A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting fashion extraordinaire, and true dream maker, Josie Natori at a luncheon hosted by The Commonwealth Institute, a support organization dedicated to women CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and senior corporate executives. I had been invited last-minute by a mentor and colleague from the University of Miami’s Launch Pad center for student and alumni entrepreneurs, Susan Amat. Thanks to Susan, I am forever a fan of Mrs. Natori’s amazing story and journey of becoming the successful business mogul and inspiring woman that she is today.
As the keynote speaker for the event, Mrs. Natori shared her story of growing up in the Philippines and being surrounded by female entrepreneurs. Figures such as aunts and cousins, and even her own mother selling things in the local market painted a picture of independence. It also helped that Josie was taught at a very early age by her grandfather, “don’t ever depend on a man.”
These seeds led her to persue an education in America, and later to become the first female president of investment banking firm, Merryll Lynch. After working on Wall Street for several years, and with no experience in fashion whatsoever, she began selling uniquely designed night gowns from her home country to department stores that would eventually become the 35-year old fashion empire known as NATORI. This family owned and operated brand represents all things free spirited, fierce, and fabulous!! And NATORI is coming to a Target store near you this season!!!
I was so inspired by Mrs. Natori’s story that I politely walked up to her as she was leaving the stage to introduce myself. I told her how much I admired her work, and how inspired I was to hear her story. I was also bold enough to ask her if she would be a mentor to me, and she gracefully replied, “But dear, I’m all the way in New York!” Of course that isn’t an issue for me, and so I replied,”That’s fine, we can make it work long distance.”
Optimistic I suppose, but I’m a believer of speaking and going after the things you want even when they seem impossible.
After completing this post, it dawned on me that approximately 6 months ago I was inspired to design my PR portfolio after coming across a beautifully designed bedding set. The story is that I was searching for a new comforter set to redesign my room. I wanted lots of color that made me feel warm and in touch with life. I saw this the following bed set and fell in love with it!!!
But it was much too expensive for a college student such as myself. So because I could not afford it, I loved it so much that I used the colors from it to inspire how I present my professional work.
The irony was that I had no idea who or what NATORI was, yet it was the name that was plastered on the tag of this bed set. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and I end up meeting the same person who inspired me months ago… and I had NO CLUE! Nothing in life happens by coincidence… Im convinced. Thank you NATORI!
See original Spring 2012 Josie Photo Shoot post here.