How Beautiful Disaster Was Born
You're too loud. You're a spaz. Do you ever calm down? What are you on?
Those are some of the comments that I have heard throughout my life. I was born full of charisma and spunk and I never shut up, I was always talking and imagining and pretending. It's interesting how we are born with all of this natural magic and then over the course of life we allow others to take it away from us. We dim our lights.
I can remember when my light started to dim - I had an alcoholic father and an incredible Mom who did her best to protect me from the wrath of his disease. I remember waiting for him to show up and he didn't. I remember broken promises and being lied to. Yet somehow I still held out hope that I was enough for him to change. I wasn't.
I was never interested in school - I went because I had to go, I would have rather been working and making money. I started working at a donut store the second I got a work permit at age 14 and I don't think I spent more than 15 minutes thinking about college. I knew it wasn't for me.
I wanted to work, I wanted to make money and I wanted to create something.
It took me until I was 25 to get my shit together enough to actually start my own business. I remember thinking that I wanted it to have a name that was fun and flirtatious and would cause a reaction and was a little bit naughty. I remember playing with names for a couple of days and the one I picked seemed to be just right! Hanky Panky Apparel.
I went to the fashion district in Los Angeles and purchased beaters and panties and t-shirts and everything I could find that was pink, black or white. Those were the colors of a punk princess and that was the inspiration for the Hanky Panky line of clothing. We set up booths at local events and people started to love it, and buy it and I was so excited to create something that other people loved. Then - I got a letter in the mail from the real Hanky Panky - apparently you can't just create a brand name and print it on tee-shirts! I had no clue about business and trademarks and just like most lessons in life - I learned the hard way. Hanky Panky had to change names or quit all together.
Quit? Who Me? Nope.
Back to the drawing board for a new name that had the same vibe - that would speak to the same customer, after some time and creativity we came up with GGBG (Good Girl Bad Girl) and it was perfect! We re-branded, got the trademark the right way and hit the ground running and GGBG BLEW UP! We were selling like crazy, we were at every show, celebrities were wearing it and life was good. Until we got a letter - WTF?
Apparently BCBG said there was consumer confusion and threatened to sue us so once again we were faced with a decision - fold up or re-brand and keep going.
You see - when you want something bad enough you will get back up every time you get sucker punched. I'm not going to lie this one was tough - we thought we took all of the right steps and here comes a company with really deep pockets to put us out of business - so they thought,
Back to the drawing board AGAIN! Back when I created Hanky Panky Apparel I remember writing down the words Beautiful Disaster and thinking to myself - there is no way I could get that name. Fast forward several years and we hired a very expensive and very smart Attorney by the name of Staci Riordan, she helped big brands like Ed Hardy and Von Dutch so I knew she would make sure we were protected. I couldn't believe it - we got the name Beautiful Disaster free and clear - ours to keep forever without anyone taking it away from us.
It was always meant to be Beautiful Disaster - the whole process was an effing Beautiful Disaster! We were faced with so many challenges and presented with so many opportunities to give up, and we didn't. This brand has work to do.
We are not just a brand we are an identity, the brand represents the fire inside and is meant to inspire women to say what is on their minds, to be loud, to be wild and to be fearless.
We have fought hard to keep this dream alive and that is exactly what we want for all of our customers and followers. Fight like hell for whatever it is that you desire. It won't all be pretty but in the end you will appreciate the Beautiful Disaster.
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