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The many faces of my new audience.

Sometimes gratifying, sometimes humbling, always surprising.

The many faces of my new audience and what I'm learning along the way.

In recent weeks, as I have been creating display ads and talking with magazine sales reps and planning promotion calendars to promote my upcoming launch event, I have been surprised at my own reactions to having an audience. So far, my audience has mostly been people who want to see me succeed because it's how they make their money. So, they've all been over-the-top encouraging and complimentary, just swooning over the new kimonos and the fabulous photographs of the models wearing them in soft, perfect lighting. For me, it's kind of a shock because I work alone. For hours and hours I plug away trying to steer this slow boat to wherever it is that I'm going. I'm not used to all of the attention, and am somewhat skeptical of it all. I can't take all of this adulation too seriously.

A couple of weeks ago, IN Kansas City Magazine sent a writer over to my home studio to interview me for a feature article. Never mind that it was sponsored content that I paid dearly for. I soaked it all in, and pretended that they actually sought me out and that I had something to say that they thought their audience would want to hear. It was really gratifying to have such a captive listener who seemed so fascinated by everything I had to say. By the time the interview was over, she was trying on kimonos, and I have to say she was surprised at how good she looked wearing one. But I knew that would happen. Because it always does.

I always love to see someone react to how they look in the mirror when they try on one of my kimonos. Whether this writer was interested or not in what I had to say, she was certainly interested in how she looked and felt about herself when she saw herself in a new way. That is why I do what I do. I love to see the transformation, the surprise, the "Oh, wow!" moment when they look in the mirror. That's what this is all about: showing women how beautiful they are, by dressing them in something that brings out their best qualities.

This week the MC for my upcoming launch event came to my home studio to meet with me about the program content and event details. I don't know how it happened, but I think she is one of my biggest fans. I love how much she loves what I do, and everything I'm about. Who wouldn't love that kind of admiration? We really had a blast. Of course, she's a really fun person. She, being the good sport that she is, also succumbed to a kimono trying-on session. The same thing happened. She looked absolutely amazing in anything she put on.

We started playing with different ways to wear them, and pairing some of the new Obi belts with the kimonos, wearing them inside the kimono and letting the kimono hang free of being belted. That was a magical experience, even for me. Who knew that a somewhat illusive waist could be so defined? And who knew that particular Obi belt would go so well with that kimono? They shouldn't go together, but they do. We were like two school girls having a dress-up party.

If these two encounters were a preview of what's going to happen at my launch event, I will be thrilled. Seeing the transformations and sharing in the fun of putting a great outfit together is at the core of what makes me happy and feel fulfilled.

So, bring it on. I can take it. After almost three years of putting these designs together and envisioning women wearing them and loving them, I am getting a little taste of the frosting on the cake. Hours of work, hours of planning and replanning, tons of mistakes and steep learning curves have led me to this place. Not to mention the financial investment. But how lucky can a person be? I get to do what I love, and share my passion for design and fabric combinations and for dressing well. And, on top of that, Bill and I have committed to donate the J.Mullin Apparel Company's proceeds to non-profit organizations that give women a second chance on life.

All proceeds from our business -- not just the launch event -- but from the beginning and for as long as we can afford it, are being donated to ministries that help women reinvent their lives. Proceeds from the launch event will go to The Healing House in Kansas City, which provides housing, counseling and education to women who are recovering from substance abuse. We also support the House of Ruth in Bill's hometown of Connersville, Indiana, which provides a comprehensive recovery program for women overcoming Opioid addiction.

Both of these organizations are saving and transforming lives. For us to be able to have some part in the work that they do is humbling and gratifying. I have also been honored to be a part of the planning of the House of Ruth's resale shop, "Reinventions," The Healing House is also planning to open a similar shop, and has invited me to help them with the planning of their shop, as well. Can life get any more rewarding? We are truly blessed to be able to be involved in the work these organizations are doing.

Oh, and one more thing: Here is a link to the INKansas City Magazine Article that was published two weeks ago. I think the writer did a nice job. What do you think?

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