Building A Business During The Pandemic
It all began the same month of my interview with Pointe Magazine for my "Studio to Street" feature in January 2019. It was rather ironic how it all happened as I just had wrapped up my interview with Pointe Magazine writer, Marissa DeSantis about my fashion and style "in and out" of the studio. I remember her explicitly asking what I like to wear to dance and I blatantly answered, "swimwear" or "everyday casual wear." She was somewhat surprised which seems to be the common reaction now that I've told several people.
Dancewear lost my attention for years now. Not only have I been unable to find a brand that suits muscular, curvy, and tall body types but also a brand that goes beyond the "pretty," "dainty," and "bunhead" look. I am not your average ballerina nor am I your average model. I am your unconventional 5'10 muscular, curvy, Asian artist.
Furthermore I was approached by major dancewear companies and boutiques in the US and EU within that week of my interview. It was almost as if the fashion Gods were looking down on me. I received an unexpected call from my friends over at Allegro Boutique in Chicago (to which I am a brand representative for) about an incoming meeting with a large dancewear distribution company. A complete and utter surprise that was...and from there the rest is history.
The first year and a half was lots of trial and errors- from sample designs, to legal issues, to website domain failures, and launch date revisions . There was even a period of time where I didn't think this was going to happen. The only ONE thing that I can confidently say that was concrete were my designs. After I had ordered my first Fashionary book, I easily whipped out at least 20 hand-drawn designs in a week. I am happy to say that most of the products that are in this collection have stayed true to its original drawing. It is absolutely surreal and crazy to see it come to life let a lone on another human body.
After months of working with my production team over in Europe, we finally had our first batch of 'Dear New York' in the fall of 2020. I booked a ticket to New York City and selected one of my absolute favorite photographers, Joe Lyman (who actually resides in Kentucky) for CTC's first catalogue shoot. One photographer, one model and two full six hour days of shooting. Joe has been an actual dream to collaborate with and I couldn't have asked anyone better than to capture my first collection.
I knew that this was the next big leap that was needed to step towards the brand becoming a reality. Soon after the photos were fully edited, the start of making this website began. I am not only in charge of all marketing aspects of CTC and product design, but also the foundation of the website. It has been a learning curve to say the least as there is much more to it than creating a personal website. Things slowly gathered together as more concrete details were finessed such as my campaign videos like 'Dear New York', ambassador search, press releases and so forth.
Fast forward to February 2021, my brand CTC was bookmarked in my calendar for a launch date of March 5th, 2021. From here on out it has been days of sleepless nights, endless international meetings, and brand marketing to gear up for the big day.
I truly hope you all are excited as just as I am about this release as I truly believe I am bringing something new to this dance world.
Made with love and fire,