images and incorporated colors. I also wrote. That was my passion, which later became the vision for my business.
I went to Rockland Community College where I got my AAS in graphic design and later on my BFA in fabric styling from The Fashion Institute of Technology. After school I worked in the fashion industry for many years and recently decided to work on the vision I had as a child and start my own business using my talents.
Life can be challenging; financial uncertainty, an unexpected illness, losing a loved one; it’s not easy. However, hope must never be lost. The lack of financial stability could be that push you need to start something on the side, something you always wanted to do maybe ever since childhood.
Throughout American history we find many examples of entrepreneurs that succeeded against the odds. Examples of people with visions, who did not only create businesses which provided a good quality of life for their families, but that also created jobs that helped other families, and by doing so, contributing to the growth of our economy.
Every great business success started as an idea. The process of materializing the idea– establishing a business–requires work and it’s not easy. Like a crop, you have to water and work the soil before you see the fruits.
My grandfather valued books, he educated himself through them and he used his passion for books to create his business, making a difference in his community. My passion for art and design and my desire to inspire are the tools I am using towards my business venture.
We are in a technological era with endless possibilities. If you find yourself needing that extra source of income, I invite you to look at your talents. Maybe you were once told you made the best apple pie in town. If so, why not consider letting people outside of town taste this homemade delight.
Are you the one always organizing family gatherings and functions? Perhaps you can become an event organizer. I challenge you today to think back, write your vision and pursue it.
Maria Lord is a designer who has worked for various brands and whose designs are in retail chains under brand names. She currently resides in Rockland County. To learn more about Maria Lord and her work visit www.marialord.com.