Which events have molded you?

On the playground in elementary school, I hawked candy wax lips I had bought from Don, the ice-cream man, and sold them (at a mark-up, of course) to my fashion-hungry teeny-bopper friends.

When I look back at things like this, I can see it’s not a surprise that I’m self-employed.

Creatively self-employed people often can track their creativity and independence back to childhood.

As a matter of fact, Neenah Paper just wrote this very cool post about Dyana Valentine, called “Getting Personal.”

She is nosy.  She is bossy. She is creative, social and adventurous. She is an entrepreneur worthy of attention. And she gets a lot of it. Dyana Valentine is a one-woman conference catalyst, an idea machine and project impossible coach. She motivates. She challenges. She occasionally ticks you off. That is what is making her such a popular force on the design lecture circuit…

Even at 14 years, her resilience was already evident: begging for a work permit and negotiating barters, shoveling the muck of horse stalls in exchange for riding lessons. She attended an alternative high school, too, that allowed her “walk-abouts” (independent projects). Pursuing photography, an avid interest of her father’s, Dyana also worked 8 weeks on a Native American Reservation photographing its people, customs and daily rituals. This colorful past engendered a life-long love for the nontraditional.

Read more here: http://www.neenahpaperblog.com/2010/08/dyana-valentine-getting-personal/

Was there something in your youth that was foreshadowing for your career?

P.S. Dyana will very likely be back at CFC 2011, June 23-24 in Chicago, so be sure to save the date!

2 thoughts on “Which events have molded you?

  1. Laurel Black

    A big influencer for me was my first “real” job as an intern at a Wilshire Boulevard ad agency in Los Angeles the summer between my junior and senior years in high school. (It helped that my godfather was VP of Human Resources.) For three months, I got to be a fly on the wall of a classic Mad Men-era agency art department, and it was very illuminating. I learned that the most interesting job was art director, and that only men got to do that. (This was 1966 and “women’s lib” was at most a water cooler joke.) The only other female in the department was their secretary, adept at dodging passes that seemed to be largely reflexive. I remember feeling that the work being produced was pretty boring, and the whole experience made me declare as a fine arts major when I went to college, not knowing that the art world was just as sexist as the advertising world. Fast forward a few decades and I now know that I picked up way more useful information than I realized at the time. I still think about things I learned through observation (and eavesdropping), some of which I didn’t understand until much later. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was one of the best training sessions I could have had for running my own shop.

  2. lidia varesco design

    Back in grammar school, I used to create music zines* collaging photocopied images and headlines with typewritten stories, and distributed them to my “subscribers.” I now realize how strongly it influenced my design career, as I’ve always gravitated toward publication design.
    Great topic, thanks for bringing it up! Now if only I could dig up one of those old zines…
    *for those who don’t know: zines (aka fanzines) were indie magazines popular in the 80s-90s, created by fans of music, literature, etc. and circulated for free.