Until I realized there was an opportunity to help women overcome that awful, joy-sucking, esteem depleting, relentless FRUMP cloud of discouragement that rides in the wake of mid-life body changes, I was adamantly resistant to the idea of starting a clothing label.
Fashion didn't interest me as much as self-expression, and frankly I was attached to my identification as Gestalt therapist and personal growth facilitator.
Then slowly it dawned on me, if I can lose my frumpy blues wearing clothes I design solely for myself, then perhaps other women can feel better too.
That notion was so much bigger than fashion.
This story is EXACTLY why I dared to create a brand new career with Laila Goddess.
Angie came to my booth scouting for travel clothing for her new nomadic lifestyle - despite that she hated shopping, loathed trying on clothes, and was seriously averse to looking in a mirror.
Later she returned with her husband to try on suggested ensembles with the hope that my promise for comfortable, gorgeous, easy to wear/care clothing would be delivered.
Systematically starting with the black basics, then adding each coordinating piece, Angie learned how the ensembles work together to create timeless classic versatile looks.
Several times she couldn't help but remark WOW when looking in the mirror. A brand new experience.
Gradually her husband and I started to notice a shift, flavoured with the sweet absence of hesitation and doubt.
Confidence long forgotten was literally blossoming before our eyes.
One after another, each outfit brought out possibilities for
self-acceptance through colour, drape, and outline.
However when Angie got back into her sad baggy grey t-shirt she announced dejected, "This makes me feel like my old ugly self".
And it was true, all the momentum of positive energy and excitement was fading fast with the associated self-perception and judgments attached to the very fibers of her old clothing.
She eagerly acted on my invitation to put on one of her new tops and toss out the t-shirt. It was almost chemical, this shift back and then forth again.
I'm not kidding when I say it was a Holy moment; Seizing her new reflection, believing in her beauty, feeling hopeful for forward motion and life enjoyment.
The three of us were witnessing true self-transformation.
I work intensely each winter on my spiritual development with a traditional Balinese Shaman. The manifestation of years of his prayers and blessings on Laila Goddess, and all my sincere healing intention for this venture shimmered before our eyes.
It may sound ridiculous and shallow to suggest that clothes can do that; but it's not the garment, it's about the new way you see yourself when something fits properly over your curves, when you're not fussing, when there's nothing to criticize in the mirror, when the colour is right for you.
My commitment is to create a new lens through which to look at yourself with approving eyes.
Angie's husband was shocked that she let me both take a photo of her and also agreed to let me post it. Unheard of in his experience.
Angie intends to replace her existing wardrobe with only what she loves to wear. This is SELF-CARE. The bag full of Laila Goddess ensembles in this picture will see Angie through years of happy travels near and far, and fit into a small suitcase with loads of room to spare.
Later she wrote on the Laila Goddess FB page, "I can't say enough about Laila and her clothes! What an amazing woman who genuinely cares. Thank you so much. I'm beginning the journey of loving myself!"
"Words just can't explain how I'm feeling and what you've done for me. Looking forward to seeing you again. "
Two days later..."Hi again! Going out for dinner tonight. So excited to wear something new!!" (including the photo below)
And today, "Wow I read this and can't believe that is my story. I never thought that clothes would be something to change my thinking. Even a trip to the mall dressed in jeans was a whole other world. Confidence abound. You did that for me. You truly are a goddess and I can't thank you enough!"
It simply doesn't get better than this after you dare to follow your heart, leap out of the familiar into something new.
My personal, professional and spiritual satisfaction while witnessing all of you wearing Laila Goddess is beyond description.
UPDATE: What Angie's husband had to say: