I can't express how much of an incredible journey the last year has been, but I definitely can say that I'm so happy to have had so many supportive people along for the ride, and that includes you, just for reading! The story behind the Candy Wrappers Collection is nothing short of all the stars aligning for Tasty Treat and in my personal life, and several incredible womentrepreneurs who held my hand and talked me through bringing my ideas to life: Sara Bee, owner of Bee's Knees Knee Pads, Kelleyanne Bujold, owner of Kelleyanne Marie Photography, and Nadia Sharif, owner of Twisted Movement. Please go check them all out - as Sara told me, "your network is your net worth" and I am 100% about sharing as much love as I can and giving credit where it is due.
What had happened was...
The story behind the Candy Wrappers Collection started some time in the summer of 2020, when I got food poisoning and was living out of my bathroom for a day. Like anyone in my position, after a while, I got tired of staring at the tiles and reading the labels on the shampoo bottles, and pulled out my phone to scroll through pole pics on the 'gram (don't act like you all haven't done this at one point in time). In between all the poses that I planned on trying once I could leave the bathroom, I saw a post by Nadia Sharif, one of the OG pole dancers that I'd been following since I started dancing back in 2013. She wrote about how she quit her lucrative electrical engineering day job to pursue the things that she loved, and ended it with #YouChooseYourPath. Not gonna lie, that story punched me right in the feelings.
I don't think it's been a secret to anyone who knows me that I've been struggling with finding the same satisfaction with my engineering day-job as I used to when I was touring grubby military towns in the US with the ol' giant robots we used to build (fun fact: LS3's computer voice is actually mine). Reading Nadia's story just affected me on so many levels that I'm basically going to need another blog post to talk about it. So, like a total fangirl dweeb, I commented on her post with a complete word-diarrhea about my life story, robots and all.
And because the universe is an incredibly crazy, wonderful place... Nadia DMed me and wanted to talk.
I can't tell you how much validation it was to have one of the women I'd admired for years reach out and ask to hear my story... and hear about my business. Another fun fact: I get really shy about talking about myself when it comes to personal things like my feelings on my career, being a woman in a male-dominated field, being a child of immigrants, and conventional metrics of "success." Talking with Nadia felt like talking with someone who already knew how I felt, and had worked through all the conflicting feelings that exist at the intersection of all these spaces. We vibed over Zoom chats, threw so many ideas back and forth, sent care packages full of clothes to each other... and slowly but surely, my dream of making an outerwear collection began to take shape.
do Meet Your Heroes
In the last few years, my 15-year-old car has... well... made it a fun mechanical challenge to get that passing safety inspection sticker in the front windshield. Don't @ me. I've been loyally keeping this thing together since it saved my life when one of my dumbass exes nearly killed me in it, 6 months after I got it brand new. I owe this car a lot - even though the transfer case needs replacement, it can't turn at low speeds without making weird noises, if you slam the front door too hard the mirror falls off, the trunk leaks, and I carry an OBD reader tool in the glovebox to self-diagnose the Check Engine light. I'm so sentimental about it that I've been holding out until I could find a car that made me feel the same. At the end of 2020, I finally found the one: a 15-year old, 227hp, turbo-charged version of my special little hoopty... with only 28,000 miles on it (it's even the same color). Nevermind that it was located in Reno - as Nadia said, I was "on a mad mission"... a mad mission to reclaim something that went so weirdly wrong 15 years ago, that I've been riding out and working with ever since. For some reason, getting that new-to-me car represents getting a do-over of 15 years ago, when I made all the major career, location, and life choices that led me to where I am right now. It's made me start living my life open to new adventure and taking chances, like I was in my 20s, but with all the knowledge I've accumulated by surviving into my 30s.
So, I got nose-swabbed, tested clean, covered in PPE, and onto a mostly empty cross-country flight to Reno, and I bought that damn car. And on the way back, I drove down to LA to hand-deliver the very first prototype of the One Love Onesie Wrap to Twisted Movement and meet Nadia (from a safe distance) in-person. There's a reason this woman is a legend - she can make partying with 3 people, 6 feet apart in a driveway feel like a whole-ass night on the town! Philosophical discussions about social values, race, privilege, and the hoe life, between piles of Sichuan takeout (next time, we need to find out what the "Impressive" Sausage tastes like) and a tequila worm - that's what's up! If you see her rants on Instagram, make no mistake: they might look like a bish just be poppin' off, but the truth of the matter is, all of her observations are sharp as shit, and 100% on point. If there's anything you should take away from 2020, it's understanding the importance of thinking critically about everything. Mad respect to her for doing everything she's doing - I'm so grateful we connected!
Now I got this new 15-year-old car, this adventure under my belt, this new friendship and business connection, and this inspiration to create a capsule collection of pieces that capture a vibe of a badass ready to face the future, serving brains and body-ody-ody. It's time for you to meet Tasty Treat x Twisted Movement: The Candy Wrappers Collection