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I’v had several opportunities to get dope photos taken (see herehere and here), but when the team at Studio 821 offered to help me out with new headshots, I jumped at the offer.

Rather than the traditional smiling-with-my-arms crossed photos, I wanted to do something more colorful and beauty-focused. My usual MO is neutral colors and a basic facebeat, so I was counting on the genius of makeup artist Trina Paul of Pout Studio and photographer Michael Matzko to bring me to the next level. And man, did they deliver:

Big thanks to Trina, Michael, and Studio 821 for this fun shoot! You can find them and over 100 more talented image-makers in the Tether Directory—check it out now!

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Have you ever thought about the amount of engineering that goes into making sewn-together scraps of fabric perfectly fit your body? It’s kind of magical. And it feels like the ultimate wardrobe indulgence.

Romualdo is a bespoke tailoring business that’s been around since 1968, so when my friend Micah of Fallon Thatcher invited me to be part of a campaign for their new line of women’s custom blazers, I jumped right on it.

If you’ve ever had custom clothing made, you know how special it is to have a piece that’s been created just for you. It seems like it would be intimidating to get measured and fitted for clothing when you’re used to trolling the “just in” section on The Outnet (just me?), but the process is a lot simpler—and more fun—than it seems. It only took two trips!

The first fitting was super easy and surprisingly interesting: they took measurements for things I’d never even thought of before. Everyone knows the usual bust-waist-hips, but how often do you think about how your back curves when you’re standing or how much space you need to bend your elbows? Tailors do!

Once I was measured, I got to do the fun stuff: picking fabrics and trims and details (oh, my!). I picked a beautiful textured purple material—of course—and decided on a single-breasted style with a notched lapel, flap pockets, tortoiseshell buttons, and navy blue lining. Bonus points for the inside coin pocket (women’s clothing doesn’t always have useful things like pockets, so this is exciting to me) and my name stitched in the lining like a boss.

For the campaign, we had a photo shoot promoting the new women’s line at Aaron Conway‘s studio, and Lyndsey of Glossa did my makeup*. It was hella fun, and reminded me how much I enjoy being on set.

When you order a bespoke piece, you have to be more patient than you would be buying something at Zara or whatever, but it’s definitely worth it. Because LOOK HOW COOL WE ARE. You can be, too.

A post shared by Romualdo (@romualdobespoke) on May 31, 2018 at 7:24am PDT

Book an appointment at Romualdo here, and follow @romualdobespoke on Instagram.

*I always have to do my own hair. Where are the folks who can do natural hair??

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It’s been a while! For the past year and some change, I’ve been busy creating Tether, a community and agency for creative image-makers like photographers, stylists, producers, and more. It’s been a fun ride and I’ve learned a lot about myself, building a brand, and the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.

As much as I’d like to have it all figured out, I don’t—which is very uncomfortable for me—but I’d like to share what I have learned for the sake of documentation and in the hopes that it helps someone else. The biggest lessons so far:

1. Planning the work is not doing the work

I am a true planner at heart. Give me a calendar, kanban board, spreadsheet, or timeline and I’m in heaven. (Srsly, have you seen Airtable? Obsessed.)

But while making lists and setting dates and determining goals is useful, nothing is as useful as actually doing the work. If that means jumping in without a prioritized to-do list and carefully planned blocks of time, do it. If that means you start with the easiest thing instead of “eating the frog” first, do that. If that means doing a fun low-priority Instagram post before getting to a scary high-priority phone call to boost your productivity self-esteem, do that.

The point is to DO. Doing makes the difference.

2. Perfection is a myth

Look, I deal with the “you have to be twice as as good” mentality (it’s true.) I read and re-reread emails and texts before sending. I spend too much time scooching a logo over millimeter by millimeter to ensure it’s perfectly aligned. I research pretty much everything until I’m blue in the face to make sure I’m doing things “the right way.” All of the above is in pursuit of perfection.

But perfection is a myth. Most everything can be improved upon, and the best products are continuously being updated and enhanced. Remember how long Gmail was in beta?

The point is not to create something perfect, the point is to get something out there. You can “perfect” it later, once you have actual data about what’s working and what’s not. My favorite rule:

Ship when it hits B-.

Get your offering to the point where you like it enough to give it a slightly-above-average grade, and go live. The point is to get it out there!

3. The team makes the dream

I’m still working on this, but one thing that’s made itself clear to my overly-independent self is that you can’t do everything.

You need people around you to help, to counter your ideas and offer up their own. I’m not saying you’re not smart, but like Sway, you ain’t got the answers—at least not all of them. And that’s okay.

The team is heavily weighted in startup culture for a reason, and for new ventures, team members who are like Swiss army knives—people who can do a bit of everything and wear many hats—are invaluable.

Finding the right combination of people takes time and energy, but can make all the difference to your stress level and the quality of your product. Start pulling other people into the fold sooner rather than later; it’ll make a big difference.

Want to hear more?

I shared this advice and more on a recent episode of the Creative City podcast featuring the 2018 Haile Fellows. As a trio of type-A women, it got real when we started talking about the ins and outs of making ideas happen. Listen here:

Creative City #40 - 2018 Haile Fellows Nicole Armstrong & Elisa Hoffman - SoundCloud
(2455 secs long, 85 plays)Play in SoundCloud

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