My wedding dress started life as a scarf.
I’d been sent fabric shopping by my dressmaker. She’d told me where the cloth trade hung out – Berwick Street in Soho, the Goldhawk Road in Shepherd’s Bush, and a variety of other random, off-the-beaten-track locations around London. So I topped up my Oyster Card and hit the road.
But nothing inspired me.
Hours later, my bag stuffed with rectangles of hastily scissored-off fabric, I wandered, dejected, into Liberty – London’s oldest, quaintest and most colourful department store – to buy a birthday card for a friend. That’s where I saw it. A beautiful, barely-there silk scarf; white background overlaid with blue designs, and a huge red rose in each corner. I was in love. And bought two.
Over the next three months I watched those scarves take on a new life. Every time I stood in front of the wraparound mirrors, under the rose-tinted lights of the dressmaker’s studio, they had changed, morphed, from scarves into scraps, from scraps into panels. They began whisper thin and separate, then forged together into a full-blown sculpture of a dress. One of a kind. Unforgettable.
And I wonder, today, whether that dress would have seemed so special if I’d simply seen it in a shop window, fully grown, ready to wear.
NOT ONE BIT.
As I look at Wellbeings – my new brand and its online home, I see that the beauty truly is in the build.
On the surface, that build began in January when I told my business mentor he was right, I needed new. In fact one ‘new’ probably wasn’t going to cover it. Not simply a new site and a new name, but a new direction. A new start.
But look deeper and it began years ago. It began when I lay on my nana’s couch, my health in tatters. It began the day I decided I would never go on another diet. It began when I watched my first Institute for Integrative Nutrition lecture. It began when I launched my first blog, How We Eat Now, after six months of toiling. It began with my first client. It began the evening I trembled onto stage at Pony Express Speaker’s Club and exited exhilarated. It began with my first corporate wellness workshop, which I’d memorised word for word.
All we did – me, my truth-speaking mentor Elliot, my incredible branding designer Abbie, my website magician Phil, was turn a collection of beginnings into a brand.
Scarves into dresses
Ideas into brands
Through meetings over sushi, phone calls while I walked the dog, texts, emails, SOS messages to my email provider, we brought Wellbeings to life. And when I look at it, I see not only the finished product – a pure expression of me-ness – but also that process, these talented people.
It’s been a seven-month hiatus, a metaphorical holding of breath. But it’s been worth every week, because Wellbeings doesn’t just have a look, it has a LIFE. And as it lives it will grow and change and expand and evolve. I’m excited for that; it’s what living things do, after all.
This time has served as a reminder for me: there are no shortcuts. Whatever you’re building – a healthy body, a peaceful mind, a trusting relationship, a home – online or off – takes time. Not just time, but patience, and courage, and resilience. But what you build like this, the bespoke rather than ready-to-wear way, is yours forever, and takes on a life of its own.
It took me about two years to get healthy on my own, but from those foundations have grown a new career, a new life, more lessons, hard and gentle, than I could possibly list, and inspiration for many.
It took three months to make a single dress, but I will never forget it or wear another like it.
It took seven months to breathe life into Wellbeings, and I hope you love it like I do.
Here are some things you can do now:
- Sign up to get Wellbeings blog posts straight into your inbox by entering your details above (and to the right a bit)
- Read about Wellbeings, what it stands for and the work I’ll be doing under its umbrella
- Get some info on Wellbeings’ employee wellness and individual wellness programmes
- Be patient with whatever you’re bringing to life right now (because trust me, there is something)
See you back here next week,