Schooled

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Chapter 33

The new school semester provided additional distraction. Classes felt easier than they had in the fall term. But it could just be the renewed vigor and single-mindedness with which I approached them.

I spent more time with Ava, our roommates, my other friends.

I was glad to be back in a good place with Ava and didn’t want to disrupt it by asking about Dylan, so I waited to see if she would volunteer anything. She didn’t.

The last week of January involved me skipping two classes. It was a rare occasion but entirely justified: that was when Kirsten had rescheduled the pitch.

I shared the business plan on Skype with Kirsten plus four other well-dressed New Yorkers that ranged in age from about thirty to sixty. The whole presentation, which had taken me months to assemble and tweak, was over in about ten minutes.

Then there were a few questions, and we hung up.

The longest wait of my life ensued. For fifteen minutes, I paced my room. Ava wasn’t a pacer, so she settled for chewing her fingernails. We exchanged nervous glances but no words, watching as the clock moved at a snail’s pace. We both jumped when Kirsten rang again on Skype.

“Here’s the verdict. Everyone thought you did a great job. Lisa and Jeff are excited about the line. And I want to help too.” Lisa was an investor who could actually help get us off the ground. Jeff was an editor at the top U.S. major fashion magazine.

“I think we could make this work and even move up the timing you suggested. Launch this year with a fall collection.” I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it didn’t. My head was spinning. It was really happening. “You should continue at the magazine after you graduate this summer, but only part time,” Kirsten was continuing. “I’ll have you working more closely with other brand managers to see what they do.”

“I don’t know what to say.” I was floored. “Thank you.”

“But there are a few things you need to do. If you want to be on the shelves in LA in eight months, you need to start meeting with retailers. The fall collection has to be ready to go by March with samples. I’ll send you a list of manufacturers that might work with a new label. Call them now.”

Ava was bouncing on the bed like a four year old. Thankfully, she wasn’t in the video frame.

“I’ll also send you Lisa’s email and you can discuss with her an initial investment. The numbers we talked about should be fine. At the start if you keep things bare-bones most of your cost will be production and marketing.”

“We can leverage it against some other seed funding.” My mom had offered a modest but important loan to help get us off the ground. It had been unexpectedly thoughtful.

Once I hung up with Kirstin the hugging and squealing ensued.

It felt surreal. Our dream, cooked up years before by two eighteen-year-old girls lying by the pool at midnight, was going to come true.

I wanted to tell the world. Shout it from the rooftops, tell my mom, my dad—wherever he was. Tell everyone who didn’t believe in me.

Most of all I wanted to tell Dylan. But I couldn’t, and realizing it made a piece of my heart break all over again. It was the best day of my life. But it was bittersweet.

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