Last weekend, I took a young woman friend of mine into Seattle to have lunch with Nintendo, that nebulous Mario-ridden empire of a company, some women and girls doing amazing mentoring work in the community, and stylist Jennifer Rade. It was a fun mix of people talking about goals, games, fashion and eating chocolate calzones. We had a blast.
As part of their promotion for their Style Savvy game for the DS, Nintendo asked Jen, who does not want to be pigeonholed as a celebrity stylist although she’s dressed Angelina Jolie and pretty much every famous person for pretty much every event known to man, to come and speak about her journey in the fashion industry.
They invited Powerful Voices, a Seattle-based group that mentors young girls, to come hear her speak and eat some great food at a pizza restaurant (I try to avoid using the term Pizzeria because of what it rhymes with.) that was transported all the way from Italy. They actually took apart an Italian pizza joint, shoved the pieces in a storage container, shipped them here and reassembled them. When I told Dan about the place, he laughed and asked why they had to bring the actual restaurant here. I told him that they brought it here so I didn’t have to go to Italy and leave him alone with the kids for 2 days while I went out for lunch.
Jen was fascinating to listen to. Her life path and mine are so completely different and she had so many great stories and experiences to share. She really has worked with everyone and done just about everything a costume designer/stylist can do.
I often worry about being pigeonholed in my fledgling writing career. Kathryn Thompson, the blogger, Kathryn Thompson, the children’s author, Kathryn Thompson, the non-fiction writer. This fear keeps me from branching out because I worry that if I find big success in one genre, I’ll have a hard time being taken seriously in another and I have a wide range of interests.
Jen is a testament to the power of hard work and never taking no for an answer. When people tell her she can’t do something, she just sees it as a challenge and works to prove them wrong. I really liked that, along with her down-to-earth nature. She also has a theory that I love and that has served me well in my life, although I’ve never given a name to it. She calls it “Yes… and.”
The basic idea is that when someone asks you if you can do something, you respond with, “Yes… and,” and then blow them away with all you’re capable of, opening up all kinds of doors for future success. I totally agree. Doing the bare minimum and hoping to be noticed will not get you very far in your career or in life. Next time you’re looking for some growth and adventure, try responding with a, “Yes…and,” and see what happens.
As part of the celebration for Powerful Voices, my favorite Nintendo executives and PR people surprised each attendee with her own DSi and a copy of Style Savvy. My date and I got one too. Yippee! I have to tell you that I bought the DS with birthday money last year, thinking the DSi wasn’t worth the extra money but now that I have both, the DS is feeling a bit lame in comparison. I gave it to Dan and I’m feeling some serious jealousy coming from his direction.
Mine can surf the web, take and edit pictures, download games directly to the device, and best of all make little flip-notes animated videos. I love this because it’s a way to feed my kids’ digital addictions while forcing them to be creative. And I was not expecting to ever play Style Savvy, having given up playing dress-up with Barbies many moons ago. However, they had us try it out at the lunch and the game is stupidly addictive. I’ve never played Farmville but I’ve seen the hold it has on people and as far as I can tell, this game is like Farmville for fashion, except you don’t send out updates to all of your friends and family members every time you unlock something new so everyone doesn’t have to know just how much time I spend “building my business” and stocking my store.